Wipe on Poly - Where have you been all my life?

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Forum topic by myxology posted 04-16-2016 06:42 PM 1287 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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60 posts in 1269 days

04-16-2016 06:42 PM

I just made my first attempt with wipe on poly. I have painted some shelves I built and was going to use a paint brush with polyeurathane again and I do not like painting. Sooo, I’ve been waiting to try it and OMG! How easy was that? I was done in like two minutes vs. 10 or 15 minutes. No brush marks either. Should I not be this happy about this? :)

Ok, so I do have a question too though…. What do you guys do with the excess (I put mine in a little plastic container to dip the rag in) between coats? It says to let dry for 2 hours before sanding. So should I was out the rag and use another? And I suppose I could get the excess back in the bottle with a funnel.

Anyways, just looking for some best practices. Thanks!

9 replies so far

View clin's profile


853 posts in 1025 days

#1 posted 04-16-2016 08:25 PM

Thinking about this I don’t usually have much excess. I usually put it in a paper bowl (like a paper plate, just well a bowl). Easy to toss out when done. In general when storing paints etc between coats, I’ll but brushes or whatever in a Zip lock bag. Or cover a roller pan with cling wrap.

-- Clin

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6770 posts in 2228 days

#2 posted 04-16-2016 08:37 PM

I just make up small batches as needed in little plastic containers. For larger stuff, those won-ton soup containers you get from the Chinese food place work great, and the lids seal air-tight. For small stuff, the little solo coups you get at fast food places are perfect. I pour out what I need, mix 50/50 with mineral spirits and go. It will last for days or until it’s all used. For applying, I just use cotton rags from cut up old t-shirts. Apply 3-6 coats, waiting about 15-30 minutes between coats (dry to the touch), then throw away the rag and let the project sit overnight to cure. Repeat as needed.

I use regular poly, but even with pre-mixed stuff – never, ever pour the unused portion back in the can. Once that stuff starts to kick off, there is no way to stop it and you will ruin the fresh stuff pretty quick if you do.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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60 posts in 1269 days

#3 posted 04-18-2016 12:25 PM

Thanks fellas! I left it out between coats and it worked just fine. That is sooo much faster than brushing it on. Very cool!

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2081 posts in 1251 days

#4 posted 04-18-2016 03:55 PM

Wipe on is great, best thing in my mind is the fast dry and level finish.
I like about a 2:1 mix of regular poly (2 parts) to (1 part) mineral sprits. depending on the surface I’ll either use a folded ‘blue’ cloth type paper towel or a piece of t-shirt for small, detailed areas or a foam brush for large flat areas.

I usually mix it up in a 16oz plastic ‘party’ disposable cup and cover it with a flat object when done for the day (thew rag/brush gets tossed). It will usually last a few days before getting thick/skinning over.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2398 days

#5 posted 04-18-2016 04:34 PM

I like Arm-R-Seal, because it’s idiot-proof, and wipes great right out of the can. So, if you’re a lazy idiot like myself, it’s worth looking into. I usually use a solo cup to hold just as much as I think I’ll need. For larger projects, if I have a lot left over, I’ll strain it back into the original container. You can do several coats in a day. I find that for a nice build, on low to medium wear pieces, 4 thin coats of semi-gloss is right for me. I’ll usually sand with 320 after the 2nd coat, and 400 after the 3rd. After the 4th, once it cures, I’ll buff it out with steel wool and paste wax.

I had the same “Where have you been” reaction when I first tried wipe-on poly, and then again when I first tried spraying.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View leftcoaster's profile


220 posts in 905 days

#6 posted 05-02-2016 03:01 PM

Is there a wipe-on poly that works in a a mixture of equal parts BLO, mineral spirits, oil-based poly?

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4217 posts in 2338 days

#7 posted 05-02-2016 04:59 PM

You can do the same thing with regular varnish… doesn’t have to have the damn urethane in it.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View leftcoaster's profile


220 posts in 905 days

#8 posted 05-02-2016 05:13 PM

@AlaskaGuy, does that change the color in any way? I am making a bedroom set and have already finished a part of it in the mix that I described.

What’s the advantage of varnish over poly?

View OSU55's profile


1703 posts in 2018 days

#9 posted 05-02-2016 06:03 PM

In my experience the only advantage varnish has over poly is if you want a very thick film finish. The varnish is softer and easier to rub out, and maybe is very slightly more clear (hard to tell the difference). Poly is more abrasion resistant and these days non poiy varnish is hard to find and more expensive. Adding blo simply weakens the finish – there is no reason to add it. I like 1:1 MW poly and MS for wipe on.

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