At Sprague Woodworking, we offer a variety of finish options, 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 Urethane Satin Finish (Crystal Clear)
The Waterlox Urethane Satin Finish is the Shop favorite- it provides full coverage and is widely used for wood floor, countertops, cabinets, tables and furniture. It is also very resilient to water and moisture. Unlike linseed oil-based polyurethane, this Urethane formula will not yellow over time. We use this finish for almost all sink locations as it has yet to disappoint when properly cared for, see the Care and Maintenance page for more information.
Original Waterlox Tung Oil Satin Finish (Amber Tone)
The Waterlox Original Tung Oil finish provides full coverage and is also very resilient to water and moisture . It can be used in sink locations as well but has a more amber tone to it. The Waterlox comes with a varnish hardener that enhances the protective capabilities of the product over that of a raw tung oil product. For proper use and care instructions 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.