I'm working with a friend who is trying to make a kitchen table (i.e to use for eating) from a bookcase which broke. We're trying to do it as low-budget as possible (he's in a lot of debt right now).
The bookcase is made up of a type of WPC. Each piece is about 2cm thick. It has a very thin plastic or vinyl cover on the top, bottom and the exposed side of the shelf (the one you would see when looking at the shelves in the bookcase). The other three sides of the shelves- the parts that would be against the bookcase when the shelf was in place- have no cover at all.
For this project, we're basically planning on attaching 4 shelves to form a rectangle, via a couple of wooden slats underneath these shelves. Then we'll attach a couple of legs underneath it to prop it up. (The goal here is cheap and functional, not aesthetic!)
The question we have is what we should do to cover the top of the table to seal it.
As mentioned, there are 4 shelves next to each other which means there are cracks between each one. And some of the surfaces in the cracks don't even have a vinyl covering, so if anything spills it will get absorbed into the WPC. And frankly, we want to seal the cracks so nothing gets caught there anyway- it's a recipe for microbes.
We're debating getting a thin sheet of thick plastic to put down on top and attach. But if we drill the plastic in, we now have holes around the screws where things could seep in.
Someone recommended that we attach the thick plastic by first applying a layer of silicon to the table. Someone else said to skip the plastic and just apply silicon. A third person said to just apply shellac- not silicon- to the whole thing, but a fourth person said the shellac will drip through the cracks and won't be thick enough to seal the cracks.
We're getting quite confused by these possibilities. We don't have experience with any of these, nor do we have any of the above on hand to try out. We'll obviously buy what we need to use, but we're trying to keep this as low cost as possible.
What's the best (cheapest, easiest, effective) way to seal the table top to make it useable as a kitchen table, disregarding aesthetics?