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Wipe on poly. How many coats?

webby's picture

Hi,


I have built a small nightstand and have been using Minwax wipe on poly to finish.


My queestion is how many coats is enough. I have 2 coats on the legs and aprons, and three on the top.


Thanks


Webby 


 

Webby 

PheasantHunter's picture

(post #87793, reply #1 of 20)

I recently built a bedroom set, and used the same number of coats as you did.  Mostly number of coats is a matter of choice.

webby's picture

(post #87793, reply #3 of 20)

Thanks for the info. Eighteen huh, wow.

Webby 


 

Webby 

bigfootnampa's picture

(post #87793, reply #4 of 20)

The build with wipe on formulas is, typically, about one third of what a brush on coat would build.  So if you'd figure on two coats (brush on) you'd need six coats (wipe on) to get the same build.  Three coats of brush on would be equivalent to nine coats of wipe on (again, roughly speaking... variables in products and techniques can alter this significantly).  I've had pretty good results with three coats of wipe on for picture frames... but they get insignificant wear... I'd do more on most furniture pieces.

webby's picture

(post #87793, reply #5 of 20)

Ok, that is good to know I will probably do more.

Webby 


 

Webby 

DougMeyer's picture

(post #87793, reply #6 of 20)

Yeah I have always went with 2 to 3 times as many wipe on coats as I would do brush coats.


So for a top that gets some abuse I would guess 4 to 9, For a top on an end table (more likely to get abused then a night stand) I would say 8 to 12. But that is just me. I look at it as the idea that if I am going to put on poly I may as well put it on so it will protect the  wood. Otherwise it is not all that much use. I would if I did not think these would be bashed to much go with the lower end of these numbers. If I expected lost of abuse I would go high end of these numbers.


I have a couple end table that are fairly old (I think they were built about 96 or so?) and they have brush on poly (wipe on was not common back then) and I put two coats on everything. They seam to be holding up well.


Hope this helps.


Doug

RalphBarker's picture

(post #87793, reply #2 of 20)

Years back, I made a reproduction-style liquor chest (decanter and glasses inside) for my parents, and stopped at 18 coats on the top.

Ckenney's picture

(post #87793, reply #7 of 20)

The guidelines that I have used with wipe on finishes is fairly straightforward.

I use as many coats as it takes to get the look that I want.

As you may have noticed, after each coat dries, the first few coats still have that dull look, as they are still building a good top layer of finish. (Esp. if you are sanding to 320 between coats to smooth out the nibs.) When I get to a point where it has the same look dry over the entire surface as it had when the finish was applied (wet), then I'm done. How many that takes will vary according to wood, application, etc. Then a final rubout, if needed, and that's it.

I think its a mistake to try to predetermine the number of coats.

webby's picture

(post #87793, reply #8 of 20)

Thanks everyone.

Webby 


 

Webby 

bricofleur's picture

(post #87793, reply #9 of 20)

Hi Webby,


I put 3 coats of wipe-on poly on the legs and the aprons and 4 coats on the top. According to me that was enough. See the shine on the top, left side ?


Best,


Serge


- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -


www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -

www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

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DougMeyer's picture

(post #87793, reply #10 of 20)

If you are looking for a "look" then by all means stop when you get it. But if you are looking for something to hold up against abuse then you may want to go a few more coats of wipe on. It is all a matter of what you are looking for. A lot of poly users are looking for that surface that can stand up to anything. To get that you need a couple more coats as the wipe on is thinner then the brush on.  Personally I think if you need that much protection for your surface you need to look into either why, or if you can not change that, maybe think about using something other then wood. But that is just me.


Doug M

Gretchen's picture

(post #87793, reply #11 of 20)

I generally wipe on 8 applications of (non-poly) varnish for the top of a table, and 6 for sides and legs. My experience is that the first 3 coats look pretty bad--like "why am I using this finish. It looks awful".  Then the next coats make it look very nice.  It isn't difficult to do 3 in one day so it isn't as if more coats add a lot of time or work.

Gretchen

Gretchen

webby's picture

(post #87793, reply #12 of 20)

Nice work. I am stopping at four on everything.


My technique may yeild a heavier build. I dip my rag (folded) and use it like a squeege to wipe or apply a coat and leave it to level out . I concentrate on a smooth even application.


Webby 


 

Webby 

bricofleur's picture

(post #87793, reply #13 of 20)

Webby,


I use the same technique, but I believe my rag is not socking wet like yours as I understand. My coats are very very thin. There is no possibility to level out since there is almost no liquid. With this method I never get runs (this is what I like).


Best,


Serge


- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -


www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -

www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

woodworker57's picture

(post #87793, reply #14 of 20)

Are you guys sanding after each coat of wipe on poly? no one really mentioned sanding.  WW57

SteveSchoene's picture

(post #87793, reply #15 of 20)

If you wait over night between coats you do need to sand to be sure of adhesion.  But you can put several coats (up to three) on in a day, spacing them by just the time needed for the last coat to dry to the touch.  But you still need to scuff sand when you stop and let each "set" cure overnight before proceeding.  Some materials may give you a little longer window in which you could reapply without needing to sand, but few will give you the data necessary to be confident of that, so I don't risk it. 

Test your finish on scrap, FIRST, or risk having to scrap your finish.

bricofleur's picture

(post #87793, reply #16 of 20)

Hi WW57,


Yes I'm sanding with 500 grit sandpaper after each coat. After the final coat I get rid of the micro dust with a quick sanding/rubbing using a Scotch kitchen scrubing pad.


By the way, I also use these scrubing pad to remove squeezed out glue. Since it can be soak, rinsed and dried, one pad goes a long way.


Best,


Serge


- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -


www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -

www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

WillGeorge's picture

(post #87793, reply #20 of 20)

sanding after each coat of wipe on poly?

I never sand it unless I messed up! I usually buff it out with the gray/grey 3M pads.

Not that it is correct thing to do.. Just what I do. The most poly I ever apply is three wiped on coats. And I wax everything I make! I have never had a problem or a complaint from using 'as little as possible'. OK, so finishing is a chore to me!

Edit: I forgot! Some times I apply the Poly using the gray pad. Usually only if the grain is a 'bit' open. I never use fillers. I like wood as it is!


Edited 9/20/2008 1:39 pm by WillGeorge

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!

webby's picture

(post #87793, reply #17 of 20)

I put it on liberally but naot what I would call flooding it on. I haven't had a problem with runs. However if I do I just wipe it it is wipe on poly.


I am a little new to wipe on poly and didn't know that you could wipe without sanding the next coat. This is a big reason I use Minwax spray poly because the instructions say no sanding if you can recioat in 2 hours.


I will try it with the wipe on.


I have also noticed that sanding between coats is a challenge because of the thinner coat. I was using a 320 should I go to a finer grit? I really had to be careful not to sand through.


Webby 


 

Webby 

bricofleur's picture

(post #87793, reply #18 of 20)

Webby,


As I mentionned in #17, I lightly sand with 500 grit between each coat. Note that I always wait overnight for the next coat. My coats are very thin.


I believe it's a try and error process for each woodworker to find their own way. For sure, that's the way I learned.


Best,


Serge


- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -


www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

- Learn from yesterday, work today, and enjoy success tomorrow -

www.atelierdubricoleur.spaces.live.com

webby's picture

(post #87793, reply #19 of 20)

Thanks for the info.


I agree with the trial and error and investigative mindset. The things you figure out for yourself in life are often the most valuable.


Webby 


 

Webby