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Thread: oil based poly over Water based?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Leominster Mass
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    oil based poly over Water based?

    Hi Folks,
    I have a coffee table that I do not like the way I finished it and would like to do it better with an oil based poly. Can I just go over the Water based poly that I had used, do I need to sand it all down or do I need something in the middle.

    Your help woudl be appreciated.
    Dan
    Dan Thibert
    Leominster MA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Villa Park, CA
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    1,407
    One difference between oil based and water based is that oil based usually gives an orange tint to the wood. Water based is usually clear, so the finish comes out different between the two.

    You can get the oil based look by using a dewaxed shellac on the wood as a sanding sealer before you apply the water based finish. The shellac gives the orange color to the wood.

    To answer you actual question, you should be able to apply oil based over water based but sand the water based finish to give the oil based something to grab on to.

    Unless the table is really large (or the finish really thick), I'd sand it down and re-finish.

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
    I vote For sanding down and restart. As was said the clear (milky white) WB finish will not allow the Oil Poly to amber in its normal fashion.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Villa Park, CA
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    1,407
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Simpson View Post
    I vote For sanding down and restart. As was said the clear (milky white) WB finish will not allow the Oil Poly to amber in its normal fashion.
    Ah, yes. Amber is the color I was looking for. Better description than "orange".

    Mike
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Central (upstate) NY
    Posts
    1,457
    I would expect that the existing poly film on the piece would prevent the oil finish from "popping" the grain which I think might be what you're looking for.

    Best of luck with your piece!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Leominster Mass
    Posts
    183
    I may actually be getting the results I want without removing the finish I already have with the help of this forum

    I received some better instructions on how to apply WB Poly a couple of weeks back, and I also just spent a morning with Leo from this forum going over finishing techniques.

    Between those two things I sanded the table top smooth, that was the problem my finish was not smooth, and applied another coat of WB poly.

    Tonight I will use the info I got from Leo to finish the top, I already see a big difference.

    This site is awesome
    Dan Thibert
    Leominster MA

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