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Wipe-On Poly, need advice

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murtadha96

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Hi
So I have a kitchen top made of solid oak that I'm going to use as the top of a desk. It's not finished yet so I'm going to have to finish it first (I have lots of time and I'm not in a hurry, so I can do several coats and don't mind the extra work).

I was thinking of using oil first (boiled linseed oil maybe) then a protecting varnish after that since I'm going to use that desk a lot and it should be well protected against water spills and scratches..etc

It appears that an oil based polyurethane is a good option. But since I really don't wanna mess this up so I figured a Wipe-On Poly will work better and I can apply it with a rag easily (several coats) and avoid a brush mark mess with bubbles underneath and imperfections, of course I was gonna sand between coats with fine grit paper to get a smooth gloss finish. BUT, for some reason, I couldn't find a single online store that sells that wipe-one poly. Amazon is selling Minwax wipe-on poly for 96 quids!! which is an insanely inflated price considering that this thing is around 15 USD.

I thought why buy Wipe-On Poly when I can just thin down a regular polyurethane with white spirits. I checked the Dulux Trade Polyurethane and the data sheet says "Don't thin down". I checked the Johnstone's Trade Polyurethane (which is exactly half the price) and the data sheet doesn't mention anything about thinning down with spirits.

At this point I'm just confused, is there a reason why a thinned down poly is not available, and why Dulux doesn't recommend thinning down their regular poly, I even looked for lacquer and found VERY limited options available.



What do you suggest ?
Any advice about any part of what I just explained and what I'm trying to do is welcomed (I'm not experienced in woodwork at all and this is the first project for me). :?


Thanks.
 

marcros

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I made something similar- the recipe was a "maloof mix" . It used equal quantities of oil based varnish, white spirit and boiled linseed oil. I just used wilco varnish. As long as it says to clean brushes with white spirit it is ok. There is a thread on here somewhere that explains what happens if you put in more or less of each ingredient- more white spirit will make it thicker or thinner. The oil may affect drying time, I forget.

I suspect that the manufacturers claim that you don't need to thin it for "normal" use, so tell you not to do so. Somebody somewhere would try it and complain, so saying don't is easier for the manufacturer.
 

sunnybob

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Any OIL based poly (instructions say to wash brush with thinners, NOT water), diluted with the same amount of thinners, will make a good basic wipe on poly. After time, you might want to adjust the ratio a little bit to get the best results from a particular brand of poly, but it will be somewhere between a third to two thirds thinners.
DO NOT use linseed oil, it will greatly complicate the process.
Sand to 200 grit, find a dust free environment to work in and wipe the poly on with a small piece of clean rag making sure to get it into every nook and cranny. Straight away wipe off the excess with another small piece of clean rag. Allow 24 hours to completely dry before applying a second coat the same way. Allow 24 hours to dry. If needed at this stage, a VERY GENTLE wipe with 0000 steel wool to remove any dust motes in the finish, dust thoroughly and apply the final coat. Allow 24 hours to dry.
Patience isnt only a virtue, its a necessity to get a gloss finish with wipe on.

Check out my boxes from the first link below, almost all of them are using home made wipe on.
 

marcros

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here is the article I remember. https://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/articl ... ish-blend/

not sure how adding oil complicates it at all. It made a nice finish for what I used it on, however for a table top I would do a test to see how resilient it is to hot cups and spills.

The pros on here regularly use Osmo products, which are available in sample sizes. I personally really like Rubio monocoat (£££££ but also available as a sample size which would do your desk). For a table top, I would probably go with one of those- plenty of comparisons online. It would be easy to repair scratches with the Rubio. I haven't used the Osmo to compare it with.
 

Trevanion

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Osmo Polyx or Osmo Top Oil. Just paint it with one of those and forget about anything else.
 

Sgian Dubh

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marcros":316grceu said:
not sure how adding oil complicates it at all.
It doesn't really, but by adding more and more boiled linseed oil you're moving the formulation of the varnish further towards a long oil version rather than a short oil version.

Long oil varnishes, such as marine varnish, are relatively soft and flexible, and formulated to better able to withstand exterior conditions.

Short oil varnishes (less oil) are harder, more brittle, less flexible, and formulated to be better able to withstand the sort of abrasion damage and the like experienced by interior furniture and other indoor applications. Slainte.
 

custard

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Two bits of advice for you,

1. Don't overthink this. Wiping varnish is child's play.

2. Don't spoil the ship for a halfpence of tar. So use decent quality raw ingredients.

I'm a furniture maker but I have a side line making "equestrian furniture", that's posh versions of all the stuff you find in stables like bridle racks, mounting steps, saddle horses, etc. I generally finish these with a wiping varnish that I make up myself, roughly equal quantities of pure tung oil, Epifanes varnish, and Epifanes thinners.
Wiping-Varnish.jpg


The result is a reliably deep, lustrous and enduring finish,
Bridle-Rack.jpg


Why do I prefer Epifanes? Because it's a premium yacht varnish that's heavy on UV filters, as a lot of my equestrian products are exposed to daylight that's a sensible choice for my applications, your applications may of course differ, so just use some common sense.

The only thing to watch out for with wiping varnish is that you'll need at least 24 hours between coats. Consequently you will get bits of dust embedded in the wet surface. Try and keep the dust down as much as possible, and rub down between coats with either a very fine (ie 1200 grit or finer) wet and dry paper. Alternatively, if you've been successful with keeping the dust down and you've used oil as well as varnish (so it's a super long oil blend), you might get away with just wiping down with some scrunched up brown paper.
 

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profchris

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For rubbing down between coats I prefer fine wet and dry paper to steel wool. If you haven't completely filled the grain, little bits of steel wool can break off and get embedded there.

And for me, "rub down" sounds too vigorous - I really just use the wet and dry to dust off the surface and take the shine off. Wipe on poly coats (or Tru-Oil if you use that) are really thin.
 

MikeG.

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......and just to add to Custard's excellent post, I have found that very much that formula produces the best results on my bog oak, which is great, because it is so damn simple. Danish oil, whilst it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, amounts to much the same thing, albeit it probably needs thinning to be used in the same way.
 

murtadha96

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Thank you so much for the advice everyone, you've been really helpful.

After some research and hearing several opinions, I think I will use osmo TopOil to finish it. As it's easy to use and easy to repair in the future, it's natural and safe, it's durable and high quality, it has good protection (not as good as poly of course, but sufficient for the purpose of a desk).

Thanks again everyone, I'm pretty sure all suggestions here can be handy in future projects!
 
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