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Old 03-20-2012, 02:12 AM   #1
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Improving my finishing technique


I recently refinished some old barstool tops and some new bare wood cabinets, with 3 layers of miniwax water based poly. It looks okay, but close examination shows tiny scratches and brush marks.
Next time should I do more sanding with 220 sandpaper? Also it seems that when I sand with 220 between coats that leaves scratches too. I bought a high quality brush but I can't seem to avoid leaving slight brush marks.

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Old 03-20-2012, 02:33 AM   #2
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Improving my finishing technique


A natural hair brush, or one made for paints.
What type sander are you using?
Holding it flat, keeping it moving, keep wiping it down as your sanding, do not keep using a sanding disk with a build up on it.
All your trying to do is level of any high spots, not sand off the whole area so it should only take a very short time sanding.

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Old 03-20-2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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Improving my finishing technique


IMHO, getting a really smooth finish with water based is almost impossible, it dries too fast. But it may help with a light sanding after each coat to remove brush marks. Min. #220 or finer, I often use Scotchbrite pads. CLEAN thoroughly after sanding. Spraying eliminates brush marks.
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Old 03-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #4
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Improving my finishing technique


I used one of those power sanders that are square, but I only used it for the rough sand 80 grit. It took awhile with the rough sanding to get rid of all the old stains. The finer sanding with 220 I did with my fingers. Maybe next time I should use the power sander for 220 grit as well?
I'm guessing from what you guys say that the oil based varnish stays wet long enough for small brush marks to flatten out? That stuff sure takes a long time to dry, though.
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:57 AM   #5
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Improving my finishing technique


Just sand with 400 then 600 grit wet sandpaper using some lemon oil. You will get a polished finish that will be very satisfying. I have used water based poly (the two part type) for kitchen cabinets that shine better than a mirror. But these are finished by using polishing compound after sanding one level at a time to a 1500 grit paper.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:57 PM   #6
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Improving my finishing technique


You mentioned using 80 grit and 220 grit. Did you use any 120 or 150 grit? You need to go through these grit steps to get the scratches out before finishing. For sanding between finish coats use 400 grit wet and dry sandpaper only to scuff the surface. I use a touch up and trim roller made by Shur-line to roll out poly. This roller has about 1/8" nap and doesn't create bubbles if you are careful. I use a brush for corners and tight spots, then roll out the big areas. Work quick and don't mess with the poly after it starts tacking up.
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Old 03-21-2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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Improving my finishing technique


You might want to click on the woodworking tab at the top of this forum page. That will take you to the woodworking forum, which has a finishing section. You will get lots of expert advice there.
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Old 04-01-2012, 06:30 PM   #8
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Improving my finishing technique


I've always used steel wool between coats on my refinished furniture and they turned out great. I use 220 between coats, then wipe with tack cloth. Oil based polys are better, as they have a longer wet time. You can also thin out oil based polys with mineral spirits to avoid those lap and brush marks on smaller projects. You can roll it on as well. This I have not tried myself, as the method I suggested always worked fine for me. I've done a large cabinet, a credenza, several small tables, a large claw foot table, a few chairs, etc, and all with excellent results using this method that an "old timer" taught me. He also always told me to never dip a dry brush into your poly. Wet it with mineral spirits, and use a piece of cheese cloth to squeeze to get out excess before dipping into the poly. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-02-2012, 06:30 AM   #9
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I use a foam trim roller with steel wool (0000) wipe down , recoat, repeat. Use a very gentle touch! I only use water base poly as well, along with fast dry as well. Weather can play a big part in the drying time if doing it outdoors as I do due to fumes!

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