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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I have an old 5 ft. dia. oak table top that I so far have been unsuccessful in finishing. I want to use a satin varathane; the problem is that it has a large carved out (or routered) section in the center of the top; the varathane drips into the carved areas and when I try to brush the excess out, it ruins the smooth, with the grain surface I am trying to achieve. I thought about trying to begin at the center with a smaller brush, then working with a larger brush, with the grain to the edge and going around the table in that fashion (instead of going completely across the whole diameter as I did originally). The problem is that when I get around to the beginning point, the varathane there will be more dry. Would it leave an uneven noticeable area where the drier and wetter areas join? Is there any way of solving this dilemma short of having it professionally sprayed? Is there something I could fill the carved out areas with, that I could later remove when the top is dry, to keep the varathane from dripping in? Thank you so much for any help that can be offered. (Photo inserted.)
 

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Welcome to the forum. Years ago varnish took 16 to 24 hrs to dry and this wasn't a problem at least according to my memory. It became a problem with fast drying finishes. Anything I've tried to touch up after a few minutes looked like crap as it showed brush marks. The older, slower drying finishes had time to self level. If you can find one that is hours to dry it might do what you want. Otherwise try wiping on or spray.
 

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Wipe on poly with a number of thin coats. It's relatively fast drying and, using thin coats, would have less of a tendency to run into the grooves. You can make your own by taking regular poly and thinning 50/50 with mineral spirits. There's no rule that it has to be 50/50 but you can start there and adjust. The thicker it is the longer it will take to dry and may run. The thinner it is, more coats will be necessary. This is one of those things that, for your project, may take a little trial and error. Hopefully, not too much error. Let us know what works for your project.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi, thanks so much for your reply. Your suggestion sounds good. I have had trouble lately finding any genuine mineral spirits. Would it matter if it was just regular paint thinner? Have you are anyone had success with that?
 

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Hi, thanks so much for your reply. Your suggestion sounds good. I have had trouble lately finding any genuine mineral spirits. Would it matter if it was just regular paint thinner? Have you are anyone had success with that?
I buy my mineral spirits at Sherwin Williams in a 5 gal barrel which is the cheapest I can find.
 

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Definitely NOT thinners, over many years I've used whatever turpentine I Happened to have and never found a difference.
 

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Mineral spirits and paint thinner are different grades of the same thing. When I worked for an Esso bulk distributor we sold at least 5 different grades of Varsol, which is also the same thing. One of the purest grades was used as dry cleaning fluid. I asked a dry cleaner how he got rid of the smell (of which there was very little in that grade) and he said he threw the clothes in a dryer for a bit and that got rid of it.
 

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Mineral spirits, although a bit more expensive than paint thinner, are more refined, doesn't smell as bad and you may be able to use less as a thinning agent. It's available at any big box, hardware or paint store. When you get a chance, please fill out your profile. By knowing where you're located someone on the forum may have a better suggestion of where to buy. Also, whatever you choose to use, make sure you use it in a well ventilated area.
 
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