Tinted Poly - How to get good results?


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Old 05-03-11, 09:11 PM
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Tinted Poly - How to get good results?

I am planning to use tinted poly (Minwax polyshades) to deepen the color on a set of dressers, and if I'm happy with my ability to use it, I'll take a deep breath and do the same for a stair handrail. My concern is that I used it before to deepen a piece of furniture and I wasn't very happy with the results. I left a layer of "runs" all along the top of the sides, where the poly was thicker and dripped down. I tried to prevent this by using a dry foam brush to remove the excess right after I applied it, but it still ended up thicker at the top and running down so that the top 2 inches were darker and had a wavy bottom. It looked great 2 minutes after it was on; by 10 minutes later it looked terrible because it had run down the sides. I used a 2" foam brush.

So, to do a great job with tinted poly - what tools do I need? Is a brush better, or a foam brush? How do I get a nice even coat on the sides without gravity making it run down at the top? How thick should it be? Can i do it on a really hot day outside (I live in Houston, TX) or will that impact the running?

I appreciate any help!
 
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Old 05-04-11, 03:47 AM
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your best option would be to spray light coats. It is very difficult to get a tinted poly to lay out with no brush lines or runs. If you cannot spray then do very light coats and sand a little between each one to remove high spots and runs.
 
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Old 05-04-11, 04:43 AM
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I agree spray is the easiest way to control the tinted poly although a good job can be had with a brush. I've always used a good china bristle brush. I don't care for a foam brush but I have yrs of brushing experience so I might not know what works best for a diyer.

You need to avoid runs at all costs. Multiple thin coats is best. Sanding between coats is always a good idea but you need to sand lightly. Heavy sanding can cut thru the tint coat and result in uneven color. It's a lot easier to apply the tinted poly to flat wood than anything that is recessed.

Don't apply the poly in the hot sun - it will be too hard to control, it will dry too fast.
 
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Old 05-04-11, 01:25 PM
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Thanks. I will hit up some thrift stores to get a few "practice" pieces of furniture before tackling it. It did do it out in the sun - that may have led to my problems.

What do I use to thin it with? Paint thinner, or something else? I am using the satin finish if that matters.

Finally, spraying it. I don't have a paint sprayer, but Rustoleum makes a tinted poly that comes in a spray paint can. Would that be a good option?
 
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Old 05-04-11, 02:41 PM
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I knew Minwax sold a clear poly in an aerosol can but wasn't aware of any tinted poly in a rattle can..... you can try it and let us know how it does

The label on the can should tell what you use for thinner or clean up. For polyshades it should be paint thinner or mineral spirits.
 
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Old 05-05-11, 07:28 PM
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If you don't have good results with the spray can and resort to brushing, then I would try using a product called "Penetrol" made by the Flood Company instead of paint thinner or mineral spirits in this case. You can buy Penetrol at any paint store.

It's true that paint thinner or mineral spirits will thin polyurethane (tinted or not), but thinning paint or poly also slows it's drying time making it more prone to running as it dries on vertical surfaces. That is, because the drying time is longer and the paint less viscous, it's more likely to run unless you intentionally put on THIN coats.

Penetrol is simply viscous mineral spirits so that you don't reduce the viscosity of the poly by adding Penetrol. You simply increase the drying time, and that alone results in better self leveling of the poly to reduce brush strokes.
 
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Old 05-05-11, 07:48 PM
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Thanks Nestor! That's a great tip. I'll keep it in mind.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 10:12 AM
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How much darker do you want to go? Oil based poly has a bit of a tint to it on its own so a couple coats of that will make the surface darker

If you're trying to go quite a bit darker, this would not be a viable solution
 
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Old 05-06-11, 01:03 PM
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I assumed that Suldog was working with wood that already has a finish. If that's the case, a fresh coat of poly will do little to make it darker - because it will reflect light better, it may even make it appear lighter in color. Oil base poly will deepen the colors already present in raw or stained wood.

I would never recommend applying a tinted poly to raw wood - it's too hard to control the color and get a good looking job.
 
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Old 05-06-11, 01:27 PM
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Ah - that's new to me, didn't realize that effect was only when applied over a non-finished surface

Thanks Mark
 
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Old 05-07-11, 05:11 PM
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I assumed he was going to be darkening an existing finish. He said he wanted to do at least one dresser, and if that went well he'd try doing a handrail. No one installs a hand rail before finishing it, and if the dressers were unfinished, he wouldn't be wanting to darken the existing colour.

Anyhow, if these dressers are quality furniture, I'd leave them as they are. Spraying them with a rattle can or painting them with a tinted poly without having the proper equipment, training and experience to do a good job is likely to result in more harm than good.

Ditto for the hand rail. I wouldn't try darkening it unless I could buy a brand new similar handrail in unfinished condition from my local home center.

I trust the original poster has the good sense not to do anything that would lessen the value of quality furniture or a custom built handrail.
 
 

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