simple questions

First,my hardwood supplier offers two types of red oak ply, plain slice and rotary cut both graded A1.Plain slice costs a bit more. I want to use it for a dining room table top. Which would be better? I plan on oil staining it so is blotching going to be a problem. I would sand to 180. Last, can I thin regular oil base poly with mineral spirits to make it a wiping poly? What ratio? Pre- made wiping is a bit expensive and I use a lot of it. Thank You all in advance.
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Plain sliced is what you want. Rotary cut is one continuous sheet of veneer that looks like crazy figured sheathing plywood. Plain sliced looks like glued-up boards.

Blotching is not normally a problem with red oak. Red oak is a very easy wood to stain. Depending on the stain, you might not want to sand that high. Try 120, 150, and 180 on scrap and see which look you like best. Sanding too smooth won't let the pigment in the stain hold on.

Sure! I usually go 60-70% polyurethane. Keep the wiper in a ziplock and you can use it for the entire project.
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On Sat, 15 Mar 2008 17:17:00 GMT, "Bonehenge (B A R R Y)"
I forgot to mention...
If you're going to wipe polyurethane over a stain, make extra sure the stain is completely dry before you start wiping on the finish. The extra thinner in wipe-on varnish can move partially dried stain around.
One wiped on coat of Seal Coat will usually prevent any movement at all, as alcohol won't loosen the stain, and the poly won't dissolve the Seal Coat.
Try it on a scrap board if you haven't used Seal Coat.
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Great thanks Barry
wrote:

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On Mar 15, 1:17 pm, "Bonehenge (B A R R Y)"

That Seal Coat of which you speak, is That a Zinser product? I can go WB on top?
r
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On Sat, 15 Mar 2008 10:54:09 -0700 (PDT), Robatoy

Why, yes it is a Zinnser product, and it can go over or under pretty much anything!
In fact, they provide me with a golden jet (and paid co-pilot) for my Usenet plugs, which I use to get to the private island where all those who plug products on Usenet hang out.
I do believe we've shared time on the private island. Is it Festool that sponsors your trips?
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On Mar 15, 4:53 pm, "Bonehenge (B A R R Y)"

Festool? Naa.. I used to get all the perks for promoting Festool, but Leon and charlieb pulled rank on me. But I still get free 3 year leases on Bentley Continental R's. Too bad I only get to drive it on a 2 square mile island.
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Color staining red oak can be tricky.
1. If you are trying to get a dark color, you might be dissapointed with how much penetration you can get.
2. The grain lines in red oak are very fine and deep. Dark or even natural ore light stains can be a problem. You can have what looks like great coverage and 10 minutes later the surface tension breaks on all these nearly microscopic valleys of grain lines and you get lots of little white grain lines showing up. Especially with water based stains but oil and gel too. I sometimes sort of scrub the stain in with a small cleaning type brush.
3. Depending on the look you want, a very common treatment for oak is to wash it with some natural or honey or golden color. Then put a thin layer of sealer such as shellac or thinned lacquer. Then use a dark stain, to just fill the grain lines and add some nice definition to the grain. This really pops the contrast and looks great. Using a gel stain is a very easy way to add this dark grain line color. It is usually oil so it stays open quite a while allowing you to work it in and wipe it down. Then ad more coats of a clear finish once the dark is dry.
Note: If you want a natural colored oak (sort of honey color), you should still apply a natural or honet stain. Oak will fade over time and a base stain with just a hint of color fixes this.
Note 2: Yes, just add mineral spirits to any thickness you want for wiping poly. Many (most) of the cans will say some maximum thinning or don't thin. Lots of environmental law and marketing reasns for this but no technical reason. Make sure you stir it very well, it will not mix easy at first and will not stay well mixed for long but works just fine. Also, I have found that for the best, most consistent coverage I wash it on, really juciy with a brush to really flood the surface and then wipe it down rather than just wiping. At least for the first coat or two.

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Only once did I oak, but it is not prone to blotching.
As for the finish, wipe on poly may be good, but there are better ways if you want a fine finish and don't mind doing a bit more work. A couple of magazine articles a year or so ago had very similar methods.
Coat of thinned poly sand with 220 coat of poly sand with 220 coat of poly let cure at least two weeks wet sand 400 grit wet sand 600 grit steel wool xxxx pumice rottenstone wax
I did that on an old chest I refinished and it is, by far, the nicest finishing job I've ever done. On red oak, use some fillers for the grain for smoothest finish as pointed out on another thread here.
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