How to finish QS White Oak Panelling & bench in bedroom

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A great suggestion.

Not to disparage the guys at Rockler, but that was a really stupid comment. Although I haven't used it for a few years, the Minwax products are mostly pretty good, and some really good.
As a matter of fact, I have a desk that I finished years ago by padding on Minwax poly and the surface had been hard, durable, cleanable and all around 100% satisfactory.
One more thing on the Minwax, I remember about 18 months ago or so FWW tested the most common polys from different stores including the General finish, and the Minwax out performed it. In the finishing community, there was a lot of nasty discussion from that report, but they had their stats t back it up.

Not true. What are "better oils"? The composition of the product will make a different, but like it or not, they are all pretty much the same stuff with a different ratio/mixture of the same chemicals and resins.

Wipe on finishes have come a long way. Some are great, and they have a niche to fill, which they do well. But if you are doing a big project like a staircase, a large built in bookshelf/TV center, etc., they are not practical. I don't like to put 53 coats of anything on something to get a good finish.
When you wipe on, then wipe off, you leave little finish. You can do this many, many times to get a good, durable finish that will stand up for years in something like a mudroom entry way. If this was a dresser, that would be something different. But you need to wind up with something like a 4 -5 mill final finish on those mudroom surfaces to stand up to punishment. I don't have any idea how much wipe on product it takes to get there...
You will get better advice here than you will down in the hardware store. Don't be buffaloed by someone that may know less than you do about the subject.
Poly is easy to brush as it has a long lay out time. Like DJ, I don't fool with the quick dry stuff. I usually recoat in about 8 - 10 hours when I brush. I don't even scuff or do any of the other things unless I am trying to work with a blemish (read: drip, bug, nib, etc.).
Don't make it harder than it is.
You might want to make yourself a test box of the same material and try out different finishes and see which one you find the best for your own level of finishing expertise.
Robert
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wrote:

Should I generally thin Poly before I apply it with a brush? How about wood conditioner? I am totaly new to finishing, and am planning on finishing my garage workshop projects to get the hang for it. I realize its not the Best medium, but any practice is good practice...
I bought some minwax polyshades satin and wood conditioner(its all dimensional lumber, I still want it to look good when I am done)
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I don't. To me, poly is thin enough out of the can to work fine with a brush. To see what works best with the finish you have chosen, put a little in a separate container and brush out enough of it to see how it lays out, and how easy it is to get a smooth finish.
Now thin the remaining material in your container, no more than 10% by volume. Test it against your previous results.
Allow both sample to dry, and pick which sample you like best, thinned or unthinned.

Wood conditiner won't hurt, and it can reduce brush drag. But for me, wood conditioner is best for when you are staining soft woods as it allows the stain to soak in more evenly.
For a good grip, I would use a sanding sealer like the Zinsser product. It is "white" or dewaxed sellac, not a regular shellac. You can top coat that brand of sanding sealer very quickly, and it is easy to apply.

Absolutely.
Polyshades is a pretty good product. Be careful, as you can't touch it up - the toner is in the blend of poly. And uneven application can result in a blotchy finish, or one that has "holidays".
Practice is the key....
Don't worry about using the stuff from the big box. Most of it is geared towards the occasional user and is quite forgiving. Buy it, try it, and learn with it.
Robert
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I noticed after applying a gel stain, that the pores (actually streaks) stain very dark and really stand out. This occured predominantly on the QS white oak plywood panels rather than on the solid QS white oak trim.
I was able to tone down the dark streaks, by applying thinned down wunderfill wood fill and then sanding it off prior to applying the gel stain.
- First, is this a common occurence with the QS veneer plywood causing prominent streaks?
- Second, is filling the best way to resolve this or would some type of sealer be better/easier?
- Finally, if filling is best, is Wunderfill wood fill (slightly watered down per the instructions) a good product or are there better ones for the job?
Thanks, Jeff
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Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with gel stain on white oak ply or Wunderfill. In fact, I don't often use pigment stains on QSWO.
I usually use plain old boiled linseed oil (in "Robert's Blend") or a light to medium dye stain (Solar Lux, Lockwood, Trans-Tint. etc...) to pop the ray flecks. When requested, I'll use a dark glaze before the clear coats, or a dark wax after the clear coats, to accentuate pores.
As a general rule, plywood will usually take stain differently than the solid version of the same wood. It's always a good idea to make test panels (document the details on the back), to see if you need to adjust wait before wipe times or if a spit or sealer coat is needed. You can also sand the plywood a grit or two higher to limit the way it holds pigment. The sanding trick also works on end grain.
I try not to get too heavy with the sealer coats, as I like the pores of oaks to slightly show in most cases, vs. a "plastized" look.
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"blueman" wrote

IME, and when applying stain and a film finish to a project, going finer than 180 is not even necessary, and may not even be desirable due less absorption/penetration of the pigments when sanded at higher grits.
That said, a _light_ hand sanding with 220 to ease the edges usually won't have that much impact on absorption/pigment penetration, IME.
When using an oil/poly finish, a la Sam Maloof, is about the only time I go above 220, usually to 320... YMMV.
As always, experiment with the stain of your choice on scraps as you may find that the final sanding grit can have an impact on the darkness/depth of color, or the number of coats you will need to get you where you want to be.
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