Ok, don't ask how, but I used polyurethane when I was supposed to use alkyd
varnish. Yes, I have a test piece, but in spite of that I applied the poly
to one work piece before I realized that something wasn't right. Since then
I have learned that poly and alkyd varnish are different finishes of the
same 'family'. So now my question is this, do I need to remove the poly in
some way before I apply the alkyd varnish, or can I simply apply over it?
If I can apply over it, should I apply a coat of the poly to all pieces for
consistency? If I need to remove the poly, what is the best way to do it?
Or, do I need to trash the piece and re-make it?
Thanks for the help,
The question that comes immediately to mind is, what is the concern
here? Just continue on with the poly. So you get a little more
protection and the piece won't scratch quite as easy. Doesn't seem to be
a big matter of concern to me.
Well, I suppose you have a good reason. Poly is harder and slightly more
brittle then a non poly varnish and since cured coats don't meld anyway
you should be fine putting a non poly on top of a poly varnish.
The only reason I could see to apply poly to all the other pieces also
is if there was a tint difference in the final results.
There seems to be some information missing. What circumstances make it
necessary for you to use one or the other? Or did you start a project with
one and now have a mismatch due to using the other? If there's no
compelling reason not to use polyurethane then just keep on with it.
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
Both are varnishes. In fact, the typical poly you buy in the store is an
alkyd varnish modified with a polyurethane resin or a uralkyd. The poly is
a more scratch resistant varnish. I would keep with the polyurethane if you
could. If you have to remove it, you will either have to use a stripper
and/or sander. You can apply the pure alkyd varnish over the polyurethane
and vice versa because they are compatible finishes. As per instructions
for both types, lightly sand between coats so the coats will adhere to each
Also, remember, there is a spar varnish and spar urethane. They are softer
and more flexible to account for more wood movement such as found outdoors.
They also have a UV protectant added.
First off, thank you for all the helpful responses. Since so many people
asked why I don't just stay with the poly, I feel compelled to answer.
Essentially, I am using this otherwise trivial project, (drawer organizer
for a kitchen drawer made from oak). to practice a couple of finish
techniques. 1. I filled the oak grain by sanding up a slurry with Danish
oil. 2. I am following the varnish finish technique as was described in the
I will scuff up the poly that I applied and go forward from here, hopefully
learning more as I go.
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