Waterlox "repair" - sharing my recent experience

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 07-25-2013 01:26 PM 4076 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1100 posts in 2486 days

07-25-2013 01:26 PM

When we redid our kitchen last year we included an island, 8 feet long and about 3 and a half feet wide made of walnut. I used Waterlox (original, not satin) as the finish.

Because of the layout, we had to trim off a corner. Think of going about a foot from the corner (down one side and across the end) and then cutting along the line. It’s not quite a 45 degree angle and it has to match the way the cabinets are set up in that corner.

Anyways…. when I first cut the corner it was assuming the cabinets would be set a certain way. Installing the cabinets, it was necessary for me to shift one a few inches away from the corner. So the angle on the counter top didn’t match. It’s bee bugging me AND my wife, so as long as we were taking the island out to redo the FLOOR (don’t get me started on that one) I figured now is a good time to recut the corner.

Island top out to the shop, corner cut, hand sanded the small radius on the edges and “new” corners. THEN it was time to see how Waterlox works in terms of repairability. Before any cutting was done I cleaned the top thoroughly to remove any traces of cooking oil or grease. Our cooktop is set into the island. I actually cleaned it with vinegar water, tehn wiped the entire top down with mineral spirits, and dried it with paper towels. I didn’t let the MS sit on it. Just wiped it down good and then dried it off. The Waterlox came through all of this looking wonderful! MS is the solvent for Waterlox, but it stands up to it very well when the finish is a year old apparently.

The original finish was applied with a lambs wool pad as though I was doing a floor. Flood coat. It went on heavy. If you brush it on or wipe it on, it would take many coats to equal one coat applied with the lambs wool pad. For this repair to the end grain, I used a brush and applied the Waterlox as heavily as that brush would allow. I mean, brush held almost vertical, heavily loaded with finish, one swipe across the end grain and then clean up the drips with the brush and watch for any runs.

You invariably get finish on the top of the counter top where you really don’t need to apply more finish, but want to blend the old with the new. For the first few coats, I dried the brush some on a paper towel and then very lightly swept the end of the counter top TOWARD the wet finish to remove what appeared to be a small “ridge” of finish right at the radius on the top.

For the last coat I took a pad with waterlox on it and went almost a foot onto the top of the counter top and feathered the end (new finish) into the top (old finish). As I’m writing this, the “last coat” was done 3 hours ago. I just went out and checked it and there are absolutely no lap marks. The new finish MAY have an ever so slightly higher sheen, but the difference (if any really exists) is so small as to be invisible. I got down at every angle I could come up with looking at this and I can’t find where the new finish ends and the old finish starts. And I just did it 3 hours ago so I have a real good idea where I would expect to see a difference. I had expected, going into this, that I would have to wipe the entire top to get an invisible repair. Right now it doesn’t look like that’s going to be necessary.

All in all I’m calling this a successful repair and moving on to other things. It will spend 24 hours curing in the shop and then get “babied” for another few days keeping any heavy grease or spills off it, but it may get reinstalled tomorrow night.

OH! I had 2 cans of Waterlox. One that I opened last year when we did this originally and one never opened. I had expected the one from last year to be gelled and not usable. To my surprise, that was not the case. I squeezed the can last year when I closed it, but there was still quite a bit of air space. I breathed into the can, capped it and then screwed the lid on. I didn’t need to open the “fresh” can. So that was also a pleasant surprise.

8 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 3912 days

#1 posted 08-29-2013 03:05 AM

Sounds like a successful repair. The new coat has bonded well to the old?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2486 days

#2 posted 08-29-2013 09:57 AM

Yes, it’s been a month now and the island top has been in use as normal. You know you can pick out every imperfection in anything that you’ve built, but I swear I can’t see any difference in the finish. I know where to look. Still can’t find any area where you can tell the new vs old finish. Absolutely no issue with new bonding to old. By all appearances it’s just one finish.
I am super happy with this.

View scottdarr's profile


11 posts in 1960 days

#3 posted 09-04-2013 10:47 PM

Hi Charlie,
glad to hear the repair went well,
you had responded to my question about waterlux on walnut countertop about a month ago,
first of all thanks for the advise,
i now have 5 coats on and am letting it sit in the basement for a couple of weeks before bringing it up,
wondering if you did anything else to it after last coat? i have been reading about people rubbing out after cure.
never had any experience with that. just for fun i took a rag and rubbed a corner of the top that will not be seen and it got baby butt smooth but also clouded the finish, its only been 5 days since last coat applied.
thanks again, will post some pics when we get it up

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2486 days

#4 posted 09-04-2013 11:31 PM

We clean ours with vinegar and water. That’s it. Oh, we wipe it off with the dish cloth if it gets crusty or greasy, but we follow it up by washing with vinegar water. Then dry it and done. Mine was in service 3 or 4 days after I applied the last coat. We babied it for a week or so and then just used it as normal. If you used the original finish, it WILL dull down a bit over time. Not a lot, but some.

What method did you use to APPLY the 5 coats?
I’m not rubbing mine out. I’m just letting it do whatever it’s gonna do. It’s a work space in a kitchen and I can tell you it’s definitely not getting babied. We use the heck out of it.

Before the repair I wiped the entire top down with mineral spirits. I wanted to make sure it was grease free because I really thought I’d have to do a final coat over the whole thing after repairing the corner. Didn’t have to. And I can tell you the mineral spirits didn’t do anything to the waterlox except clean it.

I’m really happy with it.

View scottdarr's profile


11 posts in 1960 days

#5 posted 09-04-2013 11:49 PM

I used the original finish , first 3 coats with lambswool applicator, 4th with foam brush, then light sanding with 320 and 1 rag on , the first 3 left lots of little wool pieces and bits so i did the 4th with foam. i dont mind the semigloss, wouldnt bother me if it toned down abit in a couple of months,
still trying to figure out how to get it out of the basement shop,
13’ long, 2’ wide with last 5’ being 3’ wide , 1.75 thick with sink cut out in middle,
very heavy.
maybe family reunion at our place this year.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2486 days

#6 posted 09-04-2013 11:57 PM

Kinda like building a boat in the basement. :)

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2182 days

#7 posted 09-17-2013 06:38 PM


-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View DrDirt's profile


4510 posts in 3942 days

#8 posted 09-17-2013 09:23 PM

It should hold up well. It has always been advertise that you can renew the surface just by wiping down with mineral spirits and reapplying.

I have two dining tables I made with it, and after a few years use – they were “renewed” with no issue.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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