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This is my first post. I am doing my second kitchen table project. For the first, I used a fast drying Poly. Cosmetically, it came out great but was prone to scratches and water marks. I'm considering trying something else...more durable on the second table. I've already put a couple coats of sanding sealer on it and now ready for a top coat. I would like something that is durable (this table will see heavy use), sprays well with HVLP and hopefully dries fast to avoid dust bunnies. The wood of the table is a beautiful slab of parata which is porous grain and not very hard. The local BM dealer pointed me to a SPAR Urethane...however as I recall that has a long dry time. Any other suggestions? I recently used Lenmar Duralaq on another project and loved the way it sprayed and leveled but not sure how durable it would be for this application.
 

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This is my first post. I am doing my second kitchen table project. For the first, I used a fast drying Poly. Cosmetically, it came out great but was prone to scratches and water marks. I'm considering trying something else...more durable on the second table. I've already put a couple coats of sanding sealer on it and now ready for a top coat. I would like something that is durable (this table will see heavy use), sprays well with HVLP and hopefully dries fast to avoid dust bunnies. The wood of the table is a beautiful slab of parata which is porous grain and not very hard. The local BM dealer pointed me to a SPAR Urethane...however as I recall that has a long dry time. Any other suggestions? I recently used Lenmar Duralaq on another project and loved the way it sprayed and leveled but not sure how durable it would be for this application.

Spar urethanes are a more flexible/less hard resin. Not suitable for a table. Duralaq is regular nitrocellulose, not very durable.



The best finish is conversion varnish, basically acid catalyzed lacquer. Very durable and easy to apply with HVLP and a long open time so needs to be used in a dust free environment. Lenmar Megavar is the BM equivalent.
 

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Spar urethanes are a more flexible/less hard resin. Not suitable for a table. Duralaq is regular nitrocellulose, not very durable.



The best finish is conversion varnish, basically acid catalyzed lacquer. Very durable and easy to apply with HVLP and a long open time so needs to be used in a dust free environment. Lenmar Megavar is the BM equivalent.
Why not to use alkyd spar varnish..?
Like to hear opinions on it.
 

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spar varnish is more flexible less durable. If you want to use alkyd (slow) use a quality urethane like lenmar polyurethane. Just takes a while to reach full hardness.
Thanks for that info.

I used alkyd spar varnish to refinish top of this oak table over a year ago.
Holds up very well so far.
Removed old finish (not by sanding, not as efficient), but by using paint stripper and quality scraper followed with industrial alcohol and green scratch pad.
I experienced that sanding was driving in,embedding the old finish into the wood.
 

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I had very good luck with Minwax Polyshades. It's a product most people have complete derision for and think is awful, but I had good luck just using it more or less as directed.



I've posted this before and don't want to show a before, but this table was honestly abused heavily by us as children, we put rocks on it, carved names into it, just terribly abused it. So now in old age as 30 year old Boomers (actually I was like 25 at the time?) we refinished it together with Polyshades in a weekend. I had to sand it down to 40 grit with my orbital it was so awful, and I took about a whole 1/8" off from sanding, and I only went down to 220 with the orbital. In person you can see some more imperfections that I wish I went down to maybe 320 or 500 grit or so, but such is life. Due to being a pine table it's still a soft wood and probably will get refinished again in a few years.

For technique beyond the sanding, the only thing I did was use the Minwax prestain conditioner, and steel wool between the coats. Either way, I don't think Polyshades is particularly as awful as it's made out to be.

For durability, it's held up extremely well, I think. I clean it with straight ammonia and it's totally fine with it.
 

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I had very good luck with Minwax Polyshades. It's a product most people have complete derision for and think is awful, but I had good luck just using it more or less as directed.



I've posted this before and don't want to show a before, but this table was honestly abused heavily by us as children, we put rocks on it, carved names into it, just terribly abused it. So now in old age as 30 year old Boomers (actually I was like 25 at the time?) we refinished it together with Polyshades in a weekend. I had to sand it down to 40 grit with my orbital it was so awful, and I took about a whole 1/8" off from sanding, and I only went down to 220 with the orbital. In person you can see some more imperfections that I wish I went down to maybe 320 or 500 grit or so, but such is life. Due to being a pine table it's still a soft wood and probably will get refinished again in a few years.

For technique beyond the sanding, the only thing I did was use the Minwax prestain conditioner, and steel wool between the coats. Either way, I don't think Polyshades is particularly as awful as it's made out to be.

For durability, it's held up extremely well, I think. I clean it with straight ammonia and it's totally fine with it.
It looks good, rich.
Did you sprayed or brushed?
Why are you cleaning with straight ammonia?, what's the benefit over regular cleaners.
Nice to know that Minwax Polysheds is holding good.

After reading that Polyshades have not so good reputation but you are very happy with its durability, I did some reading on them, and found that:

Quote:
/ Test for adhesion.
If the wood you are refinishing already has a clear protective finish, you need to test for adhesion before applying PolyShades®.
A few simple rules to keep in mind:
PolyShades® will work over stained wood (meaning it does not have a clear protective finish) or wood topcoated with a polyurethane-based finish.
Proper surface preparation is necessary to ensure adhesion, so make sure you follow preparation tips provided in this Guide.
Many of the older finishes are not polyurethane based, so testing is a must!
PolyShades® is not recommended for use over lacquer. /

I have a project where customer likes the railing and other wood parts to be stained to dark brown color, (white spindles will stay white).
I didn't had a chance to test if the current clear coat is solvent based or water based.

I was planning on removing old finish, but the idea of applying Minwax Polyshades over it is very attractive option, (assuming that the existing finish is compatible with it), and having some confidence that it will hold good on the railing.

I have no problem with removing old finish,(it's a T+M job), but if I can save them the hassle of this process, (they have 5 years young child), that would be great.


.
 

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That was all brushed, and honestly I didn't even use a super high quality brush, just a throwaway. I made sure to just lay it on thick and not mess with it too much. Since it was a horizontal surface you could lay down a lot of mils, and only look for runs on the edges of the table.

I've done a few projects over various stained/lacquered/etc wood with Polyshades. As long as you scuff it well, I think you'd be OK. The stuff I used it on was solid wood furniture but stuff that wasn't really worth a full strip down, but I wanted basically serviceable again. For all intents and purposes, it works like oil based paint, just translucent. People have issues with it due to the expectation of it working like a stain and somehow penetrating the wood, but it's more just like an oil based paint. Same way of brushing out, catching runs, etc. Like an oil based paint, depending on technique/etc you can leave brush marks. Unfortunately most of my pictures of furniture I did with it show my messy house, so no pics, haha. I did espresso for a color on my other stuff. With Polyshades too, some people don't understand you can only make a piece darker, and how the color comes out is sort of random. Espresso comes out a mostly solid color with 2-3 coats depending on what you're going over, though.

Polyshades does reek, it is still an oil based poly, and my house smelled for a whole week using it indoors for that table. So for kids, maybe not. You'd get more money and likely a better result using a Citristrip or similar and then using water based stains and polys, you could milk the hours to the max. A lot of people like Polyshades for rentals and the like, though.

For durability, I knew one customer of mine who just mixed two colors together and dumped them on an indoor porch hardwood floor and brushed it out themselves. It's held up for about a decade. They have a few tables and chairs finished with it that looked great, too. The husband wasn't bad at furniture, to be honest. Wife slaved him to the max on stuff like that, haha. The only other problem is going over an existing finish is like oil based paints, you can still chip it/etc if you're bumping into it, gouging it with a jean buckle, whatever, and there will be no stain underneath, so it'll just show the old finish color again. On my table it's not an issue as it was down to 100% bare wood, but yeah.

For spraying with straight ammonia, my family is messy, and I'm cheap. It's super strong and super cheap, and cuts all grease down to nothing. I recommend it for paint prep for this reason, though, it really is one of the best things to clean a surface. You can also use it to clean shellac brushes, but it will lift shellac on trim/etc so be careful.
 

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That was all brushed, and honestly I didn't even use a super high quality brush, just a throwaway. I made sure to just lay it on thick and not mess with it too much. Since it was a horizontal surface you could lay down a lot of mils, and only look for runs on the edges of the table.

I've done a few projects over various stained/lacquered/etc wood with Polyshades. As long as you scuff it well, I think you'd be OK. The stuff I used it on was solid wood furniture but stuff that wasn't really worth a full strip down, but I wanted basically serviceable again. For all intents and purposes, it works like oil based paint, just translucent. People have issues with it due to the expectation of it working like a stain and somehow penetrating the wood, but it's more just like an oil based paint. Same way of brushing out, catching runs, etc. Like an oil based paint, depending on technique/etc you can leave brush marks. Unfortunately most of my pictures of furniture I did with it show my messy house, so no pics, haha. I did espresso for a color on my other stuff. With Polyshades too, some people don't understand you can only make a piece darker, and how the color comes out is sort of random. Espresso comes out a mostly solid color with 2-3 coats depending on what you're going over, though.

Polyshades does reek, it is still an oil based poly, and my house smelled for a whole week using it indoors for that table. So for kids, maybe not. You'd get more money and likely a better result using a Citristrip or similar and then using water based stains and polys, you could milk the hours to the max. A lot of people like Polyshades for rentals and the like, though.

For durability, I knew one customer of mine who just mixed two colors together and dumped them on an indoor porch hardwood floor and brushed it out themselves. It's held up for about a decade. They have a few tables and chairs finished with it that looked great, too. The husband wasn't bad at furniture, to be honest. Wife slaved him to the max on stuff like that, haha. The only other problem is going over an existing finish is like oil based paints, you can still chip it/etc if you're bumping into it, gouging it with a jean buckle, whatever, and there will be no stain underneath, so it'll just show the old finish color again. On my table it's not an issue as it was down to 100% bare wood, but yeah.

For spraying with straight ammonia, my family is messy, and I'm cheap. It's super strong and super cheap, and cuts all grease down to nothing. I recommend it for paint prep for this reason, though, it really is one of the best things to clean a surface. You can also use it to clean shellac brushes, but it will lift shellac on trim/etc so be careful.

Very helpful, Thank you very much.
Yes, the smell will be an issue, so I will use water based products.
I guess stripping it down will be the way to go on this project.
But I will keep Polyshades in mind when I can use clear on bare or on stained unfinished wood.
Interesting story with that floor, 10 years is a very good deal on a floor.

But ammonia smells so strong...lol
I read a story of a woman trying to catch a rat in a trap in her garage.
The rat being smart never went near that trap.
Somebody suggested that she puts a dish with a rag in it soaked in ammonia.
Apparently strong smell of ammonia turns rodents away.
She said that she kept the dish for few weeks (refiling occasionally), and the rat never came back.


BTW,...how many coats you did on that table?
Looks so nice for being done with a brush. But I guess (as you said) laying a thick layer and being oil levels nicely.
 

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Very helpful, Thank you very much.
Yes, the smell will be an issue, so I will use water based products.
I guess stripping it down will be the way to go on this project.
But I will keep Polyshades in mind when I can use clear on bare or on stained unfinished wood.
Interesting story with that floor, 10 years is a very good deal on a floor.

But ammonia smells so strong...lol
I read a story of a woman trying to catch a rat in a trap in her garage.
The rat being smart never went near that trap.
Somebody suggested that she puts a dish with a rag in it soaked in ammonia.
Apparently strong smell of ammonia turns rodents away.
She said that she kept the dish for few weeks (refiling occasionally), and the rat never came back.


BTW,...how many coats you did on that table?
Looks so nice for being done with a brush. But I guess (as you said) laying a thick layer and being oil levels nicely.
Just two coats and the prestain conditioner. I kind of wish I did a third, though. But for a first time, I guess it's fine. I think Polyshades is thicker than Spar Urethane (oddly never used on furniture, just to restore car headlights) and the "Fast Drying Polyurethane."

The table was done in Pecan Gloss, btw.



This is another angle. I guess something that happened is the grain sort of popped, depending on if you like that or not it's cool. I didn't know about grain filler as a thing back then. But the coating itself as you can see came out like glass.

One thing I did notice, not using the prestain conditioner and doing Bombay Mahogany on some shelving is I do think the results were worse than doing a traditional stain + poly, I think with darker colors Polyshades in that scenario could be worse. The main complaint people have is it looks like the stain is sitting on top of the piece rather than being embedded, with my table with Pecan and using the prestain conditioner that's not the case. But I do wonder if with darker colors that can happen more, also the darker colors seem to have more pigment and need to be stirred up way longer.
 

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Just two coats and the prestain conditioner. I kind of wish I did a third, though. But for a first time, I guess it's fine. I think Polyshades is thicker than Spar Urethane (oddly never used on furniture, just to restore car headlights) and the "Fast Drying Polyurethane."

The table was done in Pecan Gloss, btw.



This is another angle. I guess something that happened is the grain sort of popped, depending on if you like that or not it's cool. I didn't know about grain filler as a thing back then. But the coating itself as you can see came out like glass.

One thing I did notice, not using the prestain conditioner and doing Bombay Mahogany on some shelving is I do think the results were worse than doing a traditional stain + poly, I think with darker colors Polyshades in that scenario could be worse. The main complaint people have is it looks like the stain is sitting on top of the piece rather than being embedded, with my table with Pecan and using the prestain conditioner that's not the case. But I do wonder if with darker colors that can happen more, also the darker colors seem to have more pigment and need to be stirred up way longer.
What?, ...car headlights? Hmmm...

I was actually thinking about it yesterday, what is the difference between alkyd spar varnish (like the one I used on the table top) and oil Polyshades you used on your table.
I was going to google it, but you provided at least part of the answer.

I enlarged your picture and look at the 'grain popping out'. It gives the table that 'rustic' feel.
I personally like rustic style decor and furniture. It has interesting character.

Agreed, lot's of times prestain conditioner is a must in order to get nice distribution of color and getting nice overall finish.
But there are many variables, wood types, etc,.
I like reading Redux posts on wood staining and finishing, looks like he has lot's of experience with that side of the craft.

So what was the thing with finishing car headlights, I'm curious.

.
 

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What?, ...car headlights? Hmmm...

I was actually thinking about it yesterday, what is the difference between alkyd spar varnish (like the one I used on the table top) and oil Polyshades you used on your table.
I was going to google it, but you provided at least part of the answer.

I enlarged your picture and look at the 'grain popping out'. It gives the table that 'rustic' feel.
I personally like rustic style decor and furniture. It has interesting character.

Agreed, lot's of times prestain conditioner is a must in order to get nice distribution of color and getting nice overall finish.
But there are many variables, wood types, etc,.
I like reading Redux posts on wood staining and finishing, looks like he has lot's of experience with that side of the craft.

So what was the thing with finishing car headlights, I'm curious.

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There's a billion Youtube tutorials on it nowadays. Basically the jist of it is, you sand your headlights down with 500-1000-1500-2000 grit or somewhere near those numbers in stages to remove scratches and yellowing. Wipe it down and make sure there's no sanding dust or similar left on the headlight. Then you apply a clear coat. Most people used to use Minwax Spar Urethane wiped on with a paper towel, usually mixed 50/50 with mineral spirits, but some people used rattlecan automotive clearcoat, some people used Spar Urethane in a rattlecan, etc. Now the more proper way is use a 2K automotive clear coat instead of the Minwax or rattlecans, as those as 1K poly, and not as strong as a 2K (I think very technically they're actually varnishes or lacquers and not true polyurethanes, but I'm too lazy to look up the difference now...) and will fade faster/etc. I get about 2 years out of my headlights with Spar Urethane, though, before I have to spend 45 minutes or so and do it again. I've also restored random plastic objects in my house this way, like clear plastic clock faces, turntable covers, etc. Most of those things I didn't bother sanding, just wiped Spar Urethane down.

This was the tutorial I used.

But yeah, basically Polyshades is just tinted polyurethane varnish, sort of just Spar Urethane with tint in it.

Yeah, Redux knows a lot for sure. I am admittedly very noob at wood refinishing, but all I can do is share my own experiences here, and let other people judge if it's helpful to them or not.
 

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What?, ...car headlights? Hmmm...

I was actually thinking about it yesterday, what is the difference between alkyd spar varnish (like the one I used on the table top) and oil Polyshades you used on your table.
I was going to google it, but you provided at least part of the answer.

I enlarged your picture and look at the 'grain popping out'. It gives the table that 'rustic' feel.
I personally like rustic style decor and furniture. It has interesting character.

Agreed, lot's of times prestain conditioner is a must in order to get nice distribution of color and getting nice overall finish.
But there are many variables, wood types, etc,.
I like reading Redux posts on wood staining and finishing, looks like he has lot's of experience with that side of the craft.

So what was the thing with finishing car headlights, I'm curious.

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Well here’s one for you then...I’ve used nitric acid on pine followed be heating it with a hairdryer or heat gun, the NA providing an authentically aged brown to slightly orange color, similar to antique pumpkin pine but not quite as orange w/ -zero- blotching or grain reversal. I pop the color with BLO cut with turps or mineral spirits and clear it or just simply skip the BLO and apply several coats of burnished PTO.
 

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Well here’s one for you then...I’ve used nitric acid on pine followed be heating it with a hairdryer or heat gun, the NA providing an authentically aged brown to slightly orange color, similar to antique pumpkin pine but not quite as orange w/ -zero- blotching or grain reversal. I pop the color with BLO cut with turps or mineral spirits and clear it or just simply skip the BLO and apply several coats of burnished PTO.

Does this work on fir to reproduce that aged orange look?


Where can you get nitric acid locally?
 

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Does this work on fir to reproduce that aged orange look?


Where can you get nitric acid locally?
I get the NA from a photographic chemical supplier. The 70% percent reagent grade NA @ the following link is the same concentration I’ve worked with. I think Jeff Jewitt might have written a small piece about it being used to artificially age pine. I have never tried it on fir, but I’ve played around with potassium dichromate on fir which does a pretty nice job with simulating natural aging. Being that PD is a chromium VI containing compound I’d suggest reading up on it before considering its use. I’d also suggest that you familiarize yourself with acid dilutions if reducing the NA concentration.

https://www.sciencecompany.com/Nitric-Acid-Concentrated-500mL-P6387.aspx
 

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I get the NA from a photographic chemical supplier. The 70% percent reagent grade NA @ the following link is the same concentration I’ve worked with. I think Jeff Jewitt might have written a small piece about it being used to artificially age pine. I have never tried it on fir, but I’ve played around with potassium dichromate on fir which does a pretty nice job with simulating natural aging. Being that PD is a chromium VI containing compound I’d suggest reading up on it before considering its use. I’d also suggest that you familiarize yourself with acid dilutions if reducing the NA concentration.

https://www.sciencecompany.com/Nitric-Acid-Concentrated-500mL-P6387.aspx

I went down a hole of people using Potassium Permanganate which you can buy at HD too.
 

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Does this work on fir to reproduce that aged orange look?


Where can you get nitric acid locally?

Have you tried any of the European reactive stains or wood ageing solutions on fir or other wood species?

The first photo is of a mordant reactive stain (double smoked oak reduced with water) by Ciranova on some white oak sample boards which haven’t fully dried which accounts for the darker splotches which disappear when dry. They’re stupid easy to apply yet are more intended for line or bench finishing. I haven’t tried them on fir but they might be worth looking into.

The 2nd photo is of Blanchon Wood Ageing Agent on hemp fir. I’ve used some of their Ageing Agents on white oak but haven’t tried them on Douglas fir... the Ciranova products are better.

110754


110755
 
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