How To Finish a Wooden Countertop by Jon Peters

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Learn the tools and techniques you’ll need to refinish a wooden countertop to look like new. This is a very rewarding project and is something that everyone can do with just a few shop tools and products. Just take your time and you’ll be rewarded.

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shmerls says:

Jon. I just checked my project and shocked to find the curing polyurethane is showing imperfections from my orbital sander before I stained & clear coated. I see slight round circles from the sander that didn't show until curing coat 2. I'd hate to have to strip it and re-sand. I'm wondering if it's the gloss spray vs brushing on like you did? Or maybe brushing and switching to semi-gloss? If I have to re-sand, how do you create a smooth surface if it doesn't show at the natural wood stage before stain/poly coating which is visually amplifying imperfections?

shmerls says:

Nice work. I'm doing a similar project, but with Variathane Gloss spray because I thought a spray would yield a smoother finish. I've applied 2 coats and the project has been drying 2 days. There is very slight "orange peel" in the poly so I'm wanting to sand and have 800, 1000, 1500 and even 2000 grit sand paper. Variathane recommends 3 to 5 coats. I'm wondering, for the smoothest finish, should I sand between now, spray coat 3, sand, coat 4, sand, spray final but this time use the steel wool you use, or sand with perhaps 1500 or 2000 and then use steel wool, if it's even needed with such fine finishing sand paper. I'm hoping the sanding won't dull the Gloss or is there a buffing technique you might suggest?

Sherree B says:

What if you want to use the polyurethane on a kitchen dining table that has been stained and the wood grain starts in the center, goes almost to the outer edge, and then the very edge goes all the way around the outside of the table?  The grain is not just running in one direction.

T.S says:

Jon, do I need to sand between each coat of poly? Currently working on a table and would appreciate knowing as soon as possible. Thanks.

greg rag says:

did u get lot of bubbles using a foam roller? what kind of brush did you use to make your final past?

Stephen Orr says:

Jon , what was the buffing paste used, willolube , willow paste? Thanks

elttik says:

Hello. How long did you allow to dry between each of the first 3 coats? Thank you very much for this helpful tutorial.

Маша Арсентьева says:

Go to woodprix webpage if you'd like to know how to build it. Good solutions for everyone I think

Allam Khalil says:

Hi Jon, great video!!
Today the carpenter installed 4 doors in my new house and i am planning to varnish them myself, i am about to finish sanding, so can i apply the varnish directly on the fresh wood as a first coat then sand it and do the second coat or i am missing something noting that i don't want to stain them? appreciate your help. Thx.

577666 says:

Good vid. Thanks.

Md.Muzibur Rahman says:

would u plz show me whole video in ur any interior projects?

Md.Muzibur Rahman says:

Hello dear, good evening I'm simple Interior designer & owner of ''Acumen Interior design'' I also view your every video deeply. Its really really good job and help full work for me & all of simple designer ,but I think this is not enough on for me. that's why I want to learn physically. If you've any Process please tell me as soon as possible! Have a good day (Muzibur Rahman from Bangladesh)

curiousAbida says:

Why did the wood get dark?

Tyler Demon says:

I will be building a top for desk that i need to cut a 22" by 14" square in the center towards the back of the table top could you advise at what step I should make that cut with me following the steps you have taken in this video or the one before it to achieve the finish you have made in this project. Thank you and what a great tutorial.

Brian Notapplicable says:

Great video thanks!

TAOH says:

Very nice and helpful video, thank you.

Bill Kahn says:

What's a good way to re-finish wainscoting and crown molding that is already in place in the ceiling but has kind of lost it's luster over the years?


amazing.. very clear and instructive.. loved it

Maximilian Imaging says:

hey jon, thank you so much. this was extremely helpful.

Lass-in Angeles says:

Beautiful countertop, good carpentry details, and a handsome presenter as well!

I like your videos a lot because:
Audio track is clear as a bell even though you are far from the camera
Camera is well lit, good angle, wide angle showing everything.
You present material clearly, concisely, don't ramble, and keep it short and focused.
You explain all details, methodically and in right order, so easy to absorb content.
Your craftsmanship is masterly, you know your stuff and its a pleasure to watch.
You are well dressed and this shows respect for viewer, thank you!
You have many visual tips like foil in paint tray, and nails on countertop support for painting – brilliant!
I learn new techniques outside the main content, like biscuit joinery.
You have links to previous videos so we can follow whole process.
Your voice is calm and friendly, and this makes such a difference when learning.

If I were to advise someone on how to make a DIY video, I would send people to watch yours. Thank you so very, very much for the great tutorials you have made for amateur carpentry DIYers like me!!! I am remodeling an RV and need a wood countertop for the bathroom, so this is much appreciated.

Regarding my countertop, I'd love to know if:
If I can use 1/4 inch thin birch (has a nice grain) plywood for a very narrow and short bathroom countertop about 4 ft long and 2 ft at its widest going to 1 ft at narrow point? It is sitting on top of a small cabinet on the ground at its wide point, and jutting out for 2 ft on left side which is attached to the wall. Is this too thin? Is birch okay for wet bathroom? I will be giving it a polyurethane finish.

I would also like to know why you buffed out the Polyurethane coated countertop with wax? Cosmetic reasons or functional?

Thank you!

Tyler Ellis says:

Hey Jon I love these videos. I've been using this video series as a guide to a lot of my wood working projects. I was wondering how much sandpaper you go through in a project like this and when you decide to move on to another piece. I find that when I hand sand after a coat of poly it leaves behind a circle-like mark both on the piece and i notice it on the sandpaper too, rather than a clean, even surface… Thoughts?

Stuart Marriott says:

Lovely job. Always good to see a professional at work.

Scot Fennell says:

If you use a mask to finish it is it safe to use with food?

Frabcisco Barajas says:


marz3335 says:

and the poly is food safe?

dempsey roll says:

holy shit " Hi im francis and this is Cooking with a Dog " lol that intro!

Ramone Kalsaw says:

… hey Jon … what kind of RESPIRATOR do you use? Thanks : )

Zombrainz says:

Great work! Looking forward to learning a lot from you. My grandpa had his own custom cabinet shop, but I never learned much of the trade from him. I love building and creating with wood, but I lack the knowledge to do it right.

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