Finishing... Miscellaneous

General Varnish Finishing

jhelminski,   01/15/04   10:29 AM

This months addition of Fine Woodworking has a great article on using varnish.   I have tried it and it works great.

1)   Apply first coat with brush wait 12-24 hrs

2)   Apply second coat wait 24 hrs and sand with 220 grit paper

3)   Apply third coat   (If bare spots or witness marks are apparent apply fourth coat,   wait 48 hrs)

4)   After 48 hrs of third or fourth coat... sand with 400 grit wet/dry paper   (Use water and a few drops of liquid detergent to keep lubricated)

5)   Apply final coat of varnish diluted with 15% mineral spirits
(I guesstimate, just as long as when you apply it leaves no brush marks)

6)   Wait another 48 - 72 hrs depending on the temp and humidity of your shop  
(I wait 72 hrs or longer I now have too much time invested to screw it up now!)

7)   Lightly sand with   600 grit   wet /dry paper
(Use water and a few drops of liquid detergent to keep lubricated)

8)   Lightly sand with 1000 grit paper  
(This will give a satin sheen)

9)   After 1000 grit sand with 2000 grit  
(This will give glossy sheen)

10)   After a few weeks of curing apply a coat of Briwax with 0000 steel wool....Whew!!!

  • This method is labor and time intensive but it give a great smooth flawless finish and since you are sanding to progressive girts you do not have to be too concerned about dust in the shop getting on the finish.

  • This is really great for table tops and I finished the glossy finish on a formal wall clock.

  • It is not hard just give yourself a good week to finish.

  • In your case you can pick up this method at the   400 grit   this will begin to sand out the high spots and imperfections.

  • Always use Wet/Dry Paper with water and a drop or two of liquid detergent you need the lubrication to keep from sanding through the varnish.

  • Also make sure it cures for a sufficient amount of time.

  • If while sanding you sand up little balls of varnish you need to allow it to cure for a few more days.

  • Curing is important!!!

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