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Butcher block w/Waterlox finish...not what I expected

10 years ago

We installed walnut butcherblock countertops in February. I did a lot of research before we made our final choice and based on our needs/habits it seemed that Waterlox would be the best choice of finish. Although we ordered the tops through our contractor, I communicated with the fabricator personally, asking several questions to be sure I understood what I was getting. I even had them send me a sample of the walnut with the Waterlox finish so there would be no misunderstanding about what to expect. The tops arrived with three coats of Waterlox already applied. After installation, we applied a forth coat.
So here are my issues...

1. The sample they sent had a very smooth, furniture-like finish. I sprinkled water on the sample and let it sit overnight to see what would happen. The next morning, the water was still beaded and wiped away leaving no trace. On my countertops, if water splashes, it is soaked up like a sponge within a few seconds. Also the texture of the countertop is fairly rough to the touch. It was my understanding that the Waterlox would fill the pores of the wood and eventually cure (harden) creating a surface that would be protected from or at least resistant to water. I have been careful to keep the counter dry but on the occasions where a glass has been left to sweat, I've ended up with a white ring. And as time has passed (two months) the wood looks very dried out. So what I'm asking is do I need to add more coats of Waterlox? if so, how many? We've had the tops for two months - does it take longer for the curing to occur?

2. One of the questions I specifically asked was if there was an oily residue left on the counters as Waterlox does contain tung oil. The fabricator assured me there would be no residue. The sample they sent had a finish like you would find on a tabletop - not oily at all. I have not been able to lay any papers on our countertops without finding oil spots all over! Will this eventually go away?

I am hoping that all the Waterlox fans that I read about while I was doing my initial research will chime in here and give me some guidance.

All this said, the countertops are truly beautiful - they make my kitchen. I just need some help figuring out how to proceed to obtain the water-resistant, smooth, non-oily finish that so many of you have achieved.
Thanks in advance!

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