Reply by Pete Tevonian

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Posted on Homemade "wiping varnish" remains fragile/soft. Cover with straight varnish?

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Pete Tevonian

78 posts in 2885 days

#1 posted 09-07-2012 05:14 AM

Well, I opted to let the finish sit for a few days to dry more thoroughly. Then I switched to 50/50 blend of P&L 38 Gloss varnish and mineral spirits. I wiped it on and left it. The next day it was dry and shiny. I gave it an extra day to dry and then did another coat. After four wiping coats, my plan was to use automotive polish, but then I saw these sets of super-fine-grit sanding discs from Lee Valley. I ended up buying a couple sets of 8 discs, that include 1200, 1500, 1800, 2200, 3200, 4000, 8000 and 12000 grit. The theory would be to sand the final surface through all 8 grits until eventually you’re more polishing than sanding. I tried them first on the underside of the table top—which had a single coat of BLO, then two coats of de-waxed shallac, and then two wipe-on coats of the 38 gloss varnish.

After the gloss varnish, the surface was pretty smooth and shiny. The 1200 and 1500 grit discs knocked it right down in minutes, but also smoothed out any nibs. Wiping away the residue left behind after each disc, I moved up through the sequence. By 4000 grit, the surface looked dull after polishing, but after a quick wipe down with some t-shirt rags, the shine came up. By 8000 and especially 12000, very little dust was being produced, and the finish was sparkling! Then I flipped the table and did it all again on the top side. The last step was a coat of Rennaisance Wax, to impart the silky feel. As everyone warned, the flaws in my initial sanding are certainly visible, but all in all it looks great. I’ll get pics posted soon.

Thanks to everyone for the time and suggestions.

-- Pete in Wilmette, IL

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