I hope all is well with you. We get a number of new readers every week, it’s always nice to see the number of Chestnuteers growing week by week. (Don’t forget to let your friends know so that they can join this merry band). If you are new here, welcome. In case you’re not sure what to expect, it’s all very simple. We get asked lots of questions every week about the best way to use our products and which is best for what. Among others. So we take three questions every week, along with their answers, and send them out. Simple as that.
Sometimes we include a bit of news, but only if we think it’s relevant. I hope you enjoy (or continue to enjoy) our weekly output.
On with the questions!

We’re frequently asked about what finish to use on table tops, whether for renovation or new projects. There are a number of choices available, which will depend on how hard wearing it needs to be. When a high level of protection is needed we suggest either our Melamine Lacquer or Hard Wax Oil. Visually, there’s not much to choose between them once dry (although the Hard Wax Oil is also available in Satin as well as Gloss), and both are very hard wearing.
The main difference concerns their ease of application. Melamine Lacquer is very quick drying, which can make it harder to get a good finish on a larger area – it can start drying mid-brushstroke on especially large areas. Hard Wax Oil is slower drying and therefore much more forgiving. It also flows out better, so errant brushmarks are far less likely.
So the choice is yours: it’s not such an issue on a small coffee table, but when working on a dining room table it may well be a consideration.
Talking of table tops, some people use our Food Safe Finish on these and also on kitchen worktops. To my mind there’s no need for this surface to have a food safe coating – most people use plates or prepare food on a chopping board or the like. Besides which, Food Safe Finish isn’t really hardwearing enough for such use. The regular cleaning these surfaces require will quickly damage the coating, meaning that very regular re-application will be needed. In fact, we’ve been asked twice in the last couple of weeks about overcoating Food Safe Finish with a harder wearing oil, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. As much of the Food Safe Finish will need to be removed first; warm, soapy water will get rid of a lot, but the surface will require sanding back afterwards, to remove any remaining oil and to smooth the surface again.
Lots of people use our aerosol lacquers over painted work and transfers to protect them; they’re great for that. Someone asked this week about using Burnishing Cream on the lacquer to improve the gloss – would it damage the artwork beneath?
The answer here is that it shouldn’t, as long as the item beneath is fully covered. The Burnishing Cream is very finely abrasive, and smooths the top surface of the coating so much that it brings up a higher shine. The abrasive is so fine, however, that it barely removes any of the coating, so there should be no detrimental effect on whatever is beneath it.
So, those are your three questions for this week. If we’re not dealing with the question you want answered, you need to send it in!
I’ll be sending out some extra information about our Woodturning Week3nder on Sunday, so you’ll be hearing from me again! You have been warned!
If you’re not already signed up for our infrequent bulletins about this you can get on board here.
Either way, I’ll be back again next week with another Q&A for you.
All the best