Messages Archive

Call me too careful, but...
Response To:
Polyurethane question? ()

Ellis Walentine
... I wouldn't have used old varnish on a big important project like this. And, I'm wondering about the aluminum oxide in the varnish. Isn't that formulated to make stair treads grippy? I would have applied two or three coats of fresh gloss varnish (these days I am liking Helmsman) and followed up with a final coat of satin. I did this on our kitchen counters about ten years ago and it has worn like iron.

Regarding the appearance of your fumed oak, Stickley himself played a lot with post-fuming techniques, including dye stains, spirit varnishes and banana lacquer, which was essentially amyl acetate, about as colorless a lacquer as you could find. Today, if you want to warm up the fumed oak appearance, the best way would be to mix up a stain that produced the desired look. And I agree with others that you've extended the cure time by recoating too soon, that warmer temps will speed up the curing, and that you don't need a sealer under urethane.

For what it's worth, when I was finishing large pieces during the winter, I would roll up the living room rug and bring the piece(s) into the house to finish them. (My shop was always heated with wood.)


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