Glossy Finishing help with Wipe-On Poly

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Forum topic by groy87 posted 08-05-2011 02:03 PM 1848 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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136 posts in 2837 days

08-05-2011 02:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip finishing wipe-on poly poly

Hello all, I’m looking for some more help of the ever popular topic of finishing. I will be turning several burls (amboyna, maple, mallees) and I want to apply a glossy finish that will help bring out the grain similar to triferns pieces. I was leaning towards a wipe-on ploy and I was looking for some advice.

What is a good brand of wipe-on poly?

What is an appropriate method of application?

Will the poly bring out the grain naturally? If not whats he best way to do so?

6 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


17385 posts in 3004 days

#1 posted 08-05-2011 02:53 PM

Ive had pretty good luck with the Minwax wipe on poly, i tend to just ball up a rag dip it into the poly and wipe away. All though, learning from past mistake, if you put a coat of brush on full strength poly on first its a bit easier to build up a finish with the wipe on afterwards. The wipe on is about 50% diluted so it goes on very thin, and if you’re imaptient like me, 8 coats just takes too damn long to build it up.

It should bring out the grain for you but as always try some on a test piece first. If you find out you dont like the way it looks you can try BLO (boiled linseed oil) or tung oil, or a homemade concotion mixing parts.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4216 days

#2 posted 08-05-2011 03:47 PM

I agree with chrisstef.

Don’t be afraid to keep adding coats until you get to where you want to be. If you get a run or other imperfection, sand it lightly and re-coat.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2691 days

#3 posted 08-05-2011 03:53 PM

the glossy tung has a beautiful appearance. I’m not sure I’d to to poly for such an important piece but I could be terribly wrong.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3072 days

#4 posted 08-05-2011 04:55 PM

I agree with chrisstef also. However, I use cheap foam brushes and I wipe it off right after I apply a coat. I also use 400 grit sandpaper, very lightly, between coats. I always apply a minimum of 5 coats. You’ll get the look in 5 coats. Additional coats are just for enhanced durability.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3820 days

#5 posted 08-05-2011 10:59 PM

With questions like you are posting my general advice is to try your finishing routine out on some scrap pieces first to see if this will give you the look you are after.

With regards to the wipe on poly save yourself some money and mix up your own. Take some gloss poly, whatever you available, and cut it in half with mineral spirits. It will store much longer than straight poly before skimming over.

As far as application goes, putting on a straight coat first does build the finish faster but the wipe on product dries quick enough that you can apply multiple coats during a normal day so I find that I can build my finish just as fast using only wipe on. For application I generally use shop paper towels. They are cheap, disposable and do not shed lint like I found wiping cloths do.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3156 days

#6 posted 08-06-2011 06:50 PM

Poly (as well as all film finishes) has one purpose…protection. I would never look for my film finish to draw out beauty from the wood, though anything wet will, at least marginally, bring out the figure. But if you really want it to pop, then I’d do like cr1 suggested and use an oil.

If the wood is colored with dye (see Trifern), then it gets more complicated…but in that case I would wipe on a dye-colored dewaxed shellac and then maybe choose a finish that will give the appropriate sheen. But if it’s a vase or bowl or something, then I would only apply a single coat of it…if at all.

Watco Danish oil, or a homemade blend that adds poly to it, would be my choice for that type of a situation if I’m not changing color with a dye.

-- jay,

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