I want to install a wash bowl on a maple antique dresser to use in the bathroom. What can I use to protect the top?
Michael Dresdner: Understand that a dresser may go haywire in the alternately dry and very wet environs of a bathroom. A finish does not protect wood from moisture vapor, only from water itself, and it is the vapor that can cause enough wood movement for a piece not designed for it to pull itself apart. On the other hand, if all you are asking is for a finish that is highly resistant to heat and to spills like perfume, water and nail polish remover, the answer is oil-based polyurethane. Of course, that means removing the current finish that is on there. Also, if you cut into the top for the plumbing or inset a sink, be sure to seal all the exposed cut ends with epoxy before installation. That will help prevent water wicking through the end grain and delaminating the finish.