Author: dbarentine

Sample Mantel Finishes

I’m currently working on a Mantel for my in-laws home and these are some pictures of a sample piece I put together for them.


  • American Red Gum (Center part)
  • 3/4″ Cherry (Edging)
  • General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane Water Based Topcoat Satin
  • Oil Based Gel Urethane Topcoat Satin

Water Based Topcoat

Oil Based Topcoat


The water based one turned out well. It’s crystal clear so what you see is basically the natural tone of the wood. I used the worse looking side of the sample piece because I thought she would like the oil based finish better.

The oil based on has some splotchiness with the cherry. I think it would need a sanding seal coat or a washcoat prior to staining. But the end result with an amber tinted topcoat was a very rich looking finish.

Kid Table

We wanted a table for our daughter to use for eating and playing on. I had some scrap wood around and so I decided to attempt to build one for her.

I didn’t really think about documenting the process ahead of time so the only pictures I have are after it was already assembled.


  • 3/4″ Birch Plywood (Top)
  • 1×2 Pine (Edging around top and part of the table base between the legs)
  • 3×3 Poplar (Legs)


We wanted something that looked a bit funky and could take a beating. We ended up following the instructions from:

One thing I didn’t do was sand as much so it’s got a much heavier painted look. It ended up almost looking like the old art tables in my high school.

Supplies Used

  • Sherwin-Williams Mellow & Mint Satin
  • Sherwin-Williams Glacial Stream Satin
  • Sherwin-Williams Blue Nile Satin
  • Sherwin-Williams Carbonized Satin
  • Minwax Provincial
  • General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane Water Based Topcoat


  1. Paint on the various colors in random fashion/order etc…
  2. Once that is done you let it dry really well and then sand to your desired level.
  3. Stain it with the Minwax
  4. After the stain is good and dry (24-48 hours) clear coat it the GF topcoat. I put four coats on the table.


The ones with the table on the cardboard are pre-stain and topcoat.