Diluted poly versus wipe-on poly

When I ran out of the Minwax wipe-on I usually use, I decided to make my own by diluting Var poly with 25% more mineral spirits. It did just fine until I did my 5th and final application. It was not at all satisfactory; lumpy and varied appearance. I went at it with steel wool and put down another final application. It was just as bad. More steel wool; this time I diluted a bit thinner, but the result was the same. (I expect the first 5 applications were uneven also, but I wasn't expecting them to look finished, so it didn't matter)
I bought some Minwax wipe-on and it went on as even as can be.
Presumably I am doing something wrong, since so many of you talk about making your own wipe-on. Any hints as to why I had problems? The home made is about half the price of prepared, so I would like to keep using it; but I have a feeling it is more than just dilute regular. Thanks.
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Hi Toller,
I can only attest to my success with commercial wipe-on poly (I too use Minwax satin & gloss).
I have applied up to 7-8 coats on some projects with not a problem at all - use #0000 steel wool between coats in general.
Although I have read posts that "wipe-on" is just diluted poly, I have not tried that. Maybe lazy, maybe skeptical - maybe both.
Lou

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loutent wrote:

I've diluted Minwax up to 50%, with great results.
I don't know what "Var" is, so I can't comment.
Barry
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Where prior coats allowed to thoroughly dry before the next application?
Thunder
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Personally, I love the way it works, and it isn't at all expensive, especially compared to prices of wood, sand paper, etc..
I could probably produce something that was "just as good", but have no desire to... YMMV
mac
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Little off topic thought - The desk I reside at I built last year. It is solid Oak except for the top, which I made out of ply thinking someday it would need replaced. For a finish, i used 1 coat of danish oil and 3 coats of the wipe on poly. To date, the top still looks good as new even after a year of holding pizza crumbs, beers, coffee, etc, etc, on a daily basis without a coaster. Simply put, 3 coats of wipe on poly have held up unbelieveably well, and you may also want to reconsider how many coats your using. --dave

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No, not at all off topic. I put oil and one coat on everything, inside and out. Three coats on everything outside, and planned on six coats on the top. Butternut is pretty soft, and I though a thicker varnish might provide a little more protection. Is this off base? Should I have put less on?

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: : No, not at all off topic. I put oil and one coat on everything, inside and : out. Three coats on everything outside, and planned on six coats on the : top. Butternut is pretty soft, and I though a thicker varnish might provide : a little more protection. : Is this off base? Should I have put less on?
I'm unsure about the sanding between coast of wipe-on poly. I thought directions said don't sand between coats, naturally I can't find a can on wipe-on to read right now.
Also while looking at a store that sells unfinished furniture the salesperson said they could finish the any piece I bought (for a percent of the sale price) with 6 coats spray on varnish, IIRC he said sanded between coats, too.
So what's the rule here, is it necessary to sand between coats with every varnish/poly/waterbased poly/oil based poly? Or are they methods of application where sanding is not recommended?
Josie
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firstjois wrote:

Read the can. Most polyurethane varnishes have a "window" where they can recoated without sanding. If you recoat before the window ends, no scuffing is necessary, otherwise it is.
When wiping on poly, I usually try to stay inside the no-sand time, except for the last coat. I'll let the second to last coat dry thoroughly, scuff sand with 320 or 400 grit to remove all the dust nibs, and then carefully wipe on the final coat.
Other varnishes, like Waterlox Original, Pratt & Lambert, etc... give better results for me if I sand after each coat, but I often apply heavier early coats of these with a foam pad. Final coats are wiped, sometimes slightly thinned.
I've found that sticking with gloss varnish until the final coat or two prevents flattening agents from clouding the finish.
I don't do much with waterbased varnishes, yet. Others here have lots of experience with them, I'm sure you'll hear from some.
Practice on scrap!
Have fun, Barry
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On Tue, 1 Feb 2005 08:59:59 -0500, "firstjois"

We use synthetic 0000 steel wool between coats, and on final coat before the good ol' Johnsons wax goes on...YMMV
mac
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Note the difference between leveling and scuffing for "tooth," however. If you've got an uneven surface, sand with a semi rigid backing to help level, and get the "tooth" as bonus.
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