I am building an oak tabletop for the kitchen. I would like to know what is the most durable finish I can use, as my wife has a tendency to cut on the table.
Carol Reed: Please make her a lovely cutting board.
Kevin Hancock: No finish will hold up to a woman with a sharp knife. Use “no” finish!
Greg Williams: There are no practical finishes that will withstand cutting with a knife. Make the top as “butcher block”, endgrain up, and oil it frequently. My sympathies for your inability to convince your wife not to cut on a tabletop.
John Brock: As a great fan of oak myself, I would question its use for a kitchen table likely to be abused by your wife in the manner you described. The first problem is no finish will hold up when used like a cutting board. Not even a thick bar top resin finish will hold up to years of food preparation. The second problem is oak has large open pores that food will pack into and spoil. I would recommend using maple or a similar tiny pored wood for a tabletop used in this manner. Better yet, encourage your wife to use a more easily cleaned cutting board.