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Polyurethane. Oak table. Grain grooves-help!

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Forum topic by EJsPlace posted 08-07-2014 01:39 AM 557 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


08-07-2014 01:39 AM

Hello all!
I’m very much a rookie to woodworking, and I hope u will bear w my stupid questions untill I become more skilled in the trade.
Here is a summary of my situation:

-Traditional round oak kitchen table.
-Surface beat up and covered w various food stains and what must have been cherry cool aid on 1/4 of surface.
I’ve done:
-Sanded and cleaned down to natural wood and looking beautiful.
-Liked natural color but wanted a “wet” look so I applied 4 coats minwax polyurethane semi-gloss straight to surface.
(Light sanding 220 between coats as suggested on can)
-First three coats, painted w the grain. Grain grooves persisted, so I said screw and went heavy on forth coat 90 degrees against grain hoping to fill in “mini-canyons” all over table surface.
No success.

Question:
Without starting over (no funds and no time for it), how can I fill in all those little micro-grooves that appear along the grains? I have plenty of polyurethane left, but patience is a virtue i don’t seem to posess! Is there something thicker I can just put over the top? I’m really strapped right now so even $20 is a stretch. Moved in to new apartment and am tired of eating off of beat up TV trays considering what a sweet oak table I have sitting on the balcony w grooves all over it!

I did try to search for answers in existing posts, but wasn’t having much luck. Sorry if this has been adressed before, but I just want to have a nice dinner w the GF ASAP! (I might even get a little action this month if I get the table in w some flowers on top!)

Thank you for any advice u may provide
-EJ


16 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile

ShaneA

5348 posts in 1286 days


#1 posted 08-07-2014 02:10 AM

By grooves,do you mean brush strokes? Or is it the pores/grain of the wood?

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

1826 posts in 892 days


#2 posted 08-07-2014 02:28 AM

The “mini canyons” may well be air bubbles forming.
It this is the case just get a hot air gun and carefully “pop” them by waving the gun over them carefully after yet another coat.

all other issues like absorbtion from the timber should now be long gone, and contamination from previous use could be considered if the effect is confined to the particular areas you mentioned previously.

Action: You still have some time up your seeve to get it done, otherwise so as no to miss out you could preposition the table add a table cloth and flowers that may get you over one hump …...oh no…what have I said….... tee hee !!

Ensuring the GF is fully aware of the extended work task required later.

Let us know how it turns out …........the table only that is!

-- Regards Robert

View Pezking7p's profile

Pezking7p

1336 posts in 339 days


#3 posted 08-07-2014 02:30 AM

Sounds like brush strokes? If so, make your poly into wiping poly by mixing it 1:1 with mineral spirits. Sand your table top until the lines are gone using a sanding block. Then wipe on your wiping poly, wipe off excess, wait 24 hours. Very light sanding with 400-600 grit, rinse and repeat until you’re happy.

If the issue is different, obviously this solution won’t apply.

-- -Dan

View EJsPlace's profile

EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


#4 posted 08-07-2014 02:54 AM

Sorry, should have clarified. By “Mini canyons” and grooves, I’m referring to the grains in the wood. For whatever reason, they are decayed or just porous and the poly won’t fill them and make a smooth surface. After four coats, I still have little tiny grooves all along the grains themselves. I can’t figure out why the poly won’t fill them in.

Thanks all for responding so quickly. Greatly appreciated

View EJsPlace's profile

EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


#5 posted 08-07-2014 02:55 AM

Ps: LOL Robert! If that’s what it takes, a table cloth I will buy!

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11732 posts in 1793 days


#6 posted 08-07-2014 02:55 AM

The open grain of oak should be filled with a leveling wood filler to close the pores first to get a full fill finish which sounds like you are after. Now that you have the poly on , I would block sand it with 180 waterproof paper and water between coats and apply more coats until all the grain is filled. Then use 400 wet paper before the final coat. Many manufacturers of oak furniture leave the open pores in the product just because a full finish is so expensive and time consuming to achieve. We used to sell full finished oak tops at Steelcase and they were a whole lot more than just 3 coat finished top,

Good luck!................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View EJsPlace's profile

EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


#7 posted 08-07-2014 02:56 AM

Would adding mineral spirits as u suggested make the poly a little thicker?

View EJsPlace's profile

EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


#8 posted 08-07-2014 02:58 AM

Thanks Jim. So the water sanding will help get those grooves filled in Im guessing. Your post was spot on. Wish I consulted you guys before I started. Oh well, live and learn!

View Pezking7p's profile

Pezking7p

1336 posts in 339 days


#9 posted 08-07-2014 03:02 AM

EJ, don’t add mineral spirits. I suggested that because I thought you were getting brush marks.

-- -Dan

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EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


#10 posted 08-07-2014 03:23 AM

K. Thanks dan

View OldWrangler's profile (online now)

OldWrangler

637 posts in 282 days


#11 posted 08-07-2014 03:55 AM

I have recently had some excellent glass-like finishes on a couple of projects by thinning my Minwax Polycrylic with water about 3 parts poly to 1 part water. Then I flood the surface and spread uniformly with a soft paper towel. Being lighter it flows easier, the towel leaves no brush marks or bubbles and the water seems to let the poly dry quicker. I sand between coats with 600 grit and re flood the poly. I get 3 coats in a day. Then let it dry for 2 days and sand out with 1000 grit, wipe dust off with wet rag. When dry, wax with good carnuba wax. The finish looks like glass.

I have used this with BKP, Walnut and a combo of Padauk, Purpleheart and Maple.

I am using Minwax Polycrylic gloss which is crystal clear, no amber tint like regular Polyurethane.

-- I've had trouble with both wives, the first one left me and the second one won't.

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EJsPlace

7 posts in 77 days


#12 posted 08-07-2014 04:27 AM

OldW, I was considering dumping the poly on and spreading it w a large plastic putty knife hoping to fill in the cracks! Then following with towel or paper towel. That equals a ton a sanding tho and doesn’t seem like a great option. Gonna try Jim’s idea first, then gives yours a try if it doesn’t pan out.
Thanx

View patrad's profile

patrad

45 posts in 999 days


#13 posted 08-07-2014 05:09 AM

More poly without anything else is not going to “fill” in and of itself. The additional poly is just going to build on the peaks where there are peaks and the valleys where there are valleys. You either need to fill the valleys or sand off the peaks. I think Jim is suggesting somewhat of both by filling the valleys with poly dust from sanding with 180, which will also lower the peaks.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile

TheWoodenOyster

914 posts in 623 days


#14 posted 08-07-2014 12:15 PM

More Poly coats aren’t going to solve the problem. Jim’s option might be the best, OldWrangler’s way would work as well. Another option would be to buy the 2-part epoxy that they use for bar tops and spread that stuff on top. It can created really thick films that would fill in massive gaps. Might not be in the budget, but that is another option. Not sure how it would go on over another finish that was already there though.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Paul Maurer's profile

Paul Maurer

140 posts in 242 days


#15 posted 08-07-2014 03:11 PM


Question:
Without starting over (no funds and no time for it), how can I fill in all those little micro-grooves that appear along the grains? I m really strapped right now so even $20 is a stretch. Moved in to new apartment and am tired of eating off of beat up TV trays considering what a sweet oak table I have sitting on the balcony w grooves all over it!
Thank you for any advice u may provide
-EJ
- EJsPlace

Wax. That is if you haven’t already gone with the tablecloth! -I use hardwood floor filler.

-- Psalm 62: 11 Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, 12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord. For you repay to all according to their work

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