Skip to content

Best Finish for Hickory in 2024 | Top 5 Picks by an Expert

Finish for Hickory is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and may earn from qualifying purchases.

Hickory is a popular wood choice for flooring, cabinets, and furniture, but it can become dull and dingy over time. Additionally, it is susceptible to deterioration due to water, heat, or scratching. 

You must pay attention to the glossiness, protection, and durability of your hickory furniture. For this reason, it is imperative that you invest in the best finish for hickory, which will ensure that your wood will remain beautiful and durable. 

However, you must choose the right finish because choosing the wrong one may not offer the best results and may damage your wood. 

As a convenience and to save you time, we have researched the market and chosen some of the top-rated finishes for hickory. Read on to discover our top recommendations.

TotalBoat Hickory Chair Finishes

CrystaLac Finishes for Hickory

Varathane Hickory Finishes

5 Best Finish for Hickory Reviews

If you are considering hickory for your next furniture or wood flooring project, you will need to choose the right finish. There are a variety of finishes to choose from, but not all of them will serve your needs. 

You should also keep in mind that not all finishes are compatible with each other. Therefore, you will need to make sure that you choose one that is suitable for your project. 

Take a look at our research-based list, and you will be able to find a finish that meets your needs.

1. Varathane Hickory Finishes

The Varathane finish is an excellent way to keep your indoor hickory wooden surfaces looking amazing. Not only do they protect the wood from scratches and fading, but they also give it a beautiful finish that will last for a long time.

This finish is a water-based formula that dries quickly and cleans up with soap and water. Because of this, it is easy to use and convenient to clean up. It provides a rich, beautiful finish to hickory wooden surfaces.

Using this finish is easy and can be applied within 30 minutes. It provides coverage of up to 31.25 square feet per coat, and you can recoat after just 2 hours.

Despite its high scratch and stain resistance, this finish is perfect for high-traffic areas. It also has excellent clarity, ensuring that your hickory hardwood flooring will look beautiful for a long time.

Whether you want a beautiful, polished appearance for your furniture, Varathane Hickory finishes are an excellent choice. This gloss finish creates a smooth and shiny surface that will make your furniture look new.

There is no odor associated with this finish, and it provides crystal clear protection that won’t yellow.

Highlighted Features:

  • Protects against scratches and fading
  • Provides shine and clarity
  • Can cover 31.25 square feet per coat
  • Quick-drying and easy cleanup

2. CrystaLac Finishes for Hickory

If you’re looking for a professional-grade finish for your hickory timber, then you’ll want to try CrystaLac Brite Tone.

These finishes are high solids and self-leveling. This means that they are easy to apply and form a smooth, even surface.

Hickory lumber is beautifully finished with this simple-to-use product. It provides a durable, long-lasting finish with a beautiful glossy sheen. 

CrystaLac finish is also resistant to scuffs, scratches, and stains, making it the perfect choice for high-traffic areas.

Furthermore, it is easy to clean up; simply pour a small amount of water onto a cloth and wipe it off, allow it to dry for a moment, then buff, and the surface is as new.

You can apply it with a brush or spray, so it is convenient. It forms a hard, clear film that will not yellow with age, meaning your hickory furniture will always look new.

The product is environmentally safe and does not contain any harmful chemicals. So, it is safe to use in the house because you won’t have to worry about the harmful chemicals affecting your family or pets.

Using this protective finish, your furniture and hardwood floor are ensured of maximum protection against wear and tear. So choosing these finishes for hickory can be an ideal choice.

Highlighted Features:

  • Forms a smooth, even surface
  • Protects against wear and tear
  • Easy to use and clean up
  • Hard, clear film does not yellow over time

3. TotalBoat Hickory Chair Finishes

The TotalBoat Gleam Marine Spar Varnish is a high-quality finish that can be used on solid wood, boats, and outdoor furniture.

It is composed of premium tung oil and phenolic resins, which result in a warm, transparent finish that enhances the natural beauty of the finished hickory wood. The varnish is perfect for both interior and exterior wood finishes and is resistant to wear and tear.

This product is designed to provide superior protection against the elements, making it perfect for use on any exterior wood surface. 

In addition to its weatherproofing abilities, DURABLE SPAR VARNISH is also highly durable, ensuring that your wood will look great for a long time.

When it comes to wooden furniture, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get that perfect finish. You spend hours sanding and polishing, only to have the finish start to chip and peel a few weeks later.

With TotalBoat hickory chair finishes, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. These finishes are easy to use, self-leveling, and fast-drying.

You can apply up to three coats in one day, and the cured varnish remains flexible, expanding and contracting with the wood grain during seasonal humidity and temperature changes.

If you want a high-gloss look, then apply 4-6 coats of Gleam Gloss. If you’re going for a sleek satin finish, then build with coats of Gleam gloss varnish and use Gleam Satin for the final coats. They are easy to apply and provide great coverage, with 250 square feet per gallon.

Highlighted Features:

  • Transparent finish that enhances wood’s natural beauty
  • Easy to use with self-leveling properties
  • Good coverage; 250 square feet per gallon
  • Provide superior protection

4. Waterlox Natural Hickory Stain

If you’re looking for a natural way to finish your woodworking projects, you may want to check out Waterlox’s natural hickory stain.

When used in conjunction with this hickory stain, the penetrating and waterproofing qualities of both products work together to provide a beautiful, long-lasting finish.

This special kind of finish is designed to protect your hickory floor and wood related products from common household spills and moisture. In addition, it also protects your floors from foot traffic, which can cause wear and tear over time.

The finish is elastic, which means that it will stretch and move with your floors, preventing any cracks or chips from forming.

You can use this finish to give your surfaces a traditional appearance that is suitable for interior applications. It contains tung oil, which helps to protect and revitalize the wood.

With a high percentage of resin from renewable resources, it provides a beautiful finish and can protect your project from wear and tear.

There is a 20°-25° gloss level on this natural hickory stain, which is ideal for projects that require a subtle shine.

This item weighs approximately 1.99 pounds, and it measures 4.15 x 4.15 x 4.9 inches in its dimensions. So using this product may be a great way to protect and beautify your woodworking projects.

Highlighted Features:

  • 20-25° gloss level for subtle shine
  • High percentage of resin from renewable resources
  • Penetrating and waterproofing qualities
  • Protects surfaces from moisture and spills

5. TotalBoat Finish for Hickory

Halcyon Marine varnish is a water-based wood finish that can be used for both interior and exterior applications.

This product cures of a hard gloss or satin finish, making it ideal for use on wood trim, cockpits, toerails, hickory cabinets, doors, outdoor furniture, chairs, and more.

If you are looking for a high-quality sealant that will prevent damage due to the sun and weather, TotalBoat finish is an excellent choice.

Aside from providing superior protection against the sun, this product is particularly resistant to abrasion, salt, and scratches.

Furthermore, it exhibits excellent adhesion and flexibility, which allows the wood to expand and contract naturally without cracking or peeling.

Based on the formulation, it cures to a clear or amber color with a satin finish. Using a roller, a brush, or a spray, the finish can be applied. It is easily cleaned with soap and water.

This unique varnish allows you to apply multiple coats in a day without sanding. As a result, you can complete your project much faster than with traditional varnish. You can apply up to 5 coats in a day, and it dries quickly, so you don’t have to wait long to recoat.

To apply this varnish, you should apply 2-4 heavy coats for interior applications and 4-6 coats for exterior applications. You will be able to complete your project faster and more efficiently with this product.

The pint-sized kit can cover approximately 40-50 square feet, while the quart-sized kit can cover approximately 80-100 square feet. Thus, if you are looking for a quality finish for hickory, then you may want to consider this product.

Highlighted Features:

  • Cures to a clear or amber color with a satin finish
  • Superior protection against sun, abrasion, salt, and scratches
  • Can be applied with a roller, brush, or spray for quicker application
  • Excellent adhesion and flexibility

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Finish for Hickory

linseed oil

The hickory timber comes from hickory trees. The finish you use on your Hickory projects is important, as it can protect the wood from damage and help to maintain its beauty over time. 

However, you cannot simply use any stain on this wood. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a finish for hickory. 

Taking this into consideration may help you make the best decision for your needs. Here are some essential factors to consider when choosing the right finish for hickory.

1. Drying Time

The drying time of the finish is important, as you will need to know how long you have before it can be recoated. 

Make sure to choose a product that will cure quickly. If you do not, then it may become difficult to complete your project in a timely manner. The best finish will dry quickly, so you will need to wait only a short period between coats.

2. Components

You will also need to ensure that the stain you choose is environmentally friendly and contains no volatile organic compounds, as those can be harmful to your health and those around you. 

A quality product will be low-VOC and safe for indoor use. It will also be safe to use with children and pets in the area.

3. Ease of Use

mineral spirits

As you look for the right finish for hickory, make sure it is easy to use and apply. You will want a product that can be applied quickly and easily. 

This will save you time and allow you to complete your project with ease. Quality products will apply easily, whether they are applied by roller, spray, or brush.

4. Gloss Level

The gloss level of the finish is another factor you will need to take into consideration. If you want a glossy finish, then you will need to choose a product that offers a high level of gloss.

5. Coverage Area

Knowing the coverage area of your product will help you determine how many coats you may need to apply. This information can also help you determine if the product will meet your needs. 

If you are working on a large project, you may want to choose a product with a higher coverage area.

6. Water Resistance

The ideal finish for rustic hickory will be resistant to water and not allow the wood to absorb moisture. This factor is significant, as it can protect your wood from damage that may occur if moisture seeps into it.

7. Temperature and Humidity Resistance

white oak

You should choose a product that has good resistance to temperature and humidity as well. This will protect your wood from potential damage that can occur if it is exposed to extreme heat or cold, as well as high levels of moisture.

8. Ease of Cleaning

A quality stain will be easy to clean, which means you can simply use soap and water to remove it. Look for a product that will wipe clean without any issues.

9. Longevity

In addition, you will want a finish that is long-lasting and durable. It should be able to stand up to daily use for a long time without fading or flaking. In this manner, your wood will be kept in good condition for a longer period.

10. Odor

Ensure that the finish does not emit an unpleasant odor as well. An unpleasant smell can be irritating and can even cause nausea in some cases. 

A low-odor product will ensure you are not affected by its scent, so it is best to choose one with very little or no odor at all.

Frequently Asked Questions:

When it comes to choosing a finish for hickory wood species, you may have a number of questions. Here are some common questions and answers related to this topic:

1. How to Stain Hickory?

For stained hickory, first sand the wood with sandpaper, then wipe it down with a damp cloth. After that, let the wood dry. Use a brush, roller, or spray to apply the wood stain. Once the wood has dried, apply a second coat.

2. How Long Does a Wood Finish Take to Dry?

This will depend on the type of wood finish you choose. A quick-dry formula will typically dry within several hours. Generally, a wood finish will take 12 to 24 hours to dry completely.

3. How Many Coats of Wood Finish are Needed?

The number of coats you will need to apply depends on the type of wood stain that you choose. To ensure the best results, apply five or more coats of finish.

4. Do I Have to Sand Between Coats?

If you are applying multiple coats of finish, then you will need to sand in between each coat. Lightly sanding the wood will ensure that the coats bond properly and that the finish is smooth and even.


With the proper steps and using the information in this guide, you will be able to choose the best finish for hickory. 

It is essential to pay close attention to the factors we have discussed so you can find a product that has all of the properties and characteristics needed for optimal protection and long-lasting beauty. 

This will ensure your wood is truly protected, which in turn will help your projects stand the test of time. 

All the products we have discussed in this guide are top of the line, so you can trust that they will provide complete protection and lasting beauty for your wood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *