Expert Answers: Tough Bar Finish

Want to achieve a tough, bar-top-style finish without the high-gloss sheen? HANDY has the answer.

Q: I'm building a small bar for my rec room. The bar top needs a durable finish, but I don't like the typical high-gloss sheen. Is there a way to achieve a durable satin finish? - Josh Allen, St. Anthony, MN

A: This is a good question for Bob Teisberg and his crew at Ancientwood in Ashland, Wisconsin. He and his crew have applied satin-sheen finish to many of the desks and countertops that they have made out of ancient Kauri wood, such as the kitchen countertop pictured. After sanding the top smooth, he applies a thin coat of the same two-part epoxy resin he uses to fill holes in wood. He lets the resin soak in for about 10 minutes and then squeegees off any excess. Once the first coat of resin is dry, he repeats the process with a second coat. The resin hardens the top and seals the grain.

When the resin is dry, Bob sands the top smooth with 220-grit sandpaper. He uses a badger-hair brush to apply at least three coats of Interlux Goldspar No. 95 clear varnish, a marine-grade varnish that is very durable and moisture-resistant. (He uses this clear gloss varnish for the "buildup" coats because applying multiple coats of satin varnish would make the finish look cloudy.) Then he applies a topcoat of Interlux Goldspar No. 60 satin varnish, which results in a final satin sheen and maintains the depth of the finish. You can see more examples of the work done by Ancientwood and of Kauri wood at ancientwood.com. - HANDY