Using MiniWax Wipe Poly

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Forum topic by BK7523 posted 05-15-2018 12:59 PM 721 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 254 days

05-15-2018 12:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: miniwax wipe on poly poly cherry chair finishing tip

So I recently finished making a chair and am in the finishing stage and decided to use MiniWax Wipe on Poly. I just applied my 3rd coat and suddenly this satin coat doesn’t look as easy as the first two. My process has been this… Applying the poly, letting dry for 3 hrs, sanding with 320#, than wiping down with mineral spirits (10-15 min drying) than repeating the process.

From a distance it looks decent…

I think I may have sanded two hard in some cases which is why the scratches are suddenly appearing. I have read that some people don’t sand until their very last coat. Would love some people’s advice on this if they have used this. I have read that usually people put anywhere from 5-10 coats to offer real protection with the wipe on poly.



13 replies so far

View lew's profile


12513 posts in 3996 days

#1 posted 05-15-2018 01:03 PM

It may be helpful to upload your images directly to LJ’s. Photobucket doesn’t play nice here.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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896 posts in 792 days

#2 posted 05-15-2018 01:25 PM

No pics so it’s hard to tell but I’ve never sanded between every coat. I believe that would basically just sand the coat off for the most part unless you put it on very thick. I’d suggest 3 light coats then a light sanding (repeating every 3 coats) and probably a very light and fine sanding right before ur last coat.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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4 posts in 254 days

#3 posted 05-15-2018 01:39 PM

Thanks Jcamp….Can you not see the one I just embedded from Flickr? Man. I am just not getting this. Perhaps I will post some links instead to the album…

I tried embedding these via flickr but perhaps it isn’t working…

View jamsomito's profile


377 posts in 667 days

#4 posted 05-15-2018 01:50 PM

I like wipe-on poly. I think you’ll find everyone has a slightly different technique though. I can get by with 2 coats with my method, but 3 is kind of the sweet spot between a quality finish and valuing your time. My current project will have 4 though – just looked like it needed one more.

I used to sand between every coat. Very, very lightly – like just the weight of the paper almost. You’re not sanding it down, just knocking off the rough “peaks” so to speak. My current project I decided to skip it to save time, but I think this contributed to needing another coat. Don’t know for sure.

I usually apply the first coat pretty thick. The wood is thirsty to start with, but I go as thick as I can without drips. In actuality, it’s probably not very thick at all, but I don’t do a “french polish” thin layer like it seems is suggested. After that I really rub the finish in on subsequent coats and those go on really thinly. I always finish applying by wiping in the direction of the grain one last time, just in case. Seems to work well for me.

I would apply another coat on your project and try to fill in those scratches. Even a thin coat will fill in the depressions in the scratches. Go light on your sanding to avoid putting more deep scratches in. Although those look like rag trails more than sanding scratches. Try to rub in the finish more and always carefully wipe in the direction of the grain on the last stroke.

You’ll probably come out ok. Good luck and let us know what you come up with!

View msinc's profile


569 posts in 745 days

#5 posted 05-15-2018 02:00 PM

I don’t use the wipe on, but I know many folks do and there is nothing wrong with it. It is slow to me and so I use a brush for most things. The wipe on stuff has several advantages, it does go on thinner and smoother and although you will need to apply more coats to get a thickness built up {unless of course you sand the wood way down to a very fine finish} you can finish a part without a final spray.
I like to sand down to like 400 grit and I look at the surface with a magna-visor so I can make certain all the sanding marks are gone. I apply with a brush several coats and then either very fine sand or steel wool it down dull and smooth. Once I get a finish surface with no scratches or marks I always spray the final. I find that, especially with a matte finish I can control it and get a more even consistent coat. If you apply too much it will sheen up no matter how you apply.
I realize everyone don’t have spray equipment and that is where the wipe on can be just as good. I have done it either way and one other thing about the wipe on stuff is that you can apply some if needed after the part is installed where you cannot spray it any more.

Edit: just thought of something I forgot to mention…I always wipe the part down with a tack cloth between every coat, spray, brush or wipe on.

View Cricket's profile (online now)


2468 posts in 1833 days

#6 posted 05-15-2018 02:32 PM

Thanks Jcamp….Can you not see the one I just embedded from Flickr? Man. I am just not getting this. Perhaps I will post some links instead to the album…

I tried embedding these via flickr but perhaps it isn t working…

- BK7523

Your best bet will always be to upload directly to LumberJocks.

Welcome to the community!

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View bbasiaga's profile


1242 posts in 2236 days

#7 posted 05-15-2018 02:54 PM

Is 3 hours long enough between coats? You might be sanding a gummy surface and causing the ripples. It has been a while since I used wipe on, but I thought I had to wait 6 to 8hours between coats.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View BK7523's profile


4 posts in 254 days

#8 posted 05-20-2018 02:04 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. I actually realized I probably sanded a wee bit to hard after the first few coats so just laid on another coat to fill in the scratches and now it looks much better. I am still learning the wipe on trick of trying to not let the rag drag to much by making a pretty even rectangle and than doing 1-2 passes on each surface.

I had read somewhere that people sometimes wipe off extra poly using a paper bag gently vs sandpaper? Has anyone ever tried this? Does it work?

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View MrUnix's profile


7114 posts in 2440 days

#9 posted 05-20-2018 02:21 AM

Sounds like you are putting too much on – there should never be any ‘extra’ IMO, and your comment “trying to not let the rag drag to much” sort of indicates you are putting down too much as well. Also, unless you let the poly cure (normally 24 hours or more), then you don’t need to sand between coats. I typically will put down 3-6 coats in a couple hours, wait 24, very light sand and then a final coat or two.


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

View OSU55's profile


2035 posts in 2231 days

#10 posted 05-20-2018 03:55 PM

The brown paper bag is for burnishing a dry surface to smooth it usually after the last coat. Works better on the lathe vs flatwork due to the speed – less work. I find 600 to 800 grit paper works best for nibs between coats. Just a light pass or 2.

For 1st coats, apply the poly thinned 1:1 like danish oil. Flood the surface, keep it wet 10 min or so, wipe off. This will saturate the more porous areas and the rest of the coats will go on more evenly. Good for wiping or brushing.

View ChuckV's profile


3184 posts in 3768 days

#11 posted 05-20-2018 04:20 PM

I use a brown paper bag after the final coat – and occasionally between coats. It works fine.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

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5155 posts in 2592 days

#12 posted 05-20-2018 04:46 PM

I use wipe on poly quite a bit and always allow it to cure 12 hours before I hand sand it lightly with 400 grit foam backed sanding pads. The brown paper bag trick works after the final coat is fully cured, then rub it it out with the bag. It will remove any dust nibs and polish the surface of the finish.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View jamsomito's profile


377 posts in 667 days

#13 posted 05-21-2018 01:25 AM

Looks good, BK! Very nice chair. Glad it worked out for you.

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