very dilute varnish or use roller?

I have a table top I wish to varnish over and have bought some Ronseal Diamond Hard Clear Satin (water based) Varnish.
I would like to get it on as *smoothly* as possible and not being too brilliant wielding a paint brush wonder if, since it is a water based paint, i could *dilute* it right down with boiled water and then more or less 'smear' it on using a rag, then turn up the central heating and hope that it would all dry very smooth?
Another thought I had was to use a small roller. Our local store sells two types of rollar surface, a sponge for gloss paint and a hairy one for emulsion. If using a roller was a possibilty to get a very smooth surface, which type of roller surface should I buy please?
Thanks for any advice with this.
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I would not dilute it more than it states you can, but for a table you might be better off with oil or a poly.
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On Sat, 16 Feb 2008 13:56:28 GMT, "johngood_____"

Be very careful adding water to water base products. Read the directions carefully. Water based products are complicated blends, and often have strict limits or prohibitions against adding water. Even better, test it on the underside of the table. Thinning may or may not have the desired effect. Some water base products will dry faster if more water is added, locking in your wipe marks.
Personally, I'd seek out an oil based "wiping varnish", or make my own by thinning a brush-on product to 60-70% varnish. A wiped on varnish will probably need 5-7 coats on a table top. I'm not anti-water base, I use 10-12 gallons a year of water based lacquer. I spray all of my clear water based products.
You can remove any dust nibs with 400 grit paper and a wood or cork sanding block. Some varnishes have a "window" where they can be recoated without sanding, if you miss the window, you'll need to scuff the surface with 400 grit or steel wool before the next wipe.
Yet another alternative is to brush on the finish, allow it to dry thoroughly, sand it smooth, and rub it out to the desired gloss. This takes a bit of learning and practice, but will probably yield the best finish. Check your public library or local bookstore for Jeff Jewitt's "Hand Applied Finishes." You can practice on the underside of the table.
Be aware that if you stay with the water base, you need to protect yourself. The primary selling points of water based finishes are water cleanup and they aren't flammable. They ARE chemically dangerous, sometimes containing more health hazards than solvent based products. Ventilate well, better yet, spend the $30 for an organic respirator. Water base does NOT equal safe to breathe.
Have fun, and practice where it won't be seen.
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Dilute the first coat a bit. After it dries, sand lightly with 220 grit and apply a second coat. Sand and a third coat. Sand with 320 grit and a fourth coat. Let dry for two weeks or more. Now, wet sand lightly with 400, then 600 grit. Then xxxx steel wool, then pumice, then rottenstone. Finally, paste wax.
Done right you have a smooth finish with depth that will rival any pro finish around.
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First just because a finish says that its water cleanup it doesn't necessarily mean its water as its carrier.
Its an emulsion of many solvents that mix with water. The can will tell you how much solvent you can add to a finish. I'm also confused why you think you need boiled water and the rag will give the worst finish if it would even work..
The best way to get a smooth finish is to use a foam brush and foam roller. You will also need some 400 grit wet dry sand paper.
Assuming that your surface is sufficiently smooth.
You then can start by putting down two coats drying between coats. Then wet sand the finish without cutting through to the wood. Wipe with a wet lint free towel.
Then apply another coat, drying then sand. Repeat until you have at least 4 total coats.

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: I have a table top I wish to varnish over and have bought some Ronseal : Diamond Hard Clear Satin (water based) Varnish.
: I would like to get it on as *smoothly* as possible and not being too : brilliant wielding a paint brush wonder if, since it is a water based paint, : i could *dilute* it right down with boiled water and then more or less : 'smear' it on using a rag, then turn up the central heating and hope that it : would all dry very smooth?
Bad idea -- thin only according to the instructions on the can. Oil based varnishes can be applied as described, water based ones can't.
: Another thought I had was to use a small roller. Our local store sells two : types of rollar surface, a sponge for gloss paint and a hairy one for : emulsion. If using a roller was a possibilty to get a very smooth surface, : which type of roller surface should I buy please?
I highly recommend the flat pads with short bristles sold for applying paint. They work really well with waterbase varnish, much better than brushes (for me anyway).
I also find that scraping (vs sanding) helps in flattening.
    -- Andy Barss
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If you let us know more about the project, we may be able to offer better advice. For example what kind of surface is it going on? What kind of wear, moisture and/or alcohol and sun exposure will it be exposed to? What use?
If you want a very shinny heavy looking finish, almost like a glass top, there are heavy finishes that you pour on creating a thick clear surface.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia 's Muire duit
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johngood_____ wrote:

from my experiences with waterbased varnish and waterbased coatings, it doesn't seem to matter much how you apply them. The go on thin, self level and dry even thinner. Will take a fair number of coats to get a 'thick' film.
Thank the air quality/VOC folks for the near demise of old fashion oil based varnishes - (solvent level too high in them!)
paul progressive epoxy polymers inc
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wrote:

There are still plenty of them out there. The new low VOC versions can often be thinned by the end user to perform just like the old version.
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Bonehenge (B A R R Y) wrote:

--------- could be, but if you add solvent you probably are then exceeding the VOC limits and are technically breaking the law.
Do you have a name or brand of the lower solvent based (not water based) varnish? I haven't found any.
Some 'old varnish' can still get by thanks to the quart unit exemption in place in most places (but not in California any more).
Same sort of issue with high solvent 2 part polys (LPU coatings).
You can legally apply them to your car, but not to your grill, mailbox, etc.
Even most waterbased coatings have some VOCs - almost impossible to sell a floor coating in Southern California!
Paul (from Progressive epoxy polymers)
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wrote:

Low VOC Waterlox?
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I have to wonder as to the total quantity of organic vapors emitted by all of the asphalt over it's lifetime in a place like Southern California, vs paints, lacquers and varnishes over the same period of time.
--
FF

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Waterborne is already water thin.
Try a foam brush, light touch, tip off, and move on. Don't keep brushing over the same wet area like you can with an oil based varnish. That causes bubbles. I'd expect worse with a roller.
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wrote:

This has proved a real education for me. The particular application is to a well made japanese low table with a 'formica' top, which sounds awful, but in fact has a very realistic wood pattern and unfortunately is built into the table top in such a way as to make its removal likely to make the table look really awful on its curved edges. The top is worn, not so much that it has gone through the patterned layer, but is well scuffed and scratched and these scuff marks disappear under a coat of the water based varnish. thanks to all.
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