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.
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.
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
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
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
Then apply another coat, drying then sand. Repeat until you have at least 4
: 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
I also find that scraping (vs sanding) helps in flattening.
-- Andy Barss
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?
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.
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!)
progressive epoxy polymers inc
--------- 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,
Even most waterbased coatings have some VOCs - almost impossible
to sell a floor coating in Southern California!
Paul (from Progressive epoxy polymers)
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.
Waterborne is already water thin.
Try a foam brush, light touch, tip off, and move on. Don't keep
over the same wet area like you can with an oil based varnish. That
bubbles. I'd expect worse with a roller.
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.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.