Wiping Varnish

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Forum topic by FreedomWoodCreations posted 06-12-2013 12:08 AM 2031 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 1895 days

06-12-2013 12:08 AM

I think I’m varnish dumb or something. I am having an issue with Sherwin Williams Wood Classics Gloss Wiping Varnish. I’m trying to apply by putting a good amount of varnish on and wiping it off as described in this article:

The problem is that the varnish is “drying” too fast. By the time I can start smoothing it out its very sticky and my towel just drags across the finish leaving horrible streaks. The wood is aged cherry that has been treated with dewaxed shellac/MS as a sealer then regular stain (don’t flame me, I recommended to leave this natural but the recipient insisted on the color). If I sand it smooth then keep adding layers will it smooth out? I’ve only done the first set of 3 applications. I can only think of 3 things it can be: the wood is sucking it up as fast as I put it on, the is too much MS or whatever drier is in it, or I just suck and I need to stick to spraying laquer. It could obviously be a different issue, I just can’t think of it.

Any help would be appreciated!

8 replies so far

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2589 days

#1 posted 06-12-2013 12:37 AM

A couple of things I can think of… First, is that product specifically “wiping” varnish, because the link I found doesn’t mention “wiping” anywhere. As it is water based, it could just be drying too quickly. Second, that article talks about thinning with mineral spirits, and thus, oil based. I’ve never heard of wiping on water based; I have either brushed it or sprayed it. As oil based stuff takes longer to cure, it can be wiped on and off. I’ve done the wipe on/off with mixing my own 3-2-1 for some cabinet drawers. I’ve also just wiped one with foam brush ArmR-Seal oil & urethane, and it levels itself and looks great.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View FreedomWoodCreations's profile


13 posts in 1895 days

#2 posted 06-12-2013 01:08 AM

Here’s the product I’m using. It’s the oil based fast drying varnish.

I guess I have mis-assumed fast drying = wiping, but the instructions include applying with a pad. Should I just mix this up with some ratio of MS and/or BLO?

View Douglas's profile


424 posts in 2589 days

#3 posted 06-12-2013 01:11 AM

Hmmm, I dont think you’re supposed to smooth that stuff out. I would wipe it or brush it on evenly, and let it dry/level on its own. But I don’t know that brand specifically, so I might be wrong. Just armchair general-ing here.

-- Douglas in Chicago -

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2406 days

#4 posted 06-12-2013 01:30 AM

the fast drying on the label is probably the problem and it doesn’t state it is a wiping varnish. Most of the sherwin williams guys around here are pretty knowledgeable about their products. won’t hurt to give them a call and see what they say.

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View Fred Hargis's profile (online now)

Fred Hargis

5002 posts in 2522 days

#5 posted 06-12-2013 12:11 PM

I’ve used quite of bit of that product, it’s one of my favorite varnishes. But in the can, it is not a wiping varnish. However, it’s works really good as a wiping varnish if you thin it (I usually go 50/50 varnish and MS). But the SW product is simply an alkyd resin/linseed oil formula varnish.

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

View FreedomWoodCreations's profile


13 posts in 1895 days

#6 posted 06-12-2013 12:53 PM

Awesome Fred, thanks!

View bondogaposis's profile


4771 posts in 2380 days

#7 posted 06-12-2013 01:30 PM

I wouldn’t use fast drying varnish for a wiping varnish. That is where your problems are coming from. Just get some regular varnish and thin it 50/50 w/ mineral spirits and that will rectify your problem.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2390 days

#8 posted 06-12-2013 05:12 PM

Do it right: strip it and spray lacquer.

-- 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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