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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to speed up and/or make easier the process in which I finish multiple and similar projects. I have had success sanding to 220 and using Minwax indoor/outdoor Helmsman Spar Urethane diluted 50% with mineral spirits. I sand between each coat using 500 grit or steel wool. It takes me anywhere between 6-10 coats to achieve a glass like finish. 6-10 coats takes a lot of time. I purchased a spray can of the same finish. I am wondering if I can apply multiple coats of the spray and finally sand with steel wool before applying my diluted mix and achieve the same results?

Maybe there is a better way entirely that I can achieve a high gloss finish that is resistant to moisture and temperature changes. It currently takes several days or more to get my desired results. I am looking for a time saving/easier shortcut to get the same results. Any advise is welcome.
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I use wiping varnish quite a bit, dilute the varnish 50/50 with MS and that's what you have. As a rule, it;s generally accepted that 3 coats of that diluent equals about 1 brushed coat.....so I'm guessing your build is to about the 3 coat level, and pretty normal. You can change your approach. With wiping varnish I'll apply it in sets of 3 coats, apply the next one once the first is dry to the touch. Let it sit overnight, then repeat. I'm not sure that will speed things up for you, though. The spray, which will be the same highly diluted product, may not build any faster, though you might be able to recoat more quickly. As much as I love varnish as a finish, it does take time to dry. I wonder if you'd get the appearance you want starting with shellac, then topcoating with varnish.
 

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The experience I've had with the Helmsman spar is it takes a lot longer to dry if you thin it. Even though, it's winter now and you have to expect a varnish to take longer to dry. Then if you rush it, it may take a lot longer for the project to be usable as the first coats wouldn't be completely dry and still soft under your finished coat. The most I would do is use a japan dryer.
 

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What are you finishing? Spars aren't the best finish for interior use. They can take weeks to cure, and never get hard. If you applied it heavy, it will take even longer.

A gloss oil base polyurethane would be a good topcoat. You can get a good build with it, but you can't rush the process. If you can spray, you could use a waterbased polyurethane designed for flooring. If you experiment, a polyester lacquer would be very durable.






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Discussion Starter #7
I am finishing mugs. I have been making these for awhile now and found some success selling them locally. More recently they have caught the attention of consignment stores and tourist shops in a larger area than just locally. Their busy season is fast approaching and I have been asked how quickly I can craft the mugs.
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I can easily make and sand about 25 of these a day but the finishing process I have found to produce good results takes many days. The insides are finished with two coats of epoxy. It's the outsides that are the 'bottle-neck' of the operation if I ever hope to keep up with the rate that I can make them and the quantity that the shops are hoping to have in stock.

I am no expert on finishes and I use the Minwax indoor/outdoor spar urethane because the outside of the mugs need to be water/moisture resistant and also indifferent to temperature changes. Perhaps there are other products that can achieve the same results in shorter time?

Currently I individually finish each one with a foam brush and sand in-between coats. It takes me 6-10 coats to get the desired finish. I was wondering if I stood them all up on a large table and applied several coats of the spray version (because it's quicker, dries faster, and applies evenly), and then sanded before applying a final coat of the 50/50 mix I have been using...if it would be quicker.

I wanted to ask on the forum before I tried a different approach.
 

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For that type production you just need a different finish then the Minwax. I would switch to conversion varnish. It is a harder finish that would work almost like lacquer. It does need to be sprayed though.
 
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