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Old 02-10-2016, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default Major poly finish fail-Help!!!!

I've been working on the bar top for the legion here. They built the top out of reclaimed bowling alley lanes (Fir is the wood species.)
I stripped it, stained it natural, and per request, applied clear coats of waterborne poly. That was finished last week.

The bar rail came in today, so I went in to stain it. I was looking at the bar top, and realized the finish was cracking. The top flexes, every time there is pressure applied. I'm only 130 lbs, and I could make it crackle, I can't imagine what a couple of 220 lb guys could do!

Called in a friend and we started stripping the poly off. What can I do? I have thought of tung oil, as that would take the flex, but am afraid that it would water stain over time. Plus there's the added inconvenience of reapplication over time. We used epoxy glaze on a couple of small counter tops, but I worry that wouldn't take the flex, either.

Please help!

Did I mention that they want to open on Friday?
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:04 AM   #2
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This is what it looked like pre-cracking:
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:46 AM   #3
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water based poly will never take the wear and tear as its too soft. I would have used a 2 pack product.
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:41 AM   #4
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Will that take the flex?
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:00 AM   #5
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no.

a two pack or any oil will dry hard,
if waterborne is soft, it will take the flex more than an oil.

with that being said. any coating on the top that isn't designed for flex (elastomeric) will fail... elastomeric is obviously soft

that leaves the only logical solution being 1 of 2 things. use a penetrating oil like gun/tru/tung oil. or get the builder to build it better.

unless im missing something here.

I had major problems recently with a client who couldn't stop having parties and dinner and general storage on every counter top in his restaurant. every night while I tried to do them. such a pain in the ass. then when it fails. declares he's innocent party. yet I have photo's and texts he sent me where he had "parties" in his bar, with glass's and food / chips/ chairs/ dancing on them even i guess. ... and its the painters fault it failed. ha
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Old 02-10-2016, 09:35 AM   #6
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What brand? I would consider looking for a waterbourne floor poly. They are designed to take a lot more of a beating then furniture polys. If you can find it try Fabulon's waterbased floor poly. Varathane has made a decent one for years. The Varathane version was originally invented as a roller skating rink coating.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:21 AM   #7
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I used Varathane high traffic floor poly, in gloss.

I think they're past building it better...I would've set it on 3/4" plywood, rather than just bracing it every couple of feet.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:26 AM   #8
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I'm kind of surprised the top is flexing given the thickness, but I have to imagine that's due to it being made of fir? I clear coated some bowling alley wood many years ago that was used for a bar. It was quite a bit thicker than what you've got and roughly 100yrs old. Looked beautiful.

I'm sure the folks at the Legion will appreciate it when it's done.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:33 AM   #9
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Well in the case of this lane, it's not glued. Each piece is nailed to the next piece.

It had braces of heavy angle iron, which, I'm assuming, when it was used as a lane, on a flat supported surface , took care of the flexing issue.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:34 AM   #10
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It was a nice finish, if I may say.
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Old 02-10-2016, 11:51 AM   #11
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If it hasn't been glued, it's going to be an ongoing problem. I'm surprised a pro would build something like that without using it. One fix would be to get some long bits and drill through the width of it and glue in some dowels. If the bar top is too wide, stagger the dowels from side to side. making sure to overlap the center of it. You'd be surprised by the strength you'll get from it.

The Varathane floor finish is a great product. As I've said here before, not only have I used it on floors, but as a cabinet and wood finish. Used it in plenty of Dr / Dentist offices where they're wiped down numerous times daily with cleaners that take care of bacteria etc..
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:15 PM   #12
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Oh that's the fun part, no pro built it. I'm the only professional trade that's in the Legion, and they're not doing a very good job listening to me.

I think I'm going to call a couple of carpenters, see if they've got some solutions, or if they're willing to help me with the dowel idea.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:16 PM   #13
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Did I mention I'm volunteering? Don't think I will ever volunteer anything again.
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:58 PM   #14
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Volunteer jobs usually go like that. lol
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Old 02-10-2016, 02:12 PM   #15
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If we lift it and put 3/4" plywood underneath, that might take care of the flex, right?
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Old 02-10-2016, 05:45 PM   #16
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It could depending on the framework it sits on. But, if you're going to lift it to add the plywood, you can always add more bracing. There are better wood substrates to use other than plywood. Look into what they use under laminate countertops. Solid with less flex than plywood.
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:57 PM   #17
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That top needed to be set on top of better framing and maybe 3/4 sheet goods. If it had better framing it would probably be fine.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:45 PM   #18
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3/4 AB plywood. Treat it like a countertop. Mount the plywood down to wall and glue and screw countertop to plywood. Your thinking like a painter. Think like a builder.

As in, dont overthink it. Thats easy.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:47 PM   #19
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The AB so you got a clean face on bottom. You dont need to but i would so you could finish it out or if your piss drunk, fall on the floor and look up.
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Old 02-13-2016, 12:11 PM   #20
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Default Water over Oil?

I noticed from your original post that you stained it Natural... Was it an oil based stain? Water-borne top coats can go over oil based stains if the stains are allowed to dry completely.

The finish you applied should have no trouble with the flexing that is occurring. Most furniture is expected to flex without damage to the finish, or else all our tables and chairs would be naked!!!

Even if it was a water-borne stain, your problem seems to be one of adhesion, unless I've mis-understood the details. I've build many cabinets and pieces of furniture, and have used both oil- and water-borne finishes, and any problems I've had like yours were traceable to not waiting for the previous layer to dry.

I hope this helps.
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