Finishing is finishing me off - Router Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Default Finishing is finishing me off

I'll begin by apologizing for the long post. This is actually the short version.

Iím having a finishing problem that I just canít seem to solve. I asked some questions about finishing a walnut coffee table last fall. Shortly after those postings I developed a severe case of Sciatica and was operated on in February. Itís been a long recovery but Iím finally back in the shop and trying to finish the coffee table top that I built last year.

My question, now in desperation, is how to proceed. In the two pictures you can see the unevenness of the finish when viewed under a raking light along the grain then the beautiful appearance when viewed under normal light across the grain.

Iím using Zar poly cut 50/50 with mineral spirits. I donít know if thatís the right thing to do since Iím in Florida and the temp in my garage is mid to high 80ís when I apply the finish in the AM and it hit 90+ in the afternoon. Iím cutting it to make it a wiping poly and so that it dries faster and collects less dust. On the other hand I want to give it enough time to level and pop any bubbles. I donít know if thatís the right way to do it.
Due to too many attempts to mention, Iíll just go over the last one which leads to the pictures. The Poly skinned over in the can even though I was using Bloxygen. I punched through the skin and ran a spoonful through cheese cloth. I then cut it with mineral spirits and applied it with a lambís wool applicator that I wrapped in a lint free paper towel to keep the wool from shedding into the finish. I ended up with a lot, and I mean a lot, of tiny nubs all over the table. I tried to take them down by using a 3M ďBetween CoatsĒ finishing pad with my ROS. It wasnít doing a great job so I used some 800 grit sandpaper which I believe is about the same grit as the sanding pad. Anyway, the result is what you see in the pictures. It is smooth as a babyís butt, but doesnít look good in a raking light. I did order a new can of Zar poly which will arrive next week.

Back to my question, how to proceed.

Do I need to do more sanding to the table top or will the next couple of coats of poly eliminate the blotches? Iím afraid to sand too much because, even with a high grit, I can sand down to the bare wood. I had 5 thinned coats on it before I started with the scotch brite pad and sandpaper.
Am I using the right ration of poly to mineral spirits based on the temperature? Should I be using more or less mineral spirits?

Am I applying the poly the best way? The paper towel around the lambís wool pad has made for a smoother application than a just a paper towel or a cloth.

So far, Iíve been playing around with this for a month, trying different approaches and Iíve already sanded back down to the bare wood and started over. Any suggestions will be gratefully accepted since this finishing job has me just about finished.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 11:26 AM
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How many times do you expect people will be looking at it under a "raking" light? Sometimes close enough is good enough. You could always paint it.

I've got a small cherry wood bookcase I made in about 1953/4. Pretty sure the finish was varnish. It has held up beautifully.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 12:17 PM
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Barry, what I would do with that beautiful table is let it set a few days til the finish cures a little. Then get the set of Micromesh ROS pads and start with the 3000 grit and work up to the 12000 grit. You will be pleased with the "Porsche Fender" that you can see your face in and feels like a Steinway Piano. Follow with some Lundmark Carnuba Paste wax and buff out

https://www.amazon.com/Micro-Mesh-5-.../dp/B003CLTREE

https://www.amazon.com/Lundmark-Wax-.../dp/B000BYAQC2

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 01:22 PM
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What Herb said. You're probably spot on with the heat and humidity being a problem. But I agree that getting back to the finish too early in the cure is causing more problems.
A very light sanding to remove any dust specks, between coats, and then recoat.
In theory at least, sanding is removing the high spots and recoating is filling in the low spots, until it's all dead flat.
Check with the manufacture to see if they have any recommendations to extend the time allowable for the finish to self level!
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 04:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaninVan View Post
What Herb said. You're probably spot on with the heat and humidity being a problem. But I agree that getting back to the finish too early in the cure is causing more problems.
A very light sanding to remove any dust specks, between coats, and then recoat.
In theory at least, sanding is removing the high spots and recoating is filling in the low spots, until it's all dead flat.
Check with the manufacture to see if they have any recommendations to extend the time allowable for the finish to self level!
I have noticed that finishes tend to shrink as they cure and turn hard, this seems to also flatten out the surface.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 11:43 PM
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I used to use 'Floetrol' as an additive, when I was contracting. I quite liked it.
https://www.flood.com/products/paint...paint-additive
Worth trying a test piece to see how well it works with poly.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 12:23 AM
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I have similar problems in temps over 80f. My summer weather is slightly hotter than Florida.
If I really need to complete the finish on a box in those temps, I put all the makings and the item in an air con room over night, set to 70f or less. Those 10 degrees make the difference between success and disaster.

Also, getting the stuff out of the workshop gets rid of all the floating dust that settles.

If you havent done much wipe on poly then the first coat should be very thin, wipe on, then with with a dry piece of cloth wipe off all excess. 24 hours to dry before repeating. If youre after a deep shine, 3 coats will work wonders.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 12:54 AM
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I never used to have problems with finishes until they starting making the quick dry stuff. I recently painted a night stand I made for my wife with paint I got from Benjamin Moore that had a 16 hour drying time and it turned out beautifully even though I came pretty close to getting runs in a few places when I sprayed it on. The slow drying time allows the paint to self level, something the quick dry stuff doesn't allow for as well.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 02:36 AM
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Strange coincidence. Our house here in Cyprus was painted from new with Benjamin Moore paint. Its an excellent product, we've had it repainted with the same and the decorator was amazed how well it spread and covered.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-09-2019, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnybob View Post
I have similar problems in temps over 80f. My summer weather is slightly hotter than Florida.
If I really need to complete the finish on a box in those temps, I put all the makings and the item in an air con room over night, set to 70f or less. Those 10 degrees make the difference between success and disaster.

Also, getting the stuff out of the workshop gets rid of all the floating dust that settles.

If you haven't done much wipe on poly then the first coat should be very thin, wipe on, then with with a dry piece of cloth wipe off all excess. 24 hours to dry before repeating. If you're after a deep shine, 3 coats will work wonders.
Is it the heat or humidity that is the problem? I would be very suspect of high humidity slowing the curing process down substantially. The A/C lowers the temperature by removing the humidity. Of course A/C works a bit easier in places like Arizona.
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