Can you make your own Wipe-on Poly by adding mineral spirits?

I notice that the Minwax Wipe-on Poly sells for more than the standard brush-on Poly (in part becomes it comes only in smaller cans).
My understanding is that Wipe-on Poly is just regular polyurethane diluted with mineral spirits.
Can I do just as well by making my own Wipe-on Poly from bulk polyurethane by just adding mineral spirits? (Or are there other "magical" ingredients that are added...)
If so, what ratio should I add it in?
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On 3/3/2010 10:23 AM blueman spake thus:

My guess: yes, and maybe 2:1 (2 parts thinner). Heck, easy enough to try. If you do, please report your results back here.
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Yes, I do it all the time. Many brands say "Do not thin over x percentage" or something like that. But that is partly to sell more, partly to not violate the VOCs laws and partly because it is a different product and won't brush or spray or dry as they indicate in their instructions. But once the spirits dry out you are left with an identical product, just a thinner coat.
3:1 Spirits to Poly is my formula. It will take a lot of stirring to get it well mixed and should be re-stirred on occasion as it will start to settle.
I like to brush it on and really flood the surface and work it with the brush to break any surface tension and make sure it gets into the grain. Then wipe it down with a smooth cloth that has been saturated and rung partly dry, wiping it down to a consistent thin film.
It will start to tack up pretty fast but I always wait a minute or two after I'm done doing the wipe down to look for any drips or dry-ish spots but you only have a little time, just use a liitle wetter rag to do touch up if it's starting to tack.
Watch for drip-outs or anti-wicking from seams of moldings and joints for a few minutes also.
You can do 400 scuff sand in bewteen and do many coats until you have what you want. I try to not sand until last coat but depends on how much dust, wood grain raise, etc.

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SonomaProducts.com wrote:

Do you have a Harbor Freight Miracle Function tool? If so, try sticking the running blade in the mixture of oil and thinner.
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When I started reading this comment I thought maybe you were mad at me. I was a bit concerned where exactly you wanted me to stick that running blade.

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On Wed, 3 Mar 2010 14:10:48 -0800 (PST), the infamous

I'd have you stick a running routah with a panelraising bit into the mixture. It'd sure get rid of that poly crap in a hurry. <evil grinne>
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Since I tend to be a bit dense at times, I just want to verify that you mean the Multi-function tool. And have you tried this?
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blueman wrote:

Yes, I do refer to the MultiFunction tool.
No, I haven't tried it with Poly stain and an approved thinner. I have tried it with oil and water.
Go ahead and give it a go.
The worst that could happen is the container with the mixture is flung against several wall, the floor and the ceiling, making a mess that's impossible to clean and rendering the room uninhabitable to everything but roaches and hedgehogs. Vermin, however, are sure to be eradicated from the ensuing fire.
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I've used naptha to thin as well. It evaporates very quickly, and allows re-coating earlier.
-Zz
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The regular (non wipe-on) Minwax poly claims you can recoat after 4-6 hours. How much faster can you recoat when diluted with Naptha?
I would have (naively perhaps) thought that waiting for the Naptha to evaporate would still leave you with the poly which would then take the same more or less 4-6 hours to dry though maybe a bit less since you end up applying a thinner coat.
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Actually, the theory with driers of any sort are that as they evaporate they create micro convection and carry away other volitiels (sp?) speeding up the drying process for the whole surface worth of compounds. I know with lacquer it is a fact as far as I am concerned.

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I like a mix of equal parts Poly, Turpentine and Tung Oil, I think the Tung Oil helps pop the grain a little.
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Not to be a naysayer but after hearing about these cool mixtures of varnish, turp and tung I gave it a try. I liked it at first but I soon saw that the second caot and beyond, the oil just pooled rather than soaking in. I had a bad situation where after about a week when the oil started drying out my finish collapsed and suddenly I had all these dry grain lines in my Sapele (like mohogany) grain.

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There are several good books on finishing. But, you still need a few scrap pieces to test finishes. Experiment on how much to thin, generally the first coat is much thinner than progressive coats. Poly finishes, like most others, come in various viscosities.
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