When I ran out of the Minwax wipe-on I usually use, I decided to make my own
by diluting Var poly with 25% more mineral spirits. It did just fine until
I did my 5th and final application. It was not at all satisfactory; lumpy
and varied appearance. I went at it with steel wool and put down another
final application. It was just as bad. More steel wool; this time I
diluted a bit thinner, but the result was the same. (I expect the first 5
applications were uneven also, but I wasn't expecting them to look finished,
so it didn't matter)
I bought some Minwax wipe-on and it went on as even as can be.
Presumably I am doing something wrong, since so many of you talk about
making your own wipe-on. Any hints as to why I had problems? The home made
is about half the price of prepared, so I would like to keep using it; but I
have a feeling it is more than just dilute regular. Thanks.
I can only attest to my success with
commercial wipe-on poly
(I too use Minwax satin & gloss).
I have applied up to 7-8 coats on some projects
with not a problem at all - use #0000 steel wool
between coats in general.
Although I have read posts that "wipe-on" is just
diluted poly, I have not tried that. Maybe lazy, maybe
skeptical - maybe both.
IMHO, the way to go for most folks is the Minwax route...
Personally, I love the way it works, and it isn't at all expensive,
especially compared to prices of wood, sand paper, etc..
I could probably produce something that was "just as good", but have
no desire to... YMMV
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Little off topic thought - The desk I reside at I built last year. It is
solid Oak except for the top, which I made out of ply thinking someday it
would need replaced. For a finish, i used 1 coat of danish oil and 3 coats
of the wipe on poly. To date, the top still looks good as new even after a
year of holding pizza crumbs, beers, coffee, etc, etc, on a daily basis
without a coaster. Simply put, 3 coats of wipe on poly have held up
unbelieveably well, and you may also want to reconsider how many coats your
No, not at all off topic. I put oil and one coat on everything, inside and
out. Three coats on everything outside, and planned on six coats on the
top. Butternut is pretty soft, and I though a thicker varnish might provide
a little more protection.
Is this off base? Should I have put less on?
: No, not at all off topic. I put oil and one coat on everything, inside
: out. Three coats on everything outside, and planned on six coats on the
: top. Butternut is pretty soft, and I though a thicker varnish might
: a little more protection.
: Is this off base? Should I have put less on?
I'm unsure about the sanding between coast of wipe-on poly. I thought
directions said don't sand between coats, naturally I can't find a can on
wipe-on to read right now.
Also while looking at a store that sells unfinished furniture the
salesperson said they could finish the any piece I bought (for a percent of
the sale price) with 6 coats spray on varnish, IIRC he said sanded between
So what's the rule here, is it necessary to sand between coats with every
varnish/poly/waterbased poly/oil based poly? Or are they methods of
application where sanding is not recommended?
Read the can. Most polyurethane varnishes have a "window" where they
can recoated without sanding. If you recoat before the window ends, no
scuffing is necessary, otherwise it is.
When wiping on poly, I usually try to stay inside the no-sand time,
except for the last coat. I'll let the second to last coat dry
thoroughly, scuff sand with 320 or 400 grit to remove all the dust nibs,
and then carefully wipe on the final coat.
Other varnishes, like Waterlox Original, Pratt & Lambert, etc... give
better results for me if I sand after each coat, but I often apply
heavier early coats of these with a foam pad. Final coats are wiped,
sometimes slightly thinned.
I've found that sticking with gloss varnish until the final coat or two
prevents flattening agents from clouding the finish.
I don't do much with waterbased varnishes, yet. Others here have lots
of experience with them, I'm sure you'll hear from some.
Practice on scrap!
The can suggests sanding or steel wool between coats...
We use synthetic 0000 steel wool between coats, and on final coat
before the good ol' Johnsons wax goes on...YMMV
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