Question for you Varathane users

Hi all,
I am applying Varathane Diamond Polyurethane to some goblets that I just turned. This is the water based version and is NOT the Varathane Diamond Wood Finish that is oil based. I am using this product because someone recommended it for a finish that doesn't change the color of the wood much, seals the wood so the goblets can be used, is relatively tough, and is pretty much tasteless. It is supposed to be a high gloss, but I haven't got that far yet.
My problem is that apparently this stuff does no self-leveling at all. No matter what I do I can see brush strokes. I have tried putting it on as thin as I can, and as thick as I can without allowing it to run. The brush I am using is one of my wife's very fine synthetic bristle (as recommended on the can) watercolor artist brushes (well the can doesn't say ARTIST brushes but it does say synthetic bristle), and I still see every single brush mark. I have to sand the goblets back to smooth again and apply another coat, but every time I sand I have to take it back to mostly bare wood to get it smooth again. So far I have tried 4 coats and am basically starting over each time I apply it. Anyone have any tips on eliminating the brush marks?
I have also tried the Varathane Diamond Wood Finish (this is the oil based product) on some scrap wood, and it changes the color of the wood too much for me. Darkens, and some yellowing that I want to avoid. I have also tried Minwax Wipe on Poly and it yellows too much too, but at least it is smooth. I am going to experiment on a scrap piece and see what happens when I put the oil based product on top of the water based product. If I like what I see, do you think there will be any problems in the future with adhesion, etc?
TIA,
Wayne
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I noticed that to.You can use the spay can stuff it seems to self level.I have brushed on and then sprayed over it right away and it leveled ,must be something extra in the spray

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Wayne,
I have found that the brush has alot to do with it. The other factors are humidity and heat. If it is too humid, >75% the results are poor. If it is too cold < 63 F then to gets real thick and does not flow or cure well. But by far the biggest influence is the brush. Do not use the cheap stuff. I do not understand fully understand how to match the bristles types to the finish, but the Purdy brand natural bristle here lets the varathane behave as expected. One last point, if you do not stir the varathane as suggested, this will also affect your results. (NEVER NEVER shake it. lots and lots of air bubbles that you will NEVER get out of the surface) Good luck
Paul.

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goaway wrote:

Thanks for the response. I don't think I had any atmospheric issues. Temp was probably around 70 degrees and the humidity was maybe 50%. This artist brush I am using isn't a cheapie either. Soft as a baby's butt. When I apply the Varathane, there are no bubbles at all in it so I don't think I have a brush issue either.
However, I didn't actually STIR the Varathane, but I put in in my rotary rock tumbler, which just rotates the can, for maybe 30 minutes before I opened it. I start it rolling and then go eat or something. Maybe I should try actually stirring it to see if there is some goop stuck to the bottom of the can.
Wayne
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Try wiping it on. Several thin layers and build it up slowly. Use a clean, soft cotton cloth - not poly. Make a wiping pad and use it to apply. Do not go back over spots you've already applied it to - that is key. Don't play with it.
Bob S.
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Wiping polys are just standard poly heavily thinned with an appropriate material. So, if the watre based poly says it can be thined with water or some other thinner, then you can make your own wipe on version.
The best method for wiping on (in my opinion) is to use a brush to really flood the surface and then wipe it down with a cloth. A slightly saturated cloth is best. It takes a few coats to build, especially if you want gloss, you'll need to steel wool it between coats for a real smooth finish but it can come out beautiful.
Keeo in mind, even poly typically says "Do Not Thin this product" or "Do NOT THIN more than 20%" or something like that. Those statements are just to make sure you will keep buying lots of product and not just keep thinning and also to avoid breaking environmental laws by having too much vox in the case of lacquer. I would try to make my own wipe on water based poly.

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