Pine countertops- need to refinish

Snow B
by Snow B
I really need to refinish my kitchen counter tops, I will need to sand them down, restain but I can't remember what was put on them after that when we built the house 30 years ago. I know it wasn't a varnish. I have always used lemon oil. Right now they soak it up in a matter of minutes & have lost their luster. What do you suggest?
  19 answers
  • @Snow B after you sand them and restrain I would suggest using a polyurethane for your finish.  There are many different lusters of poly for how shiny you would like the finish.  This will seal the wood, give the counter tops the luster you are looking for as well as restore it  to new condition.  Murphy's oil soap , or vinegar and water to clean after! Regular cleaning products will dull the finish.  Hope this helps! 
  • Snow B Snow B on Jan 05, 2012
    I was advised not to polyurethane where I would be preparing food
  • There are poly finishes used specifically for this purpose. Minwax is a good product. I know of many log home builders who use this technique with much success.
  • Snow B Snow B on Jan 05, 2012
    Thank you so very much
  • Your very welcome!
  • Btw....pls let me know how it all turns out!
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 06, 2012
    The best finish that Ive ever had experience with...
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 06, 2012
    It is important to allow the finish to properly "cure" In the case of Waterlox...they recommend 24 hrs between coats and 72 to 96 hours after the final coat. The finish will continue to cure for 30 to 90 days. As with all "surface" finishes they are subject to cuts and chipping if improperly used. Penetrating finishes ( mineral oil,wax, etc) rely on the durability of the wood itself to provide "wear resistance" Pine is pretty much at the bottom of that list so a durable surface finish is the better route for pine. I've used deft, minwax, and some others the trick to durability is a good cure before use...In many of my furniture projects the final "rub -out" does not happen until a week or two after the last coat is applied .
  • Snow B Snow B on Jan 06, 2012
    I must have worded my question wrong. My house is a farmhouse so I am not necessarily looking for luster although I do need water block. I just want the wood to look and feel like rich, healthy wood, if you know what I mean. I, so appreciate the help.
  • As a microbial specialist I had some concerns about using "oil" on counters because of bacterial development so I did some research on the use of oils for counters such as those in kitchens. Here is an excerpt from what I found. A Cutting Board or Butcher Block Surface needs an oil that can be repeatedly applied to fill the wood pores and repel food particles, liquids and oils. The oil must be an inert oil or otherwise it will turn rancid. Never use vegetable or cooking oils to treat or finish a cutting surface as in time the wood will reek of a rancid spoiled oil odor. For initial treatment and continuing maintenance a Pure Raw Almond or Walnut Oil may be used. Mineral Oil from the drugstore may also be used. Nature Oil, is a proprietary blends of these oils, available in Pint bottles. The site went on to say. NON Cutting Surface Butcher Blocks & Wood Tops For professional spray application: Conversion Varnish is a excellent choice for wood counter tops that will NOT be used as a cutting surface. For on site brush application: Butcher Block type counter tops, especially those containing a sink or stove top are best protected with a film building finish such as the Behlen Salad Bowl Finish (an FDA approved Urethane finish). Wood counter tops that will NOT be used as a cutting surface may also be finished with Salad Bowl finish. Several coats Must be applied to seal the wood from moisture. The advantage of the "Salad Bowl" finish is an easy to clean stain resistant gloss finish that will retain the new look much longer than an oiled finish. The link was. Hope this helps.
  • Harold M Harold M on Jan 07, 2012
    I'm with Woodbridge on this. If you don't use a food friendly product,for a finish, you can have problems with bacteria. Wood for a countertop in my opinion is not a good choice
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Jan 07, 2012
    While Snow B seems to have the answer to the question already, I am enjoying the dialogue still! Woodbridge, thanks for the link, I am going to add it to an article that a wrote - thought you might enjoy reading it also? And maybe after Harold reads it, he might be more open minded about wood tops :) I personally LOVE wood .. own a maple butcher block island top at home and at our cottage I have Zebrawood. I love having the huge surface to prep our meals! The only time I pull out a cutting board is for poultry. I maintain both regularly with Mineral oil. We never get sick and I have no stains =)
  • Snow B Snow B on Jan 07, 2012
    This is incredible- the info I have been given by all of you is just plain awesome. Now we can make an informed decision with confidence. Cannot thank you enough!! Now if I could just have a few of you come down to NC one weekend, we can knock this out in no time
  • I'm in Winston-Salem! :) Glad you found what you needed! Please be sure to update us all on how it all turned out!
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jan 07, 2012
    Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over dozen years..I am quite the rules and regulations of the fact I had a few copies of various CFR (code of federal regulations) books at my desk. The bottom line is the FDA does not "approve" anything they just provide rules and regulations that manufacturers adhere too. I have also been a woodworker for well over 30 years...any finish sold in the US is considered "safe" when cured. The following link has a nice discussion on it. In practice I treat all of my cutting boards with Mineral oil and apply as is cheap and readily is so "food" safe you could drink it...tho the laxative properties may have you dashing down the hall if you consumer too much....any residual material "transferred" by a work surface is negligible. When I have made Turned bowls for food I used a shellac based product and then finish with bees wax. Non -cutting board surfaces are finished with poly and allowed to fully cure.
  • P.j. C P.j. C on Jan 07, 2012
    On This Old House this week, they brushed a coat of 2-part epoxy on soft wood countertops to harden & seal them. You can probably find the video & information on TOH's website.
  • Doug B Doug B on Jan 31, 2012
    this doesn't need to be complicated I made pine counter tops a few years ago they have aged great, and all these "health' concerns are really nott o be taken seriously...just use a few coats of mineral at first then every so often....there fine and also look great....ok cheers..