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Forum topic by pons posted 02-15-2012 01:48 PM 1253 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 2314 days

02-15-2012 01:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finish

I am relatively new to woodworking and have not really finished anything except for exterior latex paint. My question is: when applying poly to an item, say a box lid, do you do one side at a time, let it dry, then do the other? Or is there some way to do both at the same time?



-- Jim in Va

15 replies so far

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3195 days

#1 posted 02-15-2012 02:02 PM


Try pushing some finishing nails up through a piece of styrofoam so that the points stick up an inch or so to support your piece. Put finish on inside of lid first then set it bottom down on the nail points and apply finish to outside of lid.

Good luck and welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3074 days

#2 posted 02-15-2012 02:13 PM

Rick has offered a good suggestion. Another similar approach is to use these – -

However, if I am not in a hurry, I sometimes do just one side at a time and let it dry (3 – 4 hours) before doing the other side.

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

View pons's profile


25 posts in 2314 days

#3 posted 02-15-2012 02:38 PM

Thanks for the replies.

I thought about the nail thing, but does that leave marks? Are they simple to remove?

-- Jim in Va

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4931 posts in 3960 days

#4 posted 02-15-2012 03:16 PM

I do one side at a time. Don’t like to deal with the point issue.


View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3480 days

#5 posted 02-15-2012 03:44 PM

I think the nail method would work ok, but I tend to do one side at a time.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Bertha's profile


13528 posts in 2693 days

#6 posted 02-15-2012 03:45 PM

Pons, welcome to a great hobby. You’ve got some good suggestions above. When I started using poly, I used the brush-on type and I was never happy with the results. I switched over to the “wipe-on” type poly and I’ve never gone back. It’ll take a few coats to “build” but I prefer the finish and it’s a bit more forgiving to apply. I’m just thinking out loud, remembering those big thick shiny finishes from when I started:)

-- 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 3074 days

#7 posted 02-15-2012 04:55 PM

Pons – Regarding your question about the nails leaving marks. The answer is yes, but they are hardly noticeable. With respect to leaving marks, I think those plastic things are a little less likely to cause a problem.

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

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3136 days

#8 posted 02-15-2012 06:37 PM

Most of the time there are spots on the part that are going to be hidden by something once the project is assembled, so there is no harm putting nails or screws in those spots so you have something to support the work during finishing. You might only have enough support to hang the part while putting on the last dabs of finish and and waiting for the part to dry.

Otherwise, if you go with 3 coats of poly you should have a thick enough layer of finish to rub out whatever marks the nails or painter’s pyramids leave once the finish has fully cured (weeks later).

-- Greg D.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2690 days

#9 posted 02-16-2012 02:23 AM

Plastic (or wooden) golf tees pushed up through the insulation board will tend to scratch less.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View David Kennedy's profile

David Kennedy

80 posts in 2323 days

#10 posted 02-16-2012 02:29 AM

I use clear laquer, 10min on one side for drying flip and spray. sand 400 wet dry sand paper and spray. DONE.

-- Dave, W.V.

View pastorglen's profile


267 posts in 2690 days

#11 posted 02-16-2012 02:48 AM

Good question.

One side at a time, for me. I have used an aerosol can of finish (same that I’ll be wiping on) and sprayed a first coat with that. It dries fast and begins the sealing process.

I like, and have used, the drying rack idea, too.

Welcome to the club!

-- Glen, Pennsylvania, Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#12 posted 02-16-2012 03:32 AM

Like they said use nails or screws through a board or Styrofoam. 3 is all you need and you can position them so they are in the places you can conceal any dimples. Welcome aboard

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2297 days

#13 posted 02-16-2012 03:36 AM

my advice is to stick with one finish live and die by it, if I had to pick it would be laquer it rubs out well and u dont have to worry about sanding thru, and it depends on how big the project is, say a lid for a box i would concentrate on the top but coat both sides at start then concentrate on the show side

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#14 posted 02-16-2012 04:05 AM

I think the finish depends on what you are going to do with the finished piece. If it is a table you plan to use daily then Poly is tougher than lacquer. Lacquer is easy to apply and it dries quick but it just isn’t as durable as polyurethane. You can learn to use any finish if you want to. Then you can either use many or choose the one that will serve you best with your finished piece.

View pons's profile


25 posts in 2314 days

#15 posted 02-16-2012 05:18 AM

Thanks for the info. I’ll probably do one side at a time till I get the hang of things. Till then I’ll have to send out for a truckload of patience.

-- Jim in Va

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