This question is a follow-up/continuation to another SO question of mine with added detail and hopefully a better explanation of my approach and current state of the board. The state of the wood slab has evolved even since posting that question and rather than amend that SO question into oblivion I figured best to ask a separate one...
It's my first real attempt at wood finishing and made the following mistakes:
- using spar varnish. I have since learned from my other SO question above that spar varnish is generally too soft for indoor use and not a good varnish to use for a high gloss/polished finish as it likely doesn't buff/polish well.
- not wiping off excess DO after application and leaving a rather thick film on coats 1,3 (see below application schedule)
- not wiping off excess varnish after application (not sure if this is important if used by itself as in layer 2 below)
- excess coating pooling on underside edge and live-edge (evident in pictures below)
After sanding down the table I have applied the following coats with their respective dry times and mixtures:
- 50/50 mix of spar varnish + Danish oil (>= 10 days dry time)
- spar varnish (~4 weeks dry time)
- 50/50 mix of spar varnish + Danish oil (~48 hrs into dry time)
Current state of the last coat is best described as "tacky/gummy" with strong smell (both reducing as time wears on...). I'm not sure it's still soft enough to leave finger prints but feels sticky. Not sure how hard to expect it to feel or how odor free to expect it to become either. From what I've read at these links a gummy feeling after about 48 hrs after not wiping away excess DO is expected. Though it's unclear if this will ever harden well enough to buff/polish (crux of this question...):
- http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f8/help-please-sticky-danish-oil-67977/ However, not entirely sure what I should expect for spar varnish + Danish oil coats...
My end goal is a high gloss/polished/hard/durable finish.
From the SO question above and it's thoughtful answer as well as considering my mistakes, it seems I have a few courses of action:
Immediately try wiping down last layer (layer 3 above) with a cloth and mineral spirits to thin/remove the spar varnish + danish oil coat. Then apply 2/3 layers wiping varnish. Let dry for 24 hrs. Wet sand 1000,1500,2000 grit. Then use power buffer/polisher in conjunction with minwax paste wax.
Wipe down with mineral spirits as in 1 above but after that, sand off first 2 coats as well. I dread doing this as I'm not sure how easy it will be to remove the varnish + danish oil from the live edge. But if necessary, I'll do it...
Let current coat (layer 3 above) continue to dry and hope that it becomes hard enough to either directly buff/polish or apply successive coats of wiping varnish on top of this layer that I can then buff/polish.
Is there another course of action that I've missed? If no, which of the above would be best to pursue?
Ideally, I'd like a combination with the best balance of:
- least potential damage to the underlying wood (especially the live edge with it's small amount of inner bark)
- highest quality/high gloss/polished look
- completion time from now
This is a learning experience and ultimately want to know how to get the best outcome out of this piece and how best to avoid these mistakes (considering my desired outcome finish) for future pieces.
Pictures here of the current state of the slab top/bottom. Note the live edge. Note also that the thickness of coats 2 and 3 combined is apparent when looking at the underside photo (4th below) (not sure if that helps anyone when answering this question). I applied only coat 1 to the underside, however I applied both coats 2 and 3 to the topside AND to the live edges (even though they face down). I'm happy to upload more/different photos if that would help in answering this question!