I'd like to hear some opinions on wipe-ons. I haven't been happy with the
standard fare of brush on poly. Yea, I'm nearly a rank amateur and I also
don't see me being able to sufficiently clean the shop to do a spray finish.
I bought one of the Harbor Freight HVLP spray guns (yea, a misnomer without
a doubt based on the expense of the real thing in Woodcraft stores) but I
haven't even tried it yet. Any comments beyond, "You're a putz", would be
I have used Danish and Tung oil for a lot of projects and it provides a very
nice finish. It is not brainless by any means and you have to stay with
each application to ensure wet oil is removed between coats. Still a bit of
sanding and attention to get rid of small dust particles, etc but the end
result is nice and easy to maintain.
More recently I have used wipe on poly on some project and have found that
it applies much like oil - similar process. It takes several coats to
achieve the coverage of a brush coat but it is easy to maintain a very
smooth finish. That is not to say you won't have to do some cleanup with
fine sandpaper between coats.
I just finished a maple tabletop for one of my SILs using wipe-on-poly. It
went on great, sanded between coats as per the instructions and applied 4
applications. Only problem was - I wanted a satin finish and it was glossy
but that's a story for another post. Some tips that may help:
1. Use a lint free cotton cloth and despite what you may think - that is not
an old T-shirt. Go to the auto store or borg and purchase some cheese
cloth. That really works well. Make a pad from about and 8" square piece of
cloth folded up. Saturate the cloth, rub on the poly.
2. Between applications, put the cheese cloth pad in an air tight baggy.
Roll all the air out then zip it shut and it will be ready for the next
3. If you want a satin finish but still want the grain to show thru, you
should make the first several coats glossy - then finish up with a coat or
two of satin. Satin will hide the grain (considerably).
4. While applying the poly avoid the temptation to go back over an area you
just did - even though you missed a spot. After about 15 seconds, the poly
starts to setup already and if you go back over it - you will just smudge
it. Best to leave it alone, lightly sand after its dry and recoat. Wipe-on
poly goes on very thin and you build up a layer at a time leveling it out by
sanding between coats.
5. To get back to my tabletop, I ended up with a gloss finish because the
can I got evidently went thru a freeze/thaw cycle according to Minwax and
the flattners in the poly were ruined. At any rate, I bought a can of the
Spray-on satin poly and applied that as the final two coats. Came out
great. A little rub down with some 0000 steel wool and its good to go.
6. If using the satin sheen, be sure to follow the instructions about
shaking the can or stirring the poly before and during use to insure the
flatteners are mixed in properly.
Poly makes sense for certain items, such as a breakfast table, but padding
on shellac is about the same process if you want a non-plastic look.
On Sat, 21 May 2005 01:51:21 -0500, the inscrutable Patriarch
Amen, Brother. Eschew polyurinestain.
LJ--Pastor, Church o' Waterlox.
========================================================== Save the Endangered Bouillons from being cubed!
http://www.diversify.com/stees.html Hilarious T-shirts online
I've cut any old poly varnish with mineral spirits to 50-70% varnish
with good results. I've also wiped on Waterlox Original, Gymseal,
Hope's Tung Oil Finish (not the 100% Tung Oil), Watco, and homemade
Varnish / Oil / Thinner blends made with Pratt & Lambert varnishes.
I prefer to build with gloss, and either rub it down to a lower
sheen, or use satin on the last two coats. Gloss dosen't contain the
flattening agent that clouds the finish.
I prefer Waterlox brand polyurethane over the home center brands when
If you keep the wiping rag in a jar or zip lock, you can use the same
cloth for an entire project. This prevents new lint from showing up
in the finish.
You can also avoid in between coat sanding by hitting the "window"
where recoating is OK, but sanding is not necessary. Read the can for
details. I often use a morning / evening schedule and get 6-8 coats
wiped on in 3-4 days. The piece is then left to sit for a week or
two before and final rub down and maybe one last coat.
Practice on some prepared scrap! Spending a few bucks finding
products that are locally available and work for you is well worth it.
An appliance box, from a fridge or large dryer, is great for covering
many projects between coats, so you can do other things in the shop.
Ask a local appliance stores. Set up an 1x2, duct tape, and plastic
containment for bigger items.
I'm lazy and also hate brush marks, etc...
I use a lot of Minwax wiping poly, which works very well..
You can build up several coats with no brush marks and without having that
"plastic coated" look..
Please remove splinters before emailing
"Natural Oil" works great, esp on Oak. I've used it for 20 years or
more. The trick is to polish the wood with 600 and then apply the finish
with paper towels, very thin and polish inbetween coats. When you get
4-6 coats the finish gets a depth to it that you can see. At the end you
can wax or leave it as is. The finish is thin, lets the wood show
through and is repairable. Someone sets a wet glass and you get a
ring...a bit of polishing and some more thin finish and all is well.
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.