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I’m in the process of making a dining table from spotted gum. The 2.7 x 1.2 table will need finishing with some sort of wax, oil, varnish or modern protective finish to prevent water marks & food stains. What’s recommended & why?

Woodsolutions Answer +

Oils and waxes, when used alone, may be subject to marking by heat and liquid spillage. Polyurethanes provide the toughest protection, and spills can be wiped off without leaving a mark. They don't have to be high gloss - matt and satin grades of polyurethane are available. It's also possible to apply finishing oil over a polyurethane base. This gives a satin sheen to the surface while the polyurethane provides protection to the timber. Scandinavian oil, rubbed into a 3-coat base of matt polyurethane, gives a super smooth oil-rubbed finish. The oil is worked in lightly with 400 wet or dry paper, followed by rubbing along the grain with a pad of household steel wool that is thoroughly wet with oil. The surplus is then removed with a soft clean cloth. When putting the table together be aware that it's important to fit the tabletop in a way that allows for seasonal movement. You will find details on the net if you write 'fitting tabletops to allow movement' or similar words in your browser.


I am looking for a researched answer on the pros and cons of engineered timber flooring versus traditional timber flooring.
Specifically looking at question of maintenance and life cycle costs - life expectancy.


Woodsolutions Answer +

There is a lot of information on various websites about the pros and cons of engineered timber flooring and you might find this one useful although it's based in the US: We don't have the space here to go into detail, but both types have their advantages. Clearly the ability to sand engineered flooring will depend on the thickness of the top layer. On the other hand, with traditional tongue and groove 'solid' flooring the whole thickness of the board is not available for sanding. After numerous sandings the top of the groove can become thin and brittle, so the ability to sand solid flooring is also limited.

Engineered flooring

Do you have any technical advice or published information / details about applying a timber finish to a concrete stair? This is for a new project - Grafton Regional Gallery in Grafton NSW. The stair will be concrete and the finish is timber - spotted gum. Any technical information or construction details appreciated.

Woodsolutions Answer +

Poured concrete stairs can be slightly uneven and the tread surface is sometimes out of level. We don't have any standard details for fitting timber treads but suggest you liaise with an experienced contractor. For example, Timber Floors Pty. Ltd. claim to have extensive experience in this area, website here:

Stair treads
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