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Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 23rd 07, 02:49 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 25
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?

I've finished putting the final coat of Helmsman on my bar top and it
looks absolutely stunning! (this is my first 'serious' project, so
excuse me if I seem to be more than just a little proud!). After
reading various posts and websites, I thinned the first coat 1:1 with
mineral spirits, then put the remaining three coats on full strength,
sanding lightly with a 220 grit before each coat. The finish is now
like glass! However, there are occasional bits of something that
easily come off with a fingernail. I'm speculating that they're
bubbles - not too ugly, and they'll probably wear off in time. My
concern is that people will not resist the temptation to remove them
for me and, in so doing, potentially damage the finish. I've read
that my next step should be to wet sand with a 400 grit, then hit it
with an automotive polishing compound. Will this eliminate the
'problem', such as it is? Frankly, I'm reluctant to take this last
step because I just know I'll screw it up. The Helmsman seems a bit
softer that most finishes (it supposedly can accommodate temperature
expansion/contraction of the wood), so I don't know how it will take
to this final step. How about a paste wax? Will these bits be eased
off while buffing? Is a wax product good for a spar urethane finish
or will I be creating other problems?

Any other suggestions/recommendations?

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  #2  
Old April 23rd 07, 08:26 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 2,661
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?

On Apr 23, 7:49 am, Mike wrote:
I've finished putting the final coat of Helmsman on my bar top and it looks absolutely stunning!


SNIP

Any other suggestions/recommendations?


Congrats on the new top!

Beware of any advice you get on the processes you are asking about
from anyone.

No one knows how thick you put the finish on. Less finish means less
material to sand off and polish. If your final desired thickness is
somewhere around 3 - 4 mil, you may only be a little thicker than
that now. Hitting it with sandpaper, then buffing it out through the
grades of polish to get out the scratches left by 400 grit could
easily take the coating down to a thickness top that is too thin to be
useful as a bar top. Bar tops take a pretty good beating.

Just my 0.02 here, but an exterior rated varnish wouldn't have been my
first choice for the project.

"Spar varnish" was developed to be water resistant as its first task,
and UV resistant as its second. Unfortunately most UV inhibitors make
finishes softer when cured. This is good for the boat guys and for
your outdoor furniture that is exposed to the elements as this
flexibility will help keep it from cracking off, exposing the wood
below. You can polish it out to make it really shiny, but it will
never have the durability of interior rated finishes. Typically these
have no UV inhibitors or only tiny amounts so you can put your piece
by sunny window without disaster.

If you piece is outside by the BBQ pit, good choice. Inside, there
are probably better choices, finshes that are selected based on their
abrasion resistance.

Before you get in the middle of buffing out the top, you will probably
need to let the top hard cure for about 30-45 days after your last
application of finish. Green time cure time on these finishes is
about 15 days or so, but on this particular finish you should contact
the manufacturer.

Be careful in what you do, and if you are 95% happy with your finish I
would leave it alone. You know where all the faults are, so you see
them when you look at them. Others won't, and you will move onto
other projects.

If it turned out the way you wanted that's the best thing. Even
without the abrasion resistance of a harder finish this one should
last a long time with some care.

Robert

  #3  
Old April 23rd 07, 09:16 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 25
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?

On Apr 23, 1:26 pm, "
wrote:
On Apr 23, 7:49 am, Mike wrote:

I've finished putting the final coat of Helmsman on my bar
top and it looks absolutely stunning!


SNIP

Any other suggestions/recommendations?


Congrats on the new top!

Beware of any advice you get on the processes you are asking about
from anyone.


Agreed - that's why I didn't simply jump into the wet sand/polish
step.

No one knows how thick you put the finish on. Less finish means less
material to sand off and polish. If your final desired thickness is
somewhere around 3 - 4 mil, you may only be a little thicker than
that now. Hitting it with sandpaper, then buffing it out through the
grades of polish to get out the scratches left by 400 grit could
easily take the coating down to a thickness top that is too thin to be
useful as a bar top. Bar tops take a pretty good beating.

Just my 0.02 here, but an exterior rated varnish wouldn't have been my
first choice for the project.


I went to various manufacturers websites to research the available
products (granted, advice from the manufacturers can also be
suspect). Minwax specifically recommends Helmsman for bar tops. My
primary concern was water and chemical (alcohol) resistance. This
product seems to address that issue. And the gaudiness of the high
gloss is absolutely perfect for a bar top, IMO! That's exactly the
look I was shooting for. I used their 'Fast Drying' polyurethane for
the sides and knocked the gloss down with steel wool. That also came
out just right, although I'd probably simply buy the satin finish if I
had to do it again. The difference in the 'feel' is obvious, though.
The top definitely feels 'softer' than the sides, though not
disturbingly so. I'm confident that I can address any issues that
come up an a few years, though.

[...]

Be careful in what you do, and if you are 95% happy with your finish I
would leave it alone. You know where all the faults are, so you see
them when you look at them. Others won't, and you will move onto
other projects.


Good point. My satisfaction is actually a bit higher than 95%, so it
looks like it's going to stay just the way it is.

If it turned out the way you wanted that's the best thing. Even
without the abrasion resistance of a harder finish this one should
last a long time with some care.


Thanks for your comments,
-Mike

  #4  
Old April 24th 07, 05:02 AM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 6,037
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?

Nailshooter has some good advice.

I would go a step farther and put that same finish on a scrap piece of wood,
let a little alcohol spill on it and see if the finish works and looks like
you want.



"Mike" wrote in message
ups.com...
I've finished putting the final coat of Helmsman on my bar top and it
looks absolutely stunning! (this is my first 'serious' project, so
excuse me if I seem to be more than just a little proud!). After
reading various posts and websites, I thinned the first coat 1:1 with
mineral spirits, then put the remaining three coats on full strength,
sanding lightly with a 220 grit before each coat. The finish is now
like glass! However, there are occasional bits of something that
easily come off with a fingernail. I'm speculating that they're
bubbles - not too ugly, and they'll probably wear off in time. My
concern is that people will not resist the temptation to remove them
for me and, in so doing, potentially damage the finish. I've read
that my next step should be to wet sand with a 400 grit, then hit it
with an automotive polishing compound. Will this eliminate the
'problem', such as it is? Frankly, I'm reluctant to take this last
step because I just know I'll screw it up. The Helmsman seems a bit
softer that most finishes (it supposedly can accommodate temperature
expansion/contraction of the wood), so I don't know how it will take
to this final step. How about a paste wax? Will these bits be eased
off while buffing? Is a wax product good for a spar urethane finish
or will I be creating other problems?

Any other suggestions/recommendations?



  #5  
Old April 24th 07, 02:50 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 146
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?


"Mike" wrote in message
ups.com...
I've finished putting the final coat of Helmsman on my bar top and it
looks absolutely stunning!


Cool. Congrats.

snip

I've read
that my next step should be to wet sand with a 400 grit, then hit it
with an automotive polishing compound.



Not really. Your next step is to wait. Any finish will buff out better when
fully cured. The can website says 24 hour dry time, but it will continue to
cure for up to a month.

Patience is your friend. Maybe you will choose to buff it out, maybe leave
it alone. Either is fine.

I suggest some "beer resistance" testing in the interrim :-).

-Steve



--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com

  #7  
Old April 24th 07, 05:56 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 25
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?

On Apr 24, 7:50 am, "Stephen M"
wrote:
"Mike" wrote in message

ups.com...

I've finished putting the final coat of Helmsman on my bar top and it
looks absolutely stunning!


Cool. Congrats.

snip

I've read
that my next step should be to wet sand with a 400 grit, then hit it
with an automotive polishing compound.


Not really. Your next step is to wait. Any finish will buff out better when
fully cured. The can website says 24 hour dry time, but it will continue to
cure for up to a month.

Patience is your friend. Maybe you will choose to buff it out, maybe leave
it alone. Either is fine.


Maybe I should simply see how the finish affects the taste of the
beer. If a month goes by and all is well, then I'll just leave it
be.

How long before the urge to stare at it goes away?

I suggest some "beer resistance" testing in the interrim :-).


I suspect that my "beer resistance" will not be adversely affected by
this new toy. (or were you referring to the finish's resistance to
beer? ;-)

  #9  
Old April 25th 07, 09:36 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 91
Default Final coat of Spar Urethane on my bar top - now what?

On 24 Apr 2007 08:56:15 -0700, Mike wrote:

I suspect that my "beer resistance" will not be adversely affected by
this new toy. (or were you referring to the finish's resistance to
beer? ;-)

Mike:

I had a similar situation with a maple table I built for my hunting
"cabin" several years ago. I used spar varnish for durability but
found that it scratches pretty easily with glasses, cans, etc. being
slid on it during our nightly poker games. Four years ago (after a
couple of touch-up coats of spar) I over coated the spar with a short
oil varnish (Murdoch's Rock Hard in my case). That stuff doesn't
scratch unless someone tests their knife on it, which is strongly
discouraged.

I scuff sanded the spar with 400 grit, then overlaid it with 2 coats
of Murdoch's. 4 years later it still shines bright. Alcohol (after
guns are unloaded and put away!) and water haven't hurt it at all.

Just my experience.

Note: The last coat of spar had cured for about 1 year before the
first overcoat.

Regards.

Tom
 




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