Another wipe-on vs. brush-on poly question

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Forum topic by LiveEdge posted 04-04-2014 08:17 PM 997 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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476 posts in 1039 days

04-04-2014 08:17 PM

I’m finishing the top of my table with oil-based poly. I had previously done four coats of full-strength poly brushed on with a foam brush. I decided I wasn’t happy with the number of dust specks that I had so I sanded a little more aggressively with 220 grit. This time I wiped on three more coats of 50/50 poly/mineral spirits. I definitely have fewer dust specks but the haze of the previous sanding is showing through more than I’m used to (previously each new coat would cause any haze from sanding to disappear). So, here’s the question. Do I just keep doing wipe on coats until the haze disappears or should I go back to a full-strength coat?

9 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2232 days

#1 posted 04-04-2014 08:36 PM

Sometimes another application can solve haze/blushing issues.
Have you considered spraying? I had all the common finishing problems until I switched to a gravity feed spray gun.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3638 days

#2 posted 04-04-2014 08:43 PM

I’m a little stumped…. photos would be good.

I never sand poly with anything coarser than 320 between coats, so I’m not sure if that is what created the problem. If everything is thoroughly dry and you’ve still got a haze, I don’t believe additional coats are going to solve the problem. On the other hand, you’ve got nothing to lose by wiping on a couple more coats to see what happens. You might want to try applying the thinned poly with the foam brush. I’ve had some success with that.

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

View LiveEdge's profile


476 posts in 1039 days

#3 posted 04-04-2014 08:46 PM

Hmm, well, that’s news to me. :) The direction on the can do say 220 so I hope that’s not the issue. Previously I had gotten a little haze from sanding and it disappeared. This time I was, however, more aggressive so most of the table was hazy.

I assume the less mineral spirits you thin with the thicker the ultimate coat. Perhaps I try a more 30/70 mix (70% poly).

I’m not at home so I can give you a picture, but if it doesn’t clear up I’ll do so.

View Kwit's profile


102 posts in 1378 days

#4 posted 04-05-2014 01:40 AM

I’ve seen the results of the “over zealous” 220 sanding in my own projects – I don’t really think you can recover now unless you strip down – the best you can do is try to minimize it – my experience so far is that wipe on poly for the final 2-3 coats – then a nice light yet adequate spray coat – using a can or sprayer

In the future – I have learned to follow the 220 sanding with 320 before the next coat is applied

-- don't talk about it - be about it

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1275 posts in 1354 days

#5 posted 04-05-2014 11:23 AM

Yeah, I am pretty careful with my sanding between coats. I usually stick with maybe 400 or more likely 600 between coats. I suppose you reduce the “grip” between one coat and the next with finer sandpaper, but I’m not really worried about it.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View LiveEdge's profile


476 posts in 1039 days

#6 posted 04-05-2014 08:23 PM

I decided to go with a full thickness brush-on layer and it worked to take the haziness away. Phew. I’ll stop while I’m ahead with the equivalent of six brush-on layers. :)

View Blackie_'s profile


4527 posts in 1932 days

#7 posted 04-05-2014 08:51 PM

I’m with Charlie, I think your choice of grit was a bit much, I use 400 and 600 depending… between coats.

When I apply my own mix 50/50 blend I use a foam brush and take very light strokes making sure there’s no bubbles are runs left, when I dip the corner (it don’t take much) in the cup, I then apply to project and sometimes if it’s to much I’ll take a paper towel and dab any access into it then back to the project. I also don’t finish in my shop, I put up one of those 10×10 portable storage sheds and built a finishing bench inside so it’s away and out of my shop.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View LiveEdge's profile


476 posts in 1039 days

#8 posted 04-06-2014 04:44 AM

So can I sand the top layer with 400 to remove the dust nibs or do you just have to live with them?

View Blackie_'s profile


4527 posts in 1932 days

#9 posted 04-06-2014 07:54 PM

A 400 sanding shouldn’t hurt, give it a try.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

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