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What is the best finish to use for a bar counter?

PhilipScheffer | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I recently finished my red oak bar counter and am getting ready to seal it. I am used to using oil-based urethane to achieve a quality look and get great durability.

What low VOC alternatives will give me the look and feel of oil-based urethanes but have less of a biological and environmental impact?

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    Hood Everlast is an oil based urethane that has 275 g/l VOC which hits low VOC by NAHB standard but still far from zero.
    I've been using this for years and it is a great product, durable, medium fast drying, a little higher sheen than you might expect from their low gloss product so for the top coat on a floor you might want to add their de-glosser additive. I think it's a bit too slow drying for a floor so that is the only reason I'm continuing to experiment with other finishes. We use it on all our trim and built-ins though with great results and it will do fine for your oak bar top.

    At the USGBC conference I was really impressed with the Vermont Natural Coatings "PolyWhey" varnish which is a very nice quick drying "water-based" varnish made with dairy whey protein but is still 180 G/L VOC. I have a can and will be trying it on a future project to see how it goes.

  2. PhilipScheffer | | #2

    Thanks for tip about the Hood Everlast, Michael.

    I actually was at GreenBuild in Boston and got to talk to the guys at VNC. Their product looked really great on the samples they brought, but I was still a little hesitant to make the jump for "PolyWhey." It is certainly cool tech though.

    You'll have to let me know how it works on your furniture project.

  3. Annette Stelmack | | #3

    Hi Philip,
    For years we have used AFM Safecoat products; for custom furniture. Good luck!

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