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How to protect an oak table top

Posted by Mark Godsell-Fletcher on

People often ask how they can keep wooden furniture looking its best and thankfully, we have the answers. This article see us looking specifically at oak table tops (although these methods can be applied to almost any wooden table top) and how you can keep them looking brand new for many years to come.

Everyone loves wooden furniture because of the traditional, warm glow that it brings to a home, however, after years of use, wooden tables especially, can start to look a little worse for wear which is why it’s essential to take the time to protect them properly.

1- sandingIn order to keep a wooden table in great condition you need to strip and sand the table top before you begin adding the protective coating. Applying a protective coating to a bare timber doesn’t alter the appearance of the wood at all and it allows you to enjoy it in all its glory as opposed to having to cover it with table cloths and mats to protect it. Applying a protective coating ultimately means that you don’t have to tread on eggshells every time you come to use the table because it’ll be able to withstand the general wear and tear of everyday life.

2- varnishYour first option is a clear acrylic varnish. You can buy a version which goes on white and this helps to make sure you apply it evenly, there’s an example of this in the picture on the left. These varnishes generally dry pretty quickly which means that your table can be used almost immediately after application.

3- waxed woodAlternatively you could apply a wax coating in order to add shine and accentuate the direction of the grain in the wood. A good wax coating will add a nice shiny veneer to a wooden surface however, it won’t protect against hot plates, cups and water which means that place mats will still always be necessary.

4- oiled woodA final option – perhaps the best – is an oil based coating such as Tung oil (also known as China wood oil) mixed with linseed oil. Although this will need to be reapplied every year, it will protect the wood against hot surfaces and water spillages and will also create an enviably shiny surface that you won’t be able to resist running your fingers across.

If you'd like further tips on how to protect your wooden furniture then take a look at our 'Preventing mildew growth' and 'How to remove stains from wooden furniture' posts. Alternatively, it's more specific advice that you're after, leave us a request in the comments or Twitter.

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