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General Finishes Arm-R-Seal - Hmmm... Coat the Bottoms?

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Forum topic by Scottlj posted 11-14-2016 08:54 PM 805 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scottlj

84 posts in 1558 days


11-14-2016 08:54 PM

Topic tags/keywords: red oak general finishes stain arm-r-seal top coat

So I’m getting down to the finishing touches on my most ambitious project; a large table with slide extensions and leaves. It’s Red Oak and looks nice. I sanded to only 150 per the instructions on the finish. (Though I did a test piece to 220 and it was just silky smooth. So I almost went for that, but was concerned about it taking stain appropriately, so left the table at 150.)

Per my local Woodcraft store, I used Aqua Coat Grain filler to start. I was going to use General Finishes Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, but they were out at the time and said this stuff would work before and / or after. So I tired it. Seemed to work fine. And then I put on this beautiful looking General Finishes Prairie Wheat Gel Stain. If I had it to do over, I might not have used Gel Stain. It works and looks great, but was a pain to get in some tight sections on the trestles, whereas something I could have sprayed might have been easier. (No way I would have stained pre-assembly as that would have been a worse hassle.)

Anyway, two coats of Gel Stain are on and once dry, I’m going to use Arm-R-Seal as a top coat. Probably two layers. HERE’S THE ACTUAL QUESTION THEN: Do you all typically also seal the bottom of tables? I think I have enough in my can to do that, but just barely if I want two coats. I’m not sure of the value of sealing the bottom unless I need to do it due to concern with humidity maybe having more of a shot at getting through the bottom? If so, I’d probably only do one coat on bottom.

Thanks for any thoughts!


18 replies so far

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Aj2

1179 posts in 1638 days


#1 posted 11-14-2016 09:14 PM

You should coat both sides of the top esp since your table doesn’t have a apron to help hold the top flat.
There has been plenty of threads of table tops that warped.
And they never go back to flat.
So buy another can of top coat and be generous!

Aj

-- Aj

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Scottlj

84 posts in 1558 days


#2 posted 11-14-2016 09:20 PM

Yeah… I was trying to be cheap and lazy. The store is a bit out of the way for me, but not too bad compared to wife asking me what happened to table in just a couple of years.

I am going to add aprons though. But they can only go 1/2 way around, as the ends separate to accommodate the leaves.

The top portions should stay somewhat flat though. Those are breadboard ends on both sides of each half. They’re attached with a 1/2 stub tenon running almost the whole width of the table and with 1 1/2” longer tenons in center and on ends. Only the center tenon is glued. The others are drawbored. (First time I’d done this. Royal pain to dial it all in. If I had to do it again it’d be faster. But the first time was hard for this novice!) Ideally, the alignment pins should help with flatness as well.

Thanks.

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Redoak49

2906 posts in 1829 days


#3 posted 11-14-2016 09:27 PM

I always finish both sides of a project. Maybe, not to the same level but certainly to seal and provide equal response to changes in environment such as temperature and humidity. It is most important for wide flat surfaces.

I most certainly would seal and finish the bottom of a table. Not doing this IMHO is just asking for problems. I think you diagnosed your issues correctly. You have a lot of time and effort into the table and too much to rush things at the end.

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Bill White

4808 posts in 3800 days


#4 posted 11-14-2016 10:55 PM

I’m with the Redoak school. Why chance it?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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bondogaposis

4483 posts in 2191 days


#5 posted 11-14-2016 11:10 PM

Buy another can! I would certainly coat both sides and I would put a minimum of 4 coats on the top. Tables take a lot of abuse over time. It looks like you built it to last so don’t skimp on the final step.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Scottlj

84 posts in 1558 days


#6 posted 11-15-2016 02:34 AM

Redoak49 has it spot on. Lot’s of time into this project. Foolish to screw it up now. I’ll get to store and buy another can. And yes, it’s built crazy solid. 5/4 Red Oak. I’ve got pics of the whole build and will eventually post the project along with a blog post somewhere to go over what I did. (And mistakes / fixes along the way.)

Can’t wait to be able to park inside again.

Thanks.

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

989 posts in 431 days


#7 posted 11-15-2016 05:26 AM

Two coats are far not enough.And you do not have to wait long after gel stain. few hours is plenty.

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BinghamtonEd

2286 posts in 2210 days


#8 posted 11-15-2016 01:14 PM

I’m with Bondo, two coats is not enough. I’d probably do 2 on the underside, and like he said, more on the top. I like Arm-R-Seal, but I usually wipe it on, since I don’t have a setup for spraying oil-based finishes, and would probably wipe 6 coats on the top, so spraying 3-4 would do.

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

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

619 posts in 749 days


#9 posted 11-15-2016 02:40 PM



The store is a bit out of the way for me…

Order it on Amazon. By the time you’ll need it it’ll be on your doorstep. No trip to the store necessary. ;-)

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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Scottlj

84 posts in 1558 days


#10 posted 11-15-2016 04:43 PM

At this point, I’ve got a first coat on the all bottom pieces and can do a 2nd early AM tomorrow and work on tops. So maybe just get from store as Amazon doesn’t have it on Prime. Figure I can get done by this weekend if I get the stuff in my hands tomorrow.

Going to take advice and use two on underside and the legs and at least three on top. Planning on using 400 grit for a light sanding between coats, with no sanding on final coat. (Per can instructions.)

It is looking quite nice so far. I do like the General Finishes products and Gel Stain in particular. I’ve used it before, as well as their Milk Paint. Even though it’s ‘gunkier’ than typical stain, in a lot of ways it’s actually cleaner and easier to work with. (As long as you plan ahead and have plenty of wipe down rags.) Normal stain ends up running everyplace even if you’re fairly careful. This stuff just stays put until you wipe it on or off.

It is, however, two to three times as expensive as a lot of other options.

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

619 posts in 749 days


#11 posted 11-15-2016 09:34 PM

Well, it’s one heckuva great looking piece. A nice addition to the family dining room and just in time for Thanksgiving dinner. But now that its done, whaddya gonna do with all your free time? Chairs, maybe? ;-)

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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Scottlj

84 posts in 1558 days


#12 posted 11-15-2016 09:40 PM

1) Thank you! It is coming out nicely. There are some minor errors. Though I like to think of them as “charming handmade furniture features.” Mostly no one will notice except me and maybe some other woodworkers.

2) Not ready for turkey day! After I get done this weekend, I don’t want anything on the top for at least a couple of weeks. Want to let the top coat really cure properly.

3) If I start making chairs, my wife will kill me. I mean, she’ll take the long stem Robert Sorby mortising chisel and plunge it right through my skull. Then she’ll use one of the five different ways I have of cutting things to section me off before dumping my parts somewhere. (Yes, that’s how long the table took.) I think for chairs we’ll likely buy either fully done or unfinished, then we can just finish them to match the table.

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2286 posts in 2210 days


#13 posted 11-18-2016 01:15 PM



3) If I start making chairs, my wife will kill me. I mean, she ll take the long stem Robert Sorby mortising chisel and plunge it right through my skull. Then she ll use one of the five different ways I have of cutting things to section me off before dumping my parts somewhere. (Yes, that s how long the table took.) I think for chairs we ll likely buy either fully done or unfinished, then we can just finish them to match the table.

- Scottlj

Dibs on the mortising chisel. I’ve been wanting one. Slightly used, for whatever purpose, is fine by me.

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

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

565 posts in 1987 days


#14 posted 11-18-2016 01:22 PM

3) If I start making chairs, my wife will kill me. I mean, she ll take the long stem Robert Sorby mortising chisel and plunge it right through my skull. Then she ll use one of the five different ways I have of cutting things to section me off before dumping my parts somewhere. (Yes, that s how long the table took.) I think for chairs we ll likely buy either fully done or unfinished, then we can just finish them to match the table.

- Scottlj

Dibs on the mortising chisel. I ve been wanting one. Slightly used, for whatever purpose, is fine by me.

- BinghamtonEd

Well then I call the table! Once she gets arrested for the brutal, but still justified, crime that table will need a good home. Ok, maybe not “good”, but a home…. Looks awesome and can’t wait to see it in my dining room for the holidays!

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Scottlj

84 posts in 1558 days


#15 posted 11-18-2016 02:03 PM

Hah. I’ll be sure to let her know. It IS a nice mortising chisel. My first really good – expensive one. Another lesson… I need to upgrade from my Stanley construction / basic chisels to something more ‘fine’ for woodworking. The Norton stone sharpening system I used to sharpen these up worked well, but I can now see there’s a clear difference in quality. Stanley probably makes a better version than what I’ve got, but we’ll see.

Main thing is to keep them out of my chest. Hence, we’ll be buying whole chairs!

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