Re: Wipe-on Poly?
Response To:
Wipe-on Poly? ()

Mike Stafford
I have a slightly different approach to using this finish.

1. I use baby food jars for this finish. I add some of the well mixed finish from the can to a baby food jar and add just a splash or two of odorless mineral spirits. I swirl the two around with the lid on to get them to mix. I try not to make more than I am going to use as it will cure in the jar in a few days’ time.
2. I apply this finish with a disposable natural bristle brushes that I buy from Lee Valley. I pre-wet the bristles by dipping them in mineral spirits before I start finishing. I think I get a better flow off the brush by doing so.
3. Make sure the piece is finely sanded and vacuumed and tacked free of all sanding dust.
4. Apply the finish liberally to the piece with the brush while rotating the lathe by hand.
5. The idea here is to get the piece uniformly wet with finish. Finish will be absorbed at different rates depending on whether it is being applied to end or face grain. Once this is achieved take your folded paper towels and wipe off the finish until no more is picked up by the paper.
6. Take a clean folded paper towel and wipe down the finish with the lathe running at moderate speed. Apply pressure to the paper to generate some heat. The paper should eventually slide smoothly over the finish without grabbing.
7. In between coats use 4/0 steel wool and/or cheesecloth to remove any raised grain or other imperfections. If you are seeing streaks the finish may be drying too fast and needs to be further thinned.
8. Continue to apply coats of finish in the same manner until the finish wants to remain tacky while you are wiping it. This means the finish is saturated and needs to dry before you do anything else. I usually let it dry overnight.
9. After it dries overnight start with some steel wool and rub it down really well with the lathe running with steel wool or the cheesecloth (or both). Carefully examine the finish under raking light and see if there are areas that need attention (more finish, more rubbing etc.)
10. Top coat with the wax of your choice.

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