Cloudy Wipe-on Poly

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 03-01-2014 04:09 PM 1841 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1957 days

03-01-2014 04:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

Hey guys,

I need a little help/advice with a finishing issue.

Here is the back story: I am making a small side table with a spalted sycamore top. I applied 6 or 7 coats of gloss minwax oil-based wipe-on poly. The coats were building well and looked good, but it was a bit shiny for my taste, so I decided to put a coat of satin minwax oil-based wipe-on poly over the top to dull down the shine. Well, now that the satin has dried for over 24 hours, it did dull down the shine, but it also made the finish sort-of milky and cloudy. I actually want the finish a little duller still, so I’ll likely sand with 1500. I have used satin before, but never on what I would call “fine woodwork” like this.

Is this cloudiness just part of the “satin” look?

If I sand to 1500, do you think that will give the “hand-rubbed” look? (which is more what I am looking for)

For the record, I know some of you guys are thinking – “This idiot should have just used oil if he wanted a hand-rubbed look”. I wish I could have, but this table will likely get anything and everything spilled on it throughout its lifetime, so I decided on poly for the best functional finish.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

3 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2384 days

#1 posted 03-01-2014 04:44 PM

Poly was a good choice. 1500 is unnecessarily fine. Wet sand it with 600 wet or dry lubed with soapy water to get the level of sheen you want.

-- 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 bondogaposis's profile


4755 posts in 2374 days

#2 posted 03-01-2014 04:45 PM

You should be fine, if you can sand off the top coat and remove the milky layer. You can mix the the gloss and satin to get the exact sheen you want. You can also stick w/ the gloss poly and get the satin look by using 0000 steel wool on the final coat. Satin poly has silica added to dull the finish, perhaps your can is old or maybe they put too much in or maybe you didn’t stir well and used half the can then stirred and now you have a whole cans worth of silica in a half a can of poly. Hard to say, but if it is too milky I would consider getting another can. Sanding further might give you the look you want, experimentation on scrap is the only way to know for sure.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1957 days

#3 posted 03-01-2014 04:54 PM

yeah, I am wishing I had sanded the bottom as fine as the top, then I could use it as a test. I can probably still get a good idea using the bottom of the tabletop. I’ll try the 600 paper.

I didn’t think about the silica settling at the bottom. The can is about 2/3 empty and about a year old, so you might be onto something there.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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