I have just built a sycamore coffee table. I’m now confused on the finish. What would you suggest or do in my shoes please? Can you use pure olive oil as I have seen it done on YouTube? – Danny Barrow
Tim Inman: Sycamore, properly cured and dry, will finish much as any other hardwood. A classical stain/sealer/topcoat approach should be a good way to go. Beyond that, and the sky is the limit. Well, the sky and your skill levels, of course. If you are new to finishing and/or you want to expand your fine furniture finishing horizons, my book, The Art of Classical Furniture Finishing, might be a good addition to your library arsenal. In it, I cover the basic finishing steps plus we work with stains, glazes and special coloring effects. Sorry for the personal plug. The book is written as a “how-to” for skilled furniture craftspeople and artistic folks, and not as a coatings manufacturer’s chemistry primer.
Chris Marshall: One of the many questions we should ask when choosing a finish for a project is, “What will the wear and tear on this item be?” In the case of a coffee table — at least at my house with a teenager — the answer to that question is, spills. Doesn’t seem to matter how many coasters we have available, somehow tabletops still end up enduring knocked-over drinks, sweating cold glasses and heat from coffee and tea mugs. So, my approach is to plan on