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Old 04-14-2011, 08:37 PM   #1
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


I have never done finishing of this scale. I have two new pre-hung 6 panel pine doors. I sanded them prior to staining and used Cabot stain. Prior to putting on Minwax satin poly, I cleaned off the doors with mineral spirits(recommended by minwax). I put the poly on with the door layed across two sawhorses.

After applying the first and second coats of poly, little circles appeared on the door. Some in clusters of 4 or 5, some just one here, one there. They are all the same size...about the size of a nail or screw head. You cannot see them when look directly at the door. They are only noticeable when looking at the door at an angle and some form of light is reflecting off the door.

They weren't there before the poly and only appear after it is dried. Anyone know what I am doing wrong. Nobody will probably ever notice, but it is driving me crazy.

Thanks in advance for any help.

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Last edited by ken1234; 04-14-2011 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:08 PM   #2
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


Can you post a photo?

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:08 PM   #3
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


I'm not familiar with Cabot stains---(except for deck stains) --Was the Cabot stain a deck stain?

The reason I ask is this----those 'bulls eyes' are usually caused by wax/oils/contaminates on the surface of the wood---causing the finish to shrink away from the contamination.

A deck stain is loaded with oils (a finish for the deck) which is not compatible with Poly.--mike---
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:14 PM   #4
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


Did you roll the poly on? Rolling poly will cause air bubbles and shaking the can of poly instead of stirring it will also cause bubbles.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:17 PM   #5
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


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Originally Posted by housepaintingny View Post
Did you roll the poly on? Rolling poly will cause air bubbles and shaking the can of poly instead of stirring it will also cause bubbles.
The cabot stain is an interior stain. I brushed the poly on. I was told that sometimes a tack cloth can leave a residue on the wood which is why I used minerals spirits and a tshirt to clean off the door after any sanding.

To the earlier poster, it would be hard to photograph since you can only see it at an angle with light reflecting off of it. I also stirred the poly just enough to dissolve the substance at the bottom which is a used by minwax to give it a satin finish.

Last edited by ken1234; 04-14-2011 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:21 PM   #6
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


One other thing, when I stained and poly'ed the door jambs in place, I didn't notice these circles/rings at all. I even went back and checked earlier tonight.
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:30 PM   #7
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


Perhaps it was not stirred enough?

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Old 04-14-2011, 09:34 PM   #8
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


There may have been a bit of oil or other contaminate on the surface that you missed---

Most 6 panel doors are actually a vernier over solid woods-sometimes a bit of stray glue or oil ends up on the surface---

Lightly sand the poly before the next coat ---use a tack cloth( I do any ways) then add your next coat---I think you will be fine.----Mike----
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:46 PM   #9
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


Here is a pic I took. You can see the circles/rings above the large glare spot. There is a cluster of 5 of them. They are not white in color. That is just from the glare.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:52 AM   #10
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


did you clean the door before and after sanding. you should clean before sanding to avoid pushing any contaminates deeper into the surface of the wood. after sanding you should wipe the suface down with your solvent a couple of times using new rags each time also follow your recoat times to avoid any solvent intrapment or fisheyes from the fist coat gassing out as it cures.
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:35 AM   #11
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


If that is the extent of the problem (pictured), the problem is local to that spot. If it was any other reason, recoating too soon, cleaning issues, etc, the problem would be more universal. You said some here, some there. What does that mean? Is it both doors? Is it latex/oil poly? You're working flat on sawhorses, are they sweat drops? Could they be drops of thinner that laid on the poly and clouded, what you may be seeing my be on the first coat. I just finished ten door sides with minwax stain and mw latex satin poly yesterday. Didn't have any problems. The only time I used thinner was to remove handprints/oils prior to staining and clean stain/pre-conditioner off the hinges between poly coats. IMO, I'd be hesitant to use thinner between coats of latex poly. I sanded lightly with 220 and dusted them off. Came out smooth as a baby's bum.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:44 PM   #12
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


They almost look like finger-spots...?!!??

Maybe if the door was handled there AFTER wiping with thinner, but B4 applying the Poly?

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Old 04-19-2011, 08:54 AM   #13
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


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Originally Posted by jsheridan View Post
If that is the extent of the problem (pictured), the problem is local to that spot. If it was any other reason, recoating too soon, cleaning issues, etc, the problem would be more universal. You said some here, some there. What does that mean? Is it both doors? Is it latex/oil poly? You're working flat on sawhorses, are they sweat drops? Could they be drops of thinner that laid on the poly and clouded, what you may be seeing my be on the first coat. I just finished ten door sides with minwax stain and mw latex satin poly yesterday. Didn't have any problems. The only time I used thinner was to remove handprints/oils prior to staining and clean stain/pre-conditioner off the hinges between poly coats. IMO, I'd be hesitant to use thinner between coats of latex poly. I sanded lightly with 220 and dusted them off. Came out smooth as a baby's bum.
Spots like this were on both doors/both sides. Some in clusters, some just one spot here or there. It is oil poly. Recoating at least 24 hours.


Dusted the doors with what?
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:00 AM   #14
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


Nononono, he said he lightly sanded and dusted them OFF prior to painting.....
...unless you are asking what he used to dust them WITH?

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Old 04-19-2011, 12:27 PM   #15
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Problem with poly finish on new doors


Thanks DM,
Ken, I used the typical painter's duster, a retired paint brush with the handle cut off for a back pocket fit. I generally don't like the idea of introducing any solvent to a surface between coats of finish, even water. Reason being that even though the surface is dry to recoat, the coating is not cured and could be reactivated. The second coat reactivates it but it's apples to apples. Dusting off a vertical when recoating is more than adequate in my book, and the only time I do a tack process is on furniture grade horizontals, like built-ins, or knee wall tops, etc.
The only thing I know from my experience that clouds clear finishes is humidity (moisture), temp drops?, or possibly recoating too soon, that's why I asked if that could be sweat drops or splashes of thinner. Trapped moisture.
I would call the Minwax tech department, quizz them and find what they recommend as a solution. Good Luck.

Edit: When you run your finger across them is there any roughness, texture?

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Last edited by jsheridan; 04-19-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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