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Help sealing walnut butcher block countertops

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  • Help sealing walnut butcher block countertops

    Iíve been doing some research and some experimenting with my new walnut countertops and can seem to get them to have the finish I want without Waterloxing them. Iíve tried multiple layers of mineral oil and beeswax but the second there a spot of water on the counters it instantly leaves a mark even wiped up within seconds. Am I doing something wrong? I really donít want to have to Waterlox them and smell up the house with the chemical smell and the long cure time. Is there something else I could try before my last option of waterlox?
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  • #2

    Re: Help sealing walnut butcher block countertops

    If you want a long lasting durable finish, Oil and wax wont last.
    • “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”Winston Churchill

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    • #3

      Re: Help sealing walnut butcher block countertops

      I've had the opposite experience with oil and wax.

      I use pure tung oil and natural bee's wax. I heat up the tung oil in a double boiler (with good ventilation) and shred in the wax at about a 3:1 ratio oil to wax. Pour and seal into mason jars, and you're all set. At room temperature, it should be about the consistency of mayonnaise.

      I'll rub in three coats, allowing a day or so to cure between coats, to start. I rub it in vigorously myself, then use an electric buffer from crappy tire. (i previously sand the wood to 220g). I scuff sand with 380g between coats.

      I give the customer a jar of finish with some printed instructions.

      I find it to be the closest thing to "bullet proof" that I've come across. I've tested it with ice, water, every condiment I could find (red wine, ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, etc.), and even hot pots of boiling water directly off the stove element and right onto the wood. Nothing has left a mark yet.

      After a month or so, depending on sun exposure, it starts looking a little dull and dry, and that's a sign to do a refresher coat. The old saying was "once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, once a year thereafter". I'm not sure you need to refresh that often, but do it whenever it looks tired, and certainly it will take it more often when it's new.

      I always recommend the oil&wax finish over any film finish. Film finishes may look shinier, but a counter is a work surface, and film finishes scratch and damage so easily, yet repair is not easy at all. It is difficult to do a spot repair on most film finishes without that spot being quite visible. This is especially true if the original film finish was sprayed on.

      I had one customer who had had their kitchen installed by a different company. They had beautiful wooden counters with a film finish. There were cabinets that came right down and sat on the counter top. A guest had sliced up a bunch of bagels right on the counter, and left all these slice marks in the film finish. It looked like it had been attacked by a cat! Had that counter been finished with my regular oil & wax, I could have sanded out the knife marks and rubbed in some new finish, and you would never be able to spot the difference. It would take me about 10 minutes, and I wouldn't even have charged them for something like that. But with the sprayed film finish they had, the only option would have been to sand down the damaged area, light sanded the rest of it, taped off all the cabinetry, sealed off the room, set up ventilation, and sprayed several new coats. That would have been an all-day affair, and I would have charged them a good sum.

      Bottom line, I'll use a film finish on tables for sure, but for counters I use nothing but tung oil and bees wax.

      Maybe the problem for you is that you have mineral oil instead of tung oil? I've never tried mineral oil, so I couldn't say. I'd bet tung oil is expensive for a reason though.
      Last edited by callee; 12-29-2018, 08:37 PM.
      carbonBased likes this.

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      • #4

        Re: Help sealing walnut butcher block countertops

        Never tried Tung and Wax, Im used to Mineral Oil and wax that seems to fade fast on cutting boards, sounds like you know what your talking about.
        • “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”Winston Churchill

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        • #5

          Re: Help sealing walnut butcher block countertops

          I will definitely give that a try, thanks a bunch callee

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