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Finishing Question

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  • Finishing Question

    Hi All....
    I am trying to complete the finish on some 7 ft X 4ft conference tables. I have applied 9 coats of varnish (it took that many to cover the grain of the oak to a level finish) but I would like it to be a mirror when complete. Not that the finish is poor, but I really want it to look like a professional, baked-on finish. I remember reading a thread about someone using polishing compound over the final coat which can apparently create this effect. I actually have 2 questions:

    1. Would anyone be able to provide some pointers on how to apply this material e.g. should I use a buffer? How many "coats" should I use?

    2. If so, is there a particular brand that someone may have experience with?

    “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

  • #2
    I have used regular Turtle Wax automotive polishing compound. To apply it, I use a 5" wool buffing pad like you would get for a drill motor polishing, and put my ROS (Random Orbital Sander) on it using the Hook &Loop type pad. If you have the Hook $ Loop pad on you ROS, a piece of felt or even terry-cloth towel will also work. For the final go-over, I throw a piece of old sweat-pants cloth (inside surface down) under the sander without any compound and give it a final buffing.
    The largest areas I have done have been 6' x 2' and 2' x 3' and it has been on polyurethane type varnish. Make sure all the varnish is well cured and hard or it will make a mess of it.

    Last edited by Gofor; 06-03-2006, 05:51 PM.
    Practicing at practical wood working


    • #3
      It's not a matter of "coats", as polishing compound is an abrasive. What you will be doing is actually removing a bit of the poly (if that is what you used) and basically levelling out the surface which would then produce the glass-smooth surface you are looking for. For that reason, polishing compound needs to be used with care. (Note that the use of polishing compound on your car is great provided you have a few layers of paint, but even then, with over use or too much buffing, you will soon be looking at the primer.) So if you intend to use a power buffer or ROS, as previously described, go lightly. I then think that a coat or two of Johnson's Paste Wax (for wood) might bring out the gloss you are looking for.



      • #4
        Thanks for the advice......I will let you know how it turns out!

        “Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle