Keeping varnish flat over stains

When varnishing over stained wood, how do you keep the varnish flat without risking sanding through the stain? Clearly my brushing technique leaves much to be desired, but when varnishing small boxes of stained poplar, I find it very difficult to avoid all errors-- too much flow on edges, for example, which leaves a line in the varnish. In the past, varnishing wood finished without stain, I'd just sand the error flat with fine sandpaper. If I try that with the stained boxes, it's hard to avoid sanding through the stain at the edges.
I'd be very grateful for any advice.
Ray
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How many coats before you snad? What paper are you using to sand? What brush are you using? Purdy makes some decent brushes which should allow you to apply good even finish. How big is a small box, 12x24x24" or 2x2x2"?

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On Tue, 07 Sep 2004 17:20:13 +0000, Jim Behning wrote:

I have 5 coats of Polycrylic on the tops. (I know, but I'm varnishing prints onto the tops and I don't want the varnish to shift the colors.) I'm using cheap brushes, which is probably part of the problem, but even if I were using good brushes, I fear my brushing might not be perfectible. I use 240 waterproof SC cloth. Boxes are 6X6X2.
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Good varnish brushes will make a noticable difference. Here's a few suggestions:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageI897&category=1,190,43034&abspage=1&ccurrency=1&SID http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page 040&category=1,190,43034&abspage=1&ccurrency=1&SID http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page0271&category=1,190,43034&abspage=1&ccurrency=1&SID
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On Tue, 07 Sep 2004 11:38:24 -0500, Ray Aldridge

Thin it, say 70% varnish and 30% mineral spirits, and wipe it on. If you store the cloth in a sealed jar, you can use the same one for an entire project. You'll need 3-5 coats when wiping, it won't build as fast as with a brush.
Barry
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Ray Aldridge wrote:

Thin coats, just enough to wet the surface. Lay on each stroke, then "tip" to lay the edges flat. Varnish against wet edges wherever possible.
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@earthlink.net says...

Practise and improve you varnish application technique. Use a toner coat.
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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