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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am a total novice and hobbyist looking for some help. I have made a few almost straight pieces of furniture. I have used oak and/or pine depending on the piece. I stained them with oil based stain.

Now... to seal/protect them... I have been using basic polyurethane varnish, usually the satin variety...

I also tried some oils, tung, etc.

My question: For indoor furniture will the oil and the poly offer the same protection from warping, rotting, and any other problems I might not be aware of?

Thanks in advance for any help.
c
 

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Sawdust Creator
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If woods rotting indoors you have a bigger problem than the finish. Poly will protect it fine, if you like the look of poly, I use lacquer on oak, although it is a bit more complicated to use than poly, by I like the look of that better.
 

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A lot depends on the application. If you use a oil finish on something like a table top where a person regularly sets a sweaty glass in the same place then that spot will be more prone to rot than if it had a polyurethane finish on it. Then the same table if you use an oil finish or polyurethane finish on just the top side of the table top, the table with the polyurethane finish is more likely to warp than the one with the oil finish. If the underside is done then the polyurethane finished table is less likely to warp because it seals out the humidity better. The polyurethane is literally a plastic coating where the oil finish is somewhat porous, tung oil being better than linseed oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thank you

Hey guys,

thanks for the advice and help.

Like I said, I am a novice... so while I have been using poly/varnish, I have trouble getting the surface bubble/imperfection free... despite four coats with sanding between...

I always hear people saying I need to seal and/or protect the wood (and I live in a very, very humid climate)... but i prefer the look of oils and even waxes... I just didn't know if oil/wax is good enough protection... for things like tables, as mr neul mentioned, where a glass will sweat, or a daughter will spill.
 

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I prefer lacquers to poly.....I've never had a problem with smoothness
 

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Hey guys,

thanks for the advice and help.

Like I said, I am a novice... so while I have been using poly/varnish, I have trouble getting the surface bubble/imperfection free... despite four coats with sanding between...

I always hear people saying I need to seal and/or protect the wood (and I live in a very, very humid climate)... but i prefer the look of oils and even waxes... I just didn't know if oil/wax is good enough protection... for things like tables, as mr neul mentioned, where a glass will sweat, or a daughter will spill.
If you are getting bubbles in the finish then the varnish is either too thick or you are over working it. When you apply a varnish with a brush you should put each coat on as thin as you can with as little strokes as you can. If you sit there and brush it and brush it, it gets air in the finish which makes it sit up faster before it flows out so it will show brush marks and can get bubbles in it. If the varnish is too thick and needs to be thinned you won't be able to apply it thin and this can lead to bubbles in it. The varnish should be about the consistancy of 30w motor oil.
 

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I'm pretty big into wiping finishes too. Big projects will be quicker with a spray rig, but the smaller ones get the wipe-on treatment.
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter #10
thanks again

to mr neul, thanks again, i suspect I was over working and over brushing. Currently trying what you suggest.

For next time I may try a wipe on poly, but how does one make this and does it matter what type of rag I use?
 

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Old School
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For next time I may try a wipe on poly, but how does one make this and does it matter what type of rag I use?
If you start with a wiping product you use it as is. If you start with a product intended to be a brush on, you can reduce it 25%-50% with mineral spirits or Naptha for a faster dry. The first application or two should be thinned to 50% for better penetration.

I would suggest to use a lint free "T" shirt type rag folded into a neat square pad. After a few applications, wipe with a more concentrated mix. Allow each application to dry and lightly sand with 320x.





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to mr neul, thanks again, i suspect I was over working and over brushing. Currently trying what you suggest.

For next time I may try a wipe on poly, but how does one make this and does it matter what type of rag I use?
The wipe on poly is probably easier to apply by hand. As far as the rags. I use either white knit or cotton rags. I just wouldn't use a rag that had color or too fuzzy. You would just fold the rag up into a tight pad so you didn't have loose ends that might make marks in the poly and apply it with as few strokes as possible like you would brushing it. The worst thing you can do is if you see a spot you missed go back and add some more. Ignore it until it dries and get it on the next coat. Any poly you are working by hand whether brushing or wiping I wouldn't thin with naphtha. The finish sets up fast enough without using a thinner that evaporates faster. That solvent is better used when you spray the finish.
 

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Any poly you are working by hand whether brushing or wiping I wouldn't thin with naphtha. The finish sets up fast enough without using a thinner that evaporates faster. That solvent is better used when you spray the finish.
Neither mineral spirits or naptha "sets up fast". It's a fairly slow dry. Naptha has less of a dry time than mineral spirits. One of the negative features of using an oil base finish to begin with is that it stays wet for a long enough time for dust and legged critters to land on it. Any way of cutting that dry time would be beneficial.




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Neither mineral spirits or naptha "sets up fast". It's a fairly slow dry. Naptha has less of a dry time than mineral spirits. One of the negative features of using an oil base finish to begin with is that it stays wet for a long enough time for dust and legged critters to land on it. Any way of cutting that dry time would be beneficial.








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If you haven't used oil based poly in a while they are formulating it to set up faster and faster. If you piddle around with it you can easily get drag marks in it and it starts building up on the brush in clumps. It's getting to point where you really have to get after it if you are doing something as big as a entry door. So to use a solvent that dries faster is really asking for trouble. Sherwin Williams interior oil based polyurethane has gotten to the point where is will dry dust or bug proof within two hours in warm weather.
 

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Since you are trying to change the subject, the point was you don't want naphtha making the finish drying faster than it already is if you are wiping or brushing the finish.
Change the subject...not at all. You brought up a "faster dry" as being 2 hours. That's long enough to collect dust and bugs. That can ruin a finish.





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Discussion Starter #18
Ug, think I have messed up my piece anyway. Did just what Mr Nuel said not to do (over worked the brush etc)... sanded but the marks are still showing...

any chance of a quick, idiot friendly breakdown of the pro and cons of oil, vs poly, vs wax?

I am getting tired of poly.
 

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Ug, think I have messed up my piece anyway. Did just what Mr Nuel said not to do (over worked the brush etc)... sanded but the marks are still showing...

any chance of a quick, idiot friendly breakdown of the pro and cons of oil, vs poly, vs wax?

I am getting tired of poly.
Well don't think wax. The finish should cure a month or more before you go near it with wax or polish. It's really not needed on polyurethane. Some finishes that are more porous wax helps moisturize it but poly isn't one of them. It takes a lot of elbow grease but you can get rid of the brush marks. If you get it worked out how to apply the poly without the brush marks you could put one or two more coats on sanding between coats and the finish should level out. You could also use the wipe on poly which is more user friendly but it takes about three coats of it to equal one of the brush on. You would have to limit the sanding between coats to a minimum or you would end up sanding through. Using that you would probably be sanding more off then you would be applying.
 
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