If it's not one thing it's another (wiping varnish poly issues, some pics)

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Forum topic by Millo posted 12-22-2012 01:40 PM 1721 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3047 days

12-22-2012 01:40 PM

Now with pics… A bit of an issue with Arm R Seal… Doing gloss coats right now; not sure what I’m doing wrong, I’ll explian: everything looks great when I leave the room. I finally arrived at a technique where I use a backing piece of plastic inside the rag pad. Things came out very smooth, except now I check it and see that all along the edge where I started wiping, there seem to be an accumulation of finish. It’s VERY noticeable. Could it be the heating coing on? Last night I put this layer and when my wife got home she turned on the heat, possibly about an hour or two after I had laid down tat layer. Could it be the stream of air heating that corner of my tabletop? I honsetly doubt it. I am doing a test piece at tthe same time, and it’s close to where this table top is, and it’s coming out fairly well (test piece has some horrible scratches that I know are there), not pooling of finish. So, what do you think it is?

On the test piece I will try the same application technique but now try to lay down a satin coat over the coat. On previous tests I’ve done this satin has come out ever so slightly streaky. Maybe the backing piece on the thick, even rag will take care of that?

Pics below. OK, the first doesn’t really seem to help, what you see on the edge is the reflection of a lamp:

I folded rags into an application pad, much like the Wood Whisperer suggests, then wetted it bit, evenly, with mineral spirits. I wonder if when I initially lay the pad on the surface I am pressing too hard, and it puddles. Problem is, I’m doing this with a raking light and it always looks perfect once I’m done and leave it, so If there’s too much on the surface, I’m not seeing it when it counts and I can do something about it—at the time of application! This is the second time this has happened (reason for this last coat). It did NOT happen before, not even a hint, except for an obvious mistake I made during application, on one of the first few coats. This was going to be the last coat, it’s the 4th or 5th—unsure since anyway I sanded one of them quite aggressively.

More pics:

These flaws are pretty obvious to the naked eye, but difficult to capture.

5 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile


2399 posts in 3868 days

#1 posted 12-22-2012 01:45 PM

yep need some photos, then we can possibly help, doubt it was the heat .

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4216 days

#2 posted 12-22-2012 03:44 PM

It’s hard to tell much from the photos, but my guess is too heavy an application.

My experience is that it is almost impossible to get a perfect gloss finish on a surface this size without doing some rubbing out at the end of the process. Keep your coats thin to avoid the problem you are having now. After a number of coats it may still look slightly streaky, but rubbing out the surface with automotive polishing compound will give you that uniform gloss you’re looking for.

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

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3742 days

#3 posted 12-22-2012 05:40 PM

If you’re doing a wipe on finishing technique, you need to wipe the finish off after it’s applied. Wipe on finishes need to build over several coats. Wipe on, wipe off. You may be able to save this by letting it dry thoroughly, then sand it down, and start wiping on your finish. It won’t get a high gloss, but you can get a fairly glossy shine, with enough coats.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3047 days

#4 posted 12-22-2012 06:35 PM

mkay… I applied this coat a bit over 15 hrs ago. I’ll have lunch then sand, recoat using your suggestions. I did this and the previous coat the same way I’ve succesfully done before. The only Arm-R-Seal that I’ve realy had a problem is is the satin one, with some streaks.

Tomorrow I’ll see what’s up. I’d like to leave this with a last coat before I leave for a two-week vacation, so that it’s hopefully ready for a rub-out.

Charlie, what kind of automotive compound to rub on for an even semi-gloss finish? Do I need a power sander for this?

Thanks everyone!

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4216 days

#5 posted 12-22-2012 08:05 PM

I don’t think brand is too important. I’ve been using some Turtle Wax Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover. Just make sure you get polishing compound and not rubbing compound (which is much coarser). You just hand-rub it in much the same way you would wax a car, but you need to use some elbow grease.

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

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