End grain

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Forum topic by Groovy posted 05-15-2011 05:41 PM 3155 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2562 days

05-15-2011 05:41 PM

I have finished pine for a few years but I have come apon a problem.My polyurethane finish keeps soaking into the end grain and will not give me a smooth finish,there are 5 coats on this end grain and still it is rough as a cob,what am I doing wrong this time-Help!!!!

7 replies so far

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2647 days

#1 posted 05-16-2011 12:56 AM

If you are clear coating, seal the end grain with shellac. The shellac will dry fast giving it a chance to seal up the pores. Another good sealer is glue size. This is a mixture of glue and water that you can cover the end grain with. Then you can finish it with poly. Pine is like a sponge. It will keep wicking the finish until it is full.

What grit did you sand the end-grain too? I would suggest at least 180 grit. Sanding the end grain also has an added advantage in that it will push dust into the pores and help seal them a little bit. If you are working with a freshly cut end or hand planed or hand scrapped end, the pores are wide open to absorbing the finish.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Groovy's profile


3 posts in 2562 days

#2 posted 05-16-2011 02:06 PM

Yeah i applied one coat of lite stain and then have been using polyurethane.I sanded with 120 thru 320 as I normally do but this stuff must be very thirsty.I may have to just keep it up til it gets there

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2915 days

#3 posted 05-17-2011 02:52 AM

Also…drywall “mud” thninned a bit , can be applied and then sanded off to help fill the pores of this end grain.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View Razorbak91313's profile


89 posts in 2637 days

#4 posted 05-17-2011 05:02 AM

I have not actually run into this problem yet but maybe try a coat of spar urethan as a base? it is thicker and more resinous then regular poly so it might not soak in as bad and when you sand it the extra resin it might help to plug the pores better. I don’t think there would be a problem with coating regular poly over the spar – perhaps a more experienced crafter can clarify if there would be a problem with using regular poly over spar urethane.

-- Turning good wood into even better wood jewelry.

View gko's profile


83 posts in 3237 days

#5 posted 05-17-2011 09:14 AM

I use a Bob Flexner technique of sanding 1 grit finer than the other parts (but I usually don’t go much past 220), then a washcoat of thinned varnish, then sand it again with the non clogging type of sandpaper (forgot technical name). Don’t forget to wait about a day before sanding the second time. This technique keeps the end grain from staining darker than the other surfaces and makes the end grain really smooth to the touch. I also notice it doesn’t soak up the finish compared to just sanding alone.

-- Wood Menehune, Honolulu

View Groovy's profile


3 posts in 2562 days

#6 posted 05-17-2011 01:57 PM

Checked the last coat yesterday before work and I finally had an almost smooth surface,I lite sanded with 320 and put on another coat so I will see 2day,if it covered it will be the 8th coat on the ends,whew!!!

View skippyland's profile


158 posts in 2684 days

#7 posted 05-17-2011 02:04 PM

I’ve had a lot of sucess with this problem by sanding the end grain to 320…usually this finishes very close to the long grain.

-- Skip from Batavia, purveyor of fine and exotic sawdust & chips.

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