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I'm in the process of making a couple of trivets for hot plates and such and was wondering about the best way to apply a shine to them and protect them from spills and such. Thanks, Ray

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Not recommended above 225F!
It's a bit pricey but I think I would be inclined to go with an epoxy:
http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=21371&filter=bar%20finish
Nooooooooooooooooo on the epoxy! Epoxy starts to lose its integrity above 90ish degrees celcius (whatever that works out in your system, its lower than 225F though!).

I've done alot of fibreglass/carbon fibre work with epoxies and have found this out the hard way, rendering a rather intricate R/C boat hull I made out of carbon useless as the radiant heat from the motor was enough to start effecting the resins in the matt. It re-hardens once the temperature cools, but when exposed to heat most epoxies will go soft, borderline jelly like.

You can get epoxies that will handle prolonged heat (as I found when I started doing race car parts), but you need seriously deep pockets to get them. They start at around 3x the price of normal epoxies :(

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