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Ideas for wooden desk countertop finish

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  • Aug 31st, 2020 11:01 pm
[OP]
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Sep 3, 2019
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Ideas for wooden desk countertop finish

Planning to buy a wood countertop for my new sit/stand desk and looking for countertop surface finishing ideas.

Currently have an Ikea Linnmon (I believe the top is particle board). While I like the wood look, it also feels a bit rough when I slide my forearm against it and the surface can feel a bit sticky in higher heat and humidity levels.

Leaning towards the Ikea Gerton (100% wood) for the new countertop. What, if anything, can I do to smooth out the surface while reducing the stickiness? (Example: Will sanding down the surface be worth it? Perhaps some sort of countertop finish?)

I've often found tables in public libraries tend to feel more like what I'm describing, but I think the surfaces tend to be made of plastic/melamine, which I'd like to avoid. Also trying to avoid materials that off gas as much as possible as I live and work in a small space.

I'm picky, I know. But is there a solution here?

Thanks.
11 replies
Sr. Member
Mar 11, 2002
862 posts
262 upvotes
I bought the $90 Acacia wood countertop from Lowes. Sanded down the original finish using 60,120,240 grits. Applied a minwax oil based stain (I stained/sanded probably about 3 times) before using a spray on water based poly top coat, again sanding up to around 240 before using steelwool on the final coat.

In terms of off-gassing the stain itself disapated within 2 days same thing with the poly.

Routering the edges was the best suggestion ever, it was well worth the effort.

Took it from
WhatsApp Image 2020-06-02 at 9.39.26 PM.jpeg
to
WhatsApp Image 2020-06-15 at 1.24.39 PM.jpeg

Final Product
WhatsApp Image 2020-06-16 at 4.56.05 PM.jpeg
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Jul 1, 2016
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Toronto
SKill7 wrote: Leaning towards the Ikea Gerton (100% wood) for the new countertop. What, if anything, can I do to smooth out the surface while reducing the stickiness? (Example: Will sanding down the surface be worth it? Perhaps some sort of countertop finish?)
+1 on the Gerton; it's what I have on my primecables sit/stand desk frame.

I originally planned to finish it using linseed oil - but after some research, realized it would take too much effort/time. So I opted for Danish Oil - though it was quite a bit of work, the result was 100% worth it. I got a pack of sandpaper (various grits) and a sandpapper holder/pad for a smooth finish. It took me about a week - with multiple coats of danish oil... but the end result is amazing and highly water resistant.

Make sure to follow all safety precautions when working with it - gloves, safety glasses, ventilated area and a glass jar (with lid) to store any saturated rags/paper towels (Fun fact: Danish Oil and Linseed Oils evaporates very rapidly - causing an exothermic reaction - which can cause the rags/paper towels to smoke and combust).
Pixelation~
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2019
908 posts
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GTA
ProjectPixelation wrote: +1 on the Gerton; it's what I have on my primecables sit/stand desk frame.

I originally planned to finish it using linseed oil - but after some research, realized it would take too much effort/time. So I opted for Danish Oil - though it was quite a bit of work, the result was 100% worth it. I got a pack of sandpaper (various grits) and a sandpapper holder/pad for a smooth finish. It took me about a week - with multiple coats of danish oil... but the end result is amazing and highly water resistant.

Make sure to follow all safety precautions when working with it - gloves, safety glasses, ventilated area and a glass jar (with lid) to store any saturated rags/paper towels (Fun fact: Danish Oil and Linseed Oils evaporates very rapidly - causing an exothermic reaction - which can cause the rags/paper towels to smoke and combust).
What sandpaper grit did you use?

I think I will just sand it down and call it done for now.
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Jul 1, 2016
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SKill7 wrote: What sandpaper grit did you use?

I think I will just sand it down and call it done for now.
I believe I started with 100 and finished with 200 grit for surface prep. I used 300 grit with danish oil in the final stages.
I saw a few youtube videos saying finish off with 400 grit + danish oil + light buffing creates a silk smooth finish - because the fine dust mixes with the oil and fills micro gaps / pores of the wood - like wood clay. And boy is it a nice finish even with 300 and light wet sanding w/ danish oil (and super water resistance as a result).
Pixelation~
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Jun 26, 2019
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SKill7 wrote: What sandpaper grit did you use?

I think I will just sand it down and call it done for now.
If you want a product that's easier to use and requires less coats/less time overall, I would recommend either getting Odies Oil or Osmos, both are hardwaxes and you can basically do one coat and be done with it. I find Odies to protect better than Osmos.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2019
908 posts
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GTA
I'll look into the Odies and pick up some sandpaper over the weekend. Thanks
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2019
908 posts
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GTA
Update: Unfortunately, Ikea Gerton has been out of stock in all 4 GTA stores since early/mid last week and its recent shipments have continually been cancelled or postponed. No luck on KJ/CL/Marketplace.

Have been out of a table for about a week now. Didn't have much choice but to use the Linnmon as the countertop. It sags a bit in the middle but the steel in the primecables should handle the weight adequately and can always reinforce the bottom with a steel plate or wood stud if need be.

Not ideal but will suffice for now.
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SKill7 wrote: Didn't have much choice but to use the Linnmon as the countertop. It sags a bit in the middle but the steel in the primecables should handle the weight adequately and can always reinforce the bottom with a steel plate or wood stud if need be.

Not ideal but will suffice for now.
Don't use any monitor mounts with a clamp style holder base; there's a good chance it'll snap through the thin layers of the Linnmon countertop... (It's actually super corrugated cardboard with thin sheets of wood).
If you're opting for a single monitor mount... you can consider using a rectangular piece of wood w/ a matching piece of paper towel sandwhiched between the linnmon tabletop; this should spread the weight greatly lower your risk - proceed at your own risk

Source:
https://external-preview.redd.it/FtxAcJ ... 7b996bbc2b
Pixelation~
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2019
908 posts
623 upvotes
GTA
ProjectPixelation wrote: Don't use any monitor mounts with a clamp style holder base; there's a good chance it'll snap through the thin layers of the Linnmon countertop... (It's actually super corrugated cardboard with thin sheets of wood).
If you're opting for a single monitor mount... you can consider using a rectangular piece of wood w/ a matching piece of paper towel sandwhiched between the linnmon tabletop; this should spread the weight greatly lower your risk - proceed at your own risk

Source:
https://external-preview.redd.it/FtxAcJ ... 7b996bbc2b
Yup, I just use the stand it came with.

Most Ikea tables/desks, with the exception of Gerton, are thin sheets of paper in a honeycomb layout everywhere that doesn't require a screw for the legs. Surprisingly strong though. Couple youtube videos on breaking the Linnmon.

Might still reinforce it to lessen the load on the 4 central points of contact if I can find some free metal plates though
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Jun 26, 2019
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SKill7 wrote: Update: Unfortunately, Ikea Gerton has been out of stock in all 4 GTA stores since early/mid last week and its recent shipments have continually been cancelled or postponed. No luck on KJ/CL/Marketplace.

Have been out of a table for about a week now. Didn't have much choice but to use the Linnmon as the countertop. It sags a bit in the middle but the steel in the primecables should handle the weight adequately and can always reinforce the bottom with a steel plate or wood stud if need be.

Not ideal but will suffice for now.
So anyways, I see you are in the GTA, not sure where exactly, but Century Mill Lumber can joint up some boards for you at a pretty reasonable price. I think for a smaller desk like this, the shop charge might be around $100?

Then really, the wood is your pick:

Ash shorts are like $3/bf.
Oak Shorts and Maple shorts are $4 and change a board foot.
Cherry shorts are like $6 a bf iirc.

So all in all you get a nice glued up desktop for a very reasonable price. It will need some sanding, a simple router can do an edge profile, really you can do as much or as little as you want to do.

In the end you get a nice hardwood desk top. Their shop lead time is about 2 weeks most of the year.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Sep 3, 2019
908 posts
623 upvotes
GTA
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: So anyways, I see you are in the GTA, not sure where exactly, but Century Mill Lumber can joint up some boards for you at a pretty reasonable price. I think for a smaller desk like this, the shop charge might be around $100?

Then really, the wood is your pick:

Ash shorts are like $3/bf.
Oak Shorts and Maple shorts are $4 and change a board foot.
Cherry shorts are like $6 a bf iirc.

So all in all you get a nice glued up desktop for a very reasonable price. It will need some sanding, a simple router can do an edge profile, really you can do as much or as little as you want to do.

In the end you get a nice hardwood desk top. Their shop lead time is about 2 weeks most of the year.
Thanks, will consider this when I upgrade this desk.

For now I'm considering this 'project' 95% done. I'm not in a major rush to reinforce the structural integrity.

I just hate that feeling of finishing/almost finishing something only to learn I have to start from scratch again lol. I'm only going to redo it if this desk breaks in half lol.

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