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questions about varnishing a naked table top

Posted by fori (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 4, 12 at 18:39

I've been asking about adding a layer of varnish to my table and learned a lot about varnish vs lacquer and decided that someone had varnished this table. So I figured I'd have to strip it and start over but just for fun I thought I'd try sanding off the globs and see how bad it was.

Anyway it came off so easy I just couldn't stop and have pretty much removed the finish on the top of the table. I have a few questions if y'all would continue to indulge my newbieness.

1. This stuff is/was definitely varnish. I didn't remove it from the sides of the tabletop--I gently sanded them (and sanded off the old varnish drips). Should I be able to topcoat that with varnish or do I need to get it totally bare?

2. There is a decorative groove in the table where the solid edge meets the veneered top. This is a bad thing in an everyday table. Would it be a terrible mistake to get extra varnish in there to make it less deep? It's going to get really gross if I don't fill it with something.

3. How do I know what color the wood will be once varnished? Should it be similar to the color wet, like with mineral spirits or when licked? I know when you stain it, you get a pretty good idea but I think there may be enough stain left here that I don't have to stain it but I'm not sure.

4. I want to do a rubbed on varnish because I get sloppy when I use a brush. Do I need one formulated for wiping on or can I just thin regular stuff? Any recommendations?

5. Does varnish eat through latex gloves?
Thanks much!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: questions about varnishing a naked table top

1. Should I be able to topcoat that with varnish or do I need to get it totally bare?
> I would normally recommend stripping rather than sanding. You can still strip. If you are not staining, you will probably be OK. If you apply a coat or two and don't like it, stripping is your backup plan.

2. There is a decorative groove .... Would it be a terrible mistake to get extra varnish in there to make it less deep?
> A thick layer of varnish will not cure properly. I'm not sure what would be the best to recommend for this. I'm thinking mask off both sides, add some wood filler (e.g., Elmer's Professional Carpenter's Wood Filler (or whatever the current name is) in a contrasting color like Walnut or Mahogany), let it dry, sand out, remove the tape and seal with varnish.

3. How do I know what color the wood will be once varnished?
> Wet with mineral spirits will give a decent idea.

4. I want to do a rubbed on varnish because I get sloppy when I use a brush. Do I need one formulated for wiping on or can I just thin regular stuff? Any recommendations?
> Either way. I've had decent luck with General Finishes Arm-R-All, that is already thinned, but still fairly thick.

5. Does varnish eat through latex gloves?
> Varnish doesn't, but mineral spirits (its carrier) does. Use nitrile disposable or rubber stripping gloves.

Here is a link that might be useful: filler?


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RE: questions about varnishing a naked table top

Thanks Bob. I guess maybe the groove isn't worth all that effort! :P


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