Please help!!!!!! Poly question from a newbie

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by josephos posted 04-14-2013 08:06 AM 1065 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View josephos's profile


3 posts in 1837 days

04-14-2013 08:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: help poly new

I’m a new woodworker and I followed some bad advice. After carefully building a chest for my wife’s birthday I applied a sealer layer of 50/50 poly to mineral spirits to bring out the natural beauty of the grain. I loved it, looked great.

Then I went against my instincts and did what my neighbor suggested. An additional layer of polyurethane “straight from the can”. 24 hours later I’m not happy. All that great wood now looks like plastic.

How can I thin this out before her birthday. I’m willing to give myself tendonitis sanding some of the thickness but I’d rather not use stripper. I think I’d only goof it up further. I just want to make it not look like it’s under glass. Any ideas? Wet sanding? How far? THanks and please help.

11 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28961 posts in 2306 days

#1 posted 04-14-2013 08:47 AM

If it appears too thick, sanding is probably it. It does seem odd that a couple coats built up that much.

Welcome to LumberJocks

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View sgv's profile


266 posts in 1860 days

#2 posted 04-14-2013 11:29 AM

Sand sand sand sounds like you put to much on at one time a to glossy you may want to try a cote of satin before you sand

-- Tite Lines, May the wind be at your back

View Craftsman70's profile


244 posts in 2093 days

#3 posted 04-14-2013 12:11 PM

Is it the thickness and uneven coat with brushmarks, or the shiny gloss you dont like?

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4186 days

#4 posted 04-14-2013 12:55 PM

Craftsman70 is asking the important questions.

Is it possible you used a gloss poly instead of satin for that top coat? Or do you have runs, sags, and/or brush marks?

Either way, here is my recommendation: Sand just enough to scuff the surface and remove any uneven spots, then wipe on one more coat of your original 50/50 mixture.

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4954 posts in 2461 days

#5 posted 04-14-2013 01:20 PM

You may have trouble sanding that back for it cures enough, and that may take a while. I like CharlesM idea, smooth it out, and try a wipe on coat. If it doesn’t work that’s minimal damage.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View kdc68's profile


2649 posts in 2244 days

#6 posted 04-14-2013 01:41 PM

+1 Charlie1958
If you have only 2 coats…1 with 50/50 and 1 with “straight out the can” sanding/scuffing it down and re-coating with 50/50 shouldn’t be a problem.

+1 Fred Hargis
Wait for it to cure….otherwise you open another can of worms

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View vonhagen's profile


534 posts in 2332 days

#7 posted 04-14-2013 01:49 PM

sand it out, this is why i use lacquer.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View josephos's profile


3 posts in 1837 days

#8 posted 04-14-2013 02:26 PM

Thanks everyone. I’m not afraid of a little sanding so putting my elbow into it will be fine. It’s really that I don’t like the type of finish the poly provided. It’s definitely satin, or at least the can says so, it’s even and the brush strokes are well within acceptable.

Glad I joined, I’ll post a picture when I’m done.


View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2329 days

#9 posted 04-14-2013 02:43 PM

Sanding will just screw it up further. Do it right, and strip it,

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

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4954 posts in 2461 days

#10 posted 04-14-2013 03:00 PM

Just to throw this in for future consideration on your next project. Try a non-poly varnish….the easiest ones to find might be Pratt and Lambert 38, or maybe Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish. The first is an alkyd/soya oil formula, the second an alkyd Linseed oil formula. I’ve completely given up on all polyurethane products for several reasons, one of which is the plastic look it has.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View scotsman9's profile


134 posts in 1856 days

#11 posted 04-14-2013 03:16 PM

I am in the process of stripping a Gun stock that had a very similar problem as you. My wife brought home mineral spirits which I mixed with Poly & tung oil. The finish was nice but did not set up properly. Upon further inspection, the mineral spirit can was clearly printed with the words MINERAL SPIRITS, reading the fine print underneath it, the words stated a “safer alternative to mineral spirits”. So, I had to strip it all off back to bare wood.

Strip it off, start over. You wont regret it.

-- Just a man and his opinion.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics