10 Best Finish for Dining Table Top- Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Image of dining table coated with the best finish for dining table topChoosing the best finish for dining table top is very important. I mean, who does not want to eat on a beautifully finished wooden table?

Applying a proper finish over the surface of your dining table does more than just giving it the much-needed beauty; these formulas protect the structure as well.

In most cases, if not all, the dining table will always come into contact with water. So whichever finish you are going to use on such surfaces must be the right ones- can withstand water, whichcauses rotting of the wood.

One “boring” thing about the finishes is that they are all over, making it hard for users to select the right ones. As a result, most people end up spending money on the wrong formulas. It’s not just money that goes to drain when you pick the wrong products; your valuable time goes to was as well. In a bid to bring an end to this, I’ve reviewed some of the very best finishes in the market that you can use for your dining tables.

Additionally, I’ve included a comprehensive buyer’s guide with all the information that will help you settle for the right products.

Read on to find out.

List of The Best Finish for Dining Table Top

1. 100% Pure Tung Oil Finish Wood Stain and Natural Sealer for All Wood Types 

100% Tung oil finisher adds depths for an antique style finish. It creates a hand-rubbed look on surfaces. The finish adds depth without using any additives, giving the tabletop a rich and almost wet look. 100% Tung Oil finisher dries faster compares to other oil-based finishes.  

Compared to linseed, soy, and walnut oils, Tung oil dries faster for fantastic work time. The finisher forms a protective barrier resistant to moisture, alcohol, grease, and food oil and acid. You can use Tung oil on nearly any surface. Therefore, you won’t have to worry if it is compatible with the surface of your tabletop. Due to most hardwoods’ dense grain, some oil finishes such as linseed oil don’t penetrate well, but this is not a problem when it comes to Tung oil.

Summary of top features

  • It is both a wood stain and a natural sealer for all types of wood.
  • Tung oil finish dries faster compared to other oil-based finishes.
  • You can use it without additives or solvents.
  • Tung oil finish penetrates wood with dense grain and also dries faster.

Image of Tung Oil, the best finish for dining table topPros 

  • It doesn’t require additives or solvents.
  • Tung oil dries faster for excellent turnaround time.
  • It is more durable compared to other oil-based finishes.
  • Tung oil enhances the appearance of your dinner table by creating an admirable hand-rubbed look on your dinner table.


  • Its cost is higher than linseed oil.
  • Although it is more durable, it is susceptible to water damage.
  • It requires at least five coats to produce a more pleasant satin sheen.
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2. Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly Finish Clear

Minwax 40910000 Wipe-On Poly Finish provides a classic hand-rubbed look that protects the wood against water, household chemicals, food stains, and wear. This formula contains a high-quality polyurethane as one of its components. It’s arguably the best finish for dining table top.

The application of this is a lot quicker as you only need a lint-free cloth to get the job done. The material applies to whether you are laying it on a new wood surface or applying it on a recently stained surface. Cleaning up after finishing the project is simple, with just the use of warm water and soap. 

Summary of top features 

  • Minwax 40910000 is a clear oil-based finish.
  • Suitable for all wood surfaces.
  • During the application, you use a lint-free cloth by wiping it on the surface.

Image of a dining table top finishPros

  • Minwax 40910000 protects from water, food stains, and household chemicals while giving your surface a classic, hand-rubbed beauty.
  • Easy to apply with just a lint-free cloth. The application does not leave a messy look. It leaves no brush marks credit to the use of a lint-free cloth.
  • In comparison to brushing on poly, wipe-on poly dries faster.


  • It is a thin finish. One coat of the finish won’t be enough. At least three is required.
  • In comparison to the brush on poly, this type is relatively costly.
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3. Mahoney’s Finishes Walnut Oil Wax: Food Safe Wood Finish

Mahoney’s Finishes Walnut Oil Wax offers a food-safe way to protect and beautify your tabletop, making it the best finish for dining table top. This formula penetrates deeply into the wood and quickly hardens, leaving a rich, durable finish that won’t evaporate like mineral oil finishes.  

It is an oil wax finish that contains a blend of beeswax and carnauba. Wall-nut oil wax will penetrate and harden while the beeswax and carnauba blend will produce a harder, more durable finish with deep rich luster.

The application can be done by immersing, for example, turned bowls for an extended period, then letting them drip dry before polishing. It can also be applied using the wipe-on technique.

Summary of top features

  • It is a walnut oil finish.
  • It contains a blend of beeswax and carnauba.
  • You can use a wipe-on or immersion technique to finish the dining table.
  • It offers a food-safe way that protects and beautifies your tabletop.

Mahoney finish, the best finish for dining table topPros 

  • The product has an easy application technique, either through immersion or wipe-on.
  • It provides a durable finish facilitated by the blend of beeswax and carnauba.
  • It has no petroleum distillates.
  • It is a food-safe way of finishing your dinner tabletop.
  • It produces a beautiful satin, smooth finish.


  • It takes a long time to dry.
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4. Minwax 63010444 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Finish

Minwax 63010444 provides long-lasting beauty and protection to interior wood surfaces. You can use it both on finished and unfinished surfaces; it is one of the most durable coats available. The product dries faster, offering an excellent turnaround time. Suppose you’re working in a dusty workshop, it is a great advantage. Quick-dry time reduces the amount of dirt that is likely to be trapped.

However, on white wood, Minwax 63010444 turns yellowish, therefore, not suitable. On the other hand, it offers the best option for use on dark wood. One can use a bristle brush, a foam brush, or the lambswool applicator during application. If you like a warmer look on your tabletop, this is probably the best choice for you.  

Summary of top features

  • Minwax 63010444 is a fast-drying polyurethane finish. 
  • It offers long-lasting protection and beauty to interior wooden surfaces.
  • This formula also works well for both finished and unfinished wooden surfaces.
  • You can use a bristle, a foam brush, or the lambswool applicator during application.

Image of minwax finish for dining table topPros

  • Fast drying time.
  • It gives a beautiful natural look.
  • It offers durable protection.


  • It is not suitable for white wood
  • You need to apply the product in multiple layers.
  • The application is not that easy. It is recommended for advanced woodworkers and needs sanding between coats.
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5. Tried and True Original Gallon

Tried and True Original Gallon is a superior blend of linseed oil and beeswax, polymerized for multi-purpose applications. It provides outstanding protection against water and liquids. The original wood finishes most uses are on bare timber or an already stained timber to achieve a lower-gloss, antique sheen. The product also provides long-lasting durability.  

After application, you should allow it to cure for a minimum of 24 hours. A soft shammy cloth comes in handy to polish the flat areas. The product covers a considerably large space of 1000 square feet per gallon. When applied, it adds a slightly warmer hue that makes the piece glow.

Summary of top features

  • Tried and True Original is a warm, slightly yellow-amber color viciously thick finish.
  • It is composed of polymerized linseed oil and beeswax. 
  • This formula has no petroleum distillates.
  • It contains no toxins making it safe for the environment.

Tried and True finish for dining table topPros

  • It is easy to apply and repair. The tabletop first needs sanding, next a thin finish is applied using a lint-free cloth.  
  • Only one coat is needed. Additional coats are applied as desired.
  • It is food safe and water-resistant.
  • This wood finish offers a beautiful, understated low gloss luster.


  • It takes a long time to dry.
  • The product is slightly pricey.
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6. Minwax 233334444 Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finishes

Minwax Polycrylic water-based protective finish protects and adds beauty to wood surfaces. It is a crystal clear finish ideal for use over light woods and has an ultra-fast drying formula for recoat after 2 hours of application. 

Minwax Polycrylic provides a clear finish when applied lightly. For application, you need a high-quality synthetic brush. This finish requires it to be applied lightly to maintain its transparency. A thick coat will make it darken. On dark parts, it will cause a milky cover to form in case of thick application. The finish offers durable protection that acts as a cover for oil and water-based stains.    

Summary of top features

  • It is a water-based formula.
  • The formula has a low odor and is non-yellowing.
  • It is available in gloss, semi-gloss, satin, matte, and ultra-flat.
  • This finish dries fast. You can recoat after 2 hours.

Minwax finish for dining tablePros 

  • It gives a durable and protective finish.
  • The finish is a non-yellowing and low odor formula.
  • It cleans up easily with warm water.
  • This product is a fast-drying formula.
  • The finish is affordable.
  • It produces a transparent finish, especially on lighter shades.


  • It requires a high-quality brush for application.
  • The application is not that easy.
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7. Epifanes Wood Finish Matte (Best for Fine Hardwoods)

Epifanes wood is a high build finish matte that does not require sanding between coats. This formula provides a soft matte beauty with excellent UV protection for teak and other hardwoods. The application of this finish gives you a rubbed effect. It’s so impressive that it qualifies as the best finish for dining table top, especially if you are working with a hardwood structure.

It has a microscopic porosity property that makes it not to require sanding between coats for up to 72 hours. This formula is a one-component varnish alternative based on urethane alkyd resins and Tung oil formula.

The coat levels evenly if brushed, and is easier to be thinned and wiped on as well. Therefore, it is reliable when you want a sleek satin finish on your table. The product also offers resistance to exterior weather, making it the best finish if you have an outdoor dining table. It is one of the best marine finishes for hardwoods.

Summary of top features

  • It is a high build finish matte.
  • This formula offers a beautiful coat with excellent UV protection.
  • It is resistant to exterior weather.
  • This wood finish is a varnish alternative based on urethane alkyd resins and Tung oil.

Image of wood finish for dining table topPros

  • The product offers resistance to scratch and exterior weather.
  • You do not need to sand between coats if you apply a recoat within 72 hours.
  • It guarantees extreme durability.
  • It comes with a uniquely hand-rubbed look.


  • It is not that easy to apply. It has the potentiality to drag like glue
  • The initial result may appear uneven
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8. General Finishes Wood Bowl Finish

General finishes are an utterly safe topcoat on wooden bowls, dining table tops, wooden spoons, and other surfaces that contact food. It is not for actively used cutting and chopping tops. The formula is easy to apply with just a soft clean rag, and additional coats can be applied whenever necessary.  

The finish will not change your wood’s color in any way but will allow your wood’s natural color to show. It is the only finish that comes with small metal particles inside to keep the paint’s robust catch on wooden surfaces. The finish is also heat and cold resistant. Best when applied in double coats.

Summary of top features

  • It is an oil-based and urethane oil-based finish.
  • The formula poses no health risks.
  • It comes in small iron cast boxes for increased portability.
  • The product is in liquid form with no need to add diluting chemicals.

Image of wood finish for dining tablePros

  • Safe to apply with no toxic fumes
  • It protects your dinner table.
  • This formula comes with ease of application-a soft clean cloth.
  • It dries faster.
  • You can easily wipe it down.
  • It requires no diluting chemicals.


  • It does not protect from watermarks, wear, tear, and stains.
  • Food can easily stain the finish.
  • Monthly maintenance is required, cleaning and applying another coat.
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9. Watco 242219 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Low VOC

It is ideal for use on indoor wood surfaces, including bare, sanded, or stripped. This formula has a low VOC; it’s oil-based and comprised of blended oil and varnish that profoundly penetrates wood pores for ultimate protection. It is easy to use and protects against spills, abrasion, and chipping. If you are looking to give your structure enhanced protection, then this product will seal and protects in one step to produce a warm, natural hand-rubbed appearance that enhances the natural look and feel of your dinner table. It attains this by blocking pores of the wood.

The application is quick and completed in less than an hour. It gives the best performance on tight-grained woods and has a protective property of a varnish additive.

Summary of top features

  • It has a low VOC
  • The formula does not crack, chip, or peel when applied to wood.
  • This product is available in a variety of colors that brings about a warm color tone.
  • It is mostly suitable for grained surfaces and not on floors.

Watco, best finish for dining table topPros

  • It has a low VOC content.
  • The formula offers an excellent warm tone with a look of a hand brushed appearance.
  • It is easy to apply on wood, and it penetrates quickly on wood. 


  • It requires frequent maintenance.
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10. Minwax 227614444 Wood Finish Penetrating Interior Wood Stain

Minwax 22761444 is available in 28 beautiful wood-toned colors. It is ideal for staining unfinished furniture. The product penetrates deep into wood fibers to highlight the grain. You can use it on any bare or stripped wooden surface. One coat is applied, but if you want a deeper color to apply a second one. The finish creates a protective sealant on the wood surface, making it an all in one finish and sealant.

The formula is also available in an aerosol can. You apply the product using a brush, cloth, or foam applicant.  

Summary of top features

  • It is an oil-based wood stain that provides long-lasting wood tone color.
  • The formula penetrates deep into the pores to seal and protect the wood.
  • It is available in 28 wood-toned beautiful colors.


  • The finish provides long-lasting protection and a long-lasting wood tone color. 
  • In one application, it stains and seals the wood. If you want a deeper wood tone, you can apply a second coat.  
  • The application is easy with a high-quality bristle, brush, or cloth.
  • It offers long-lasting protection.
  • This finish has minimal odor.


  • It takes time to dry thoroughly. To fasten the drying process, take your table out to the sun.
  • Initial coats may look matte.
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The Buyer’s Guide

In this section, I’m going to look at some of the most important aspects of wood finishes that you need to consider when shopping for the product. Every day, homeowners shop for these products with no prior knowledge, in the end, most ends up with the wrong products and that’s what I’m out to tackle-to give you confidence going to the market.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Finish for Dining Table Top

  • Appearance

Appearance is the first impression of your dinner table which is why you should ensure that it is as beautiful as you can imagine. When choosing your finish for the dining table, you should be in a position to visualize how you want the finished product to look like.

For instance, the 100% Tung oil wood finish will give a hand rubbed look while the Minwax 227614444 wood finish offers various wood-toned colors. Additionally, you need to know the color transformation of a finish over time.

It is best to identify first that look that will fit the design of your dining before applying. For example, if you’re going for a contemporary look, a natural or darker toned finish would work. Some finishes are available in a transparent look that enhances the natural beauty of your dinner table.  

  • Durability

Durability is another crucial factor that you should consider in your finish. How easily will it scratch, and how will it hold up to spilled liquids? Those are some of the important questions going into the market to shop for the right finish for your tabletop. Even as you shop for a durable finish, ensure that it does not call for constant maintenance practices as they might prove expensive in the long run.

When applying maintenance, you will still have to wait for enough curing time to use. Therefore, you would not want to interrupt dining moments because of a less durable product frequently, would you?

  • Ease of application

The ease of application is also a consideration you should take when selecting. Some stains have easy application methods, while some have strict procedures that you should take to achieve the best results. For example, Epifanes wood finishes matte is not that easy to apply. The product may drag like glue while a product like General finishes wood bowl finish is easy to use, giving a uniform finish without complications.

Some products require specific equipment in terms of application, while with some, we can easily apply with the readily available materials. For example, Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Finishes require the use of a unique synthetic brush during application. In contrast, you can easily apply others as General finishes with a soft cloth.

The time a product also takes to dry determines the ease of use. The drying time mostly applies to products that require the application of two coats. A fast-drying coat will enable an easy application as it offers a fast turnaround time. 

When looking at the ease of applying a particular product, consider looking at the comfort of maintenance. If the inevitable happens and the applied finish gets scratched, how easy is it to maintain?

  • Health considerations

Does the finish have VOC’s? A dinner table frequently gets in contact with the food. Therefore, it presents the best choice to finish as it is safe for humans. You wouldn’t want to use a finish that has potential effects on your health.

These finishes’ curing time is a factor to know the safest time to use your table after finishing.

  • Reactions to temperature

Considering that a dining table is mostly in the kitchen, it comes into contact with hot stuff, so how will it react to heat? Most of the modern finishes are heat resistant. But still, some stains are vulnerable to heat. So before you pick on a particular finish, check its resistant abilities. For those dinner tables that might come into contact with hot substances, it is essential to look at how they react to temperature.

Checking the functions of the finish is also advisable. How does the finish behave with water? Is it waterproof? Good stains will protect your table from harmful elements such as water and food stains.

  • Pricing

One final thing that you must not fail to look at is the pricing. Some products are expensive, while others are inexpensive. Go for a product that fits your budget.


In conclusion, finishing your dinner table is essential. It protects your table from water, liquids, and possible food stains, which may damage the table. Apart from protection, a finish adds to your dining room’s mood by giving your table a right look.

Selecting the best finish for your high table may not be an easy task as expected. However, following these guidelines on appearance, durability, ease of application, pricing, reaction to temperature, and health considerations, you will get the best finish.

Indeed, getting the best finish for your table is not a walk in the park. Gladly, you have a review of the products above to help you attain the best look out of your dining table.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.