Now don’t get me wrong, I love this table. But I do NOT like going out in my cold garage. I also do not LOVE the finishing process. But I did it. I turned on my heater for 4 days straight and during nap time or after baby bedtime, I applied layer upon layer of polyurethane.
Obviously spraying poly is the most ideal. However, as I mentioned before, I don’t have time for the cleanup and I can’t always depend on a two hour nap. I HATE brushing on poly. It always bubbles at least a little and you always get the occasional drip. I’ve proclaimed how much I like wipe-on poly in previous posts, but it actually made me enjoy my time in the garage. Something about running your hands (covered in gloves holding a poly-soaked lint-free rag) over the smooth oak is really satisfying…maybe it is because I know I’m nearing the end or maybe it is just because how beautiful it all comes together in those last finishing steps. But I LOVE wipe-on poly.
I’ve only used Miniwax but I’m sure other brands work equally well. A couple of things I’ve learned, however. First and most obvious, it is oil-based. So you can only use over oil (although some say you can use over water-based if it has completely cured…I don’t dare try). I found some new water-based wipe-on but many say it does not work well. Something about the sediment not staying suspended if I remember correctly so you get splotchy spots. I rarely use water-based so moving on. Second, as with any oil-based poly, it yellows over time. Fine for me as I use darker stains. Third, even with a lint-free rag, it does not do well on rough-sawn wood. The fibers get trapped in the crevices as you may imagine. So it really only works on smooth surfaces. Lastly, it goes on super thin. It is a very fine coat you are applying. This makes sanding out an unwanted hair really easy! It also means you should put on a few more layers. I always do at least 1 more layer than the layer that no longer stains my cloth. For high-traffic zones, I do at least two more layers. That is usually between 3-5 layers…so not many more than a foam brush. You should probably do 5-7 ideally, but I’ve never had issues. I love that you don’t have any strokes or bubbles, it dries super fast so you can re-coat quickly (unless you are in your 65 degree garage), you can buff out any unwanted lint/hairs easily and when you’re done, you throw your rag away! Mama-approved!!
Stay-Tuned next week for the final table reveal!