At Sprague Woodworking, we offer a few types of Finish for our counter surfaces- with some performing better than others depending on the situation:
Mineral Oil with Bee's wax Finish
The Mineral Oil finish is the only finish we recommend for a full utility cutting surface, as it is the only wood sealing agent that is not reliant on chemical compounds. It protects the wood from a vast majority of issues regarding humidity and contact moisture, without compromising the top's ability to prepare foods. It is imperative to re-apply mineral oil to this type of surface regularly, usually every couple of months, but this can vary due to usage. We use a mineral oil with bee's wax combined to enhance the duration of time in-between coats, but any mineral oil will suffice. We do not recommend or warranty this finish with sink locations. Due to the nature of the finishing process, we cannot warranty a mineral oiled counter surface for issues that are derived from moisture/humidity, and therefore only offer a manufacturing warranty- any deficiency in the surface should be reported immediately to ensure coverage.
Waterlox Tung Oil
The Waterlox Tung Oil is the Shop favorite- it provides incredible coverage with not only wear and tear, but is very resilient to liquid and moisture. We use this finish for almost all sink locations as it has yet to disappoint. It has penetrating properties that allow the wood to be protected on the interior of the wood, in addition to the exterior coating. The Waterlox comes with a varnish hardener that enhances the protective capabilities of the product over that of a regular tung oil. This finish is fragile regarding chemical cleaners, see the Care and Maintenance page for more information.
Zar Oil-based Polyurethane (Matte, Satin)
The Zar Oil based Poly is a customer friendly product that has a stronger resistance to scratches and minor dents. This product functions similarly to the Waterlox, however we have yet to observe it's performance with water over a long stretch of time. It performs a bit better in the wear-and-tear category, but does not penetrate into the wood as the Tung Oil does; meaning that if the finish is removed, it is imperative to repair the area ASAP. See our Care and Maintenance page for more information.
Oil based Wiping stains (Not a standalone finish)
We use Zar and Old Master's products to stain counter surfaces. While not finishes, it is important to note that a stained top has slightly different care needs. When staining, the other finishes go on top (a waterlox or Zar in this case). Stained tops tend to be more fragile to damage, as if something were to remove the finish, it has a high chance of removing the color of the stain, leaving the wood its natural color in the area of the damage. It is difficult to repair those spots without an entire refinish. Additionally, the color choices can vary depending on which top-coat is applied to a stained top. The waterlox tends to apply and amber cast to any stains, making them slightly different color. This results in a difficulty and variation in color, making it incredibly difficult to match colors. We do not color match.