The title says it all.
I'm using a new gallon can of Minwax satin poly on stained oak.
Wiped on the first coat thinned 25% with mineral spirits as often
described in this group.
Sanded and brushed on a full-strength second coat a week after the
wipe-on coat. Now, a week later, it still looks as if I just got done
putting it on - very shiny. The wiped-on coat did have a 'satin'
appearance once dry, though not as much as expected.
Can says it dries in 4-6 hours. It <<feels>> dry. Temperature
maintained at 75-77, AC keeping humidity down.
Ideas / suggestions? I got the satin to avoid the steel wool cycle.
Did you stir thouroughly. The flattening agents tend to settle to the
bottom of the can and stick there. You really have to dig it off the
bottom and stir thourougly. But don't shake. Unlike James Bond,
shaken not stirred is not a good thing with minwax.
I don't have any ideas, other than Frank's that it may not have been
well mixed. As far as suggestions, it's not too hard to bring gloss
down; it just takes some work. Sandpaper (600 grit or higher), steel
wool, or automotive rubbing compound, something that will make really
fine scratches in the surface. I've even heard that a brown paper
bag, wadded up and rubbed on the surface, is effective for knocking
down dust nibs and reducing sheen just a little.
(And if I understand your last line correctly, I'll add that you
should sand/steel wool lightly between coats, regardless of the sheen
of your poly.)
To sum up, I'd recommend sanding really lightly, mixing your satin
poly really well, and trying a third coat. Does it look better? If
so, you're golden. If not, you can sand lightly again and try a
different kind of satin poly.
You shouldn't use more than a couple of coats of matte or satin varnish on
furniture, all the coats except the last coat or two should be gloss. A
build up of the matte or satin varnish will give a milky or cloudy look to
Have you ever tried this on test panels? Be aware that I used to pass
along the same advice, so I'm not picking on you.
I did a test with a sample panel, and the products I used (Waterlox
polyurethane) created no noticeable difference.
I carried one of the panels around for two weeks and asked woodworkers
and non-woodworking furniture aficionados to tell me the difference
between both sides of the panel. Not one person was able to correctly
identify the different sides.
I would put the panel on a desk or table and ask them to point out the
"A" side. Then, I'd have them face away, where I'd turn or not turn
the panel. They were wrong as often as they were right.
The exercise made me wonder if the whole thing came from a bad
application, or poor quality product, compared to a well executed
application with a good product, or if finishes have simply improved.
Give it a shot. <G>
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
Good to know. I think some of that "gloss until the last coat" came
from the days when people bought flattening agents separate from the
finish and it was less costly to just add the flattener to the last
Well, here's the follow-up.
It looks like it wasn't mixed.
I've always let the stir stick drip into the can and looked for swirls
to see if there's a difference - indicating not fully mixed. Didn't
see anything odd on either of the first two applications.
Had flipped the can over daily over the last week to try to get any
When I stirred it this weekend, I had a bead of gummy poly the size of
a BB on the stir stick, yet felt no drag on the bottom of the can.
I braved the air bubble monster and vigorously stirred for about 20
minutes. Somewhere in the middle the appearance in the can changed
from clear to the creamy that I'm used to - and saw on the first
Result - looks great.
Never had this happen before even with less attention to mixing, and
this is a large special project for SWMBO - hence the concern.
Thanks for all the responses.
(Yes, I'd been sanding between coats - what I'd referred to was
buffing with steel wool to dull the surface to a satin finish at the
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