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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am refinishing a formal dining table, new at this, took advice from Anna White and used Minwax stain followed with Helmsman Spar Urethane. I tried natural bristle and foam brushes, the natural bristle kept leaving bristles behind, the foam still left streaks. I sanded down in between coats with 220. And then sanded down the brush strokes and tried again with same results and flies sticking to the poly before it dried in my garage. I just stripped it back down last night for one last try. Not much of the stain came out, but that is fine, I just added one more coat of stain to even it out. I am waiting for the stain to dry before I attempt the poly one more time. After reading lots of threads, it is recommended to thin the helmsman to 50/50 or 10-20%, and others said they don't use spar because it is so thick and it is hard to get a smooth finish. I am totally ok with scrapping the Helmsman if there is a better and easier poly I could use to finish this off. I am also in FL, super hot and humid, so I brought the table inside to do this last poly coat and help with drying. I don't have a China brush and didn't see any at Lowes or Home Depot. I saw someone recommend using a cotton rag but all the stain rags (supposedly lint free) from the hardware store left lint specs in my stain but luckily rubbed off after. I just don't want those sticking in my poly coats. :/. Also as you can see from the pic, my grains are diagonal joining in the center and then they also have a border around that, so I'm going in all different directions with lots of overlapping. i did try a spray can poly which eliminated the brush strokes but left a spray can look without the nice glossy sheen i get from brushing on. So I sanded that off too. Any advice on my final poly coat and if I need a seal coat on top of my Minwax stain before I put a poly? As well as best way to apply the poly would be greatly appreciated! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Restrip?

Thank you guys so much for all of the great advice! I really appreciate it! Steve Neul, I stripped it with Klean strip stripper and let it sit for 30 min, scraped it off, did it again which removed all the poly but the stain didn't come out much. I brought it inside and did a layer of citrus stripper but no more stain came out so I figured most of it was set in there for good so I then applied the Klean strip after wash with a rag and more stain came out with that but I figured it was not going to get it all since there was so much in there that I just washed the stripper residue off with the after wash, let it dry overnight and applied 1 coat of stain this morning. It was still wet in the picture so I have added a couple more pictures now that it is dry. This has nothing over the stain and I did not add conditioner before the stain, I did that the first time when it was bare wood, but didn't know if it would work since there was already stain in there. Do you still think I need to restrip? And if so what should I use to get all of the stain out? Dominick - I do have some blue towels so that will work, and I can get a china bristle brush online too if you think that will work better. I'm also not opposed to getting a spray gun if that is the best option, I just have a knack for over spraying everything in a 20 ft radius and since I am only refinishing the top I don't want to get anything on the rest of the table. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Finished!

Just wanted to give an update on the finished product and another thank you to you all for the advice and help! I decided to sand the top back down to insure all of the stripper was off before applying the top coat. I went through more of the sand grits this time, used 60, then 80, then 100, then 120 and then 150 and stopped, the previous time I sanded to 220 before applying stain and read a thread that said if it's too fine it won't absorb the stain as well. I then applied 2 coats of stain, wiped off with the blue shop towels which I loved! The stain absorbed so much better this time around. Waited for it to dry a full day in between coats. Then decided to go with the Minwax gloss wipe-on poly. I started using the blue shop towels which were great for no lint, but they didn't hold as much poly so the coat was really thin and drying in some areas too fast. The next coats I used an old sock and that put on a great thicker even coat. I did 5 coats total. Very lightly sanded with 400 in between coats after they dried. I am happy with the end result. I think if I did it again, I'd probably go semi-gloss as it is really mirrored, but I'm done playing with it for now. Without having a gun, I'd definitely do the wipe-on from now on as it leveled out beautifully. Thanks again for all the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Thanks Steve, you are right, it's been a long road, I won't take the chance with the candles, I'll keep it bare for a month to let it harden, thank you!!
 
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