Protecting the furniture underneath … that’s the job of a coaster. But it should look good while doing it.
There are so many different opinions on how to make coasters, what finish to use, whether to use cork, etc.
1. Should a coaster’s wood be allowed to absorb the moisture? Is it such a bad thing to allow this, rather than have moisture build up and spill over the sides onto your furniture? Does this mean you should leave the coaster wood unfinished, or use an oil, but not a urethane sealer?
2. I understand cork is absorbent, but it can be unsightly as it covers your beautiful new coasters.
I think oil would look better (discussed in the ‘finishing’ thread under ‘spoons’) and you could renew the finish easier than with poly, which would likely crack or delaminate over time. Sealing will save the wood from stains and water damage. Most drips will be contained by surface tension on the base of the cup, but you also can carve a lip or moat around the edge, or sand/carve/router down the center to create a taper (like the plates you put under a teacup).
Absorbent coasters are good at preventing dripping from the bottom of the cups when re-lifted, but are usually disposable or washable fabric. Another solution is an uneven surface (eg. carved design or ‘textured’) to capture liquid so when you lift the cup the liquids stay on the coaster.
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