At my wits end trying to get a nice poly tabletop

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Forum topic by kocgolf posted 07-15-2014 12:28 AM 1108 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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310 posts in 2177 days

07-15-2014 12:28 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

It’s not my first time around the block with Poly (oil) although I do hopes it’s my last. I did an oak table last year that turned out great, but now I am working on a pine top that has sections layed in multiple angled grain directions, therefore impossible to brush on with the grain. I stupidly tried brushing individual sections when putting on my 3rd coat and ended up with uneven coverage, heavy edges etc. I sanded it down and then bought some canned spray poly figuring it would be my best shot. Well, I did a test piece, everything seemed great, and then halfway through the table I notice that it is dripping from the nozel. Now my table has little pea and dime sized circles all over the place.

I don’t know where to go from here. I could tape of the sections and sand those spots level with 320 like I did with the brush marks, but even if I do that despised step, what is my best shot to get this darn thing finished? Should I just brush it on again cut with spirits and choose a brushing direction, living with the minor strokes that cross my grain lines? I’m at a loss here. Maybe I will just cover the whole thing in a 2 part bar top finish.

10 replies so far

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2108 days

#1 posted 07-15-2014 12:37 AM

That’s fish eye causing the craters. Silicone contamination from tooling or shop supplies.

I would sand it back to a smooth layer, apply a thin layer of Zinnser Sealcoat or spray can clear shellac to seal in the contamination, then apply more urethane. Use a new brush or rags, the ones you used before are probably contaminated.

View kocgolf's profile


310 posts in 2177 days

#2 posted 07-15-2014 12:47 AM

I mean, I can’t say with absolute certainty that it is NOT fisheye, but I really don’t think it is. The only thing that touched the table between coats was new sandpaper and a brand new tack cloth. I have no silicone anything in the shop, nor have I so much as touched a different project or tool. No issues on the first coats with it. I could see and feel the drips coming off the spray can and hitting the table. I considered stopping the spray, but then what? A half sprayed layer with drips is just as bad as a full sprayed layer. Still have to sand it back one section at a time. I will just have to go back to brushing and live with a little brush marks. If I sand it out with mineral spirits and 600 grit in a soft circle pattern do you think that would be better or worse than the slight brush marks?

View TiggerWood's profile


271 posts in 1605 days

#3 posted 07-15-2014 12:49 AM

Use your poly like a wipe on poly and just do several thin layers. I use paper towels, my brand doesn’t leave any fuzz behind.

View kocgolf's profile


310 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 07-15-2014 01:18 AM

I have always brushed poly. I could give wiping a try with rags or paper towels. Should I follow a set direction or rub in circles? How much should I cut it with mineral spirits? I have always gone about 1:1 for a thin brushed layer.

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1423 days

#5 posted 07-15-2014 01:27 AM

Use coffee filters. They will not leave behind lint and are dirt cheap to use.

-- Brad, Texas,

View TheFridge's profile (online now)


9465 posts in 1484 days

#6 posted 07-15-2014 01:37 AM

I had similar probs with a couple tables I did. So I used a cabinet scraper to knock down the high spots then hit it with 320 grit. This is how it came out. Just one of a billion ways.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View TiggerWood's profile


271 posts in 1605 days

#7 posted 07-15-2014 01:50 AM

I always went with the grain if possible but I was never too careful about it and never saw any swipe marks. I use it straight out of the can but you can split however you feel comfortable. 1:1 sounds good.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2360 days

#8 posted 07-15-2014 01:57 AM

It ain’t fisheye.

Your best shot is to strip the top and finish with waterborne poly floor finish, using a soft brush. Three or four coats and rubbed out.

-- 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 bigblockyeti's profile


5120 posts in 1719 days

#9 posted 07-15-2014 01:58 AM

I’d go over it again after only a light scuff coat, brush poly cut a little to flow better. A scraper can do a good job of just hitting the high spots when cleaning it up. I’ve had success with rolling uncut oil based poly, but it makes a huge mess.

View kocgolf's profile


310 posts in 2177 days

#10 posted 07-15-2014 02:23 PM

Rolling sounds messy for sure, but maybe. I am going to sand it tonight, but not to extremes. 400 or 600 and maybe use a scraper first of some of the concentrated drip areas. I’ll try rag or coffee filter (how many, just a big wad of them?) and see how that goes. I’m calling it good after that. It’s a refinish of a kitchen table the kids are going to beat to hell anyway, wife just wants it done. It was a CL find she wanted me to refinish but it wasn’t an easy job. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.

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