Eliminating orange peel finishes - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I think this should have its own thread and no one has done one in the DIY Forum.

Any great links on eliminating the small bumpy finishes everyone calls Orange Peel finish??

I did some samples last week with primer sanded using 320 grit, then gloss black lacquer, sanded with 1000 grit (3 coats and sanding), then I used clear gloss and sanded with 2000 grit.

btw, all spray can stuff so its not professional but can I eliminate the orangle peel look? Is it just more sanding? Wet sanding?

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post #2 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 06:08 PM
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great question penn.

i would be curious to know what causes orange peel in the first place. is it that the underlying surface wasn't prepared properly or the paint was applied too thick or it dried too fast. so in addition to fixing orange peel, i would be interested to know how to avoid it in the first place.

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post #3 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I did a quick google, lots of car sites, etc with great advice.

here is one quote on how it happens...
Quote:
Real orange peel, from what I understand, happens during the curing process. In other words, the paint gets laid down flat and smooth, but later obtains the "bumbs" similar to an orange's skin. In this case, the paint should be allowed to cure completely before wet sanding (about a month) because the process has to be allowed to complete itself.

But, there's another kind of "orange peel", that's really something different. That's the case of paint not being laid down smoothly to begin with. This is what I experienced using rattle cans (spray cans) when painting BaDassumption's PSU pod. It wasn't becoming "bumpy" through the curing process, but instead, wasn't perfectly smooth when it was sprayed. It was a result of not being able to lay the coats down wet on wet in all the places, and no matter what I tried, it just wasn't laying down like glass...


Now, since Im using spray cans, I do not have a proper room for painting Im going to have issues so I believe my only solution is to sand, sand, sand, more coats more sanding. From what Im reading is that I should be wetsanding (which I didnt do). I will try this next week.

I guess my second question would be, are there spray can products that are far superior in giving my LESS orange peel? I guess I should paint at 5 am too when its not 90 degrees here in Florida.

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post #4 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a another link for discussion.

http://www.finishwiz.com/orangepeel.htm

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post #5 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 06:49 PM
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Orange peel happens when the lacquer does not have time to flow out before the solvent evaporates. If you are using a spray gun, there are various things you can do to eliminate, or at least minimize, orange peel.

With spray cans, the problem basically stems from less complete atomization of the lacquer than when using a good gun. You get larger than optimal droplets of lacquer hitting the surface and they don't have time to flow out before the solvent evaporates. Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is adjust your technique, which I assume you have tried.

Lucky for you, lacquer is made to be color sanded...
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post #6 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 06:53 PM
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As a automotive/industrial painter by trade here are a few things I can tell you about orange peel and how to reduce it. Firstly the biggest contributors I've found to reducing orange peel are the fluid tip size in my gun and obtaining proper atomization of the product via correct air pressures and correct air-fluid ratios. Also using the proper thinning agent for the paint in question can go a long way to a smooth finish. Unfortunately when dealing with spray can applications you cannot choose or control either situation.

The tips I can offer you for spray can application would be this:
1)Use heavy single coats, this may take some practice to achieve results without runs, but laying down a thicker coat can help reduce orange peel vs using thin coats.
2)Always make sure the can is mixed properly, shake the can long and vigorously, besides shaking alternate mixing by holding the can upright at the top and swirling the can in a circular motion so that you can feel the ball travelling around the bottom of the can in a circular motion.
3)Ditch the laquer and use enamel based spray cans, and if at all possible in your area goto an automotive paint supply store and have them formulate and fill some cans for you, and ask them to use more thinner in the formulation if possible, the paint will be much higher quality than the stuff you can buy in chain stores, but will cost you more.
4)Wet sanding can help a bit also.
5)Paint in an environment as close to 25 degrees celcius as possible, the hotter it is the quicker the paint will dry and have less time to flow out properly, also avoid too much humidity if possible.

Of course no spray can is ever going to match the quality and durability of finish as when you are using proper products and equipment, and if your going to be doing alot of finishing work and have the space available, even buying a low end paint gun and small compressor will give you much better results than that of a spray can.
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post #7 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 07:21 PM
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welcome 12am.

thanks for the great information.

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post #8 of 96 Old 09-06-2009, 10:20 PM
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As 12am said, Orange Peel is caused by improper atomization.
Atomization is the process of breaking the liquid into small droplets.

With a spray gun, the cause is either the liquid viscosity is too high or the air pressure is too low.
The corrective action is either thin the liquid, or increase the air flow--since it is the air flow which breaks the liquid into small droplets--or a combination of both thinning and increasing the air flow.
A third cause of orange peel (improper atomization) is wrong tip size.
A fourth cause is poor quality spray gun.

I mentioned these things so you would get a better understanding of the cause, even though you are presently using rattle cans.

Aerosol cans will give you disappointing results, but some are better than others.

The actuator/nozzle style on the left is likely to atomize better than the one on the right. The left one also produces a "Fan" spray, while the one on the right produces a "conical" spray pattern.




This one also allows for adjustment of the fan spray, by rotating the light blue center, to obtain a vertical or horizontal fan spray.




The better quality aerosol tip can help to a certain degree.
Unfortunately, the two tip styles are not interchangeable.

Wet sanding has some benefits--less gouging and distorting of the surface being sanded and less heat buildup.

Wet sanding can be done with water plus a drop or two of dish soap in a mist spray bottle.
It can also be done with mineral oil found at your local pharmacy.
The wet lubricant needs to be removed completely before any additional topcoat is applied.
Soapy water can be wiped repeatedly with a damp cloth, keep rinsing the cloth.
Mineral oil can be removed with a solvent, such as denatured alcohol or mineral spirits (paint thinner). Just make sure don't use the same solvent used in the finish, or you risk re-flowing the finish.
Oil based Polyurethane uses mineral spirits, so a denatured alcohol-dampened rag would be a good choice, because it won't re-flow the finish.
Denatured alcohol is the solvent for Shellac and lacqer, so mineral spirits is a good choice for wiping these finishes after sanding.

Another option is to use stearated sandpaper, which has a soapy lubricant added to it. It would have some of the benefits of wet sanding when it is dry.

If you are using water-borne finishes, stearated sandpaper is a bad idea, because you risk adhesion problems, should the need arise to apply another topcoat.

So, if orange peel is unavoidable, wet sanding is required.

Speaking of sanding, you should know that sandpaper grading is not universal.
The US system is called CAMI, while the European system is called FEPA.
I mention this, because you might have or at least see some sandpaper which has a "P" preceeding the grit number, such as a "P180" grit.
I've got some of both. It's increasingly common.

At the lower numbers, the two systems are pretty close--180 is the same as P180, for instance.
But above 180 grit, the two systems begin to show significant differences in the way they are graded.
So, if you had sanded to 360, then went to P400 or P500, thinking you were going finer, you went the wrong way. You went coarser.
It's just something to be aware of.
Here is a chart which compares the two systems.

I could go on about finish problems to avoid, but I think I've been too long-winded already.

Oh, here's a finish problem you can avoid.
You can lightly sand and apply another coat after the previous coat has flashed off (dry to the touch, but not fully cured).
But, whichever side is face-down might get little dents in it, even if the resting surface has a smooth terrycloth towel on it. That would get you billions of little dents in your finish while you are sanding the opposite side of the box.
This is where a paint stand comes in handy. You can sand on the same stand you are painting the box on.

I could go on, but I'll spare you folks instead.

Sorry about the long post.
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post #9 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 04:46 AM
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Once you give up spray cans and get the correct paint, you first control orange peel by the amount of reducer in the paint. (thinner).

An old trick is to use a little squeegee when you wet sand. You keep sanding until you don't see any bright spots, but a perfectly smooth dull surface. You can not see or feel the surface well enough dry sanding.

I rough with 320 on an orbital to get it pretty flat sometimes, otherwise 800 really light so I don't sand through corners, then on to 1200. If it is the final color sand, 2000 before buff.

Another trick is to put a piece of masking tape over the edges so you HAVE to stay away from them until the last finger light pass. Sometimes useful with buffing too.
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post #10 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 04:54 AM
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Thanks for the detailed posts on this. Learning more about it and I have some scrap wood I can test these options on. The wife got the idea last week that we (I) should paint our bedroom and stain a desk and that's all about to be started. If I am not too tired painting by the end of it I will try and take some close up pics of the finishes after various paint/sanding combinations. Maybe with side by side comparisons we can tell an easier route to take with this.
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post #11 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 05:13 AM
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Good paint finish is like how you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice man, practice.
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post #12 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 06:36 AM
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Would it be possible to just throw coats of lacquer over the final coat and then just hand-rub to a gloss finish? Is their a reason this should not be done (negative reaction over time, poor adhesion, etc.)?

Here is an example off Youtube:

Hand-rubbed Chess board
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post #13 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12am View Post

As a automotive/industrial painter by trade here are a few things I can tell you about orange peel and how to reduce it. Firstly the biggest contributors I've found to reducing orange peel are the fluid tip size in my gun and obtaining proper atomization of the product via correct air pressures and correct air-fluid ratios. Also using the proper thinning agent for the paint in question can go a long way to a smooth finish. Unfortunately when dealing with spray can applications you cannot choose or control either situation.

The tips I can offer you for spray can application would be this:
1)Use heavy single coats, this may take some practice to achieve results without runs, but laying down a thicker coat can help reduce orange peel vs using thin coats.
2)Always make sure the can is mixed properly, shake the can long and vigorously, besides shaking alternate mixing by holding the can upright at the top and swirling the can in a circular motion so that you can feel the ball travelling around the bottom of the can in a circular motion.
3)Ditch the laquer and use enamel based spray cans, and if at all possible in your area goto an automotive paint supply store and have them formulate and fill some cans for you, and ask them to use more thinner in the formulation if possible, the paint will be much higher quality than the stuff you can buy in chain stores, but will cost you more.
4)Wet sanding can help a bit also.
5)Paint in an environment as close to 25 degrees celcius as possible, the hotter it is the quicker the paint will dry and have less time to flow out properly, also avoid too much humidity if possible.

Of course no spray can is ever going to match the quality and durability of finish as when you are using proper products and equipment, and if your going to be doing alot of finishing work and have the space available, even buying a low end paint gun and small compressor will give you much better results than that of a spray can.


Thanks, I have looked for low end paint guns and compressor but they are still $500 or more.

Im hoping to still do a good job with spray cans, I have seen build threads doing it so I know it can be done just need to make sure I follow many of the great suggestions offered.

1) clean temperature controlled area
2) Practice spraying techniques.
3) wet sanding until my arm falls off

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post #14 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earcotton View Post

Would it be possible to just throw coats of lacquer over the final coat and then just hand-rub to a gloss finish? Is their a reason this should not be done (negative reaction over time, poor adhesion, etc.)?

Here is an example off Youtube:

Hand-rubbed Chess board

Good find on the video.
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post #15 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 08:29 AM
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this stuff is pretty popular on the corvetteforum:
http://www.zainostore.com/

not sure how it would work for speakers or other wood finishes. i used it on a couple of my cars and the results were amazing.

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post #16 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 09:04 AM
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The BMW folks swear by Zaino too. I am too cheap to spring for it.

"1) clean temperature controlled area
2) Practice spraying techniques.
3) wet sanding until my arm falls off"

That about covers it. Now you know why it costs several hundred bucks to fix " a little scratch" as the add on TV says. After painting a few cars, I no longer be-grudge what a professional charges.
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post #17 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 09:06 AM
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Oh yea, we used to warm our spray paint in hot water. Lays on smoother in theory. I am not sure it really did. It may have more to do with it pressurizing the can more.
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post #18 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 09:23 AM
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I think the real answer here is, pretty much no matter what, your going to have to sand and polish no matter what you do. lol hell even when I do it in the booth at work, I still will get dust etc and end up cutting and polishing the whole thing. All I have to say it to the people that are polishing by hand, you are brave souls!!!! That's a hell of a lot of work.

also in the thrid post, "waiting a month before you polish" in that article is just not true. It is hot enough pretty much anywhere right now to bake the paint dry enough in less than a day. To completly cure, yes it does take a while but I polish things at my shop the day after, with it simply air drying in the booth with no temp increase than room temp.

It's good to see alot of people with a great understanding of "how to's" are popping up and giving great advice!

Great thread

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post #19 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 09:58 AM
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are different materials more or less easy to polish into a mirror finish? for example, is a laquer easier to polish than a polyurethane or other material?

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post #20 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 12:22 PM
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I don't use laquer ever, so I can really coment. polyurethane is not very hard to do right though. Cheap Clear on the other hand usually doesn't polish to well as opposed to really good clear but I guess that's to be expected.

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post #21 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

are different materials more or less easy to polish into a mirror finish? for example, is a laquer easier to polish than a polyurethane or other material?

Speaking from the old British car show viewpoint, they all look different. Lacquer is slightly translucent. About 20 or so coats and you think you can put you hand through it. Cyno-acralate (Imaron) has a very definite plastic look. Enamel (Cenrari) a very fixed plane. Poly (Croma) is in between. With poly, you can add half a dozen coats of clearcoat and get really nice depth. It just looks different from lacquer. The level of gloss depends on the polish and wax as well.

Ever wonder what the difference is on those TV car auctions of one car that goes for 30K and one for 50K? The difference is a 40K paint job vs a 60K job.
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post #22 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 03:56 PM
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We had a 68 beaumont ss at our shop for over 2 years doing work on it. It was total restoration. We had it on the rotisserie to do the underside becuase it was going to be a show car. That was the biggest pain in the butt car, the owner was there every 3 days or so to check progress. I had 200 hours into the paint alone in that car, it was flawless. Then the dummy wraped it around a pole the same day he paid $45,000 to pick it up. What a freaking shame, 600hp was a bit much for him I guess LOL

To this day I still think, all that work down the drain in 5 hours urghh. On the bright side, we at least got paid! lol

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post #23 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 04:00 PM
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I should say I've been to the Barett Jackson car show and some of those cars... man o man the hours they must have put in, Amazing!
My favorite day was they were selling a dodge viper they had put $250,000 into and the seller only got 80k for it. He was ummm not to happy to say the least lol I felt for that guy.

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post #24 of 96 Old 09-07-2009, 04:43 PM
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Orange peel ; Problems ?, Not a wonder with rattle can lacquer .

Under reduction and/or air pressure too low. Thinner/reducer evaporates too fast for spray conditions. Excessive film thickness or piling on of heavy wet coats. Improper spray gun set-up Improper painting technique.

Orange peel 101 ; Don't use rattle cans on large areas you're just asking
for trouble or a whole lot of unnecessary work .

Spray paint with spray equipment or Brush with " Really good Brushes and paint materials ". Use something other than lacquer as it will trap moisture ( excess humidity from the ambient air ) . Enamel or Urethane not lacquer !.

Putting men in space wasn't accomplished by lighting off firecrackers ! .

LC ...
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post #25 of 96 Old 09-17-2009, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrgeek View Post

The BMW folks swear by Zaino too. I am too cheap to spring for it.

"1) clean temperature controlled area
2) Practice spraying techniques.
3) wet sanding until my arm falls off"

That about covers it. Now you know why it costs several hundred bucks to fix " a little scratch" as the add on TV says. After painting a few cars, I no longer be-grudge what a professional charges.

I just spent $100 on the Zaino stuff, we shall see.

I have spent a little time with the Lacquer spray option and with enough sanding I can get it to a point where its good enough for me (Carbon, Im not trying to go into space here!!)

Carbon, you make a great point about Lacquer, I did order 1 gallon of black lacquer and I was considering doing a roll on experiment with mohair rollers. Im also about to try Oil based Paints next but I wonder if I can use them on latex primers.

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post #26 of 96 Old 09-17-2009, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post

I don't use laquer ever, so I can really coment. polyurethane is not very hard to do right though. Cheap Clear on the other hand usually doesn't polish to well as opposed to really good clear but I guess that's to be expected.

So oil based paint then Polyurethane? What is considered really good clear gloss finish?

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post #27 of 96 Old 09-17-2009, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

So oil based paint then Polyurethane? What is considered really good clear gloss finish?

I really like this stuff.

Since it's "Oil Modified" (whatever that means) I doubt that you will experience any adhesion problems applying it over oil-based paint.
If you just want to be extra safe, you could always apply a barrier coat of unwaxed shellac over the oil-based paint. I doubt that you need it, though.

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post #28 of 96 Old 09-17-2009, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PassingInterest View Post

I really like this stuff.

Since it's "Oil Modified" (whatever that means) I doubt that you will experience any adhesion problems applying it over oil-based paint.
If you just want to be extra safe, you could always apply a barrier coat of unwaxed shellac over the oil-based paint. I doubt that you need it, though.

I saw in your other thread that this stuff dries pretty quickly. How long does it need before it can be sanded? Also what grit sandpaper are you guys using on stuff like this and where can I get the finer sandpaper cheap online? I can only get up to 400 grit locally here Last question, does anyone know how products like these handle extreme cold? I don't really have anywhere in my house to store this stuff and the garage gets down to like 30 below a couple nights a year during the winter... If I bought a gallon would it be useable again next spring?
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post #29 of 96 Old 09-17-2009, 01:52 PM
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I am a former automotive painter and still do some custom airbrushing in the motorcycle field. You should never let your paints or any of your paint related products get near the freezing point. They may look fine when you open up the can but it is just an accident waiting to happen. You can waste a lot of money on wasted supplies, not to mention all the time it takes to redo a job when it acts up on you.
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post #30 of 96 Old 09-17-2009, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by lennon_68 View Post

I saw in your other thread that this stuff dries pretty quickly. How long does it need before it can be sanded? Also what grit sandpaper are you guys using on stuff like this and where can I get the finer sandpaper cheap online? I can only get up to 400 grit locally here Last question, does anyone know how products like these handle extreme cold? I don't really have anywhere in my house to store this stuff and the garage gets down to like 30 below a couple nights a year during the winter... If I bought a gallon would it be useable again next spring?

Lennon, I agree with Secret Squirrel. Use your imagination and find a place to store it indoors to avoid problems, or it is wasted money.

Product Details
Recoat: after 2 hours
Dry Time: 24 hours
Cleanup: warm water
Coverage: 125 square feet per quart
Coats: 3
Recommended uses: furniture, cabinets, floors and doors

FAQ (From the MinWax website)
Q: Can I apply Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane over Fast-Drying Polyurethane (solvent based) or vice versa?

Yes. The two products can be applied over each other as long as the first has fully cured.


I recently happened across a website that was clearing out some wet/dry sandpaper for good prices--just before my computer crashed.
I'll try to find that site again and post a link when I find it.

What I did for finishing the finish, was I sanded to 400 grit before applying the final coat of the finish.
Then, I used ScotchBrite pads to wet "sand" to the equivalent of #000 steel wool, followed by buffing with Meguiare's Show Car Glaze Coat #7, followed by an application of Meguiare's Gold Classic car wax.
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