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Applying Arm-R-Seal to large desk top

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Forum topic by Googlebutt posted 10-05-2015 03:05 PM 765 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Googlebutt

7 posts in 432 days


10-05-2015 03:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: arm-r-seal finishing bamboo plywood bamboo plywood how to

Hello all,

I’m about to take on my first real finishing, a 30×72” 3/4” thick bamboo plywood desktop. I’ve sanded both sides to 220 and I’m about ready to start applying my finish. My plan is to build with Arm-R-Seal glossy and finish with a few coats of the satin.

I’ve seen conflicting opinions on how Arm-R-Seal should be applied. Should I apply an overlapping circular style (like a bus boy cleaning a table) or in straight, with the grain passes? I have blue shop paper towels and cotton rags at my disposal. I plan on diluting the Arm-R-Seal with 15-20% mineral spirits to give me a little more working time since the piece is so large.

Here’s the desktop (with drying mineral spirits!)


20 replies so far

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Rick M

7932 posts in 1846 days


#1 posted 10-05-2015 05:34 PM

Wiping off a pore filler is the only situation that comes to mind where you go against the grain. Go with the grain.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Googlebutt

7 posts in 432 days


#2 posted 10-05-2015 05:36 PM

I applied the first coat last night using a circular motion and it looks noticeabley uneven, thicker in some spots. I’m going to sand the nibs off and attempt to “reset” the finish with straight passes of slightly thinned finish. Unfortunate, buy a learning experience.

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CharlesA

3025 posts in 1264 days


#3 posted 10-05-2015 05:49 PM

First thing: don’t try to fix Arm-R-Seal coat by coat. The point of it is that it will fix itself over multiple coats. Yes, you sand lightly with 400 or so between coats, but don’t try to fix when applying or with sandpaper. About coat 4 you’ll start saying—”oh, looks good!”

I use this technique that works well for me: get a clean cotton rag and fold into a small pad. Get it damp with mineral spirits. Dip it into arm-r-seal and apply it in long passes along the grain. Just apply, let it dry, scuff sand, apply again. Don’t sweat the looks until several applications, and all of a sudden, you’ll be happy.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Googlebutt

7 posts in 432 days


#4 posted 10-05-2015 05:56 PM

So this is nothing to freak out about (about 12 hours of drying)? http://imgur.com/3EOSIZm

I used a blue shop paper towel to apply, I think I’m going to take your advice and use a cotton rag instead. I’m thinking that I was wrong to use the circular motion that I did.

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CharlesA

3025 posts in 1264 days


#5 posted 10-05-2015 06:09 PM

Is it uneven feeling or just uneven looking? It does look like you didn’t get finish all over the board, but if it is not particularly uneven feeling, I’d go ahead and keep adding coats. Once you get the hang of it, arm-r-seal is really easy.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Googlebutt

7 posts in 432 days


#6 posted 10-05-2015 06:14 PM

I’m pretty sure I got finish all over the board, but maybe it’s thicker where I stopped to reload the pad? I didn’t go back over it at all after the initial application because it had already started setting up.

When I run my hand over the board, I feel my fingers drag a little over those glossier areas, no ridges or anything like that. It definitely doesn’t feel uniform in regard to the friction I feel, not really sure what I’m looking for though.

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CharlesA

3025 posts in 1264 days


#7 posted 10-05-2015 06:16 PM

I’d definitely then scuff sand and apply another coat.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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CharlesA

3025 posts in 1264 days


#8 posted 10-05-2015 06:20 PM

Oh, and when I do a big flat surface like that, I get low to the surface so I can see the finish as it is applied so I can see if I’m running dry on the passes, if that makes sense. Af a low angle I can see the shine of where it is applied and where it hasn’t.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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Googlebutt

7 posts in 432 days


#9 posted 10-05-2015 06:28 PM

I have 400 grit here, scuff sanding is essentially sanding with no pressure at all, correct? Just want to make sure I don’t over sand. If you do find yourself running drying on a pass, do you reload and go back over that same area? And would you use straight passes on a piece like that? I’m not sure what the best practice is for such a large (to me) piece and Arm-R-Seal.

Thanks so much for your help!

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CharlesA

3025 posts in 1264 days


#10 posted 10-05-2015 06:31 PM

Large pieces are harder. Right on sanding. I reload if I have to and try to kind of swoop in to blend. Don’t overwork it and it will come out fine.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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CharlesA

3025 posts in 1264 days


#11 posted 10-05-2015 06:35 PM

Big pieces like that will drive you to spraying.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


#12 posted 10-05-2015 06:54 PM

I use System Three Marine Poly. I think it goes on a little better and gives a more durable finish for highly used surfaces. I refinish restaurant table with it.
Cut the first coat 20% with mineral spirits, let dry 8 hours wipe it with minimum 320 grit, no sanding, and hit it with a final coat. They say to do the final coat without cutting it, but the stuff is so thick you almost have to cut it at least 10%.
Use a natural fiber brush.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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RussellAP

3059 posts in 1753 days


#13 posted 10-05-2015 06:57 PM

Also, a sanding sealer will help out a lot to fill any pours that might be a source of air bubbles. After the sanding sealer, I’d use some 350 on a rotory sander to smooth it out. The finish will glide on much easier.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

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Googlebutt

7 posts in 432 days


#14 posted 10-05-2015 07:10 PM

I think I’ll continue with the Arm-R-Seal since I’ve already committed. If it comes down to it, I do have a 51” Grizzly wide belt sander that I can use in a week or so if it doesn’t turn out right.

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RobS888

1986 posts in 1311 days


#15 posted 10-05-2015 07:10 PM

I’ve used a foam brush with Arm-R-Real many times, it flows into itself very nicely.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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