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Thread: Wipe on Poly?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Wipe on Poly?

    I just purchased some wipe on poly, Minwax brand, and naturally the directions say use a lint free rag. Ok I've got some, rags, but a question or two as well.

    1: Does the poly show streaks if the rags isn't loaded evenly?
    2: How do you load a rag evenly?
    3: Do you wipe back and forth or in one direction only?
    4: Is this brand any good? (Your personal opinion is appreciated)

    Thanks for your input.

    Jim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Santa Rosa, CA
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    293
    I've used this product once and had good results. Lint free = old tee shirt !

    Just get it good a wet, not dripping. I ball it up in a way impossible to describe here . Wipe with the grain trying to overlap strokes. Don't fuss w/ it. You'll be doing several coats and can fix any missed spots.

    Lighting the project so you can see the wet areas is a good idea.

  3. #3

    Viva

    I use Viva Paper towels all the time with good results.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Waterford, MI
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    4,673
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Dunn
    I just purchased some wipe on poly, Minwax brand, and naturally the directions say use a lint free rag. Ok I've got some, rags, but a question or two as well.

    1: Does the poly show streaks if the rags isn't loaded evenly?
    2: How do you load a rag evenly?
    3: Do you wipe back and forth or in one direction only?
    4: Is this brand any good? (Your personal opinion is appreciated)

    Thanks for your input.

    Jim
    Old T-shirts or the bags of cotton rags they sell at the home centers work best.
    1: After the first few passes you'll have a pretty evenly loaded rag even if you're not trying. Just try to keep a wet edge. Any streaks caused by your rag drying and you can re-wet and go over the same area again.
    2: What works well for me is the small I-Cant-Believe-It's-Not-Butter tubs. Pour about 1-1.5" in the tub. They're a good size for being able to dip a balled up section of the rag into and seal up good for storage for later coats. Plus if you try to apply it straight from the can you'll get the lid so sticky and gummed up that you wont get a good seal when you close it, and the poly will skin over and possibly even completely harden in the can. You dont want the rag dripping with poly. You can squeeze out any excess by just pressing the rag against the side of the tub for a second or two.
    3: One direction works best and one long continous stroke if the area isn't too big. Lift up slightly as you reach edges. The stuff is thin and will run over the edge if dont watch it.
    4: I've used it on quite a few things and like it. But be prepared to put a lot of coats on. This stuff needs to be put on in multiple thin coats rather than trying to get a finish done in 2-3 coats. The good news is that it dries in around 3-4 hrs, so you can do multiple coats in a day if you're lucky. You don't need to sand between every coat, but if you feel grit/nibs/gunk in the finish give it more time to dry then use a very fine paper or abrasive pad and wipe down before putting on any more coats. I usually average around 6-7 coats of MW poly on a project and generally end up sanding between every 2nd coat (more if I wasn't lucky). I generally wait about a week after the last coat then rub it out with auto rubbing compound or the Behlen equivalent. They do a good job of evening out the sheen and leaving the surface VERY smooth.
    Use the fence Luke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Monroe, MI
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    11,223
    I've used it on most of my projects to date. I used to rub it in, but learned that wiping a fairly liberal quantity works just as good and builds quicker. Recent projects have looked great at 3 coats. I fold the rag (cotton t-shirt rags from Lowes) up so it is about 2" wide and dip it in a plastic dish with the finish in it. I generally make one pass over the entire surface and then go back over any areas that appear uneven.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2004
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    Thanks all for your replies. I'll post finished pics when I am done with the entire project.

    Merry Chrismashanakwansa

  7. #7
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    Dec 2004
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    St. Louis
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    3,287
    Jim, I've even used those disposable foam brushes and gotten good results - just make sure you sand lightly between coats to knock down the nibs.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  8. #8
    I just used some for the first time and liked the results. I got a dozen stain pads from Harbor Freight - essentially a 3"x5" sponge covered in white fabric. I folded it in half lenght-wise to create a round applicator surface. Then, like others, poured the poly into a plastic container with a lid and dipped the folded part into the poly. It worked great!
    Jeremy Gibson

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Southport, NC
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    Any lint free rag will work. I use non-embossed paper shop towels.

    You should not worry about streaks if you apply it correctly. Don't think of wiping on like you would with a brush. The idea is to wipe like you see the kid at Denny's cleaning your table. Go in swirls using a damp rag. It should not be dripping. Again think of the kid at Denny's and how wet his/her rag is.

    Just get it on and let it go. Do not go back over it to get a spot you missed. You'll just mess it up. You'll get missed spots the next time around. Let it become tack free plus 30 minutes. Then wipe on the next coat. After that, let it dry 24-48 hours and lightly flat sand it with 320 paper. Then apply 3-4 more coats letting it get tack free between coats. Apply the last coat carefully and let the whole thing dry 3-5 days.
    Howie.........

  10. I like the wipe on Poly. I ball up one tee shirt rag, then wrap another around that, tie the top of your little bag of a bag with some string. Have your Butter tub 1/4" inch deep in poly. Dip the rag (with balled up rag inside) and rub all over the wood. You do have to put on several coats as mentioned before.

    Hint: Get some good wood strips (I used oak because I did an oak hutch) from your local store and play around. They have all sorts of stains with poly to play with. I wiped on many coats of varnish onto many wood strips.

    Hint #2: Try your final finishing method on some part of your project that is not exposed. I tried very fine sandpaper but I liked the looks of the finish just the way it was.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Shoreline, CT
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    Look at Howard's technique. It's different than most, but very effective with less dust and in particular fewer problems with runs and sags. Even on vertical surfaces. It will take a few more coats since each is so thin, but since with these thin coats you can apply more per day before stopping to let the finish cure.

    You don't have to buy wiping varnish ready made. You can mix your own easily just by adding mineral spirits to full strength varnish. You did ask about the particular product. I'm not very fond of polyurethane varnishes. The major reason in my book is that rubbing them out to an even sheen is more challenging. But if you go beyond the thinnest of coatings the polyurethane varnishes, particularly cheap varieties such as from Minwax, don't look as nice because they aren't quite as clear as non-poly varnishes.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Rochester Hlls, Mi.
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    I've tried numerous methods but like foam brushes the best. They load the poly well, apply it uniformily, alllow for easy overlaps, and after dabbing with mineral spirits to clean them, I can usually get 3 or 4 coats per brush. Best of all, the brushes are cheap.
    Take off a full blade, nope, too long, now take off 1/2 blade, nope, too long, now take off 1/4 blade - How the H--- can it be 1/4" short????

  13. #13
    I like the stuff. About 15 years ago I built an oak kitchen table which was going to see hard use. I purchased unfinished oak chairs as chair building is a little beyond my skill set but I prepped the chairs well and put 5 coats of wipe on poly on them with every other coat followed by rubbing with 0000 steel wool. After the final coat I used the steel wool to apply wax. The finish still looks as good as new. I will use it often.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300 Newing Hall 350 Hot Stamping
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation Sand Carving Graphtec CE5000-60
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5 , Engravlab

  14. #14

    Finishing after applying poly

    I
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Shepard View Post
    Old T-shirts or the bags of cotton rags they sell at the home centers work best.
    1: After the first few passes you'll have a pretty evenly loaded rag even if you're not trying. Just try to keep a wet edge. Any streaks caused by your rag drying and you can re-wet and go over the same area again.
    2: What works well for me is the small I-Cant-Believe-It's-Not-Butter tubs. Pour about 1-1.5" in the tub. They're a good size for being able to dip a balled up section of the rag into and seal up good for storage for later coats. Plus if you try to apply it straight from the can you'll get the lid so sticky and gummed up that you wont get a good seal when you close it, and the poly will skin over and possibly even completely harden in the can. You dont want the rag dripping with poly. You can squeeze out any excess by just pressing the rag against the side of the tub for a second or two.
    3: One direction works best and one long continous stroke if the area isn't too big. Lift up slightly as you reach edges. The stuff is thin and will run over the edge if dont watch it.
    4: I've used it on quite a few things and like it. But be prepared to put a lot of coats on. This stuff needs to be put on in multiple thin coats rather than trying to get a finish done in 2-3 coats. The good news is that it dries in around 3-4 hrs, so you can do multiple coats in a day if you're lucky. You don't need to sand between every coat, but if you feel grit/nibs/gunk in the finish give it more time to dry then use a very fine paper or abrasive pad and wipe down before putting on any more coats. I usually average around 6-7 coats of MW poly on a project and generally end up sanding between every 2nd coat (more if I wasn't lucky). I generally wait about a week after the last coat then rub it out with auto rubbing compound or the Behlen equivalent. They do a good job of evening out the sheen and leaving the surface VERY smooth.


    Hello:
    I am new and this is my first time. Please excuse me if I make mistake in posting. I am requesting help for my following project:
    I made a small 10 x 8 unfinished wooden box. This box is called "pochade box" for artists who use it outdoors to paint on canvas with oil paints. I put 3 coats of "clear gloss" spray poly (I believe water based verathane) for out doors. I also used 320 sand paper to sand in between coats. My goal was to get a smooth and shiny surface so that i could wipe out any oil paint smudges easily.
    After the 3 coats the surface has the shine but not the smoothness. I wonder If i could use some kind of polish or varnish to get the smooth shiny finish? I am reading here about the auto rubbing compound or Behlan's polish etc. but i am not quite familiar. I have asked people at Home Depot and Lowes but that did not help so I am coming to the experts hers. Appreciate any help.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Minwax may be cheap in price but it goes on nice and looks very good. In fact, Chris Minnick, IIRC, rated it number one in a FWW article on commercial wiping varnishes he wrote several years ago. In my own experience it goes on very easily with a paper towel or, my new favorite, a balled up microfiber cloth. I've never found a lint free piece of cotton yet, so I don't use it. It also looks great. The gloss version is very clear with none of that cloudy, plastic look that many claim. It does darken some over time - just like conventional varnishes.

    John

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