Finishing question

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I have two quite possibly contradictory requirements.
1. The finish should not look "built up". A more natural, low-luster sort of look is preferred.
2. The pieces in question (end tables) will almost certainly have drink glasses on them from time to time. Maybe even with ice.
Can I meet both of these requirements, or should I simply cover the tops with placemats when necessary?
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On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 2:16:46 PM UTC-8, Greg Guarino wrote:

I know people will shit all over my response but I use wipe on poly finish all the time on fine furniture pieces.
Dye, stain and or oil the piece as desired. Then use flat or low sheen wipe on poly. I mix my own using standard ploy with 3 parts mineral spirits to one part poly. Or use Minwax wipe on poly (lets hear the flames) Be sure to stir the poly well (it has flattners that need to be suspended). Also if y ou mix your own you have to mix it really well to get the poly well distrib uted in the mineral spirits and re-mix often.
Wash on the first coat with a brush and really soak the piece. Then wipe it down immediately with a damp smooth cloth (damp with same finish). Wipe it all off and do NOT re-wipe already wiped areas.. Watch for seep at joints and moldings and re-wipe those areas for several minutes. When it dries it might/should look like almost nothing was done.
Wait 8 hours or more. Wet a smooth cloth and wipe it all down wet again, th en re-wipe clean with a damp cloth leaving the slightest coverage. Again, w atch for seep at joints and moldings and remove.
Let dry 8 hours or more. super lightly rub down with worn out 400 or 600 pa per or even steel wool (if you don't have nooks that will fill with shaving s). You can add one or two more coats but honestly this is all you need unl ess it is a bar top.
Wax lightly using a scrub pad or steel wool and buff it out.
FYI, if you leave build up at joints, corners or molding seams, even flat p oly will look shiney in those locations so be careful to wipe it out.
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On 2/12/2014 4:16 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Use a satin wipe on varnish or a gel varnish. Keep building coats until you just start to notice the built up look. Basically, don't over do it.

Not a good combination regardless of the finish. Wipe up ASAP or use coasters.

Apply plenty of the varnish finish, practice on scraps. If you put on too much you can always sand it back to bare wood and put on fewer coats.
Still you don't want liquids to be on the surface for much more that a short while.

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On 2/12/2014 4:16 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

There is always glass. Finish like you want, protect the top with glass:
https://picasaweb.google.com/111355467778981859077/EWoodShopArtsCraftsStyleEndTable200303?noredirect=1#5679351496259490898
Has survived countless cold and hot drinks, and a few spills and the top looks brand new.
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Swingman wrote:

I'm a pessimist and a klutz. I envision a spill running over the edge and wicking up under the glass. That means moving all the lamps and junk and cleaning it up before it damages the finish. Then I would drop the glass on the dog, etc, etc.
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On 2/12/2014 7:33 PM, G. Ross wrote:

Can I interest you in an insurance policy?
;)
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On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7:33:18 PM UTC-6, G. Ross wrote:

Try tempered glass. If laid flat on the table, you would really have to work to break it.
Pretty good ideas from Leon, too.
Robert
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On 2/12/2014 5:16 PM, Greg Guarino wrote:

Poly. Yes, poly. You need at least four coats, sanding between. After the last coat, let it cure for at least 3 weeks. Wet sand, rub with pumice, rottenstone, then wax. It will be smooth, have a nice luster and be durable.
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On Wednesday, February 12, 2014 6:47:47 PM UTC-8, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

If you are using any production poly after 12 hours that sucker is 100% cured. If you have some sort of oil hybrid without drying solvents maybe, but true poly dries slow (over many hours) but not days unless it is so thick it will crack anyway.
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That hasn't been my experience. For example, a while back I put on four coats of semi-gloss poly, four hours between coats, no sanding. In a day it was plenty hard, little smell but it was almost as shiny as glossy, took about two weeks before it settled down to semi-gloss.
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On 2/14/2014 11:04 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Correct, there is a difference between drying and curing. Most poly is dry to handle in 12 hours or so, but for any oil finish, curing takes much longer. It is usually advised not to put things in contact with paint or poly finishes for at least a week, sometimes two months.
Just as concrete can be walked on in hours, but it is not fully cured for years.
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On Friday, February 14, 2014 10:32:00 AM UTC-6, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

The industry standard for poly to cure out is 21 days.
http://goo.gl/ZwEOcY
You can see many manufacturers use that as their cure date and professional finishers rely on that. Humidity, temps, aggregate thickness of multiple coats, etc., all determine the final amount of days needed. But... 21 is th e industry standard for low abrasion polyurethanes.
To determine the correct amount of time needed between coats as well as how thick to apply each coat of finish, one should look at the individual MSDS and application information from each individual manufacturer.
Although folks feel like they are more involved in applying a professional type finish, today's polys don't need thinning. Nor do they need sanding b etween coats. The ONLY time I sand, scuff, disturb a poly finish is to rem ove a nib or critter. Never, ever, have I had witness lines, peeling, or l ack of adhesion. After all... even Minwax says sanding between coats is un necessary in their literature.
Greg, you should look around for anything that Bob Flexner writes about fin ishing. His books are great, his articles are great, and he learned finish ing by actually working in a finishing shop doing both application and repa ir so he had plenty of opportunities to see what worked and what didn't.
Robert
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On Fri, 14 Feb 2014 22:07:53 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

A friend, since deceased, always insisted that shellac kept getting harder forever :-).

I'll second that!
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I stand corrected. Hmmm... interesting results. I've never recoated so fast so haven't seen such a scenario. I also always thin the heck and don't ever let build to much of a plastic coat.
I assume each coat skins over but never fully gasses off, then having several coats in that state causes the whole process to slow down. Does the can say it can be recoated so soon?
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I recoat as soon as I can walk on it which is about 4 hours, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less depending on temperature, humidity and - of course - how thick. Can says no sanding needed between coats if reapplied within 8 hours.
As Ed mentioned, it really does take a while to cure. I did something a couple of days ago, only two coats...I'm betting it will still take a couple of weeks until the shine dies down to semi-gloss.
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OK we are talking floors now and this is a whole different level of thickne ss than I am thinking about for furniture. I remember the first time I spra yed poly on a piece of furniture. After the second coat it was like it was covered in plastic . I steel wooled that coffee table and side tables for w eek and waxed them a few times with scrub pads and still to this day wish I would have re-built them for the customer who signed off on one of my lacq uer finish samples but requested poly for more durability.
I used water based poly on floor recently and loved it, applied with a pad.
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Greg Guarino wrote:

and have found that after staining of your choice, 2-4 coats of 'gloss' (depending on usage) and a finish coat of 'satin' works very well. No water rings, no hot/cold problem, nice finish. Multi coats of satin will make it look cloudy, thus the gloss base coats.
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Tung oil. Place mats are always useful.
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On Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:16:46 -0500, Greg Guarino wrote:

I've never been able to damage a cured de-waxed shellac finish by setting drink glasses on it - with or without ice.
Spilling alcohol on the finish might damage it if you mix really strong drinks, but cleaning off any wax and rubbing on another coat will fix it quickly.
Don't take my word for it. Wipe 3 or 4 coats of Zinnser SealCoat on a test piece. Let it dry for a week and then set those icy glasses on it. Bet you won't see any damage.
Make sure the SealCoat is fresh. The first digit (after the initial character) is the year, the next is the month.
All that said, my wife would never let anyone set a drink on a piece of good furniture without a coaster :-).
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Let a small pool of beer set on a waxed shellac finish for 20 minutes. Then tell me it is a safe finish for utility table tops.
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