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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I should probably put this in the "Lack of Finishing Touch" column, but had a strange one happen yesterday and not sure what, if anything, I should do.
I had stained a nicely figured piece of oak (heavy dark rings in the grain - dramatic) to use for a threshold 2 days ago - Friday I believe it was. Sunday afternoon I put on the first coat of poly - using oil based Defthane - when I looked at it last night, it had started bleeding and bubbling up through the grain of those heavy rings - looked like stain coming up, although after 2 days it should have been plenty dry.
I haven't had this happen before - do I just wait, let it bleed, re-sand and start with the poly again? - toss it and start with a new but less heavily figured board - or is there something else I should do?
 

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If it is red oak this phenomina is caused by the grain structure,picture a group of soda straws standing on end. The easiest solution for next time is use dye and lose the polyurethane varnish. To repair this problem continue to wipe off any stain you can and when it stops(the straws are empty) you will have to scrape or sand the dried material off. If you use pigment stain ,use sparingly and wipe off excess immediately and continue to check and wipe off the bleed-back for the next several hours. If you want to amuse some kids put some liquid dishwashing soap on the end grain of a piece of red oak,blow through the other end and watch the bubbles form.
Regards
Jerru
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Jerry, you continue to amaze me with your knowledge - it WAS red oak - I'd never heard of that before. I suppose I'll let it bleed till it quits and then scrape, sand and reseal as you suggested - no more stain is needed - the color is about what I wanted anyway - it's just a little ugly at the moment!
If I shouldn't use an oil poly on this type of wood, what would you suggest for a good finish that will stand up to some periodic moisture - this is for the inside threshold of an exterior door and it's gonna get some moisture on it occasionaly.
Thanks Jerry.

P.S. - I'll have to try the soap bubble routine!

jerrymayfield said:
I probably should have added this is only true with Red oak. Not white.

Regards
Jerry
 

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Any good quality varnish will offer the same moisture resistance as polyurethane varnish,without its shortcomings. Two that I like on oak are waterlox original gloss and rockhard by Behlen,both are phenolic resin tung oil varnishes. Please don't throw away the beautiful lumber.

Good Luck

Jerry
 

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We don't use oak for flute making because of this "soda straws" construction. :) You can't put the finish on until you tune it. And you can't get the darn thing in tune because it leaks air like a sieve. Some guys have the patience and actually seal it, tune it, then sand off the finish, do whatever wood burning they want to do and then stick it in a dip tank of varnish to coat it inside and out. They let oak soak in the varnish for hours and some have elaborate rotisseries to slowly turn the flute as it dries.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Just a follow up - I'm LIKIN' the varnish and I believe the piece has been rescued - thanks for the help!! Wish I'd used varnish instead of poly before on some other stuff. It just has a warmer look to it.
Question - is it cool to thin it maybe with mineral spirits to get lighter coats and a little quicker dry time? This one is actualy a gloss spar varnish - maybe a little overkill but concerned about water resistance.
Never mind - just found the post on thinning - think I'll try it.
 

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Spar varnish is not a good choice fo indoor projects, (spar varnish from the big box stores isn't a good choice for anything.) it is a long oil varnish(less resin) originally made for spars-masts- to allow for their movement. Sometime in the future if you decide to renew the finish use indoor varnish. Thin YES see thinning varnish 12/18/05 this forum for my feelings on thinning. If you don't mind please post a picture of the finished sill when completed. Enjoy the experience.

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Da !*&#@ it - was afraid I was being too adventurous without checking with you first - says it's good for indoor or out - well, we'll see I guess - still nicer than the poly - stuffs a little smelly - could have sworn I saw Elvis! (Kidding - had windows open).
Will do on the picture although it won't be too exciting I don't suppose - thanks again!
 

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The spar varnish will look alright,just doesn't wear as well or as long (indoors). Depending on the varnish i thin the first coat 10-50%,after that about 10%. None of these figures are cast in concrete. Enjoy the journey.

Regards
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well Jerry, I said I'd post a pic or two - not very exciting stuff and not used to the digital camera I borrowed, but for what it's worth ... they didn't turn out too bad in real life - was afraid I'd have to toss them at first, so thanks for your help. I learned a lot - both what and what not to do.

(Sorry, just checked and those are looking pretty fuzzy)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, some pretty exciting photos there, what?! but thanks - it's odd shaped that way 'cause of an adjoining door on one side so I made it symetrical on the other - wasn't sure what else to do! All the router work is underneath to fit over a lip and into a slot - other than the simple roundover edge. I'm rapidly becoming a varnish fan!
 
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