advice on applying a finish

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Forum topic by Snaggletooof posted 12-17-2011 07:08 AM 1425 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 3709 days

12-17-2011 07:08 AM

Topic tags/keywords: applying finishes

Hello everyone, I have been reading various posts on different types of finishes. I have used poly, deft spray lacquer, and brush on lacquer only thus far. I have purchased mineral spirits, boiled linseed oil, and Cabot polyurethane and have tried mixing equal parts of each together to apply on several test pieces. My question is how should this be applied? Via bristle brush, foam brush, hand rubbed on with a soft cloth? When I did a small piece I just applied with a small piece of t shirt. But should I work it in the wood, or brush it on like poly? I am also curious if anyone has any recommendations as far as finishing and keeping in mind I don’t have access to spray guns since I do everything from home. Thank you all, I really appreciate your advice!!!! -Luis.

4 replies so far

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 3697 days

#1 posted 12-17-2011 07:25 AM

First, mineral spirits is fine with poly, but not so with lacquer you need lacquer thinner for that.
As for brushes, there are usually some good oil base paint brushes that cost a little more, but last a long time as long as you keep them cleaned. Personally I’ve gotten away from poly entirely even in my own self projects, I use a professional grade lacquer (not the contractor stuff) instead. And of course I use the cup guns to spray it on. But it does take a little more practice to get that right.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4919 days

#2 posted 12-17-2011 07:25 AM

not a finish I would apply at all.


View Radu's profile


334 posts in 4386 days

#3 posted 12-17-2011 07:44 AM

I’m sure I’ve read hundreds of times about the mineral spirits / BLO / poly combination as a home made wipe-on finish. I have not tried it yet.
Just about a week ago I tried wipe-on water based poly. It was over some end grain previously wiped on with BLO. I diluted the poly with water 50/50, then used a soft cloth to wipe it on. Let it dry, then sanded with a super old sanding sponge. Two more coats and I was happy.
Do some testing with both, oil based and water based and decide which one you like.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 3804 days

#4 posted 12-20-2011 04:15 AM

Radu is on target…There is a great article in Popular Woodworking issue #193 that discusses making a home made wiping Varnish… Aka mixing Polyurathane and equal parts Paint thinner to create an easy, build able wipe on finish… Bob Flexner shows three options…. Wipe on Wipe Off, wipe on dry brush off, and wipe on and let it dry.

I am not sure what benefit the boiled oil would bring… In fact I would think the oil would be used separate, prior to the wipe on varnish…

Flexner is an expert in finishing, and says this process is EZ…. Great for newbies, and lazy Vets alike!

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