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ruined finish!!!

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  • ruined finish!!!

    Help! I think I ruined the finish on a file cabinet I made. After putting 4 coats of poly on it I wet sanded it then polished it with polishing compound. Now I can't get the white residue out of the grain. It's made from oak. Any help would be "Greatly" appreciated. P.S. I tried mineral spirits using 0000 steel wool but it didn't touch it.

  • #2
    Re: ruined finish!!!

    I'd try wiping it clean with just mineral spirits on a dustless cloth. Now, Mix up a mix of 1:1 poly and MS. That should do it without the spectre of adding more lint pickup in the finish needing more sanding. Works for me.


    • #3
      Re: ruined finish!!!

      If you are talking about the polishing compound residue, try water to remove. It may require a tooth brush to get into the pores. If the poly was not fully cured and the polishing compound is now imbedded in poly and since cured in the pores, you may have to strip it to remove, although I would try sanding first. The polishing compound is made to be water soluble.
      I always wait at least three days before trying to polish a poly coat (longer if the temps are cool). It actually takes a week or more to reach full cure, depending on temp. (If you can still smell it when you walk in the room, it is still off-gasing solvent and catalyst fumes, ie still curing, altho the smell could be coming from the interior, if coated, as it dries/cures slower due to less air movement). One of the problems with open-grained wood like oak is that the finish gets down in the pores and then slowly works it way back out. It takes longer to cure as it needs exposure to air (oxygen) to cure and the stuff in the pores isn't getting hardly any until the top layer is fully saturated. If you knock off the top layer polishing, the stuff in the end of the pores is still sticky and grabs teh compound. Then, exposed to air, it cures.

      I will cross my fingers hoping the water works.

      Last edited by Gofor; 04-06-2008, 06:55 PM.
      Practicing at practical wood working


      • #4
        Re: ruined finish!!!

        I finished an oak table top a few years back, three coats of poly to get a glassy finish then lightly sanded to smooth out a few brush marks, probably sanded a little too soon. It got chaulky too. I let it cure a few more days then got the orbital sander out and sanded with 220 a few minutes, not to bare wood but enough to take off the top coat. Then repoly with a little mineral spirits to help it smooth out. Sometimes oak gets "pits" in open grain as others have stated. Oh i found over the years that a rag with poly / varnish seems to produce a better finish for me than a brush. I dont use a brush very often anymore.

        Good luck.