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Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish - Streaking and Grainy

by Riggy
posted 10-05-2018 01:44 PM


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57 replies

57 replies so far

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OSU55

2407 posts in 2501 days


#1 posted 10-05-2018 08:05 PM

I would wet sand with 320-400 with ms, wipe down, recoat. Easy does it, dont want to sand thru a layer and have ghost lines. Coating method is whatever you can do the best with – wipe on cloth, lambswool, brush. How thick of a film do you want?

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Kirk650

672 posts in 1260 days


#2 posted 10-06-2018 12:47 AM

I had some streaky Waterlox finishes when I used Waterlox satin. I believe my problem was not stirring enough and then letting it skin over in the can. Started using Bloxygen when I bought a new can to prevent the skinning over. Last finish looked much better. Probably it would be best to use the gloss rather than the satin, then rub it out to the degree you like.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#3 posted 10-06-2018 12:53 AM

I use Waterlox frequently. Assuming you are using Original Sealer/Finish, I have found that 6 wiped coats is a minimum. I always apply it with a folded cheesecloth pad, each coat should be very thin. I allow 24 hours between coats and scuff sand with 320 between coats.

BTW- Waterlox recommends that you always build the finish with Original, then final coat with satin or gloss if you wish to change the sheen. Only Original isa a sealer.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#4 posted 10-06-2018 03:35 AM



I would wet sand with 320-400 with ms, wipe down, recoat. Easy does it, dont want to sand thru a layer and have ghost lines. Coating method is whatever you can do the best with – wipe on cloth, lambswool, brush. How thick of a film do you want?

- OSU55

Ok so I dry sanded with 320 wrapped around a sanding block. I may have gone a bit too much as there are some cloudy areas now. The reason being, sanding didn’t really seem to do much impact to the streaks and such, so I gave it a bit of elbow grease to try and bring it down to a common level…... I’ll attach some pics to show everyone the kind of streaks I’m working with. Some pooling too. These are counter tops so I don’t really care about coat thickness per se, as long as its protective and nice and smooth. Smooth thing I’m hoping to figure out… perhaps I should just lightly orbital with 220 and bring it back down a bit and put a few more coats on?

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#5 posted 10-06-2018 03:44 AM



I use Waterlox frequently. Assuming you are using Original Sealer/Finish, I have found that 6 wiped coats is a minimum. I always apply it with a folded cheesecloth pad, each coat should be very thin. I allow 24 hours between coats and scuff sand with 320 between coats.

BTW- Waterlox recommends that you always build the finish with Original, then final coat with satin or gloss if you wish to change the sheen. Only Original isa a sealer.

- TungOil

Got it. Helpful, thanks! Have you ever had to troubleshoot pooling or streaking? How much should be sanded off between coats? Enough to cause skin and flaking? I’m wondering if I just need to keep throwing some coats on as opposed to over sanding.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#6 posted 10-06-2018 03:54 AM

Here’s what I’m working with guys. Some more streaky, some slightly pooling. I sanded by hand with 320 dry and it didn’t seem to do much other than create some hazy spots and leave vague traces of the streaks that don’t seem to have gone anywhere. Hope I didn’t screw this one up.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#7 posted 10-06-2018 04:08 AM

You’ve got some serious contamination. Waterlox should not fisheye like that. It looks like you used something before the Waterlox that contained silicone or something similar that caused the surface tension to decrease in areas that resulted in the finish flowing out unevenly. The “pooling” you refer to isn’t due to your application method, it’s due to something on the surface.

The descriptions have been sketchy which makes it difficult to help. For example, when you say it’s grainy, I don’t know if that means you have some nibs, or if something worse has gotten into the finish.

Also, if you sand with 320, wet or dry, you will get dull areas and shiny ones. Waterlox Original has a pretty high sheen. When you sand it, you are dulling it where the sanding is happening. The shiny areas are shallow spots that the paper didn’t reach. In general, once you’ve built a good film, you want to wet sand with soapy water (1 part dishwashing liquid to 6 or more parts water) until the surface is evenly dull. That means you’ve leveled the surface. Remember to only do this once you have a good film or you’ll run the risk of sanding through. Also, be very careful around the edges. If you’re hand sanding, go short strokes at the edge and long in between. If you’re using a ROS don’t go over the edge by more than an inch or so and don’t let the sander roll over the edge.

After you have it evenly dull and haven’t sanded through, you can take it to any sheen you want. The options are varied. Pumice 4F, 0000 steel wool, sanding are all options. I like taking it to about 2000 grit wet sanding with the soapy water. If you want a higher sheen, go up to 3000 or 4000.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#8 posted 10-06-2018 03:15 PM

You are applying it way to heavy. I’d suggest sanding it back w/220 until you get everything level, then start over using the cheesecloth method I mention above. Very light, wiped coats are best, then let cure 24 hrs between coats. Be sure you are using original sealer/Finish. Lightly scuff sand w/ 320 between coats just to de-nib. First several coats will look terrible and uneven, but stick with it by the 3rd or 4th coat it will start to even out.

Edit: Also, be sure you have fresh finish- the Waterlox tech folks told me no older than 1 year.

BTW- the finish schedule I outlined above came directly from a discussion I had with Jeff Jewett about 15 years ago. Waterlox is one of his preferred, go-to finishes. I’ve been using it ever since with great results, but you must have patience with it.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Gerald Thompson's profile

Gerald Thompson

1222 posts in 2746 days


#9 posted 10-06-2018 05:16 PM

TungOil; Does the one year use by apply to unopened cans too for WaterLox?

-- Jerry

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#10 posted 10-06-2018 06:21 PM

Ok so I’m a bit confused here guys…. sounds like it could be contaminated substrate and sounds like it was my application method. I’m trying to figure out a concrete plan of attack here so help me work through this:

1) Sand back down to a reasonable level surface but not bare wood. Will this sort of look gray and scuffy? After sanding to a level spot it won’t look very goood right? Is light orbital at 220 too much here or should this all be done by hand? I felt that when I hand sanded it, it didn’t particularly do much to knock it down.

2) Very light wipe on coats with cheese cloth

3) Wet Sand (or dry?) between coats with 320 to remove anything pertruding as a nib

4) 6-7 light wipe coats total, patience and many light coats

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#11 posted 10-06-2018 06:22 PM

Here is a video from Tom Johnson Antique Restoration of him restoring an antique gateleg table. His nightmare begins at around the 10 minute mark. What you will see is Waterlox (which he uses extensively) behaving precisely as yours is due to surface contamination. The lower right corner of your first photo shows clearly how his finish issues mirror yours.

What you will see in the video is that if the contamination is severe, then sanding and re-coating will only result in the same problems continuing. Hopefully that’s not the case, but his videos are among the best and you can see the problems he runs into and how he ultimately deals with them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79GkFgf_jIo&t=695s

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#12 posted 10-06-2018 06:32 PM



TungOil; Does the one year use by apply to unopened cans too for WaterLox?

- Gerald Thompson


That was their advice for unopened cans, opened cans they claimed less.

I think they were being cautious however, I have used opened Waterlox that has been around for several years on shop projects without issues. I would buy fresh finish for any important pieces. The point is to be sure it’s fresh when you buy it.

Riggy- were these tops new/unfinished, or previously finished?

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#13 posted 10-06-2018 06:33 PM



Here is a video from Tom Johnson Antique Restoration of him restoring an antique gateleg table. His nightmare begins at around the 10 minute mark. What you will see is Waterlox (which he uses extensively) behaving precisely as yours is due to surface contamination. The lower right corner of your first photo shows clearly how his finish issues mirror yours.

What you will see in the video is that if the contamination is severe, then sanding and re-coating will only result in the same problems continuing. Hopefully that s not the case, but his videos are among the best and you can see the problems he runs into and how he ultimately deals with them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79GkFgf_jIo&t=695s

- Rich

Great video definitely a similiar vibe. All I can say, however, is that those fisheye portions that you noted in the pictures are actually moreso the minority here and are just a vew spots versus the majority which just seems to be brush streaking. I’ll have to follow a similiar method here and see what I can come up wth. I thought this process would be more straightforward haha!

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#14 posted 10-06-2018 06:47 PM

Do you guys know what that “wax-wash” remover is? Is that something sold in common outlets or a special order? I’m wondering if it makes sense to do the same thing: utilizing this wax wash and ammonia and water, but would hate to get in too deep with this stuff. He seems to have salvaged it though.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#15 posted 10-06-2018 06:55 PM

Ah ok got it, I’ve seen this pop up in other threads with fisheye concerns. I see the product now. I’m just wondering how it might best be utilized in this scenario given I’m already 3 coats in with waterlox. Would it make sense to sand down with 220 to a more base layer still with waterlox on and then use this product? Or would it need to be stripped back down to the bare wood?

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#16 posted 10-06-2018 06:56 PM


TungOil; Does the one year use by apply to unopened cans too for WaterLox?

- Gerald Thompson

That was their advice for unopened cans, opened cans they claimed less.

I think they were being cautious however, I have used opened Waterlox that has been around for several years on shop projects without issues. I would buy fresh finish for any important pieces. The point is to be sure it’s fresh when you buy it.

Riggy- were these tops new/unfinished, or previously finished?

- TungOil

New and unfinished. I used a conditioner and minwax stain to bring them slightly darker.

View Rich's profile

Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#17 posted 10-06-2018 07:23 PM


Great video definitely a similiar vibe. All I can say, however, is that those fisheye portions that you noted in the pictures are actually moreso the minority here and are just a vew spots versus the majority which just seems to be brush streaking. I ll have to follow a similiar method here and see what I can come up wth. I thought this process would be more straightforward haha!

- Riggy

I caught that too. Generally fisheye is isolated to a few locations. For example, refinishing a table that’s been polished with Pledge that contains silicone for years will only fisheye where the original finish had a flaw that allowed the silicone to seep into the wood. Similarly, yours could be due to spot contamination in the environment the wood was stored in before or after you bought it and probably not something that was applied evenly to the surface of the wood.

I had some cherry stored in the garage of my old house where my son was restoring a car. When I got it moved to my new house and started working with it, one board had three or four areas about one or two square inches that would not take lacquer evenly. There are techniques to mitigate the problem and once I applied those it came out fine, but obviously something he was using got splattered on the board.

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TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#18 posted 10-06-2018 07:27 PM



New and unfinished. I used a conditioner and minwax stain to bring them slightly darker.

- Riggy

I’m still leaning towards your application being too heavy, but I agree with Rich that contamination is another possibility. Since you are working with new material, it seems less likely that contamination is the issue. Where did you purchase the tops and how were they transported? Is it possible they were contaminated during shipping? Did you sand then thoroughly before applying stain and conditioner?

When using a foam brush, I believe you are supposed to wait about 10 minutes then wipe off the excess. Did you do that?

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#19 posted 10-06-2018 07:59 PM


Great video definitely a similiar vibe. All I can say, however, is that those fisheye portions that you noted in the pictures are actually moreso the minority here and are just a vew spots versus the majority which just seems to be brush streaking. I ll have to follow a similiar method here and see what I can come up wth. I thought this process would be more straightforward haha!

- Riggy

I caught that too. Generally fisheye is isolated to a few locations. For example, refinishing a table that s been polished with Pledge that contains silicone for years will only fisheye where the original finish had a flaw that allowed the silicone to seep into the wood. Similarly, yours could be due to spot contamination in the environment the wood was stored in before or after you bought it and probably not something that was applied evenly to the surface of the wood.

I had some cherry stored in the garage of my old house where my son was restoring a car. When I got it moved to my new house and started working with it, one board had three or four areas about one or two square inches that would not take lacquer evenly. There are techniques to mitigate the problem and once I applied those it came out fine, but obviously something he was using got splattered on the board.

- Rich

Gotcha. Interesting to learn! It could’ve definitely been something from the Lumber Liquidators sourcing/storage because at onset I had to sand out what looked like some sap/syrup type stuff that could’ve skewed the substrate. Hoping to learn and figure out a decent way to workaround this as per that video.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#20 posted 10-06-2018 08:03 PM


New and unfinished. I used a conditioner and minwax stain to bring them slightly darker.

- Riggy

I’m still leaning towards your application being too heavy, but I agree with Rich that contamination is another possibility. Since you are working with new material, it seems less likely that contamination is the issue. Where did you purchase the tops and how were they transported? Is it possible they were contaminated during shipping? Did you sand then thoroughly before applying stain and conditioner?

When using a foam brush, I believe you are supposed to wait about 10 minutes then wipe off the excess. Did you do that?

- TungOil

Yeah at this point I’m just not completely sure to be honest. They were purchased from Lumber Liquidators and taken home by me in a truck and right into my house. I can’t really so much contamination influence after they were taken home but ultimately I just don’t know…..they were in boxes in the warehouse. I sanded very thoroughly before staining and conditioner: 150 all the way up to 220, raised the grain about 4 times, conditioned and stained. Looking back on it, I may have definitely over applied. From everything I’m reading it seems the name of the game with waterlox is many coats, thin application. There was some thicker coats on there for sure. With the foam brush I did no wiping. Is that a mistake? Obviously per what you said it may be, but I’ve read conflicting accounts saying to wipe and not to wipe. Perhaps I should have.

Now I’m just not sure if I should or can, sand down to either bare wood or maybe a very early base coat of waterlox and then wipe down with a cleaner, or if it needs to be bare wood. Then utilize methods in the video in between coats and see how it comes out.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#21 posted 10-06-2018 08:13 PM


Gotcha. Interesting to learn! It could ve definitely been something from the Lumber Liquidators sourcing/storage because at onset I had to sand out what looked like some sap/syrup type stuff that could ve skewed the substrate. Hoping to learn and figure out a decent way to workaround this as per that video.

- Riggy

I’ve seen all the Tom Johnson videos multiple times and I have to confess to getting a bit of morbid pleasure watching him struggle on that one. His work is always so flawless and he makes it all look so easy that it’s nice to see that even the pros have problem projects that stump them too.

The thing is, if you watch the whole video, he does everything right. From the multiple applications of Wash Wax (you could do the same thing with naphtha) to putting down the shellac as a sealer, none of the issues that came up later should have happened. But they did…lol.

Hang in there. You’ll get it and it’ll look awesome. I always think back on Bob Flexner’s comment that you cannot ruin a project with a bad finish. You might have to take it off and start over, but eventually you’ll get it right.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#22 posted 10-06-2018 08:15 PM


Gotcha. Interesting to learn! It could ve definitely been something from the Lumber Liquidators sourcing/storage because at onset I had to sand out what looked like some sap/syrup type stuff that could ve skewed the substrate. Hoping to learn and figure out a decent way to workaround this as per that video.

- Riggy

I ve seen all the Tom Johnson videos multiple times and I have to confess to getting a bit of morbid pleasure watching him struggle on that one. His work is always so flawless and he makes it all look so easy that it s nice to see that even the pros have problem projects that stump them too.

The thing is, if you watch the whole video, he does everything right. From the multiple applications of Wash Wax (you could do the same thing with naphtha) to putting down the shellac as a sealer, none of the issues that came up later should have happened. But they did…lol.

Hang in there. You ll get it and it ll look awesome. I always think back on Bob Flexner s comment that you cannot ruin a project with a bad finish. You might have to take it off and start over, but eventually you ll get it right.

- Rich

haha I can see that! It’s nice to see mortal imperfection to remind us that we’re all equal and capable of being stumped!

I appreciate the help. Everyone here has been very supportive and knowledgable. I’ll try to keep ya’ll posted and updated as much as humanly possible.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#23 posted 10-07-2018 06:09 AM


Do you guys know what that “wax-wash” remover is? Is that something sold in common outlets or a special order? I m wondering if it makes sense to do the same thing: utilizing this wax wash and ammonia and water, but would hate to get in too deep with this stuff. He seems to have salvaged it though.

- Riggy

Missed this one earlier. Wash Wax is a product Mohawk sells to remove wax finishes so that their products like hard fill will adhere better. It’s nothing more than a low fraction distillate along the lines of naphtha. You’ll get the same degreasing effect from naphtha.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#24 posted 10-07-2018 06:20 AM


Ah ok got it, I ve seen this pop up in other threads with fisheye concerns. I see the product now. I m just wondering how it might best be utilized in this scenario given I m already 3 coats in with waterlox. Would it make sense to sand down with 220 to a more base layer still with waterlox on and then use this product? Or would it need to be stripped back down to the bare wood?

- Riggy

You have a decent build. I’d try wet sanding with soapy water at 400 grit to get it level. Like I mentioned earlier, any shiny spots you see are valleys where the paper hasn’t reached and means you’re not level yet. If you sand through, then go ahead and start over. No big deal. I’ve done it many times.

Once you get a smooth surface after sanding, at that point I’d wipe it down with naphtha and wipe on a final coat of Waterlox with the cheesecloth method that TungOil described.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#25 posted 10-08-2018 12:33 AM


Ah ok got it, I ve seen this pop up in other threads with fisheye concerns. I see the product now. I m just wondering how it might best be utilized in this scenario given I m already 3 coats in with waterlox. Would it make sense to sand down with 220 to a more base layer still with waterlox on and then use this product? Or would it need to be stripped back down to the bare wood?

- Riggy

You have a decent build. I d try wet sanding with soapy water at 400 grit to get it level. Like I mentioned earlier, any shiny spots you see are valleys where the paper hasn t reached and means you re not level yet. If you sand through, then go ahead and start over. No big deal. I ve done it many times.

Once you get a smooth surface after sanding, at that point I d wipe it down with naphtha and wipe on a final coat of Waterlox with the cheesecloth method that TungOil described.

- Rich

Rich,

Thanks for the guidance here. I wet sanded with both 320 and 400 and it seemed to make an impact with some of those shiny lingering strokes and pooling, but then (as seen in that video with Thomas Johnson) I used a 3M gray pad, and a lot of good old fashioned elbow grease really seemed to bring it down to a good level and get most of them out completely. The only thing I noticed, however, is that after wiping down with Naphtha and applying a light pad application of waterlox with a cheesecloth, I saw some circular scratches on a very long piece of butcher block! I don’t know if I screwed up the wet sand or what..but I’m wondering if it makes sense now to a) see what it looks like after this coat dries and B) put up another coat or two of waterlox to see if it covers any scratches or C) Start from scratch AHHHHHHHh I’ll post some pictures for you guys tomorrow

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#26 posted 10-08-2018 12:52 AM

Did you make any circular motions with the grey pad? Personally, I hate those things. I prefer Mirka Mirlon Total pads since they are a known grit. Regardless, after sanding with 400 grit you shouldn’t need to do any more work with abrasives before you put down the final coat of Waterlox.

And, always sand with the grain when hand sanding.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#27 posted 10-08-2018 01:28 AM



Did you make any circular motions with the grey pad? Personally, I hate those things. I prefer Mirka Mirlon Total pads since they are a known grit. Regardless, after sanding with 400 grit you shouldn t need to do any more work with abrasives before you put down the final coat of Waterlox.

And, always sand with the grain when hand sanding.

- Rich

No, that’s the weird thing. I did go straight ahead with the grain with the grey pad. The only circular hand sanding that was done was with 320 and 400 wet. I even poured a bit of water on the wood to ensure there was constant moisture. It seemed that the grey pad really did the trick in bringing it home, wet sanding with 320 and 400 didn’t really finish it.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#28 posted 10-08-2018 05:40 PM

So the saga continues gentlemen….After this most recent sand and light waterlox coat with the cheese cloth, the feel of the tops are great, very smooth. But, the streaking and mild pooling seems to not have gone away, almost like it’s a few layers deep. These were sanded out at the time, but for some reason or another are still visible, albeit much better from the last iteration. There’s also some scratches from wet sanding, which I have no idea how they made their way into the wood. —What would my options be here at this point? Start by sanding again with 220-320 and keep cleaning the wood? Or am I spinning my wheels here? Would it be best just to start this offer and strip back down to bare wood?

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#29 posted 10-08-2018 05:41 PM

Pictures for reference:

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TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#30 posted 10-08-2018 06:00 PM

It still looks too heavy to me. Waterlox is not a high build finish like poly or lacquer, it is more of a ‘close to the wood’ finish. Kind of in between a true oil finish and a poly if that makes sense. This image may help you. This is cherry with 6 coats of Waterlox applied as I outlined above

Since you’re not sure where you went astray and it is very hard for any of us to diagnose the issue accurately from afar, My suggestion is to sand it back to bare wood and start fresh. This way you can be sure to eliminate what ever mistake(s) were made the first time.

If it were me, I’d start with 80 or 100 grit on the ROS and get it back to bare wood, then sand it out with progressively finer grits to 220, restain then finish as discussed above.

One other thing. Waterlox will continue to cure and harden for about a month. You will continue to notice that terrible solvent smell for about a week after the last coat and it continues to cure after that where the sheen will dull to a more semi-gloss after about a month.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#31 posted 10-08-2018 06:13 PM



It still looks too heavy to me. Waterlox is not a high build finish like poly or lacquer, it is more of a ‘close to the wood’ finish. Kind of in between a true oil finish and a poly if that makes sense. This image may help you. This is cherry with 6 coats of Waterlox applied as I outlined above

Since you re not sure where you went astray and it is very hard for any of us to diagnose the issue accurately from afar, My suggestion is to sand it back to bare wood and start fresh. This way you can be sure to eliminate what ever mistake(s) were made the first time.

If it were me, I’d start with 80 or 100 grit on the ROS and get it back to bare wood, then sand it out with progressively finer grits to 220, restain then finish as discussed above.

One other thing. Waterlox will continue to cure and harden for about a month. You will continue to notice that terrible solvent smell for about a week after the last coat and it continues to cure after that where the sheen will dull to a more semi-gloss after about a month.

- TungOil

Got it. – All a part of the learning journey! Sometimes things don’t work out perfectly but you guys have been a godsend! Very grateful for all the help. That Cherry looks beautiful by the way. So you’re saying sand all the way back to bare wood, do the same sanding schedule (80-220), wood conditioner, re-stain, wipe with naphtha, and then start on LIGHT waterlox coats with the cheesecloth, maybe some light nib sanding in between with 320-400… does that sound fair?

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#32 posted 10-08-2018 06:21 PM


One other thing. Waterlox will continue to cure and harden for about a month. You will continue to notice that terrible solvent smell for about a week after the last coat and it continues to cure after that where the sheen will dull to a more semi-gloss after about a month.

- TungOil

Like Tung says, for any solvent based finish, as long as you can smell it, it hasn’t cured completely. It can take weeks or months depending on the environment.

As for Waterlox sheen softening over time, I know they say it does, and the photo you posted looks softer too, but I’ve got a test board from Sept ‘17 that is still as glossy as can be. Go figure. What I’ve done with it is top it off with their satin urethane. I get a nice soft sheen and it’s more durable than Waterlox Original alone.

Regarding Riggy’s situation, I’d consider a satin topcoat. I wanted to mention it earlier but he’s made progress. The bottom line is that glossier surfaces show irregularities more clearly. A satin topcoat would hide them somewhat.

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TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#33 posted 10-08-2018 06:48 PM


Got it. – All a part of the learning journey! Sometimes things don t work out perfectly but you guys have been a godsend! Very grateful for all the help. That Cherry looks beautiful by the way. So you re saying sand all the way back to bare wood, do the same sanding schedule (80-220), wood conditioner, re-stain, wipe with naphtha, and then start on LIGHT waterlox coats with the cheesecloth, maybe some light nib sanding in between with 320-400… does that sound fair?


Yes, you got it. I don’t see a need for the naphtha wipe down except to remove any sanding dust. You could also that with a water dampened micro fiber cloth, just let it dry before applying finish. I denib with 320 or better yet worn out 220.

What type of pre-conditioner and stain are you using? Make sure they are compatible with the Waterlox. Personally i like Waterlox on bare wood only since it darkens the wood quite a bit. I’ve never used it over stain (not that it shouldnt work)

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#34 posted 10-08-2018 06:59 PM

Do you have any cut-off’s or scraps from sizing the tops? It might be worth the time to work on a small scrap to get your finishing technique down before you tackle the whole top again. Will save you a lot f time and aggravation in the end.

Try a sample without the stain and conditioner, you might like it that way.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#35 posted 10-08-2018 07:04 PM


Got it. – All a part of the learning journey! Sometimes things don t work out perfectly but you guys have been a godsend! Very grateful for all the help. That Cherry looks beautiful by the way. So you re saying sand all the way back to bare wood, do the same sanding schedule (80-220), wood conditioner, re-stain, wipe with naphtha, and then start on LIGHT waterlox coats with the cheesecloth, maybe some light nib sanding in between with 320-400… does that sound fair?

Yes, you got it. I don’t see a need for the naphtha wipe down except to remove any sanding dust. You could also that with a water dampened micro fiber cloth, just let it dry before applying finish. I denib with 320 or better yet worn out 220.

What type of pre-conditioner and stain are you using? Make sure they are compatible with the Waterlox. Personally i like Waterlox on bare wood only since it darkens the wood quite a bit. I’ve never used it over stain (not that it shouldnt work)

- TungOil

I’m using Varathane pre and minwax stain. – Don’t really see much out there shouting incompatibility, but I’ll have to dig a bit deeper. For what it’s worth I actually have another slab that one had one very light coat of waterlox sitting during all of this…. so I’ve de-nibbed and gave it a light sand at 320 and 400 which mate it pretty smooth. Wiped it down with Naphtha and did the very light cheese cloth method. Tomorrow will re-coat and should see how this one comes out while I redo my work and sand all the others!

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#36 posted 10-08-2018 07:06 PM

Don’t use naphtha after staining, it’s a solvent and will dissolve the stain and make a huge mess. Only use naphtha as a cleaner/degreaser on a finished surface. Although it is a good product to wipe on bare wood to see what the grain will look like finished.

Also, don’t skip grits. If you start with 80, go to 100, 120, 150, 180 220. Don’t try to go from 80 to 120. It might look like you did OK, but you’ll have scratches.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#37 posted 10-09-2018 01:03 AM



Do you have any cut-off’s or scraps from sizing the tops? It might be worth the time to work on a small scrap to get your finishing technique down before you tackle the whole top again. Will save you a lot f time and aggravation in the end.

Try a sample without the stain and conditioner, you might like it that way.

- TungOil

This is true, good suggestion. But I suppose regardless the tops will have to be sanded back to raw wood anyway, and even if I tested some waterlox on a piece, it would require the same lengthy time or multiple coats and sanding to curate a proper result so I might as well give it a go on the whole lot and if for some reason they go bust again, I can revert back to square one. It will be helpful to see how this new piece is coming along that I mentioned. Hopefully it gives me some guidance as to how it will really work moving forward

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#38 posted 10-09-2018 01:04 AM



Don t use naphtha after staining, it s a solvent and will dissolve the stain and make a huge mess. Only use naphtha as a cleaner/degreaser on a finished surface. Although it is a good product to wipe on bare wood to see what the grain will look like finished.

Also, don t skip grits. If you start with 80, go to 100, 120, 150, 180 220. Don t try to go from 80 to 120. It might look like you did OK, but you ll have scratches.

- Rich

Ok helpful, thanks! I’ll keep everyone posted on waterlox adventure 2.0 with some pictures

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Aj2

2494 posts in 2309 days


#39 posted 10-09-2018 02:19 AM

When I first saw this post I thought looks like contamination. I wonder if he used a cheese cloth or something similar.
I use my clean dry hand for the final wipe after blowing with compressed air and wiping with a clean dry cotton rag. Just in case your wondering what I do.

-- Aj

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OSU55

2407 posts in 2501 days


#40 posted 10-09-2018 12:55 PM

The Varathane conditioner is compatible with oil based finishes – waterlox is really no different than other ob varnishes, except they state tung oil vs linseed or soya. For future reference on conditioners read here. Looking through the posts and pics it would appear you just got too much film build and didnt get it flat when you sanded it back. Going back to square 1 is a good idea. I use a dry micro fiber cloth for final post sanding wipe down. Its amazing how well it works.

Some here will disagree with the following method: for redoing the waterlox, for the 1st coat, get the surface wet, keep it wet for 10 min, then wipe it off. A thin film can be left. This allows porous areas to absorb more and leaving a more consistant surface for subsequent coats, resulting in less work to get to the final surface.

Especially for a light coloring like you are after, mixing dye into the finish, waterlox in this case, removes the staining step and allows the surface to be “color sanded”. After 2-3 coats, wet sand with the finish without worrying about sanding through the stain. Wipe down after sanding, dont leave a film. This also helps fill the grain. Apply final 2-3 coats with the cheesecloth.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#41 posted 10-10-2018 01:07 PM

Guys,

How necessary is Waterlox Satin? Is this a must-do? Just curious I’m about to place some Amazon orders for more product.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#42 posted 10-10-2018 02:15 PM


Guys,

How necessary is Waterlox Satin? Is this a must-do? Just curious I m about to place some Amazon orders for more product.

- Riggy

Not necessary at all. I was just pointing out that a satin finish hides flaws better than a glossier one. There’s no reason you can’t get a nice result with the original.

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Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#43 posted 10-10-2018 06:26 PM

Guys,

Any tips on expediting the process of removing stain and getting back to bare wood? Running through the 80-220 sanding schedule and finding that I’m hitting a wall, seems a far bit has soaked in pretty good. Any recommendations here? Stripper or refinisher and steel wool? Sanding seems to have reached peak efficacy.

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#44 posted 10-10-2018 07:04 PM

Nope, stain is a real gotcha. Stripper won’t do anything. You might give some bleach a try, but no promises there either. If you can get it faded to where it doesn’t show through and make the color uneven that’ll be good enough.

If it’s an option, going a shade or two darker on the new stain will help hide any old color left behind. You don’t even need to buy new stain, just add a few drops of black India ink to what you’ve got. Test with a small quantity of course, and try it on some scrap of the butcher block if you have some.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#45 posted 10-11-2018 02:31 AM

As rich said, no need for anything but Waterlox Original as long as the sheen suits you.

I’d recommend sanding back to bare wood and restaining with the same stain as before. Its unikey that you will see any difference in the color after you are done.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#46 posted 10-11-2018 03:03 AM

Ok guys, I was thinking I might even flip the tops over and use the unstained bottoms versus sanding for a million years. No real variance in the cuts I don’t think, so it might work. Using all grits on the sander seemed pretty futile for getting a pretty bare wood look from that stain. Unless I need to just stick it out for like 3-4 days hah! Lastly, (sorry to be obnoxious here) but with my light cheesecloth Waterlox on my new test piece, I’ve been getting light scuff lines from hand sanding, even with 320-400 wrapped around a foam block. These have been showing up a bit in the poly. I assume I’m doing everything right: flat hand, fresh paper, not overdoing it, mainly for nibs. But these scuff lines keep showing up. What can I do to avoid these? Put a thicker coat on next time? Wet Sand? The surface is very smooth, but on a micro-assesment these lines are a PITA!

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Rich

5001 posts in 1101 days


#47 posted 10-11-2018 04:01 AM

It’s good that you are using a test piece. Not being there to see it, I can’t say what might be causing the scuff lines. But, if you think about it, if you had a smooth surface, the finish should be smooth too. Don’t try to compensate for a rough surface with thicker finish. It might look good under a raking light, but the scratches will still be visible in overhead light.

Flipping the boards is a good move. That’ll save you a ton of time.

In the future, you might want to experiment with gluing up your own butcher block boards. Lumber Liquidators doesn’t have the best reputation for premier products and could be a factor in the issues you’ve run into.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1329 posts in 1006 days


#48 posted 10-11-2018 10:45 AM

Don’t use fresh paper, use worn 220. Really worn. Stuff sanding is a super light ‘glide’ over the finish. You just want to knock off the dust nibs. Be sure you wait a full 24 hrs before you sand.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Riggy's profile

Riggy

37 posts in 447 days


#49 posted 10-11-2018 06:22 PM



It s good that you are using a test piece. Not being there to see it, I can t say what might be causing the scuff lines. But, if you think about it, if you had a smooth surface, the finish should be smooth too. Don t try to compensate for a rough surface with thicker finish. It might look good under a raking light, but the scratches will still be visible in overhead light.

Flipping the boards is a good move. That ll save you a ton of time.

In the future, you might want to experiment with gluing up your own butcher block boards. Lumber Liquidators doesn t have the best reputation for premier products and could be a factor in the issues you ve run into.

- Rich

Fair enough! Their prices are pretty decent but I’ll definitely look farther and wider in the future. In my last gig as an investment research salesperson, we pitched LL as a top-pick stock, only to have it get crushed on asian contraband lumber issues! hah

I will keep you guys posted on the new boards! Test piece is going well, just has those little streaks. Very smooth and no pooling or fisheye, however.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5987 posts in 3325 days


#50 posted 10-11-2018 08:43 PM

I say listen to TungOil on matters related to finishing. I mean his name is TungOil for Pete’s sake.

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

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