Polyurethane botch

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Forum topic by Vindog posted 07-24-2015 03:42 PM 577 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 457 days

07-24-2015 03:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: polyurethane botched danish oil question

Hello. So i am super new to woodworking and started a small project to refurbish a nice Ethan Allen Coffee Table that was abused. I stripped the old poly/stain that was on there and sanded it down to fresh wood (over a few days). I used 4 or 5 coats of Dark Walnut Danish oil and it looked fantastic. So i decided to use polyurethane to seal it and protect it (not sure if that was a good idea). I used water based poly, applied the first coat (looked terrible), sanded with 400 then applied second coat (still terrible), sanded again and applied 3rd coat (better but still had some brush marks and bubbles). Honestly, it just looks bad.

So my question is. Is this fixable? If so, how? I was thinking maybe re-stripping and starting from scratch. But would hate to go through that again. Any ideas?

Thanks alot.

5 replies so far

View pjones46's profile


986 posts in 2062 days

#1 posted 07-24-2015 04:40 PM

First mistake was using waterborne poly, should have over coated with dewaxed shellac prior to using waterborne poly. Some are excellent others are not good, much like a crap shoot. Some pictures would be helpful along with brand of the waterborne poly.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View Lifesaver2000's profile


541 posts in 2531 days

#2 posted 07-24-2015 05:39 PM

I have used water-borne polyurethane (Sherwin-Williams brand) over dark walnut danish oil several times with great results, but I let the oil cure a minimum of a week before applying the poly. Oldest item is approaching 4 years old now and still look as good as new.

How long did you wait between the Danish oil and the poly?

View BurlyBob's profile


3456 posts in 1684 days

#3 posted 07-24-2015 05:49 PM

I’ve Danish oil and oil based poly a lot. But like the other guys have said you got to let it dry, really dry. Right now I’m spraying a water based poly on Danish Oil. I’ve let the doors dry well over a week. It is doing just fine.

View barada83's profile


76 posts in 605 days

#4 posted 07-24-2015 06:56 PM

Can you define bad? I’m not sure if you are having a reaction to the water based solution or just the brush marks that I get when I do finishing. If the former, I would start over. Sand down the poly until the point at which you start getting the wood and then let it sit for a few weeks. If you can’t smell it with your nose on it, you should e ok to go. Then finish as usual. If the latter, I recommend the most expensive synthetic brush you can get. Then put in on smooth and let it sit. Playing with it too much after application always messes things up. After 3-5 coats for your top and 2-3 on other surfaces, start sanding down the finish. At next from last coat, ensure you have a perfectly flat surface from sanding to make things easier. After the final coat is applied, let it dry a week. Then get your sanding block. Start at a 220 grit and lightly sand the surface. The point of this is to take out the brush marks and slight imperfections and nothing else. Go from there to 400, then 600, then 800, then 1000, then 2000. After you are there you need some auto rubbing compound. I use meguiers. Rub it out to the highest sheen, it will look like glass. To degloss to satin, use very fine steel wool for a great finish. For a semi gloss, stop early with the compound before you hit gloss.

Be sure to use a sanding block. Use wet sandpaper with a bucket of water with some dish soap in it- like a drop of soap to 1 qt water. The greatest danger you have is sanding through the final finish. If this happens, then recoat or live with it. Highly polished witness lines haven’t given me too much trouble.

-- Mike

View daddywoofdawg's profile


1006 posts in 994 days

#5 posted 07-24-2015 07:14 PM

And make yourself a tack rag you can google how.If the surface is dust free you will never get a nice surface.the other thing oil and water don’t mix,some have luck using that but I would use oil and oil or water and water.If your getting a white haze there is wax or moisture on the surface.(oil based).brushing on a poly don’t go back and forth with the brush,go one direction only all the way to the edge,pick up the brush go to the start and do the next stroke over lapping about a 1/3.

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