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Dining table finishes


Wife wants a dining table. I’m sketching it out. We discussed finishes. She wants an epoxy finish because she thinks it’s durable. I’m not sold on that 100%. First of all, I plan to bevel the underside edges and I’m not sure how to “wrap” the epoxy around the edge. Secondly, I’m not crazy about the look. I also don’t think she understands what the look will actually be.

Any ideas on a super durable finish that will take a beating?

Losing fingers since 1969

17 Replies

I agree Brian I think an epoxy finish is not what I would recommend a epoxy finish either,I would guess if you took your wife to a bar or somewhere that had an epoxy finish she would change her, I would suggest using a dye/stain and a couple of good coats of Arm-R-Seal. Very durable finish some people have even used it on their floors

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

Right there with you Jim … epoxy would not be my first choice. I just recently made a desktop for a customer and used Arm-R-Seal for the first time. It appears to be holding up quite well for him.

Brian, I guess the big question is does your wife truly want an “epoxy” gloss finish?

If she does… there’s a product out there called, “liquid glass”. It’s used on bar tops and the like.

Yeah. She wants a glossy finish. She saw some tables in a restaurant that appear to have held up well. I didn’t see them so I can’t say whether it was actually epoxy or not. I guess we should go have a look together.

Losing fingers since 1969

After 53 years of marriage, I have found that it’s not always what we know works best it’s what the boss thinks will work best that makes peace.
I know that Charles Neil (RIP) used Arm-R-seal on a floor and next time he visited 10 years later and he said it looked as good as it did the day he put it down.

woodworking classes, custom furniture maker

I have to agree with Jim Brian. Here is a link you might find interesting, and it might also help you convince your wife.

Mike, an American living in Norway

I’m a bigger fan for Conversion Varnish. I’ve used it before on dining tables, and bathroom tops and just like it. Durable, fast drying, easy to use.

Figuring out how to do something you have never done is what makes a good challenge.


Here’s another article that might give you some more info.


“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin

Thanks for the replies. Going to take this to the boss and see what she says.

Losing fingers since 1969

Just wondering how that table top came out. What did the “Boss” finally decide upon?

Uggg…. didn’t come out. Back on the backburner list…

Losing fingers since 1969

I used polyurethane (milesi 2k poly) about 10 years ago on my kitchen table. We have lots of family and kids. The table has seen a lot of use. Finish has held up great, been happy with it.

Thanks, Timothy. I never heard of Milesi. Just looked it up. Very interesting product. Saw some good reviews.

Losing fingers since 1969

What she, obviously, likes is, the depth of finish. One coat of the epoxy I used to buy is the equivalent of about fifty coats of poly.

The stuff I used to buy was a 50-50 or 1:1 mix. It grew more durable over time, but it’s not as hard as the bar top epoxies, so the type you buy is critical.

I’ve seen many bar tops that, considering the abuse they get, held up great, so the bar top epoxies should be fine. Years in, you can scuff and add a coat, if need be. You don’t have to strip it.

Even if you went with poly, under any name, touching up every few years before you got to the point you had to strip it would be key to happiness. Just like with wood floors. No need to strip, if you get there before your are forced to.

I used to buy my epoxy in five gallon buckets (5 of A and 5 of B). Once in a blue moon, I’d have to drill out a bubble or something. A hand held pin drill allowed me to do that without going past the pour. Clean that, scuff the surface and go again.

With wood, I ALWAYS sealed the surface with poly first. If it soaked in, all the better (more stable). The reason I did that is, I’d torch the surface and the air just seemed to keep coming. I figured out it was the wood releasing air. Sealing it solved that problem.

The kid who comes to my shop to play and for tips made the mistake of going epoxy on a picnic table. He had to borrow my siding sander to remove a bunch of it (24 grit carbide metal plates you can torch).

The thing about bar tops is that bars are always dark inside. Ever see a well lit bar? They could be more abused than appear if you shined a light on it, although generally speaking I agree that they do hold up great. Very durable.

One thing about my dining room is the big windows facing west light up and show every dang dog hair on the floor. Whatever goes in there will be extremely well lit for an hour or 2 in the late afternoon and not in there way that presents the best.

Losing fingers since 1969

I use Krystal post catalyzed Conversion Varnish for most everything. We used it in a bar (Pipers Pub) back around 2004. To this day the only real wear marks are at the server stations which have alcohol spilled on them all night when it’s busy. If you spray it heavy it kind of has a plastic look and feel (like lacquer) but if you sand it down with pumice stone or 1500g wet/ dry (use it wet) it looks and feels fantastic.


Hey that sounds great! Especially the sanding bit. Thanks for the top tip. ?

Losing fingers since 1969

you’re welcome. I suggest spraying a separate piece to use as a sample. It doesn’t take much wet sanding