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Forum topic by Jonathan posted 1474 days ago 4797 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1653 days


1474 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: waterlox curly maple walnut pink lyptus finishing

One of the auction item project’s I’m almost done with is a serving tray.

It’s made of curly maple, walnut, and pink lyptus.

I am going to finish it with Waterlox, but have never used this product before. I’m anxious to use it, but have one question: What might you suggest I sand up through?

Originally, I sanded 80-120-150-220-320-400.

I’m wondering if it might be best to go down a level or two, maybe take it back to 220 or 320? I just want to make sure I get good absorption of the product.

I bought the Original Sealer/Finish.

Not sure how many coats I’ll need to apply yet… I guess I’ll see as I go.

Any suggestions, or other words of advice on using this product?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."


11 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2424 days


#1 posted 1474 days ago

Jonathan, with respect to your question about sanding I stop at 150 when applying a penetrating stain to a project and 180 when putting on a clear finish. Sanding beyond this does not really help produce a smooth top coat. To do that you need to “finish” out the finish. For penetrating oils and stains sanding to higher levels effectively closes the pores of the wood which will inhibit the absorption of the oil based material.

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

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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1653 days


#2 posted 1474 days ago

Thanks for the reply Scott.

That’s what I was looking for and afraid of in going to a higher grit like I originally did.

Guess I’ll have to sand it back a bit!

After I sanded it, it felt great, but then I started thinking that I might’ve gone too far.

Here’s a beginner’s question: Can I just go straight back to 150-grit, or do I need to go through a sequence?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1380 posts in 2730 days


#3 posted 1474 days ago

Waterlox is a tung oil/phenolic resin product and it acts differently than typical consumer-grade finishing products.
It is good stuff but needs to be understood.

Waterlox provides a plethora of information on their products:

Waterlox

-- 温故知新

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2251 days


#4 posted 1474 days ago

I agree with Scott. you are only trying to level the surface- but not buff it. what you’ll want to eventually buff is the finish itself.

you can just go back to 150. the reason you step up in grits is to remove the previous large scratch marks in steps. in this case , you are not trying to remove the 400 grit scratch marks, but you are trying to scratch it rougher – so just use 150/180

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1653 days


#5 posted 1474 days ago

I was just getting confused because there is a ton of information on their website! I did find a couple of new things just now that I hadn’t read before.

I just went back and re-read a few sections that I had read in chunks before, not all at once. I think I was getting confused because it was talking about sanding before applying the finish. And in another section, it was referring to the possibility of going up to 600-800 grit before the final coat.

I guess I’m asking you all for your input if you’ve used the stuff on exactly how you handled it for your particular situation?

Did you just apply 3-4 coats (or maybe more), with plenty of dry time in between without a final sanding before the finish coat?

Or did you do a light abrasion sanding with fine grit sandpaper or steel wool before your finish coat?

How many coats did you apply?

What’s your preferred method of application?

Thanks everybody.

(Guess I didn’t think the

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2424 days


#6 posted 1474 days ago

Jonathan, I normally will sand with 600 grit between coats especially when I am putting on a wipe on poly or other wiping varnish since the successive layers bond to one another through mechanical bonds. When I apply shellac I only sand the last coat with 0000 steel wool to smooth it out since shellac will form a bond by partially dissolving the previously applied coats.

My usual application is wipe on poly or varnish since I can put these products on fast and they dry quickly. More coats have to be put on to get the same build as a brush on product since they are usually cut 50:50 with mineral spirits but I can usually apply 3 or 4 coats in a given day.

The number of coats varies. I usually put a minimum of 4 but have put on as many as 8 or 10. I just keep applying it until I like the look of the finish.

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

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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1653 days


#7 posted 1474 days ago

Thanks for that info. Scott.

From what I’ve read, Waterlox sort of works like shellac, in the fact that the layers melt or fuse together, rather than sitting on top of eachother, so you’re sort of defeating the purpose by sanding in between coats, other than maybe a light sand before the final coat, after the “peaks and valleys” are filled evenly.

I still have almost 2-weeks before this has to be done, so no rush there, but I’d like to try and get it completely done this week, including drying, etc. Just have to drill the holes for the handles now that I’ve figured out which ones I’m going to use. After that, I’m going to start applying the Waterlox to the top and sides. I’m going to leave the bottom until after I put the handles on because I want to screw the handles into place after the top is finished. Then I want to plug the screw holes and sand the plugs flush. Then I can finish the bottom with however many coats of Waterlox.

I guess I better get going! It’s going to take time for all these applications of Waterlox to dry, especially since I’m doing the two sides independantly. I may end up doing the first coat or two on the bottom during one of the coats for the top. Then I’ll only have to apply a couple more coats to the bottom. I just want the plugs to blend in as best as I can with the rest of the finish. I’ll probably actually use a contrasting wood for the plugs, but I want the finish to look cohesive. The handles will be going through the curly maple, so I’ll probably use a walnut dowel for the plugs for the nice contrast that’ll provide, since there’s walnut in the piece already. I suppose I could introduce a 4th species and use a cherry dowel to provide some contrast, but not make it such a glaring one. We’ll see.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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DrDirt

2362 posts in 2344 days


#8 posted 1473 days ago

Jonathan – I love waterlox.
I always sand to 220 with Walnut, and the other woods you describe are similarly diffuse pored woods. If using Oak or Ash, I would only go to 150/180.
You are right that the waterlox is a great finish that bonds well to itself, so while you do not need to sand in order to get good adhesion of coats, don’t skip sanding between coats. Much like with shellac, any orange peel or brushmarks will be “sealed In” with subsequent coats of finish. So you will see the texture beneath the surface if you work to build gloss.
On table tops I have done 5-6 coats for protection, but usually 3 coats on decorative boxes or occasional tables that are not going to be abused like a dining table.
If you are going for the natural oiled look, you can even just rag it on like BLO.
Like other oils, if you need to level, or finish the finish, it will need several days because you are waiting for the oil to cure, not just the varnish component, so it needs at least a week before wetsanding and rubbing out.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1653 days


#9 posted 1473 days ago

Dave,

Thank you for your input. Before you posted, I kind of decided to go with 220-grit preparation. I didn’t think the 150-grit I have was quite what I wanted.

That makes perfect sense what you’re saying about sanding between the coats. I’ve worked with shellac a couple of times now, so your comparison to what can happen there makes perfect sense and seems to be an excellent analogy.

I do think I want to go with the natural oiled look and not build too much of a finish. I guess we’ll see once I start putting it on.

Would you suggest ragging it on, versus brushing or spongebrushing it on? I’m thinking 3-4 coats, but again, we’ll see once I start applying it. I do have time for it to cure before applying the final coat. Would you recommend wetsanding for the final coat, letting that dry, then rubbing it out (maybe with 0000 steel wool, or a paper bag)?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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DrDirt

2362 posts in 2344 days


#10 posted 1473 days ago

Ragging and brushing both work -
You build more finish with the brush for each coat, but also fight runs. The waterlox as you are seeing has very low viscocity, so often I have brushed the top and ragged the legs. Ragging just takes more coats since you are not leaving much finish.
If you are going the oiled look, I would not bother with wetsanding undless you are fighting a bit of dust, so what you describe I would use 0000 and some johnsons paste wax.
I only wetsand if I have built up a good film and want the higher gloss, as in the two dining tables did with Waterlox.
I really got into waterlox because of the repairability and the protection. Before I did some Watco danish oil work and it also is easy to repair but offers little protection, and no film build. But I want to stay with a more natural feel to the wood, so got Waterlox. That was back in 2004 and I have kept using it since.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1653 days


#11 posted 1473 days ago

That is helpful, indeed. I think I will try ragging it on since I’ve got time on my side for this one. More coats is OK by me, especially if it prevents any sort of issues I might have to try and go back and fix since I’m a novice at finishing (and the rest of it, for that matter).

I also really like the idea of repairability, even though this piece will not be staying at our house. I will probably end up using it on several things I’ll be building for us to keep.

From what I’ve seen, the Waterlox will certainly highlight the wood, rather than hide or mask it, so that should be nice on this particular project as well.

Thanks for the information!

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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