enter image description herei have cut up an old 'brown furniture' table to use as a basin stand in a bathroom and am wondering what the best product is to use on it to protect it. Not sure what the wood is, but seems to be a hard wood. Antique, with a French Polish style finish at the moment... I was thinking of slathering on a load of yacht varnish??? cheers Jules

MORE INFO: After advice from members I shall be more specific. I would like to maintain the current finish on the wood, but leave it able to withstand water sitting on it without marking or eventually rotting. I have been told the only real solution is a glass top, but I’m sure there must be a simple paint on coating that will give me 5 to 10 years useage?? Thanks

  • Maybe post a picture of the item? You don't say if you want to remove the current finish or not...
    – user5572
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 17:23
  • 1
    Hi, J.Campbell, welcome to SE. If you have a look around I'm sure you'll find a Q&A or two that would give you the information you're seeking. Just a basic search for waterproof or waterproofing will do it as those words will have been used in just about any related Answer. As a general pointer "what's the best XXXXX" isn't the ideal way to ask the question as there's rarely or never just one best thing, and here there are multiple things you could use depending on various factors (e.g. looks, cost, timeframe).
    – Graphus
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 18:34
  • Also, yes, i would idealy like to keep the finish below, just polish it up a bit.
    – J.Campbell
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 11:49
  • And ideally keeping the cost low! forgot to mention that. I was thinking of epoxy resin as well but it seems quite expensive, and i have never used it before.
    – J.Campbell
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 11:51
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    Please take a look at @Graphus' comment. While we, generally, know what you're after when you say "best", only you know what you're really after. If you'll reword your question to indicate what features you'd like in your finish, then the answers can be crafted to indicate what might work "best" for those features. Additionally, there are loads of questions tagged finishing that should give you plenty of ideas. Note: we're not being picky, "What's the best x?" questions are disallowed across the entire Stack Exchange network.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 13:52

2 Answers 2


It can be challenging to put a finish on top of the existing finish. Epoxy is very waterproof and sturdy. It's not exactly easy to work with, or brush on, but this would be a good application, at least on top.

Additionally you could spar varnish the epoxy, or even just spar varnish it as is if you really want a brush on solution. There is a good chance it would work, and be fairly durable.

  • Cheers Paul. What’s a spar varnish??
    – J.Campbell
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 21:04
  • @J.Campbell, spar varnish is generically the same thing as yacht varnish (although there will tend to be quality differences they may not matter in this application). If you haven't tackled this yet do bear in mind the caveats I gave previously in my Comment of Jan 30th — no mention of surface prep is one reason I didn't upvote this Answer. It doesn't provide any details that would allow someone to actually proceed and have any likelihood of success.
    – Graphus
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 5:30
  • @Graphus, the question asks about the finish, not the surface prep. Per the guidelines, the point is to answer the OP's question, and not to assume that you know more than they do about every detail of a project.
    – Paul Davis
    Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 15:44

I would strip and sand it down, give it a nice light stain or maybe cherry.

Then finish with Emmets Good stuff.

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