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Waterlox then Gel Poly?

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Forum topic by patrad posted 10-16-2012 05:53 PM 2693 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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patrad

45 posts in 967 days


10-16-2012 05:53 PM

Somewhat new to finishing. I’m working my way through the examples in “Foolproof Wood Finishing

I love the quality that Waterlox/Tung Oil based finishes bring but I love the ease or Old Masters Gel Poly and it’s hand rubbed satin finish.

Wondering if it would be possible or advisable to try a coat of Waterlox and then finish with some gel poly.

I’m going to try it on some step panels, just wondering if anyone has any thoughts about how this may turn out.


11 replies so far

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile

CessnaPilotBarry

890 posts in 766 days


#1 posted 10-16-2012 06:07 PM

As I understand you, you’re doing this because you prefer the sheen of the Old Masters, without rubbing down Waterlox.

It will probably work OK, as you’re putting an oil varnish over an oil varnish. I would still test before using it on something I cared about.

Aside from rubbing the Waterlox down, another way to make it flatter would be to add more flattening agent.

Flattening powder is sold by professional finishing suppliers, and some retailers. My Woodcraft carries it, I think under the Behlen brand… It’s effectively the stuff you stir up from the bottom of any non-gloss varnish or lacquer. You’d simply do a test to see how much powder to add to get to the sheen you want. That way, you’d be guaranteed to have 100% compatible layers.

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

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AJLastra

86 posts in 884 days


#2 posted 10-16-2012 07:10 PM

If you are at ALL worried about compatibility, wait for the last coat of Waterlox to dry then scuff sand it, then apply a thin barrier coat of dewaxed shellac. You can then apply whatever topcoat you want, including waterborne, over that shellac. Many of us use multiple layers and different finishes in order to acheive a certain depth that one product alone can’t give you. I have been finishing furniture for over 20 years and have NEVER, on a new piece, EVER used one coat of one product as my final finish. What kind of look are you after for your final finish? Do you want a hand rubbed satin look or sheen? Waterlox rubs out beautifully if you let it cure and then you can polish it to as high a gloss as you want with automotive polish. It takes some work but the look is fantastic. If you’re looking for a certain “look” right out of the can, thats hard to come by with varnish because it dries so slowly and dust is an issue even in a pretty clean environment. Most finishes will have to be rubbed out to their final look. Are you brushing or spraying? It makes a difference.

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Clint Searl

1455 posts in 1017 days


#3 posted 10-16-2012 09:26 PM

You’re complicating a process that calls for nothing more that a couple coats of any single finish in the sheen of your choice. While Waterlox is a quality finish, its cost and tendency to gel in the can, once opened, is not a product that I use. Waterborne poly is the easiest and most reliable brushable finish.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

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patrad

45 posts in 967 days


#4 posted 10-16-2012 09:47 PM

Yeah a couple thoughts. .

I’m brush on Waterlox with foam brushes. I wipe on the OM Gel Poly (and buff off)

I just tried to rub down Waterlox Original with limited success to get it to the satin hand rubbed look (which is what I am after). I used 4/0 steel wool and General Finishes Satin Finishing Wax. I waited 4 days for the cure, maybe I needed longer? It had three coats, so I took it maybe too light as I did not want to rub through the finish.

Another thing I noticed today that I liked is that the GF Poly seems to do better with unfilled grain. Where as you can see the unfilled grain texture with Waterlox. Obviously maybe the answer is to use grain filler . . but maybe the combo finish avoids this?

So if I wanted a hand rubbed satin with the depth of Waterlox. . any other suggestions?

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Gerald Thompson

382 posts in 890 days


#5 posted 10-16-2012 10:50 PM

To rub out Waterlox I was told,by an experienced finisher, to let cure of 30 days.It seems to me this would be the way to go. After appling Waterlox Original apply 2-3 coats of gloss, let it cure and rub it out to one’s taste.
I have a Shaker clock case coming up to do and thst is my plan. Waterlox, IMHO is a great varnish.

-- Jerry

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patrad

45 posts in 967 days


#6 posted 10-16-2012 10:56 PM

Yeah I’ve read if you don’t wait long enough . . it’s like rubbing out Jello. However the guideline given was at least 4 days. Also, I was given this recipe for extending it and lessening the cost. So far in my comparisons, I’ve not seen a difference.

1 part Waterlox Orig
1 part pure Tung Oil
1 part Mineral Spirits

View CessnaPilotBarry's profile

CessnaPilotBarry

890 posts in 766 days


#7 posted 10-17-2012 12:04 PM

That’s one of the big differences between cross-linking, chemically curing varnishes and faster drying evaporative finishes like shellac and lacquer… How soon they can be rubbed out.

Shellac and lacquer can be successfully rubbed up or down in sheen as soon as they are fully dry. Varnishes, including Waterlox, most polyurethanes, water based finishes, etc… are still chemically reactive for quite a while, even if they seem “dry”. This same property also affects how additional coats willl attach, and if you’ll see visible lines (witness lines) as you rub through successive coats of finish. There are fast drying varnishes, but they are usually pro-market products that need to be sprayed, like Kwik-Kleen products.

Another difference is how hard they end up when fully dry or cured. They resins in lacquer and shellac are harder than the urethanes in most varnishes. Hard resins fracture more easily as they’re rubbed, making it easier to develop an even sheen. The flexibility of urethane, and some polymerizing oils, helps prevent the finish from cracking over time, but allows the finish to bend out of the way as it’s rubbed.

I would NOT add more oil to Waterlox if you plan to rub it out. Also, I use a lot of water based products, and there is not a water based product in the world that compares to the final look of properly applied Waterlox. As the oils in Waterlox, and other high-quality oil based varnishes age, they develop a pleasing amber glow.

What makes Waterlox special is that as ingredient costs have gone up, they’ve raised the price of the product. I used to use a product called McCloskey Gymseal, which was discontinued due to high ingredient costs. Other manufacturers usually reformulate into a cheaper product, with lower quality results, in efforts to meet a price point.

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

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AJLastra

86 posts in 884 days


#8 posted 10-17-2012 03:16 PM

As you’ve heard from some posters, how long you wait for Waterlox to cure matters. I’ve never waited quite as long as a mont to rub it out. Two to three weeks max. As was mentioned, if you’re going to rub it, apply topcoats of gloss…........two is great. dont apply them light though. Mike Peckovich from Fine Woodworking did a great article not too long ago about using light coats, wiped on, of Waterlox original and its the only finish he uses. Its the only finish the legendary Frank Klaus uses too, for all of you furniture makers out there. But I digress. I wish Waterlox was easy to spray but it doesnt spray well despite what the company reps say. That said, I use a foam brush to apply it. I speed up the drying time by running ccirculating air through the room using a simple box fan. Unlike a lot of topcoats, Waterlox, sshelac, and lacquer do well in less than great temperatures….that is, not bad in cold weather…..I didnt say HUMID weather…..........I said Cold weather. In temps around 45 degrees, Waterlox will do just fine as long as the air isnt directed right on top of the project. Humid conditions will definitely affect lacquer….........not so much with shellac. After you wait about three weeks for the topcoats to cure, get some 400 grit wet or dry paper. Mix a few drops of dishwashing detergent in a conatiner and spray a bit of it on the surface. Rub the surface with the paper until you have a slurry of varnish. Wipe it off. Take 600 grit and do the same thing. I refuse to keep using finer and finer grits in order to get the sheen I want….............because you dont have to do that. After the 600 grit, you’ll likely see some small shiny spots in the finish. Take 0000 steel wool and rub the surface, focusing on removing those shiny spots as best you can. Good steel wool will give you a very uniform surface. Now go to your auto polish. I start with Meguiar’s #3, put a little on the surface and use a buffing pad on a Porter Cable polisher. I HAVE done this without a polisher by hand using a soft cotton cloth…............many of them…...........because you dont want different grades of polish on the same cloth. I go from 3 to 5 to 7 then a swirl remover for a gloss you can see yourself in. As you work through the grades of polish you can decide whether you want to keep polishing or whether you like the sheen you have. I dont imagine a real polished look is what you want for a kitchen island but whatever the customer wants…..etc, etc. I know there are posters who say and will say, this is nuts. Just take a can of this and brush it on and let it dry and then buff it with a rag and it’ll be just fine. As far as the stuff getting like jello in a the can after its opened, sure, if you dont take care of your finish. Here’s how: get on Amazon and look up a gadget that will remove air from an opened wine bottle. Costs about 4 bucks. Its a hand pump. go to Lowes and in the paint dept they sell quart sized empty metal paint cans with lids. Take the lid and a hole saw or forstner bit after you get the hand pump and drill a hole in the top of the lid that fits the stopper that comes with the pump. Pour your left over finish in the can, seal it, attach the pump and pull the air out of the can. That Waterlox wont skin over again as long as you use this process each time you open the can and close it for the day. Its better than Bloxygen. One might say, okay smarta.., what do you do with the finish while you’re waiting for your pump to arrive and it skins over in the container you already have it in. Well, you peel the skin off, run the remainder through a filter and then start the process of storing your varnish. the whole pump thing doesnt take any time at all and it sure beats wasting a $40 can of great finish.

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patrad

45 posts in 967 days


#9 posted 10-17-2012 03:49 PM

I think the best way to keep air out of the cans I’ve seen is to slowly just keep a wooden handscrew around the can. Slowly screw it until the material is up to the brim, then pop the cap top on.

Question then: for a satin, hand rubbed finish with Waterlox. . what would be the appropriate rub out steps?

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CessnaPilotBarry

890 posts in 766 days


#10 posted 10-17-2012 04:54 PM

I drive air out of varnish cans with 1/4-20 nuts…

They’re cheap in bulk, reusable, and they don’t interact with the finish. I rinse them in alcohol or mineral spirits and allow to dry before first use, to remove manufacturing oils. Drop ‘em in until there’s no air space at the top.

When you kill a can, leave the nuts in and fill it with mineral spirits. As you need nuts in the next can, get them from the old can. Bounce them on a paper towel, then drop them in the active can. You don’t need to dry them, but you don’t want to add lots of mineral spirits to the new can. A bit here and there won’t really affect the new can. The new can will eventually become the old can, and you can move on… ;^)

I used to use marbles, collapsible containers, and/or bloxygen, but nuts are cheaper.

-- It's all good, if it's wood...

View AJLastra's profile

AJLastra

86 posts in 884 days


#11 posted 10-17-2012 06:20 PM

I’ve heard of the marbles and nuts idea but never tried it.

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