Polyurethane - Sprayer or brush application

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Old 08-19-09, 12:57 PM
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Polyurethane - Sprayer or brush application

I am refinishing an ash top kitchen dining table. I have already sanded off all 9 coats of original polyurethane, 3 coats of sanding sealer, and even the stain. I was fortunate enough to match the original stain by taking a picture with my digital camera! My problem is this. Every time I apply the new polyurethane varnish with my expensive brush, by the time I get to the third coat, the finish looks blotchy and shows brush marks and something akin to spots. I am wondering if spraying on this stuff would be a better idea? My brush has gotten stiff, and soaking it in paint thinner has not restored its original softness! I have sanded back down to bare wood THREE times already, and I am looking for a quicker solution. My polyurethane requires 12 hours drying time between coats. I used oil-based wipe on stain. Can I use quick drying glossy polyurethane without sanding sealer. The polyurethane/varnish I am using now can't be used with sanding sealer! Thanks in advance for any advice.

Tired in Mississippi
 
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Old 08-19-09, 02:14 PM
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I haven't worked with ash very much, but my combination for finishing most pieces is MinWax Polycrylic water-based poly over MinWax oil-based stain. My most recent project I shot the poly with an HVLP gun and was very pleased with the finish. The polycrylic dries very fast, so mutliple coats are a breeze.

This is a project I did last year and I think it's ash:

 

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Old 08-19-09, 02:20 PM
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Thank you! Will it provide a durable enough finish for a frequently used kitchen table?
 
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Old 08-19-09, 02:22 PM
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I haven't had any trouble with durability. I did a dining room table couple of years ago and it's holding up well (although we generally eat at the table in the nook in the kitchen).
 
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Old 08-19-09, 03:04 PM
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Spraying is definitely better than an other method in terms of finish quality. And I like towguys idea of the first coat being oil. If the table is not too large, they do have rattle cans available for your job, in both oil and water base. A bit expensive, but nothing to clean when the job is done.
 
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Old 08-19-09, 04:28 PM
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I believe that oil base poly/varnish gives both a better looking and better wearing finish than it's water based counterpart.

I've got a fair amount of furniture in my house that was bought unfinished. The majority of it was stained and finished using a good china bristle brush. I may have sprayed the final coat - I don't remember for sure..... but I've applied a lot of poly/varnish over the years and I know a good job can be had with a brush. First and foremost - use a good natural bristle brush and either clean it well between uses or wrap it up in plastic and set it in the fridge. I would not wrap one up but a time or two between complete cleanings.

Each coat of poly should be allowed to dry and then sanded lightly, remove dust and then recoat. Sometimes it's a good idea to thin the coating slightly so it will brush easy and flow together well.

The desk where I'm sitting, actually more like an L shaped countertop has a luan top banded with oak. It has 3 coats of poly applied with a brush and there are no visable brush marks.
 
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Old 08-19-09, 07:34 PM
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Thanks, again. Your easel does look like ash to me, and it is very pretty. I love all the grain patterns in ash.
 
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Old 08-19-09, 07:36 PM
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A friend just loaned me a sprayer. He wants me to call him before I use it for instructions I'm guessing. I know I will have to clean it thoroughly after each coat if I use the polyurethane/varnish since it has to dry 12 hours between coats. That's why I was wondering about the quick dry polyurethane, but I don't want to sacrifice quality for convenience.
 
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Old 08-19-09, 07:39 PM
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Thanks, Marksr! I believe I will try thinning the polyurethane/varnish before proceeding. I will probably give the sprayer at least one try before purchasing another expensive natural or china bristle brush, however.
 
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