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.