Oak Grain has White Streaks Using Waterbased Poly

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Forum topic by RPV posted 03-26-2013 08:08 AM 1390 views 0 times favorited 0 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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03-26-2013 08:08 AM

Looking for some assistance with a problem I have with finishing some trim…

This isn’t the first time I’ve done this type of finish, but I have never gotten this kind of results. After applying my third coat of Varathane Clear Waterbased Poly, every grain pattern of the oak, now has a white streak, or fleck in it. Under the light of day, the area between the grain looks fine, and the grain overall looks darker as expected, but the deeper grain now has white streaks.

Here is what I’ve normally done with good results.

Prep the oak by sanding to 150, thoroughly vac, then raise the grain w/ water, and knock it down with 400 grit. Apply Oil Based stain, and allow it to dry, sometimes up to a week. Apply first coat of Varathane Water Based Poly. Depending on what the piece is, door or trim, etc. will determine whether I use a brush or short nap applicator. For long pieces of trim, I usually use an applicator. One long finishing stroke finishes off the poly nicely. After the first coat drys, I typically lightly sand the poly with 400 wet/dry sandpaper, and again thoroughly vac the powdery residue. If its more than a day later, I always sand between coats. I repeat these steps until three coats are applied.

Well this time, life got in the way and the third coat didn’t get applied for more than a week. I lightly sanded as before, vac’d, and applied my third coat. This morning I find that the deep grain of the oak, now has this white streak or fleck.

I have some theories of what is is, but how come this has never happened before? I kind of looks like it does right after sanding the poly when the powder from the sanding is left/stuck in the grain, but before vacuuming it off. But like I said, I thoroughly vac’d it after sanding. I’ve used this method before, and everything worked out fine. I’ve added another coat on a test piece just to make sure. Same results… I know its next to impossible to sand off the poly w/o affecting the stain.

The poly is from the same 1 gallon I’ve used successfully for other pieces. Is it suddenly too old to expect the same results?

So any ideas??? Or do I need to run my 20 1×4s through the drum sander, and start from scratch with a new can of poly…

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