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
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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
- First, is this a common occurence with the QS veneer plywood causing
- 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
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.
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
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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