Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

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Samuel Hartpence
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Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Samuel Hartpence »

I don't have any specialized finishing equipment, and don't care to make that investment at this time. I was initially planning on finishing with Tru-oil, but did the Naptha trick to get an idea of what it would look like, and it was quite a bit darker than I wanted. Any type of finish is fairly available around here, so sourcing should be a problem. I'm going for a transparent satin finish. What do you recommend?

Tru-Oil
Tung-Oil
Danish-Oil
Wipe-On Poly (This may be what I'm leaning towards)

David King
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by David King »

Samuel,
I'm going to stick my neck out and say that any oil-based finish is going to darken your wood. Something water based like Target EM 6000 should preserve the "natural" unfinished quality of the wood. Most of the water-based finishes can be brushed on and of course clean up is a breeze.

Michael Lewis
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Michael Lewis »

Any finish applied to wood will wet it, and it will look much the same after it dries. If naphtha made your wood look too dark you chose dark wood, as there is no coloration in naphtha. Water would do much the same. It is this 'wetness' that brings out the luster of the wood and depth of the grain.

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John Kingma
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by John Kingma »

I've used MinWax Wipe On Poly quite a bit and I think it changes the appearance of the wood much less than some of the other finishes you've mentioned.
John Kingma,
Builder of Fine Sawdust & Expensive Kindling

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Mark Langner
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Mark Langner »

I have been looking for an alternative to tru-oil, and did my latest guitar with General Finishes Arm-R-Seal. It's an oil varnish / urethane blend. Much more transparent than tru-oil (although I usually like a little added color!), it changed the wood color less than other things I've used, (but see previous comments about darkening). I used the gloss Arm-R-Seal, but found that if you wipe it on very thin and wipe off ANY excess, you get a very natural-looking satiny finish.

I was looking for a gloss finish, so I put on slightly heavier coats with a foam brush. I found it pretty challenging to get a smooth and even finish; Don't apply enough and you get streaks, apply just a smidge too much and you get runs and puddles. I had the best luck when I applied it with one brush, and went over it with a second brush slightly damp with mineral spirits. You still have to be VERY careful to avoid puddles and runs.

After curing for a month, it seems to level and polish fairly well - so far I have only done a sample area. I used 2000 and 2500 grit wet papers, then 3M "Scratch Remover" followed by a finer polish (Benedetto's formula based on Maguiar's #7). With very thin coats for a more satin look I don't think you'd need to do this step.
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Michael Lewis
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Michael Lewis »

Mark, did you add thinner before brushing the varnish? I find it flows much better and levels better with some thinner added, and you can get a glossy coat fully leveled in about 3 or 4 coats. Always follow the manufacturer's directions. I find that by applying a thinned coat it goes on thinner and levels quickly and there is much less chance of runs and drips. It does take some practice but it gives a great result if done well.

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Dan Pennington
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Dan Pennington »

I've been using PolyWhey by Vermont Natural Coatings.

Image

Looks like milk going on. Dries pretty clear in a couple of hours. Clearer than TruOil or Wipe On Poly.
I got it from Rockler.

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Mark Langner
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Mark Langner »

Michael Lewis wrote:Mark, did you add thinner before brushing the varnish? I find it flows much better and levels better with some thinner added, and you can get a glossy coat fully leveled in about 3 or 4 coats. Always follow the manufacturer's directions. I find that by applying a thinned coat it goes on thinner and levels quickly and there is much less chance of runs and drips. It does take some practice but it gives a great result if done well.
Michael, I did not thin it - it *seems* so thin to begin with that I hesitated to do that. But I certainly will next time. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Michael Lewis
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Michael Lewis »

Well, consider the source, since I have NO experience with PolyWhey. Follow their directions and if that doesn't give you the results you want call the company for technical assistance.

Rick Rosenberg
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Rick Rosenberg »

I have seen some CA's go on pretty transparent and can be used to finish with. Might want to look around.

Regards,

Rick

David King
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by David King »

Thinner CA will darken many woods very significantly. The thicker formulations less so. Application is easy enough on smaller objects with a little practice but it's impractical on a larger surface and most CAs show significant shrinkage resulting in little time savings when you take into account the smell and toxicity. The fundamental problem with CA as a finish is that it's quite soft compared to other options with similar drawbacks.

Rick Rosenberg
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Re: Most Transparent Wipe-On Finnish

Post by Rick Rosenberg »

We haven't seen that. All of our testing shows CA as an excellent finish and especially when using one that has some flexible attributes to it. Also a high quality CA shouldn't affect the color of wood in most cases.

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