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Hi everyone,
I am an inexperienced person and not at all handy. I ordered a Gerton table top from Ikea to add legs to and convert into a table. It wouldn't take me long to stain or varnish it and put it to use! Then I read that I would have to oil it every two days for two months before using it... Would regular wood blue stain work? The fact that some people complain that some treatments for wood make it sticky is another thing I don't want.
Also, can I do this outside when it starts getting cold?
Thanks in advance!!
 

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I did a quick search and saw the table top is beech. Wonderful lumber for a table. So my gut feeling is it should be fine to use a different finish but I don't know if the wood has been treated with something else already.

I have limited experience with finishes other than oil so please take anything I say with a heaping spoon of salt. I normally just use tung oil, poly or lacquer for my pieces.

When you get the top, test a small section on the underside or anywhere it will not be seen with the alternate finish that you would like to use. Worst case you can sand the area if it doesn't work.
 

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Hi everyone,
I am an inexperienced person and not at all handy. I ordered a Gerton table top from Ikea to add legs to and convert into a table. It wouldn't take me long to stain or varnish it and put it to use! Then I read that I would have to oil it every two days for two months before using it... Would regular wood varnish or stain work? The fact that some people complain that some treatments for wood make it sticky is another thing I don't want.
Also, can I do this outside when it starts getting cold?
Thanks in advance!!
I certainly wouldn't do any finishing outside when the temp is 50 degrees F. Nearly every can of finish with have a minimum temp listed. I try to keep it a few degrees about that. (I finish inside all winter and just close off the space and use a 20" exhaust fan to pull the fumes from the room and wear a respirator. No clue why you'd have to oil a finish every couple of days. Where did you get that and what finish were they talking about?

I personally like gel stains, I think its easier to control how much your putting on. My preferred brand is General Finishes if I can find them in the color I want. For a top coat I use wipe on polyurethane from Minwax or General Finishes. Again, follow the directions on the can. I've used Waterlox Varnish and love the finish but it's a lot trickier to apply. Sanding between coats etc. I'm sure there are dozens of YouTube videos on 'how to' finish your project.

Good luck!
 

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I suggest you get a water based stain. Do not shake it!!!! Stir it thoroughly but gently with a spoon to avoid bubbles. . Gel stain is really nice too. Look for a stain that will give you the color you want. Most stains have a picture of their final color on the label.

Now for the secret to a fantastic table. Don't sand it. Get a scraper. which is a rectangular piece of steel onto which you roll a small edge, kind of like a hook shape. You use that edge to scrape the surface. The rolled edge clips off the wood fibers and gives you a surface that is wonderful, especially for a table top. Go to Youtube and look up how to sharpen and use a scraper for woodworking. It's very easy to do, and a scraper is available on amazon https://www.amazon.com/DFM-Blue-Curved-Cabinet-Scraper/dp/B07S2DT3K5/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=W0RYEEGKUGC8&keywords=scraper+for+woodworking&qid=1656125060&sprefix=scraper+for+woodworking,aps,646&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEzRUxCRERDVUNUVVZIJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNzA1NzMwMlZNWkE1SzQzQ1JXRyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNDQxNjgxMTVIMklLMFBYOUw5MiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

Here's a video that walks you through the process of sharpening it.

The problem with sandpaper is that you're scratching the surface and raising fibers. So your final finish will never be as beautiful as it would be with a scraper. If you use sandpaper, you don't really gain much be going about 220 grit. And use a sanding sealer on the surface to help suppress those fibers.

There are so many ways to put on the final finish, but with a scrapered top, you might consider a varnish, but there are also some self leveling finishes in anything from matte to semigloss. I use wipe on poly, that's the name, which produces a very nice look. I use it for picture frames and really like how it looks. Just make sure you put it on in a clean environment, dust spoils the finish. You can brush it on, but I get better results folding a paper towel into a kind of brush shape, dipping it in the poly and gently brushing it on. A foam brush works, but the paper applier works better based on what I use it for. You can thin it if you wish and apply a couple of coats.

Whatever stain or finish you use, read and follow the directions on the can or bottle. Finishing scares a lot of new woodworkers, but it's not so bad. It's reallly all about getting preperation done just right. Modern stains and finishes are really great.
 

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Welcome to the forum,Willidavd..
 

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If the wood is beech, and you want to stain it, then you should use a sanding sealer first in order to have it look good. Then put an oil stain on it and finish it with a wiping varnish. If you brush on the varnish, you will most likely end up with brush marks.
 

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I certainly wouldn't do any finishing outside when the temp is 50 degrees F. Nearly every can of finish with have a minimum temp listed. I try to keep it a few degrees about that. (I finish inside all winter and just close off the space and use a 20" exhaust fan to pull the fumes from the room and wear a respirator. No clue why you'd have to oil a finish every couple of days. Where did you get that and what finish were they talking about?

I personally like gel stains, I think its easier to control how much your putting on. My preferred brand is General Finishes if I can find them in the color I want. For a top coat I use wipe on polyurethane from Minwax or General Finishes. Again, follow the directions on the can. I've used Waterlox Varnish and love the finish but it's a lot trickier to apply. Sanding between coats etc. I'm sure there are dozens of YouTube videos on 'how to' finish your project.

Good luck!
This is the answer I would have given. Gel stains are easy to work with and General Arm-R-Seal is a good tough finish. The questions I would have are: Is the top prefinished, What are you using the table for, How much effort do you want to apply to the project.
If the table will have light use then, even with a finish already on the top, you could just very lightly sand with fine grit paper, say 280 or 320 without removing all the IKEA finish then apply a gel stain then dewaxed shellac as a THIN buffer coat. Do not use regular shellac! Use Zinsser Sanding Sealer. You could leave the top alone after that or apply any finish you want on top, lacquer from rattle cans, more shellac, Tung oil or a poly. Keep in mind you have to read the contents on supposed Tung oil containers. Some brands of Tung oil aren't Tung oil or have hardly any in them.
 
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