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ceemimi

how to protect unfinished wood dining table, from Restoration Hardware

ceemimi
7 years ago
Hi,
Just purchased a dining table from Restoration Hardware (Dumont rectangular dining table). It's a rustic unfinished wood. I feel like this table is not going to withstand everyday use. This table will be our everyday table and I can't return it (purchased from outlet). Anyone know the best way to protect the table from common spills and use, yet keep the rustic look and color.
Thanks!

Comments (240)

  • redsilver
    3 years ago

    Any finish I have seen will not protect from water unless you use apply regularly also...a wax product over a lacquer sealant....or a polyurethane varnish.

    If you don't want to change the hue, I'd have a glass company cut a piece of 3/8 inch thick glass to lay on top of it, like they do lacquer finish desks at commercial businesses. Ask them for some felt circles to place under it, so it can breathe or place some pretty crochet small doilies in strategic spacings at the corner and centers....

    After that,or instead of that option, go online or find a commercial business that deals in upholstery fabric. There you can purchase a heavy quality piece of CLEAR plastic to use as a 'table cloth' over your table.

    You could also place a vinyl tablecloth(one that has a reverse side that is fleece...usually you can find them at places like Target or Family Dollar stores, or anyplace that sells camping supplies or picnic supply departments.

  • KCee
    3 years ago

    @Kristin - thank you!

    I have 2 kids who I am so afraid will not use placemats, etc.

    I will definitely try underneath first.


    @MS Colours - thank you for responding. I originally decided to go with MM dead flat, but after reading online for 2 days straight, it seems you aren’t supposed to use it on unpainted wood? Is that true? I’m not familiar with cerusing...


    @redsilver - thank you also! I have thought about the glass...

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  • felizlady
    3 years ago
    If it is truly unfinished, you could apply mineral oil with a soft cloth. It WILL change the color of the wood. I have used mineral oil on my butcher block island counters for years. The unfinished oak was almost beige in its natural state, but turned a beautiful golden brown color with the application of mineral oil.
    The other choice would be a commercial wood sealer recommended by your local paint store. It will probably not need to be reapplied like mineral oil does.
  • mikelauraherr
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago


    After purchasing a RH salvaged trestle table in the natural, we as well realized we had a challenge on our hands with protecting it. We initially thought we had the answer with the 100% tung oil we read about online. We applied it to the bottom of one of the table leaves and excitedly thought our problem was solved. Then we applied the Tung Oil to the top side of the leaf. Yikes! The wood looked charred! So back to the drawing board. We ordered a sample swatch of the wood from RH. We then ordered three products we had read about online: General Finishes Flat Out Flat Topcoat (GF), Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish (MM), and Saman Flat Mat waterbased varnish. We tried all three products on the wood swatch. The Saman product had more of a sheen than the other two, so we ruled that one out as we were wanting the table to look as close to the way it looked when we received it from RH. The GF and MM looked really close. We decided to try the MM on the bottom of the second table leaf. So far so good, so we then applied it to the top of the leaf...this is where things went terribly wrong with the Tung Oil, so our expectations were low. But it looked great! It did darken the table ever so slightly, but we were pleased with the results so we decided to go for it. We applied three coats of the MM to the top of the actual table, and at this point we are so relieved...we think we've found a way to protect the table while still keeping the look we loved. We've tested it by pouring water and hot sauce on it...both easily wiped up with no change to the table. Phew! What a relief!

  • JJ MAN
    2 years ago

    la5678 and jwsargent4 and any others who used the GF high performance flat and then flat out flat method, did y'all sand your table lightly before the first coat? If so didn't that change the powdery finish from RH?

  • David Nebout
    2 years ago

    i did not do any sanding. I did wipe it down and blow it off with air before applying the product.

  • Karen Lazar
    2 years ago

    We sanded ever so lightly...with corrugated cardboard, a trick from our painter...lightly...

  • Larysa Ihnatowycz
    2 years ago

    I have the Boulangerie table in natural finish from RH and also applies 100% Tung Oil first to the legs... turned out good then to the table top which is just horrible. Completely altered the colour and left black marks on every indentation. Whatever you do DO NOT USE 100% TUNG OIL on natural salvaged wood. It not only soaks in but also discolours the wood.

  • amyz
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I too just purchased a RH table in the salvaged natural pine. It arrives next week. It sounds like the Rubio monocoat gets the most positive votes. For those that have theirs coated with Rubio monocoatt, what do you wipe the table down with. I have an 7 and 8 year old so its bound to get some sticky spills... Also, is it the Rubio monocoatt in Oil Plus 2C? Pure or Natural? Thanks for your feedback in advance!

  • Sister Sunnie
    2 years ago

    I'm surprised no one has suggested plain old mineral oil. Its what we use on cutting boards, chopping blocks, etc. food safe, protects against moisture and staining and provides a nearly flat finish. It does take several days to completely dry but leaves a hard durable finish. It wears off after awhile but easy and cheap to reapply.

  • mikelauraherr
    2 years ago

    We didn’t use mineral oil because we were trying to preserve the finish/color of the table as it looked new. The tung oil really darkened the wood and my research showed the mineral oil would do the same.

  • mikelauraherr
    2 years ago

    Amyz....we used the Modern Masters product and we are so happy with the result. It’s been a year and it is so nice to not be worried about the kids spilling their drinks, dripping salsa, etc. It easily wipes down. Can use a wet rag if it gets sticky. If anything, it’s the crumbs that get in the crevices of the table that are harder to get out. We have to get the vacuum out to clear the crumbs out. But that’s seldom needed.


  • JJ MAN
    2 years ago

    I tried two methods on samples of Restoration Hardware Gray Reclaimed Russian Oak before doing my table.


    1. 3 Coats General Finishes High Performance Flat and 1 Coat Flat out Flat

    2. 3 Coats of Milk Paint Pure Tung Oil with the first coat being a 50/50 oil/solvent mix


    The GF Flat essentially did not change the color and look at all except for a subtle increase in sheen. The final flat out flat coat did blunt that sheen slightly but it added a subtle opacity/whiteness from the matting agents (i.e. did not dry as clear as the flat) which is stated on GF's website. I used compressed air, followed by 3M ultra fine sanding pad, vacuuming, and tack cloth before 1st coat. Lightly sanded using 320 grit sandpaper between coats.


    The Tung Oil also looked beautiful but it definitely darkened the wood (made the grain pop) and it looked slightly more wet (less with more steel wool rubbing). It had a lot more sheen than the GF flat. I did nothing before 1st coat of 50/50 mix and then used steel wool lightly between each coat.


    Ultimately I did 3 coats of GF High Performance Flat and elected not to do the flat out flat final layer because of the subtle opacity effect.


    Extremely Happy with the results. I spoke at length with the owner of a reclaimed wood supply store near me who said there is NO product that changes the appearance less than the GF High performance flat. It dried completely clear.







  • amyz
    2 years ago

    Does anyone know what the powdery finish is on the RH salvaged wood tables is? Im wondering if I should buy that? For those that have treated their table, did you remove that powdery finish first? Im worried that if I wipe it off it will be ugly orange pine.

  • homella
    2 years ago

    I don’t know what it is. But
    I do have a finishing suggestion for those who’s table is still unfinished. Osmo. Is a German finish that is used on floors and tables. I had an unfinished maple table made and finished it my self. You wipe it on with a scrubber. It’s completely non toxic and and do it in your house. It’s a combo oil and wax. Some nice restaurants use it, those whose tables look like plain wood, yet don’t stain. Really durable and matte. Can be spot repaired. From Favaris unfinished furniture, and a few other places. There are videos , just find a furniture one, not a floor one.

  • John M.
    2 years ago

    $6,000 tables the customer must self-finish to protect? Scam of all scams. The person who comes up with an identical finish that can tolerate a toddler will someday be able to purchase all of RH.

  • Jessica Wasson
    last year

    Does anyone have any before/after pics of the RH salvaged wood round table in natural using the GF poly/GF flat out flat finishes?

  • Vi Ta
    last year

    @Kristin hope you will see this but I saw your photos of your beautiful table! What color table was that? The bleached or natural? It turned out stunning!

  • Kristin
    last year

    Thank you! I was lucky to find the table at our local Restoration Hardware outlet store. It was originally the "Brown Oak" color until I sanded it down to the natural wood and refinished with General Finishes flat. It looks almost identical to RH's "Natural" finish. I couldn't be happier with it :) Happy holidays!

  • Jen Schultz
    last year

    Alexandria Reyes, I know it’s been 4 years, but can you please tell me how your RH Natural Salvaged table is holding up with the 3 coats of Modern Masters Dead Flat varnish? Have you had to reapply? Any stains? Is it chipping or flaking at all? I just purchased the same table and best results seem to be with the Modern Masters Dead Flat, but I also read some concerns over that varnish not being suitable for raw wood...or something along those line. I hope you or anyone else that used it on the salvaged natural trestle table will see this and can offer some direction. Thank you in advance, would really appreciate everyone’s help.

  • HU-853519986
    last year

    Hi! My table has held up perfectly. I haven’t reapplied the MM and we use the table daily.

  • Jen Schultz
    last year

    Thank you so much for your reply! I swear I have read 1000’s of posts about this subject and was starting to wonder if it was a mistake to purchase it!

  • Tara
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Isn't "rustic" supposed to LOOK rustic? With all the dings and rings that it will get over the years that provide tons of memories?

  • Jen Schultz
    last year

    Yes, agree. But have you seen the pictures online of this table if something spills on it?? The finish comes right off. I love the table and the style enough to go forward with my purchase, but I am not going to let it sit unused because I’m afraid of ruining it. See picture below...just water. That doesn’t look “rustic” to me... it looks ruined!

  • HU-853519986
    last year

    Plenty of memories have been made at my rustic table and none have taken the finish off. It still has character too. You’re allowed to want to protect the finish on an insanely priced table!!

  • HU-853519986
    last year

    I should say....the MM has been amazing but I still do use coasters.... but I am not a fan of rings.

  • Karen Lazar
    last year

    Yes the picture above is accurate. Water ruins the look of these RH tables sadly..just as that photo shows. Not rustic, just ruined. They need protection.

  • Jen Schultz
    last year

    Thank you. I only saw the issues with the finish after I had placed the order. I have seriously been considering cancelling. Do mind me asking how long you have had your table? And if you have time - no biggie if you don’t ; ).. I would love to see a picture of your table. Thank you!

  • Heather
    last year

    Is there a difference in how protective GF Flat vs MM dead flat are over time? I am also looking for the most protective finish for everyday use with kids. My table it pottery barn toscana in sea drift, which is already a thin finish on top of wood veneer over wood.

  • homella
    last year

    I would seriously look at Osmo. Lasts really well, restaurants use it, flat although I went over with polisher and it as a tiny bit of sheen. Spot finishing. Only con, is not cheap.

  • homella
    last year

    Easy to do, no fumes or safety issues. Did mine while in the DR, with Osmo.

  • Heather
    last year

    Does Osmo work over a table with an existing finish? Or does it need to be applied to raw wood? I'm looking to make it easy and avoid sanding first.

  • Heather
    last year

    Also- which Osmo product did you use?

  • Kristin
    last year

    Hi Heather,

    The PB Toscana is a gorgeous table! We used GF flat on our RH table and it's held up well. Our table is solid white oak that we sanded down to bare wood before applying the finish. You may have already done this, but I would consider contacting PB to find out what the "exclusive multi-step" finish is and if it's safe to apply another finish on top (and if so, what type). Because the top is veneer, you don't have as much thickness for sanding down if the finish doesn't turn out as planned. Also, the stain might not be easy to match. Another protective option would be to order a piece of 1/4" or 3/8" glass with finished edges.


    Good luck and enjoy your beautiful table!


    Best,

    Kristin :)

  • HU-295383931
    last year
    last modified: last year

    3 coats GF Flat followed by 2 coats GF Flat Out Flat. Ever so slight change in color, ever so slight change in sheen. 100% protection even 2 years later with 3 kids under 9 at home. We have spilled EVERYTHING on it and had no issues. Worth the time, effort and slight change from the factory finish. Would do it again in a heartbeat.


  • territheresa
    last year

    We put a glass over top of ours.

    my stuff · More Info

  • Vee Tay
    last year

    Looks gorgeous!!! Did you use a roller in between? Did you sand in between finishes? @HU-295383931

  • HU-295383931
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I used sponge brushes for all coats and did VERY light sanding between all of them. Like 320+ sandpaper with very light pressure just to help with adherence between coats and remove some of the sheen.


  • Vee Tay
    last year

    Did you sand before the first coat too? Thank you! @HU-295383931

  • HU-295383931
    last year

    I did not sand for first coat. It went directly on top of the factory finish.

  • Deanna Moore
    12 months ago

    I have a few minor water stains, how do I remove them before I add my first coat?

  • rowell
    11 months ago

    I am curious about the same thing Deanna. How can we get these stains out before we treat?

    We ate our first family meal on our RH 1900 Boulangerie table and now have like 6 spills and water marks as we didn't realize we needed coasters for a farm table.

    I have been down the rabbit hole in regards to how to seal this table for the last 48 hours, and so far it sounds like the most people had the most luck with the following:

    -GF High Performance Flat

    -100% Tung Oil (I know someone on this post had a very bad experience, but there is another article I found online where the author and numerous commenters say that 1 coat of this has completely protected their table from water, markers, glue etc, without significant aesthetic alterations). Apparently you must be very careful the Tung Oil is 100% pure.

    -Osmo Top Oil

  • mikelauraherr
    11 months ago
    last modified: 11 months ago

    Update: 2 years after treating table with MM, the finish is rubbing off. Definitely not what we had hoped for. We had not protected it since we first did, so it's possible a new coat needs to be put on each year. We have spilled various beverages, and this is the end of the table we play cards at, pay bills at and eat at the most. So I would recommend steering towards the GF and hopefully it will last longer.


  • Nicole Harris
    10 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    I have the RH 1900 Boulangerie table in Salvaged Natural. I am in the process of using @hu ‘s method with GF High Performance Flat plus topcoats of GF Flat Out Flat.

    We had several water blotches on the original powdery finish that dried with dark edges where the powder settled unevenly. Here’s how I blurred those water spots @Deanna Moore and @rowell.

    I took a damp but very rung-out washcloth (no drips!) and dabbed / rubbed the darkest edges of the spots, then brushed the edges with an old, dry toothbrush. This buffed out some of the dark lines.

    After that, I used the same washcloth — which by then had picked up some of the RH brown powder — to buff away some more of the finish from other parts of the table. It was more of an art than a science.

    I had some brown eye shadow in my bathroom that was a very close color match to the RH powder, and I used my finger to dab / rub some eye shadow onto the lighter areas. It wasn’t perfect, but it helped to even out the smaller-sized spots. I would not recommend the eye shadow technique on large spots.

    Then, I sprinkled the spent coffee grounds from my morning pot of coffee (a little damp) over the light spots and rubbed them in a little. I also rubbed coffee grounds all over the whole table like an exfoliating scrub.

    I tried a tiny patch test under the table of Varathane Weathered Oak oil-based stain. I did not like how it made the edges of my blotch even darker, so I only used a teeny amount on the stick of a cotton swab (minus the cotton) to paint into some of the darker grains of pine where it had been dark prior to my water spills.

    Attached is a photo of the before (L) and after (R) — prior to polyurethane.

    Update: And here is a photo of the table before fixing the water spots, and after all the coats of polyurethane




  • Deanna Moore
    10 months ago

    Nicole, that is impressive! Thank you so much. Im going to give it a try. Now I have a new issue, my husband spilled a candle on my RH bedroom end table! I’m dealing with oil from the wax! I had no idea RH was going to be this much work for daily use. I’m just so disappointed that RH doesn’t provide better “how to care for your expensive investment” information. 😞I also, have a RH fabric chair stained by the wood!
    I’m so grateful for this site and the kind people that have taken the time to share their tips.

  • cadams90
    8 months ago

    HU, your table looks great! I love the color! Is this the salvaged natural RH table finish?

  • Elizabeth M
    7 months ago

    Hi Nicole Harris, I have a question regarding the after care of your RH table after you applied the poly. I have the same table and it has not been protected yet. As it is now the table is not a wipable surface. I see you said after you protected the table with GF flat out flat, you don't have issues with staining or spilling. Are you able to wipe the table with a cloth to clean?

  • Maria Johnson
    7 months ago

    I’m so thankful I found this thread! I’m in the same situation with two RH tables getting delivered this weekend - a coffee table and a dining table. We have two young, messy kids and didn’t consider the implications of having an unfinished table (I guess we assumed there would be SOME finish to it). Reading through here it seems like GF Flat followed by GF Flat Out Flat is the way to go? By GF Flat, do you mean GF “water based high performance” Flat? I want to make sure I buy the right thing.

  • gbs
    6 months ago

    I agonized forever over what finish to use on my new RH salvaged pine table. I read everything I could find on it and ended up so confused. A friend who does a lot of woodwork work suggested Osmo, as did Homella, so then I researched Osmo.

    I got a sample of my wood from RH and tried the tung oil, which was way too dark for my taste. Then I tried the Osmo in Natural Matte. That was pretty good, but still a tad darker than i wanted. Then i happened to find a product called Osmo Raw, which has a tiny bit of white pigment in it. i put on one coat of than first, then the Natural Matte over that. I had read that putting in the Raw first will tone down the amber tones of the Natural Matte. That gave the result I wanted. In the end I put on one coat of the Raw on the table top and side, then 2 more coats of the Natural Matte. It turned out beautifully and water just sits on top of it. I just used the Natural Matte on the bottom trestles. There are several videos on line to show you how to put in on. In the end, I used some cotton dish towels I cut into smaller sizes. Application was very easy.

  • Maria Johnson
    6 months ago

    For anyone in the same situation, what I ended up using on our RH dining table and coffee table was what was recommended here above: 2 coats General Finishes FLAT followed by 1 coat General Finishes FLAT OUT FLAT. Color of tables didn’t change and it has worked out amazing!!! I have two toddlers and this was a godsend!