I'm up the creek without the proverbial paddle. I built a dinning
table with bubinga top. I don't have much experience with finishing
bubinga and kinda went through my normal MO for table tops. 3 coats of
poly and then wait 2 weeks or so and rub it out. But the grain
telegraph bugged me and rather than just let things lie and attempted
to level the surface with 320/400 grit. It really made a mess. The
poly was thick enough to allow some leveling and remove some of the
grain telegraph. Of course at this point I'm thinking I should have
filled the grain...too late for that. So after much sanding I kinda
gave up and decided to live with the grain. Problem is I couldn't get
up all the white residue from sanding, now wedged in the pores. But
when I wet it with spirts it disappeared giving me the impression I
might be alright.
Now after shooting a coat of poly there still are telltale signs of
the white lines in the pores from the sanding (not much but they are
there)...and it's sealed in. What should I do. I'm thinking chemically
strip the whole top and restart...argh. Is that even the right thing
to do? Any suggestions?
If the white is truly "sealed in", then there's nothing to do, I guess,
but strip it off. Ugh. You have my sympathy.
By the way, why do you use polyurethane? I hate the stuff myself, and
only use what I consider to be "real" varnish, i.e., regular old
oil-based varnish, aka alkyd varnish (goes by many names, but is
basically the same stuff)? The reason I ask is that I've never had
problems like you describe with this material. If you sand and recoat,
any residue gets pretty much redissolved. (Maybe not quite to the extent
that lacquer or shellac would, since the solvent redissolves the finish
in those materials, but better than the plastic stuff.) Plus, the
varnish lays down really smoothly and the last coat usually requires no
Just my $0.05.
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism
What do you mean by "not much, but they are there". Do you mean only
a few spots (3, 4, 5) are like this or do you mean the affected spots
are all over the surface, but each defect is much less pronounced?
I'm thinking the latter.
Rather than stripping the whole, I would first try/test rubbing out
those spots/lines with lacquer thinner, to see if that would remove
the spots/lines. If you used water based poly, I'm not sure how
effective the lacquer thinner would be. Test: Wet, well, a spot with
thinner and rub fairly vigorously. This may leave a "dent" in the
finish at this test spot. Also, rubbing with lacquer thinner may/will
become gummy, as the thinner dries during rubbing. Work fast. If the
lacquer thinner does remove the spots/lines, then after removing all,
lightly sand the whole and clean the dust off (with dry cloth, air,
other), then quick-wipe with lacquer thinner (rather than mineral
spirits) and apply another top coat.
If the lacquer thinner procedure, above, doesn't help, then stripping
would likely be the only alternative. After stripping, your stripper
may require cleanup with mineral spirits. After cleanup, light
sanding and removing dust.... with dry cloth, air, other ..... wipe
down, well, with lacquer thinner, before finish coating, again.
If you end up stripping it, using a scraper to remove the gunk, apply
more stripper, after the initial removal, and scrub with a stiff brush
to get into the pores. Scraping, alone, will not (may not) get the
initial gunk from the pores. A hard bristle tooth brush works well.
Subsequent stripper cleanup with mineral spirits: Again, use the
stiff brush for the pores.
| Hey Guys,
| I'm up the creek without the proverbial paddle. I built a dinning
| table with bubinga top. I don't have much experience with finishing
| bubinga and kinda went through my normal MO for table tops. 3 coats of
| poly and then wait 2 weeks or so and rub it out. But the grain
| telegraph bugged me and rather than just let things lie and attempted
| to level the surface with 320/400 grit. It really made a mess. The
| poly was thick enough to allow some leveling and remove some of the
| grain telegraph. Of course at this point I'm thinking I should have
| filled the grain...too late for that. So after much sanding I kinda
| gave up and decided to live with the grain. Problem is I couldn't get
| up all the white residue from sanding, now wedged in the pores. But
| when I wet it with spirts it disappeared giving me the impression I
| might be alright.
| Now after shooting a coat of poly there still are telltale signs of
| the white lines in the pores from the sanding (not much but they are
| there)...and it's sealed in. What should I do. I'm thinking chemically
| strip the whole top and restart...argh. Is that even the right thing
| to do? Any suggestions?
I don't quite understand what you mean by "telegraph". I've used poly-based
varnish on a 4"x36" tie rack with absolutely no problems on the finish. For
other things made from the same piece of lumber I've used oils like Pure
Tung Oil with great success.
thanks for the help. I thought I'd gave all the details, but always
manage to forget a couple of points. I used oil based poly. I chose
poly because it's a dinning table and expect to get fair share of
abuse. Admittedly I usually use poly on projects and have generally
had good luck with it. The few varnish projects I've done have come
out too, but don't seem as durable. Oil (tung or modified tung)
projects for me have not had great results. Looks great immediately
after finishing but seems to be a dust magnet...they never seem to
really totally dry. Shelac and lacquer are out for a dining table as
they have so little resistance to water.
So thanks for the tips on the stripping. Never thought about having to
"scrub" out the gunk from the pores. Most likely will since that is
the crux of the problem. Oh, and yes the white marks are throughout
the whole top (not localized in one spot), but they are the size of a
hair in width and range from a spec to 1/2" long, following the grain
of the wood. Where the wood grain is more prevalent there are more.
But since Bubinga is dark red they are easy to see if there is good
light on it. If it was maple or oak they would most likely be
So since I posted it I've got the opinion of a couple friends first
hand. My carpenter buddy says "Get over it. It looks fantastic as
is". SWMBO says strip it. She says anybody else it would be fine, but
it will bug you every time we sit down. I think the plan is going to
be shoot one more coat as is, move it into the house and live with it
a few months. Let the anguish blow over some. Strip it at the end of
the summer and give it another try.
I'll be bugging the group again for tips on stripping.
There seems to be some confusion here over terminology. When you say
"oil (tung or modified tung)", I assume you're talking about something
other than varnish--namely some kind of oil finish, like tung or linseed
oil. What I was suggesting was oil-based *varnish*, containing aklyd
resins. This dries quickly (6-12 hours) and is definitely not a dust
magnet when dry. As opposed to the oil finish that you wipe on, let
absorb, wipe off, wipe more on, let absorb ... ad infinitum.
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism
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