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33

You want to raise the grain before using water-based finishes, as those will also raise the grain, but you won't be able to adequately scrape/sand off the raised fibers. I'd recommend using distilled water, as it doesn't have any minerals that can discolor some kinds of wood. Don't flood the surface, but wipe it on with a clean cloth and allow it to dry ...


17

A quick google search found me this website, which has a nifty compatibility chart that I've attached below. Cole-Parmer has a very comprehensive compatibility chart for many solvents (organic or otherwise). For some common solvents, I've summarized some info from Cole-Parmer: Turpentine is no good for ABS plastic, brass, EPDM, LDPE, rubber, neoprene, and ...


16

I think the link in LeeG's reply covers all the necessary steps but just to have it spelled out here. Good surface prep is very important, imperfections 'telegraph' through paint very easily so the more perfect you can get the surface initially the better. The flatter the starting surface the less paint you have to use too, so it does have both time and ...


13

Water swells the wood fibers and they will plastically (permanently) deform. This leaves a rougher surface than what was prepared by sanding or scraping. Sanding after staining typically causes the color to be more uneven, and needing another coat of stain to even out more. Pre raising the grain with plain water and lightly sanding with ~320 grit to remove ...


12

I have used this guy's technique before and it works great. Basically, you apply very thin coats, then sand to about 400 grit, and after that, do wet sanding to about 2000 grit, and then switch to the polishes. There is a pretty complete step-by-step here


12

As I understand it poly varnish requires some minor abrasion between coats for good adhesion. Nope. You'll read this online a lot (and in some books, and what's worse even in the instructions for some products) but it is completely untrue. The only reason to sand between coats is if you need to 'de-nib', or remove minor surface blemishes. The important ...


12

Raising the grain not only helps to bring out fibers that might swell when applying the actual finish, but saturating the grain beforehand with a wood conditioner will help to make the grain "pop out" (be more visually appealing) which when you're trying for a beautiful finish, is something that you'd normally want.


10

Good answers, but nobody seems to have mentioned yet that some timber types are very prone to grain raising, and some really are not. I have never "raised the grain" by dampening as a separate process, but I have seen the effects of this raising after applying a water-based base coat. From my (admittedly limited) experience, denser hardwoods seem to be less ...


9

Cleaning starts before you use them. Get the brush fully wet with whatever solvent your finish requires (water, mineral spirits, etc). This will help prevent finish from drawing up into the tang of the brush. Clean the brush immediately after use. For water based finishes, wash with warm water and soap (I use dish soap such as Dawn). Work the soap into ...


9

You can either mechanically remove the varnish or chemically strip it. Examples of mechanical methods: planer jointer table saw belt sander (or other aggressive sander) hand plane? If I was using one of the above methods I'd probably opt for the belt sander. If using a planer or jointer, some people prefer to swap in a dull set of knives. Similarly, you ...


8

Finishing should probably get its own SE site. :) I only partially jest. In this case you will be up against several limitations to getting the finish that I think you are looking for, none of which should be considered insurmountable. Flatness Contamination Flow If you want to keep at it and try to get a nice even finish you will need to begin to flatten ...


7

oiling and applying something like polyeurethane which seems to be used in all the youtube tutorials OK need to run though a number of basics first. Firstly a general caution, lots of people who posts simple guides on YouTube and elsewhere are somewhat confused or muddled in what they do in finishing. It is a complex and sometimes confusing subject but a ...


7

TL;DR warning. Rinsing is, usually, only the first step in brush cleaning. Many paints and varnishes will state on the label that brushes should be washed after use and if this advice is followed properly you'll never have a brush dry stiff or hard. You don't need to beat yourself up about your brush having dried hard, it has happened to almost everyone at ...


6

Generally, besides foam there are synthetic bristle brushes and natural bristle brushes (as well as sprayers, air-brushes and rollers, which I'm not going to discuss). There is great debate over which to use for what; that debate rages from house painters to fine artists. Most agree synthetic bristle brushes for water-base varnishes, acrylics and the like ...


6

What is the difference between wiping polyurethane and wiping varnish? There can be no difference, they could be the same thing. Although note that sometimes "wiping polyurethane" refers to the application method, not the product used. What we call polyurethane or poly is a type of varnish, a fuller name for it would be polyurethane varnish although some ...


5

In smaller batches I recommend hand scraping for finish removal on large, flat expanses as you're faced with here. It's not as onerous as it sounds because of how efficient card scrapers are, and at least you're not having to deal with the boards in situ on the floor. (Backbreaking work!) Chemical stripping is obviously one option, and while the 'green' ...


5

I am bit of a Danish oil bigot. It's been so good to me that I have trouble saying anything bad about it. Realize that you will get a matte surface. About forty years ago, I made a table, which after sanding to my heart's content (trust me, my heart is readily contented when it comes to sanding), I finished it with three or four coats of Danish oil, even ...


5

Very thorough question, kudos. Side point: finishing the undersides of tabletops doesn't appear to be as advantageous as most of us have assumed. Bob Flexner on the subject, Finish Both Sides? Not necessary.. The Good Stuff contains "synthetic oils" (whatever that means) I would be confused by this too. The only synthetic oils I'm aware of are mineral ...


5

I'd recommend spraying water-based varnishes. They dry out really fast and, unless you're working in a very small area, it's easy to get brush strokes showing in the finish.


4

Synthetic brushes were originally specifically intended for application of water-borne finishes. Compared to natural hair brushes synthetics are better in one key respect: they don't soften in water. Natural bristles "lose their spring" when wet, they are still usable with waterbase finishes but they become slack and unresponsive so they don't perform at ...


4

It seems nobody bothered to mention French Polish. Sigh. That is the standard piano finish for quality pianos, period. French polish is a series of steps that fills and smooths surfaces using shellac. Over a stained and filled (grain filler) prepared surface: The first step uses rottenstone (like pumice) mixed with 1/2 lb or 1 lb cut shellac; rottenstone ...


3

Yes, you can spray "brushing lacquer"--although depending on your gun, you will most likely want to thin it first with lacquer thinner. Keep in mind that spraying is not necessarily faster than brushing. You will have to spray more coats to equal a single brushed coat. Also, with spraying there is more waste, since a fair amount of the atomized finish is ...


3

Would a high-duty varnish (e.g., spar varnish) be a good choice? In theory yes. In a thick enough coating (numerous full-strength coats) with no voids or pinholes, a varnish like this is essentially waterproof. It could last a long time in this setting although I don't know how the direct soil contact will affect it, to find that out you'd probably be best ...


3

It depends. The first thing is the type of product used. As the Comments have asked about the types of product used are a big factor — oil-based and spirit-soluble stuff smells much more strongly (and most people think more offensively) than waterbased equivalents. After that the major factor is drying, which is down to air flow* and temperature. In a ...


3

But as I'm getting nearer that step, I'm dreading the extended painting effort.... I'll end up going through more than 20 clean-up cycles with my brushes. Two big tips can help here: don't clean your brushes between painting sessions, or use rollers. Actually I'd recommend rollers anyway but I'll get to that in a second. Keeping a brush from drying out ...


3

He thinks that the bed slats might warp if I don't use a sealer. A 'sealer' won't make much or any difference to this once the slats are fixed in place and in use. I use quotes above because the idea that we seal wood with a finish is widely misunderstood. Various finishes do protect the wood's surface from dirt to various degrees (even a thin application ...


3

I have a small project during which I drill hundreds of little holes Sounds like a cribbage board, but you don't say for sure. In any case, you do mention that having finish inside the holes isn't strictly necessary. I'd like to add that getting total, complete coverage of finish in every nook and cranny of a piece is not entirely necessary. Take a look ...


2

I know this is an old topic but hopefully this helps someone out. Painting MDF can be very frustrating. End "grain" in MDF will soak up paint faster than you can apply it. Sand that with 320 then 600 then 1200. I use a tinted oil base primer. 3 coats block down with 400-600 and repeat until the end grain no longer soaks up your paint and has the same look ...


2

You could look into using cedar fence planks, which are usually readily available in nominal sizes in your home center garden department. Much more rot resistant than pine.


2

I'd rent a paint sprayer. At my local evil orange, that's 75 bucks a day. Prep (lots of plastic) the night before. Get a thorough primer on first; let it dry. Get one finish coat on all sides. If you've run out of time, you can roll your second finish coat by hand on the shelf tops and fronts. If you don't run out of time, you'll get three coats in and pat ...


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