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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been lurking in the DIY Paint and Carpentry chatroom for a while now, renovating a bathroom. I'm to the point of refinishing oak veneer cabinets, and I'm not sure I'm on the right track. I've removed the doors, all the hardware and cleaned them really well. I've sanded one time with an 80 grit s.p. on an orbital sander. Do I always want to go with the grain? Some of the sanded areas are quite different in color, almost as though some of the wood grain is higher. As a result, some of the grain is much lighter. I'm thinking of using a clear satin clear finish because I really like the wood. Anyone have any pearls of wisdom to share?

:eek:
 

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Be careful sanding the vaneer with 80 grit. It will be gone quick. Actually with any grit and an orbital sander you can loose your vaneer if you sand too much. Oak with its open grain is forgiving as far as needing to be sanded a lot. You will always have different levels of grain and therefore color. I prefer oak with its natural color and I would not use lacquer in a bathroom, tends to get white with moisture. Use poly. good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bubbles [formerly refinishing oak veneer]

I followed the directions on the can of the polyurethane, as far as prepping the wood. However, I'm laying down tiny bubbles as I apply the poly. Used a foam applicator, applying in one direction only...should I have used a bristle brush? Is it my technique, or is it supposed to be that way?

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First I have to say I am not the finish guru, but you aren't exactly getting a ton of responses so i'll give it a try. As billy intimated I think 80 grit was too coarse unless you had alot of bult-up paint or other finish on it and then, you should have used a remover, but I am guessing you were down to the wood already when you used the 80. That's what it sounded like.
Did you like the finish you achieved with the bare wood before you applied the poly? I'm guessing those bubbles are going to go away unless it is alreeady dry and they are stil there.
I don't like foam applicators at all. Don't know that's the culprit though.
I would try a high quality china bristle and don't overbrush, but you say you aren't.
Did you use a sanding sealer? Are the cabinets getting direct sunlight when you apply? That can cause bubbles too.
Did you use a solvent prior to brushing and maybe didn't give it enough time to evaporate before apllying finish?

I know I am long on questions and short on answers.
 

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Couple of tips on eliminating the bubbles. DO NOT use a brush. each time you dip the brush you will force those tiny bristles into the poly and force air into it. If you insist on using a brush then thin the poly in a seperate container and brush in one solid motion. Each time you break contact, and re-establish contact your going to force air into the poly. (trick learned from a MASTER furniture builder class I took several years ago)

I know on the floors I have done I have had the most success with a wool applicator. Wash it several times to eliminate any loose fibers. Once that is done, use a large straw, like those with a Big Gulp, and stick it in the can, hold your finger over the top and then pull it out.

Place the end of the straw in the area you want the polly and release the poly by taking your finger off the other end. This helps to eliminate air entrainment. If you have a small can you can pour it on but more often than not that will creat bubbles also. Once the poly is on the item your working on use the wool applicator in one direction and before you know it you will be smiling from your results.

I used this techinique on my living room floor several years ago and it turned out awesome!

Another culpurt of bubbles is stiring too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow, Tex, so many questions. I thought I was using 80 grit at first but it was 120. Then I applied MinWax gel-stain, and the color I chose just enhanced the previous color. It really looked nice before I began to apply the poly that the gel-stain can suggested. I used 240 g sandpaper and wiped the cabinet with mineral spirits. I applied the stuff in the sunlight but it was cool and dry here today [s. Texas]. When I brought the doors inside a while ago, all the little bubbles were gone and there were only 2 or 3 tiny blobs on each door. I'll sand and wipe down again tomorrow and apply a 3rd and probably a 4th coat since the cabinet is a bathroom vanity. I'm keeping my fingers X'd that all will turn out well. Thanks for trying to help out a fellow Texan.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oops, to Kirk, your post came through between the time I read Tex's post and replied to it. Not using a brush and fortunately, this is a very small bathroom vanity. Thanks so much for the advice.

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Sounds like the bubbbles will probably vanish as it cures or at least you can rub them out. I prefer acetone over mineral spirits for prepping the surface. Don't know that it matters but I believe mineral spirits leaves a substantial oily film on wood in comparison.
Another thing I just read in one of my finishing books by Bob Flexner who, is universally acknowledged as being someone who knows what he is talking about, is that his preference for an applicator is a bristle brush a foam brush, so I guess it's up to you what works best for yyou.
Good luck and I hope you'll post some pictures.

Here I added a link which might be helpful in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Is it a special type of acetone? Would it be available at a Home Depot or Lowes?

If I can figure out how to dump the pictures on the memory chip in the digital camera, I will post. Also, I have a project in the wings involving a dining room table with a damaged top. Pictures might help when I post for assistance.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update on Refinishing Oak Veneer Cabinets

Well the bathroom vanity is done, Hubby is very happy with the result and so am I.

I let the poly rest, rather than stir it every time I applied a coat, and the bubbles did disappear as the piece dried.

I applied 4 coats with a foam applicator, sanding with 240g and cleaning with denatured alcohol between coats, which I let dry a good long time. It has a lovely satiny glow and looks terrificly fresh with the new hardware. Probably no one else will ever notice but we will and we will enjoy it every time we go in there.

The better news is I have the same type cabinets in the guest bath and the kitchen and now I have all this advice and experience to get me through those project soo.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to offer advice. :icon_biggrin:
 
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