Furniture Oil: Rubio Monocoat
We finish many of our tables with a plant-based oil, due to its durability and classic matte aesthetic. It is chemical free, food safe, and easy to refinish. We can highlight the natural color of the wood with a “Pure” finish or select from a variety of colors and tints, ranging from whitewashes to greys to browns to reds. Our tables are smooth to the touch and accent the natural grain patterns of the wood.
Oil brings out a brilliant, warm, and rich tone in the wood. We buff the oil in, and then on top of that we buff a universal maintenance oil to ensure that the finish stays fresh for as long as possible. It should be noted that a re-application of the maintenance oil is recommended every three to seven years. It is a simple, sweet-smelling, and enjoyable wipe on, wipe off process, and you don’t even need to wear gloves. This isn’t necessary, but it will restore the brilliance of the finish, especially in humidity controlled and dry homes, and will re-seal the table from moisture and humidity changes.
Furniture oils create a moisture seal around your table, and are resistant to hot and cold beverages and spills. It’s akin to a wax seal. Imagine if you poured some of the oil onto the table top and left it there. The oil wouldn’t soak in, it would harden there like candle wax. Our independent testing has shown stain resistance from highly acidic food stains for up to around 4-8 hours on the surface, and about 1-1.5 hours for ice water rings… but that doesn’t mean placemats and coasters aren’t your friends, and timely cleaning and wiping of stains and spills is encouraged.
We recommended that you use placemats and coasters in general. The arch nemeses of furniture oils are highly acidic food stains that are left for hours. Food like mustard, vinegar, and hot sauce can leave a minor stain if a spill is not attended to in a timely manner. We find the four-to-ten hour mark to be the time when stains set in. A very subtle water ring will also form if a wet cup is left on the surface for over an hour and a half without being removed. Not to worry, though, oil finishes are really easy to buff, sand, and re-apply in place.
These tables need only be cleaned with soap and warm water. No chemical cleaners or wood oil soaps. Nothing will look or feel more natural that an oil finish. Your fingertips can really feel the grain of the wood.
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Spray finish: Milesi 2K Urethane spray finishes
At Cannon Hill Woodworking, we do our own 2k urethane sprays on our custom furniture. Milesi is a food-safe, matte clear finish that is very smooth to the touch and looks beautiful on residential dining tables. It creates a strong barrier between your table and the world of stains. Our independent testing has shown stain resistance from highly acidic food stains for up to around 10-20 hours on the surface, and about 8 hours for ice water rings… but that doesn’t mean placemats and coasters aren’t your friends, and timely cleaning and wiping of stains and spills is encouraged. What you gain in stain proofing makes Milesi the choice for many of our clients. If you are a commercial client, like a restaurant, or you don’t like to clean often, or you just don’t want to worry about your real wood furniture when hosting, a spray finish is the most set-it-and-forget-it finish we offer.
The main thing to keep off 2k urethane is scalding hot pans or coffee cups, as they can discolor the finish. Our spray finishes have a non-yellowing component. Milesi 2k Urethane finishes can be cleaned with chemical cleaners, like pine-sol and bleach cleaners, but it’s not necessary and over decades, chemical cleaners will wear at a finish more than natural cleaners. Refinshing a spray finish is an expensive process and will require the table go out to a professional shop. But you should only be thinking of refinishing as a once-in-a-generation or less endeavor.
Important consideration: Stains, Water Rings, and Scratches
We’ve done extensive stain testing on our finishes and some of the most acidic foods. On spray finishes, there is virtually no staining with foods like hot sauce, wine, and lemon juice within 24 hrs left on a surface. With the Rubio oil, the acidic foods tend to eat into the surface of the finish and dull the sheen at around the 4 to 12 hr mark. Most normal non-acidic foods will not stain these finishes.
With iced coffees for example, the spray finishes show no water rings after 8 hours (the extent of our testing), whereas after about an hour and a half the Rubio oil shows a faint water mark that remains. Placemats and coasters are your friends. Never put a scalding pot or stove pan on any finish. Use a trivet.
Stains are one thing, a scratch is a different thing altogether. Wood tables don’t scratch easily, but ultimately wood can be scratched. It happens. If a cat decides the table is a scratching post, or a toddler decides to make a drawing with a butter knife, or an inebriated houseguest cuts limes for margaritas right on your table top, or someone with a sharp ring on their finger decides to run their hand across the top to feel how smooth it is… you get the idea. If the damage is light and surface level, oil finishes can be refinished in your home, so if you see wear on the table top over the years you can rest easy knowing whenever you want to bring them back to new, it can be done easily. If a spray finish ever needs to be refinished, it will have to go out to a professional.
Oil finishes: Our food-safe oil comes in many colors and shades. The oils are pre-tinted, so it’s usually a single application. In some cases, a Rubio pre-color goes down underneath an oil. Untinted and tinted oil finishes are priced accordingly. We have a list of standard tints, and then we are willing to create custom tints when a client enters our custom finish program.
Spray finishes: Under our Milesi spray finishes, we wipe on ML Campbell pre-colors. ML Campbell has a wide variety of pre-colors specially formulated for spray on finish products. They can even match Minwax stain colors. We have a list of standard tints, and then we are willing to create custom tints when a client enters our custom finish program. Spray finishes can be done over oil finishes. So in some cases, if the best color match can be achieved with oil, but the client wants the extra protection of the 2k urethane spray, we do both. We do this quite often.
Note: Staining and tinting works best on oak, reclaimed oak, and to a lesser degree, ash. We do not recommend staining or tinting other wood types. It can be done, but it normally has to be outsourced to our friends in Gloucester.