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Discussion Starter #1
I'm finishing a mahogany dresser and have started to use wipe on poly (glossy). The directions state three coats.

Well.... i'm at three coats and it looks bad - looks like I would expect after the first coat of brush on poly... glossy on the natural contours of the grain (this is African mahogany) and matte on the low points. It looks like there just isn't enough product on the surface of the wood.

The first two coats went on so thin that I couldn't use sandpaper to scuff as color would show up on the sandpaper so I used some steel wool.

Do I have to build many coats with wipe on or am I doing something wrong? I hate to deviate from the instructions but 3 coats seems like far too few.

steps to this point.
strip, sand 100,150,220, raise grain, 220, water trans tint, poly

Thanks,
Brian
 

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That certainly doesn't seem like enough coats to me as well. I normally consider 3 coats of wiping varnish equal to about 1 coat brushed on. I typically apply it in sets of 3, let it dry overnight, then 3 more and so on. With wiping varnish, scuffing between coats of a set isn't really needed. But between sets (if it's a urethane product) is a good thing.
 

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Much of the problem you are having is the african mahogany. It absorbs more of the finish then if you were doing pine and needs more coats. The manufacture can only give recommendations on the average use. From where you are if you got the same brand poly in a brush on version and put a coat or two of that on with a soft brush, then you could sand it and finish the job with the wipe on.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the tips guys. I picked up some brush on poly and will hit it with wipe on for the final coat or two. I'll do the dresser top wipe on only for the heck of it - i'm at 5 coats now and the finish is just starting to build.

I would have gone through 2-3 bottles of minwax wipe on for the small dresser at the wipe on only rate.

The gloss sure does make the African mahogany pop!
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #7
JJRBUS - I read that whole thread and while I am sure there is tonsw of good info there, it's a bit over my head.
DST - I actually used a maroon scotch brite pad based on a tip.

Overall I am close to being finished. The mahogany sure did suck up the poly. I have found that wipe on Poly (at least the stuff I bought from Minwax) is so thin that two coats are needed to cover up a final scuff sand. A first application of wipe on (per the thread from JJRBUS) for maximum penetration, followed by one or two brush on coats, followed by two wipe on coats seems to be the way to go for a straightforward poly finish.

Will post pictures as I finish up over the next week.

Thanks,
Brian
 

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monty - just a tip for the future. The poly sold in containers as wipe on poly is the same as the brush on poly, only it's already thinned down and more expensive.

You can take the brush on poly, thin with mineral spirits and make your own to your desired consistency. Mix it in a separate container and thin until you get a thickness that works for you. Be sure to measure the volume of each so you'll know in the future how much to use.
 

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That certainly doesn't seem like enough coats to me as well. I normally consider 3 coats of wiping varnish equal to about 1 coat brushed on. I typically apply it in sets of 3, let it dry overnight, then 3 more and so on. With wiping varnish, scuffing between coats of a set isn't really needed. But between sets (if it's a urethane product) is a good thing.
Fred, it would be very helpful to me if you could elaborate on your comments about applying wiping varnish in sets of 3.

I use home-made wipe on poly (MinWax Poly diluted 50% with mineral spirits) all the time. But I sand and rub down with denatured alcohol between each coat. Since I put a minimum of 6 coats on a piece this takes me quite a long time. The MinWax web site would suggest that what I am doing is required for each coat.

If I could eliminate some steps this would be terrific. Do you do a set of 3 coats in one day? Drying would be an issue in my mind.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

Gary
 

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Fred, it would be very helpful to me if you could elaborate on your comments about applying wiping varnish in sets of 3.

I use home-made wipe on poly (MinWax Poly diluted 50% with mineral spirits) all the time. But I sand and rub down with denatured alcohol between each coat. Since I put a minimum of 6 coats on a piece this takes me quite a long time. The MinWax web site would suggest that what I am doing is required for each coat.

If I could eliminate some steps this would be terrific. Do you do a set of 3 coats in one day? Drying would be an issue in my mind.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

Gary
Hey Gary, the way I read it is you start off on day one and wipe on three coats. Then on day two you sand the finish with 220 or finer paper and do three more coats. Then if the finish isn't thick enough on day three you sand it and do three more coats. You only sand it at the beginning when the finish is hard enough to withstand sanding and not gum up on the paper. He left out the drying time between the wipe on coats but it's probably about 2 1/2 hours in warm weather so you could do three coats in a eight hour day.
 

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Hey Gary, the way I read it is you start off on day one and wipe on three coats. Then on day two you sand the finish with 220 or finer paper and do three more coats. Then if the finish isn't thick enough on day three you sand it and do three more coats. You only sand it at the beginning when the finish is hard enough to withstand sanding and not gum up on the paper. He left out the drying time between the wipe on coats but it's probably about 2 1/2 hours in warm weather so you could do three coats in a eight hour day.
Steve some good feedback and interpretation. I am still hoping Fred will comment because most of what I have read says that sanding between each coat is required. I really would like to understand his logic for not having to do that.

I suspect you use lacquer most of the time which of course eliminates the sanding step. I don't have any spray capability or good brushing skills. I have never been able to find anything about wiping on lacquer.

Gary
 

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Steve some good feedback and interpretation. I am still hoping Fred will comment because most of what I have read says that sanding between each coat is required. I really would like to understand his logic for not having to do that.

I suspect you use lacquer most of the time which of course eliminates the sanding step. I don't have any spray capability or good brushing skills. I have never been able to find anything about wiping on lacquer.

Gary
I think it would work to omit the sanding step because at that stage the finish wouldn't be hard yet and it would bond chemically.

I think you need to get the equipment to spray. Once you do you will wonder how in the H you ever lived without it. Even using oil based poly is easier sprayed.
 

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Steve some good feedback and interpretation. I am still hoping Fred will comment because most of what I have read says that sanding between each coat is required. I really would like to understand his logic for not having to do that.

I suspect you use lacquer most of the time which of course eliminates the sanding step. I don't have any spray capability or good brushing skills. I have never been able to find anything about wiping on lacquer.

Gary
This article describes how to wipe on coats without sanding....


http://www.hardwoodlumberandmore.co...age/tabid/75/ArticleId/5/Wipe-on-Varnish.aspx
 

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It was a nice article but it was about wiping varnish which adheres a great deal better than wiping polyurethane. Polyurethane you have to work at it more for it to adhere.
I always thought Polyurethane was short for Polyurethane Varnish....
 

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I always thought Polyurethane was short for Polyurethane Varnish....
They do some funny things with wording on products that keep everyone confused. A varnish is made from pine resins where polyurethane is made with urethane resins which makes it more of a plastic than a varnish but both have linseed oil in them and are similar and I've seen cans labeled polyurethane varnish but they are different finishes.

I inherited a oak table from an aunt that probably had 30 coats of varnish on it which were adhered very well. and I know she didn't know anything about finishing or did any between the coats sanding. Every few years when the finish got to looking bad she would drag the table out on her back porch and put a coat of varnish on it. She had the table from 1900 to about 1975 so the table got a lot of coats.
 

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They do some funny things with wording on products that keep everyone confused. A varnish is made from pine resins where polyurethane is made with urethane resins which makes it more of a plastic than a varnish but both have linseed oil in them and are similar and I've seen cans labeled polyurethane varnish but they are different finishes.

I inherited a oak table from an aunt that probably had 30 coats of varnish on it which were adhered very well. and I know she didn't know anything about finishing or did any between the coats sanding. Every few years when the finish got to looking bad she would drag the table out on her back porch and put a coat of varnish on it. She had the table from 1900 to about 1975 so the table got a lot of coats.

It seems some use the word varnish more generically:

“What is Wiping Varnish?
Wiping varnish is simply common oil-based varnish (any type, including alkyd varnish, polyurethane varnish or spar varnish) that is thinned enough with mineral spirits (paint thinner) so it is easy to wipe on wood. You can easily make your own.”

From
http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/finishing/the_basics_of_wiping_varnish2
 

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It seems some use the word varnish more generically:

“What is Wiping Varnish?
Wiping varnish is simply common oil-based varnish (any type, including alkyd varnish, polyurethane varnish or spar varnish) that is thinned enough with mineral spirits (paint thinner) so it is easy to wipe on wood. You can easily make your own.”

From
[URL="http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/finishing/the_basics_of_wiping_varnish2"]http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/finishing/the_basics_of_wiping_varnish2[/URL]
Yea, I hate it. I don't want to be a chemist with this stuff. I'm more concerned with the application of these products then what is in it. I wish they would give them completely different names. I think it would be simpler for everyone.
 
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