What's that transparent shell that they put on bar tables?

You know those tables they have at bars where there’s a bunch of photos, playing cards, and assorted bric-a-brac on the surface of the table for decoration, and it’s been covered with some hard, transparent lacquer? What’s the lacquer they use for those, and what is it called at the hardware store?

Build 50 was the the thing, but it’s apparently been discontinued. This is what seems to have taken it’s place.

I have used System Three’sMirror Coat.

A couple of tips, you want the surface to be as level as possible. You can embed items in the finish just keep them thin so your finish wont have to be too thick to cover it all. Find a piece of wood that will really highlight the grain. I have seen some birds eye maple veneer pieces just pop to deep life with a thick coating like this. These products are not UV stable so you want to keep them out of Direct Sunlight or use something like this to get your depth and then top it with a clear UV stable finish like a Varnish. Using a blowtorch at the end to help reduce surface tension and thus release trap air bubbles is odd but creates a very clear finish.

This is great stuff

(Bolding mine) This sounds like a recipe for disaster.

Nothing to contribute except that my eyes garbled the title of this thread into What’s that transparent shell that they put on tar babies? :eek:

I was about to post exactly the same message.

These visual spoonerisms have been afflicting and entertaining me for a couple of years now.

I read it as “transparent shelf”.

How do you use it? I always imagined some kind of mold, and putting the table upside down, but now that I think about it, that seems silly. Do you use a lot of coats, or one half-inch thick one?

The pour-on systems will make a pretty thick coat just through surface tension (“Build 50” was called that because one coat was equivalent to 50 standard coats of lacquer). If you want tho really embed something in 1/4" -1/2" of plastic, you are going to need to make dams around the edges and pour the plastic into that.