Should i apply a finish after staining? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 07:01 AM Thread Starter
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Should i apply a finish after staining?

Hi folks
I'm in the process of staining my pine stand with a dark water based gel stain, will be doing 2 coats
I was wondering about opinions regarding applying a finish ie polyurethane (or wax?) vs nothing
I want to maintain a fairly matte look and this is where my dilemma lies.
Has anyone left there stain unfinished and experienced any issues such as water marks, fading etc?

Thanks


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 01:45 PM
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Unfinished stained surfaces will show water marks. I would recommend using a matte polyurethane.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 02:33 PM
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I have exactly zero experience in woodworking or finishing so this is just for my own edification, but what about oil finishes? I'd naively expect that to be at least somewhat water resistant.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 02:52 PM
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I retired two years ago as a Wood Finisher of 37 years. Gel stains are rather decent to use on a wood like Pine or Maple. Neither of those two types of wood accept an even look without the use of a real real thin sealer coat prior to the gel stain. Using a stain without a sealer coat yields a real blotchy look. Some like the blotchy look some don't. Its up to you.

That being said if you decide to use a gel stain make sure to let it dry real good before you apply a surface coating. Leaving the wood bare will result in messy issues down the road, spotting, color shifting due to lighting, possible warping etc.....

Best of luck in your project.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:35 PM
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Use a matte or satin oil-based polyurethane topcoat- I would recommend two coats, sanded lightly between. In the US we have Minwax, Varathane, etc. I use Varathane, not sure if you can get it down under, but there should be similar.

I've never had great longevity from any water-based polyurethane, so I can't recommend them personally.


Whatever you use, make sure it cures long enough before topcoating, I would say a week at least to be safe.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lingwendil View Post
Use a matte or satin oil-based polyurethane topcoat- I would recommend two coats, sanded lightly between. In the US we have Minwax, Varathane, etc. I use Varathane, not sure if you can get it down under, but there should be similar.

I've never had great longevity from any water-based polyurethane, so I can't recommend them personally.


Whatever you use, make sure it cures long enough before topcoating, I would say a week at least to be safe.
I purchased some matte water based poly... hopefully it will hold up ok, i'm not expecting there to be much wear apart from wiping up little spills... hoping for the best.
Interesting you say to wait a week before a top coat, i just finished my 3rd final stain coat today and was hoping to apply clear coat tomorrow, i even left it with a fan on to dry overnight.
If its dry to the touch tomorrow will it not be suitable for top coating? i was really hoping to get it finished this weekend.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 03:59 PM
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https://www.finewoodworking.com/FWNP.../011158060.pdf
https://www.woodworkersjournal.com/m...ng-techniques/

Thought this was interesting..
see "Wipe Off"
Quote:
The exact same gloss varnish, used for both sides of this cedar board, will make gloss when brushed and matte when wiped.
Just for fun..

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-07-2019, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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This is the application method for both the stain and polyurethane products i bought, apply and let it set and then wipe
It's the first time i've used a gel stain and i'm pleased with the ease of use, the product doesn't dry overly fast so its forgiving and allows for fixing any mistakes you might have missed on first glance.


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 05:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remmy View Post
This is the application method for both the stain and polyurethane products i bought, apply and let it set and then wipe
It's the first time i've used a gel stain and i'm pleased with the ease of use, the product doesn't dry overly fast so its forgiving and allows for fixing any mistakes you might have missed on first glance.
A wiping poly is nothing more than a regular poly diluted. That means you need more coats for the same protection.
I never buy wiping poly. When I use oil I just add mineral spirits and add more coats.

That being said I've switched to water based poly now. I can put 3 coats on in one afternoon. No odor and cleanup is a breeze.

The big difference between a gloss and satin/matte is the addition of flattening agents. If you don't stir matte you get gloss.

I generally prefer a matte finish. But it appears cloudy if all three coats are matte. With oil I put on two coats of gloss with the third the matte. Then rub it out. But don't cut through the layers. Poly does not bond to the layer below like lacquer does. You rub through the top layer in spots you will know it.

If the client wants a gloss it gets three coats. The gloss from the poly however is harsh. It needs to be rubbed out with rubbing compound then polishing compound and finish with a good wax. The gloss should look like a new car finish. I use automotive products to polish the finish and a good car wax.

I don't sand the first coat at all. That coats is just a first sealer and the wood absorbs most of it. Second coat gets sanded and leveled out.

With water poly I generally add six coats. Probably could just do three but I like the depth it gets. Also water doesn't add the amber tint oil does.

With oil I prefer anything but minwax. I lean toward Varathane but do use others. If I am using oil I use a good quality brush for application. Over the years I've found the quality of the brush can make or break a finish. I never use a foam brush on oil. Water yes foam is fine.

Flexner on finishing is pretty good read. Guy knows his stuff.

To prevent warping finish both sides of the board. Even if it won't be seen.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-08-2019, 07:33 AM
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^ very good advice/info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Remmy View Post
I purchased some matte water based poly... hopefully it will hold up ok, i'm not expecting there to be much wear apart from wiping up little spills... hoping for the best.
Interesting you say to wait a week before a top coat, i just finished my 3rd final stain coat today and was hoping to apply clear coat tomorrow, i even left it with a fan on to dry overnight.
If its dry to the touch tomorrow will it not be suitable for top coating? i was really hoping to get it finished this weekend.

If you are in a very hot/dry area one day might work, but longer is better. If the stain isn't set you may get pinholes in your topcoat as the stuff underneath continues to cure and outgas.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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Stand is complete, happy with how it came out despite some small screw ups i did with the poly. It wasn't actually the wipe off kind as i thought, was a bit of a pain to work with due to the fast drying time which caused some mistakes on my part. I decided to stop after 2 coats since i didn't want to mess with it too much.
I'm planning on adding side panels and doors in the coming weeks.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-12-2019, 06:11 PM
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Nice, I did a bookshelf/stand combo recently, but went for burning with a torch (lightly toasted, really) and rubbed with boiled linseed oil rather than stain, followed by a few coats of satin oil-based polyurethane-
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 06-13-2019, 12:29 AM Thread Starter
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Interesting effect, haven't seen anyone do it before. Does it need sanding after the burning?
And is that a filter-less setup on the saltwater or is there a sump hiding in the back there?


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