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  • Any good videos for wipe-on poly?

    I recently decided to get serious about how to apply wipe-on poly.
    (Ok, you are correct, I'd finished a box and the poly finish as applied was too think and a bit uneven)
    (That was water based poly, I've since switched to oil poly)

    So I searched the net for videos and tips about applying wipe-on poly.
    Found a bunch of conflicting advise, including:

    Apply in circles very thinly like a busboy will clean the table - 2 passes, all circles, 30 seconds max.
    Apply always with the grain.
    Pretty much flood the surface.
    Just dampen a t-shirt rag.

    Most guys who demonstrate this only do a piece of the work, so you never get a sense of the working time
    for their technique. I found this Jeff Jewitt video, and he spends a long time working just the one surface,
    and it seems like he knows what he's doing.


    What do you guys do for wipe on poly? Any good videos?

    Thanks in advance!

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  • #2
    Another pretty good video for wipe-on finishing

     

    I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
    "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

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    • #3
      I've used spray, wipe-on, brush-on, etc. Use a rag if you don't want brush marks. Use a foam brush of you don't want brush marks. Do not shake it before use, as you don't want bubbles in it. You can lightly stir it.

      I like poly a lot, as it's so easy to look nice. Something else I've done is to wipe-on over paint. You get a gloss for sure!

      Later,
      Wolf
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Wolf View Post
        I've used spray, wipe-on, brush-on, etc. Use a rag if you don't want brush marks. Use a foam brush of you don't want brush marks. Do not shake it before use, as you don't want bubbles in it. You can lightly stir it.

        I like poly a lot, as it's so easy to look nice. Something else I've done is to wipe-on over paint. You get a gloss for sure!

        Later,
        Wolf

        Thanks Wolf - I'm digging wipe-on because you don't have problems with bubbles or air borne dust.
        But there doesn't seem to be any consensus for how thick to apply it, and how long you can or should work it.

        I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
        "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

        High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
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        • #5
          I've used regular oil based poly diluted 1:1 with mineral spirits (if I remember correctly, don't hold me to that). You want it thin enough that it will self level, and then I don't think the application technique will matter too much. It also dries faster, so several coats which are light in a short time is possible. Be careful of runs though.

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          • #6
            I used a couple of coats of tung oil prior to the applying water based poly satin finish. I let the tung oil dry a day before wiping on the poly. As to how I applied the poly, I simply followed the directions on the can. The tung oil very slightly darkens the wood on birch ply and red oak. I believe I did sand the surface after 2 coats, applied a couple more, sanded before applying the final coat. This worked quite well and the finish is still holding up well after several years. If I were going for a glossy finish I would not use this approach (even with glossy poly), and would use lacquer instead.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by skatz View Post
              I've used regular oil based poly diluted 1:1 with mineral spirits (if I remember correctly, don't hold me to that). You want it thin enough that it will self level, and then I don't think the application technique will matter too much. It also dries faster, so several coats which are light in a short time is possible. Be careful of runs though.

              Yep, everyone says 50% mix of poly and MS.
              for some reason, it doesn't flow off the edge as much as you'd think, but it runs farther when it does.

              I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
              "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

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              • #8
                Originally posted by raiderone View Post
                I used a couple of coats of tung oil prior to the applying water based poly satin finish. I let the tung oil dry a day before wiping on the poly. As to how I applied the poly, I simply followed the directions on the can. The tung oil very slightly darkens the wood on birch ply and red oak. I believe I did sand the surface after 2 coats, applied a couple more, sanded before applying the final coat. This worked quite well and the finish is still holding up well after several years. If I were going for a glossy finish I would not use this approach (even with glossy poly), and would use lacquer instead.

                My last project I made up some DIY tung oil - 1/3 MS, 1/3 poly, and 1/3 BLO - wipe on/off, worked beautifully, and fun to apply to boot.
                A couple of projects I tried to get fancy, and applied the top coat poly with the flat "touchup" pads, but got an uneven surface.
                I think the water-based poly was a bit old (had thickened up), and I was also applying it too thick.

                I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
                "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

                High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
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                • #9
                  If you use poly that's specially intended to be wiped on, then you should shake it thoroughly. OTOH shaking poly that's intended to be applied with a brush will definitely create bubbles. This has been my experience with Minwax polys and in accordance with their instructions.
                  Paul

                  Originally posted by Wolf View Post
                  I've used spray, wipe-on, brush-on, etc. Use a rag if you don't want brush marks. Use a foam brush of you don't want brush marks. Do not shake it before use, as you don't want bubbles in it. You can lightly stir it.

                  I like poly a lot, as it's so easy to look nice. Something else I've done is to wipe-on over paint. You get a gloss for sure!

                  Later,
                  Wolf

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What I do is use regular poly and apply 2 coats with a foam brush, sanding with fine sandpaper after each, then apply 3 coats of wipe-on poly with a wiping cloth in the direction of the grain, "sanding" with plastic "steel wool" in between and after the final coat.
                    Paul

                    Originally posted by donradick View Post


                    Thanks Wolf - I'm digging wipe-on because you don't have problems with bubbles or air borne dust.
                    But there doesn't seem to be any consensus for how thick to apply it, and how long you can or should work it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Paul, I assume you mean "Scotch-Brite sanding pads", when you said plastic steel wool?
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paul K. View Post
                        What I do is use regular poly and apply 2 coats with a foam brush, sanding with fine sandpaper after each, then apply 3 coats of wipe-on poly with a wiping cloth in the direction of the grain, "sanding" with plastic "steel wool" in between and after the final coat.
                        Paul
                        Thanks Paul - I certainly admire your finishes, just a couple of follow up questions if you don't mind.
                        I see what you're doing - the brush on coats are much thicker but tend to have bubbles and dust, so you sand.

                        Doesn't the scotchbrite pads leave some fine scratches on the final coat? Do you wax after that?

                        How thick do you put on the wipe-on?
                        In my limited experience, you can apply like Jeff Jewitt, a pretty thick coat that you work a while and then walk away,
                        or you apply it that thick, then come back around and wipe most of that off, and it dries almost immediately.

                        I suspect you do the second method.
                        I'm just looking for something that's acceptable quality and "foolproof" <hah!>

                        don


                        I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
                        "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

                        High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
                        SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
                        My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

                        Tangband W6-sub

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                        • #13
                          What I have is made by Norton and it's literally labeled as "Steel Wool", but made of plastic, and super fine "0000". I'm pretty sure I got them at Woodcraft.
                          Paul

                          Originally posted by 6thplanet View Post
                          Paul, I assume you mean "Scotch-Brite sanding pads", when you said plastic steel wool?

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                          • #14
                            I use foam brushes for the first two coats making them fairly thick. Once I have a panel covered and while it's still wet, I drag the tip if the brush slowly and lightly from end to end of the panel along its longest dimension with the grain in one stroke, then repeat this as many times as necessary to cover the whole panel by moving the brush over ~1 brush width. I don't get very many bubbles as long as I use quality foam brushes, and I let each coat dry for ~24 hours before sanding. I apply the wipe-on with wiping cloths (and make sure you use quality cloth), applying thin coats just thick enough to cover the whole panel, leaving all of it wet when finished rather than so thin that part of it is already drying significantly. I don't think I'd even want to try to apply thick coats of wipe-on, then wiping some of it off. Oh, before applying a follow-on coat of either kind of poly, after sanding or "sanding", I vacuum off any dust or debris, then wipe it off with a tack cloth. The plastic steel wool I use ends up more like a polishing process; I only "sand" with the grain, not circularly, and there are no visible scratches. One thing that really helps is that I use only satin poly because gloss poly shows imperfections much more easily.
                            Paul

                            Edit: I always brush, wipe and sand with the grain. Sometimes the grain doesn't follow the longest panel dimension, so when I'm applying either type of poly in those cases, the direction would be with the grain even though it may not be the longest dimension.

                            Originally posted by donradick View Post

                            Thanks Paul - I certainly admire your finishes, just a couple of follow up questions if you don't mind.
                            I see what you're doing - the brush on coats are much thicker but tend to have bubbles and dust, so you sand.

                            Doesn't the scotchbrite pads leave some fine scratches on the final coat? Do you wax after that?

                            How thick do you put on the wipe-on?
                            In my limited experience, you can apply like Jeff Jewitt, a pretty thick coat that you work a while and then walk away,
                            or you apply it that thick, then come back around and wipe most of that off, and it dries almost immediately.

                            I suspect you do the second method.
                            I'm just looking for something that's acceptable quality and "foolproof" <hah!>

                            don
                            Last edited by Paul K.; 05-05-2016, 11:00 AM.

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                            • #15
                              The finish process I used on my Solstice speakers was one from a magazine:
                              Boiled linseed oil wiped on with a cotton rag, followed after drying by 2 coats of thinned shellac (I simply used SealCoat, which comes dewaxed and is already thinned enough), followed by very light sanding with 300 grit I think, then 2 coats of wipe on thinned poly (oil based). When that is all dry, 0000 steel wool smooths it out nicely. This is really pretty easy since all of it is put on with rags, dries, quickly, and there isn't much sanding. The steel wool step is also pretty minimal.
                              The author claimed you don't really need to let the linseed oil dry, that it will cure properly under the shellac, so I didn't worry about it, but I think I did the shellac the next day. I haven't waxed these, but I am thinking about it. I was in a hurry to get them finished for the InDIYana meet, and it showed. I did a little more rubbing with the steel wool at home afterwards. You do need to use dewaxed shellac, and a 1.5 lb cut was specified but I just used SealCoat right out of the can, which is a 2 lb cut. All steps were applied with rags.

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