Water based vs. Oil mix up

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Forum topic by bbrettfa posted 06-09-2016 06:16 PM 1146 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View bbrettfa's profile


3 posts in 1628 days

06-09-2016 06:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finish oil water based sanding table redwood beginner wood mistake fix help orbital brush paint thinner helmsman spar urethane satin

Hello community,

I recently embarked on my first woodworking project: a simply farmhouse rustic style table from reclaimed coastal redwood. The great news, the table turned out exactly as I wanted. The bad news, I may have made a mistake with the finish. First I sanded the tabletop using 80, then 120. I put a coat of Helmsmans water based spar urethane and then repeated. So I had two coats of water based on and the wood was looking and feeling great, straight lines and no grain raised, and it dried quickly. Then my friend suggested I do one more 220 sanding and put on a coat of satin oil with a little paint thinner. I applied a thin layer of Satin oil on top of the two water based coats, and I have been beating myself up ever since. It is still sticky 24 hours later, will smudge easily and the grain has risen very high. My question is, what do I do next? I have considered sanding down a little bit and putting another coat of something on but I don’t know what to put down. Any help is appreciated,



12 replies so far

View ClammyBallz's profile


449 posts in 2048 days

#1 posted 06-09-2016 06:28 PM

You’ll need to strip it all off and start over.

View bbrettfa's profile


3 posts in 1628 days

#2 posted 06-09-2016 07:09 PM

[removed] you’re messing with me

View JayT's profile


6414 posts in 3123 days

#3 posted 06-09-2016 07:21 PM

Wow! You came here asking advice on your admittedly first woodworking project and then when someone more experienced gives an answer you don’t like, immediately get defensive. You might not like the answer, but there is no reason to cuss someone out over it. There’s no place for that kind of behavior on this forum.

FWIW, I happen to agree with Clammy. From what you describe, there is not going to be a way to salvage the finish. The best course of action is to strip back to bare wood and re-finish. Chalk it up to a learning experience and put in the time to fix it right.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View IHRedRules's profile


118 posts in 2388 days

#4 posted 06-09-2016 07:27 PM

Please, watch the language, this is hopefully a family friendly site. You also asked for opinions and someone gave you theirs. If the grain is raised to an unacceptable level, that alone would require enough sanding to warrant starting over on the finishing, not even considering the other issue at hand.

View jdh122's profile


1185 posts in 3730 days

#5 posted 06-09-2016 07:30 PM

What do you mean by “satin oil”? Is it a polyurethane or some other kind of varnish? or boiled linseed oil?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6556 posts in 3405 days

#6 posted 06-09-2016 08:19 PM

What Jeremy said: what is “satin oil”? I guess you thinned it a a little? More info please, be as specific as possible.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View bondogaposis's profile


5888 posts in 3263 days

#7 posted 06-09-2016 09:58 PM

Never heard of satin oil, but I do know that a gummy finish means that there will be sanding in your future, call me psychic.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View CampD's profile


1818 posts in 4398 days

#8 posted 06-09-2016 10:23 PM

I’m guessing “satin oil” poly, normal dry time for oil poly is a couple days in good conditions, with the addition of thinner to thin it out adds considerable time to the drying process….don’t touch it for a week. You can always wet sand it out when “it’s fully dry”
You should be fine.

-- Doug...

View TheFridge's profile


10861 posts in 2398 days

#9 posted 06-09-2016 10:37 PM

I’d strip it and refinish. For comparability reasons alone.

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

View bbrettfa's profile


3 posts in 1628 days

#10 posted 06-10-2016 11:33 PM

Thank you guys for the response, I have more details. The last coat I put on was an oil, specifically, minwax-fast drying polyurethane- satin. It has now been 48 hours and it is getting slightly less sticky but the grain has risen even more. I am looking to have a clean looking, smooth to touch finish that is not sticky, obviously. I am up for anything that is suggested, I don’t mean any disrespect, I am just disappointed that I may have to strip it all off because I haven’t done that before. Thanks in advance. Should I just give it a few more days?

View johnstoneb's profile


3161 posts in 3085 days

#11 posted 06-10-2016 11:38 PM

You just wrote the one word that is the cause of your trouble Minwax. Strip it and start over and don’t use minwax. I used minwax polyshade to refinish some kitchen cabinets it never did dry I finally was able to seal it with a varnish. I have had problems with other minwax products.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1660 days

#12 posted 06-11-2016 01:16 AM

I’ll be darned. Minwax Fast Drying Poly was involved in two recent problems I had. Darned stuff wouldn’t dry. I had made a 10 inch diameter Walnut Bowl for a favorite nephew. Sanded it to perfection and applied Watco Danish Oil as a primer. Waited 3 days and applied the Minwax. It never dried, but just was a sticky mess. At the time, I had assumed that the Danish Oil had not completely dried. I took all the finish off and started over. That was no fun. Then applied Danish Oil and waited 5 days. Applied the Minwax and again it was sticky the next morning. I was able to get the Minwax off with Mineral Spirits. Threw the Minwax away and went with 3 or 4 coats of Waterlox Original Satin and wound up with a terrific looking bowl.

I’ve used the Minwax before and had no problems. Either the stuff had gone bad, since the can was a few years old and had been opened previously, or maybe it just doesn’t go over Danish Oil. I have a new can of the Minwax, but I’m almost afraid to use it.

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