Hello again......I had previously asked about how to finish a table
that wasn't sealed......had stain, but no seal......
Decided I'm going with Minwax Rub on Poly
Has anyone used it and what did you do to get the best finish....I've
always done poly by going over the piece with steel wool......tacky
cloth......apply first of many coats........allow dry time....steel
wool.......and repeat until done and beautiful......
Any input? Ideas? Advice?
Forget the steel wool. Sand to 320 with the grain, tack, coat. Between
coats, 400 is a good choice, even if you go over a day of dry time. Levels
better than wool, too. If you like, use some mineral spirits as a lube.
Tack well, pay attention that you don't miss spots when applying coats.
Just made a maple kitchen table a couple of months back. Here's some ideas
to keep in mind:
1. An old T shirt is not a lint free cloth. Use some folded cheesecloth
(think auto store).
2. Apply a liberal amount of high gloss poly to the cloth then wipe it on
evenly. Avoid going back over the area you just applied the poly. Wipe
around the edges after you have applied that coat to the top to avoid any
3. Let dry (follow directions on can), sand lightly with 320 or greater,
clean it off with some mineral spirits (using a different piece of
4. Repeat above - using the high gloss poly - until you're down to the final
two coats. Now, if you want a low gloss look, you can apply their
semi-gloss or low-gloss version or rub down the high gloss (after it's
cured - 30 days) to the level of gloss you want using steel wool,
Scotchbrite pads or even rubbing compound. I found it easier and quicker to
make the final coats semi-gloss but your taste will vary from mine.
Using the high-gloss, is like using a clear coat and does not obscure the
look of the wood grain as you build up coats of poly.
At the risk of setting off a long series of rants here, I personally
hate poly anything. Not because it is inherently difficult to work with
(because it sure can be) but because I don't care what you are making
all things made of wood eventually need to be refinished or touched up
if they are not put in a museum. And when it comes time to refinish
them poly is just a plain bitch to work with.
So ... why not get old-fashioned and try something a little easier? Put
on some shellac! If you want something a little tougher spray some
lacquer over it. Shellac is so under-appreciated by the Norm-ites of
the world it is shame. Anyway that's OMO ...
Shellac is easily repaired, which is a good thing, because it's sort of
vulnerable to the normal crop of spray-on "cleaners" which are basic, as
well as alcohol, a common item in cosmetics and snifters.
Might be a reason there.
I love shellac and lacquer. The two are often my first choices for
furniture and built-ins.
However, on a "daily driver" kitchen or dining table, I love wiped on
poly for it's durability. Why not prevent the piece from needing repair
in the first place? <G> Wiped on, it can look just as good as any
other film finish, evaporative or reactive. I actually prefer Waterlox
brand urethanes, thinned to wiping consistency at the time of use,
because I think they dry to a rubbable hardness sooner than Minwax.
My all-time favorite finish for QSWO tables is a wipe-down with BLO, a
coat of Zinnser Seal Coat straight from the can, and several (4-6) thin,
wiped-on coats of gloss urethane. I scuff the poly with 400 grit, and
adjust the final sheen with wax and rubbing compounds. You can pour
drinks on this finish, and calmly damp cloth it off. <G> The grain can
be filled, but I like the partial grain filling of the finish.
A good wooddorker embraces different techniques for different situations.
I've used it on a couple of pieces and wasn't really thrilled but wasn't
disappointed until I used it on a kitchen table.
I swear I laid down a dozen thin coats and it still hasn't provided any
real protection. I know kitchen tables are harsh test cases, especially
with three young kids. But I really had expected more protection that
what it provided.
I doubt I'll bother with Minwhacks WipeOn Poly again...
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