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Thread: Cherry Coffee Table Finishing Opinions

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Houston, Texas area
    I've never rubbed out my ARS. For the project above and some others I did the really wet base coat and the first wipe-on coat with Semi-gloss because I had a gallon handy, then wiped on satin ARS for the last 2-3 coats.

    I've never done a comparison using gloss up until the final coat or two. Some day maybe I'll test that, maybe...
    Mark McFarlane

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Tampa Bay, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    Keep this in mind: You are not so much laying down finish as you do with a brush. You are wiping the surface broadly and lightly. On a table top, I like to dip a whole blue towel sheet into a bowl of the wiping varnish, squeeze it gently out so it is saturated but not dripping. Then unfold it and wipe on broad, overlapping, quick figure eights. Don’t go with the grain. Don’t go back over spots, and don’t try to pop bubbles. If you move quickly enough? Streaks and bubbles will rectify themselves.
    In my experience of screwing up enough finishes until I learned, this is phenomenally good advice.

    Also, be very careful when rubbing out the finish. Easy to burn through a thin top coat and have to start again. Go easy. Less is more for that.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hickman View Post
    Do you rub out the ARS? I really want satin, I don't want the gloss that I purchased. How long between the wipe-on coats? Love how that Cherry looks, my goodness!

    Do you rub out the finish? I don't really care about brushing, I don't need the experience . I'm curious how long to wait before I can use it lightly?
    The key to applying any OB film finish is to apply all the coats so that they behave like a single coat. To do that you cannot wait until the prior coat is cured. You have to apply each coat after the prior coat is just hard enough to scuff sand. One guy on another forum used to use what he called the pinky test. If you can touch it with your pinky and the finish doesn't stick then it's hard enough to apply the next coat. That might be a bit extreme but I never forgot his advice. I wait until I can scuff sand it w/o it sticky to my sand paper.

    Why? Because if all the coats behave like a single coat then you won't get witness lines if you happen to cut through a layer when you rub it out.

    IMO there is no advantage to sanding finer than necessary to eliminate visual sandpaper marks. This has been proven time and again in comparative studies, though some still insist finer grits or a hand planed surface will look better. To each their own. To my eyes, they look the same under a film finish. For most projects I stop at 150 grit, for woods that still show scratch marks I go up to 220. The only time I've ever gone higher is when using a water based dye that would could grain raising.

    I have rubbed out gloss ARS a few times. The advantage of rubbing out gloss rather than using satin is there will be no streaks or nibs when you are done, and it will be silky, silky smooth. Applying satin w/o getting streaks is possible but not always very easy, at least for me. That said, I only rub out something like a table top, a nice flat surface. I'd never do it on something with inside corners or other details.

    Let the last coat of finish cure for at least 7 to 10 days first. If you want satin, use steel wool with paste wax as a lubricant, or an equivalent synthetic pad and soapy water. Unfold the steel wool and refold it into a flat rectangle that fits under a hard felt or rubber sanding block. Rub with the grain and work from one end to the other. Wipe off every few minutes to check your progress.


  4. #34
    Thank you everyone for the feedback. @Prashun Patel I have been using a saturated blue shop towel, resisting the urge to go back over anything! @John TenEyck I will rub with steel wool 2 weeks after my final coat.

    I am 2 coats in, between coat 1 (satin, didn't have gloss on hand), and coat 2 (gloss, picked up yesterday at LV), I sanded very lightly with 400 grit wrapped around 1/8" thick angle iron with the weight of the off cut being the downward pressure on my table top. I coated afterwards with the gloss coat and it has been left to dry overnight. Plan looks like this for my remaining coats;

    -Monday; sand flat coat #2, apply coat #3
    - Tuesday; sand flat coat #3, apply coat #4 and let this set for 2-3 days as per a comment previously in this thread
    - Thursday or Friday; sand coat #4 flat that has set for 2-3 days. Wipe on coat #5
    - Wipe on coat #6 & 7 over the following 2 days (Friday + Saturday, or Saturday + Sunday)
    - Rub out with synthetic pad and paste wax in a few weeks; likely around July 16th

    Table looks good so far. I'm excited about how this is progressing. I am glad I didn't put dyed shellac beneath the ARS. Looked wonderful in the shared photos here, but I am content with the color I have now. For the final 3 coats in a row, same procedure, just saturated blue towel?

    Thanks again everyone for the input. I think it's going to look great!

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