Wipe-on poly or varnish finishes

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Forum topic by dstenzel posted 04-05-2010 10:24 PM 1490 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2942 days

04-05-2010 10:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wipe-on applicators poly

I am looking for some advise on how to apply a wipe-on poly or varnish finish. Can you use any oil-based clear finish for this or does it have to be one labeled “wipe-on”? What is the best applicator? I am refinishing some kitchen cupboards and furniture with a lot of raised panels and such that make it difficult to brush on smoothly. We had a company out to give us a bid on recoating the cabinets and it was $3000! Ouch! They use a water-based poly and a microfiber applicator that looks like a kitchen sponge which I have been unable to find in any store.

Thanks for any suggestions,

2 replies so far

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Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3791 days

#1 posted 04-05-2010 11:14 PM

Debbie, wipe on varnishes are one of the most forgiving topcoats to apply. I always advise users to make their own by diluting oil base polyurethane about 50:50 with mineral spirits. You can buy the pre-made products but you are paying a premium price for basically mineral spirits. Oil wipe on poly is my favorite finish to apply either by simply wiping it on or by spraying.

You can apply it with either a clean paper towel or lint free cloth. I generally have better luck with the paper towel route since I find even wiping cloths shed lint into the finish. The largest downside to a wipe on product that I have found is that I often will apply 6 to 8 coats to get the build that I want in a finish. But this is offset somewhat in that the product dries quickly. I can often apply 4 or more coats in a given day.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3737 days

#2 posted 04-05-2010 11:37 PM

take a look at General Finished Arm-R-Seal or Waterlox. they are both great poly varnishes that are wipe-able right out of the can and do a great job.

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