Spitcoating will give a professional "sprayed on" look to your project. It may look long and hard to do but it's not. It easy, fool proof, and durable. Additionally, spitcoating will allow you to recoat whenever the finish needs a quick touch-up. For instance, once a year I spitcoat the oak handrails in my house just to keep them looking new. Since the coats dry within a few minutes, I can put on a coat and not have to worry about dust settling in the finish.
Spitcoating... the easy way.
on a full strength coat of gloss polyurethane (oil based) and
let it dry. This is the base coat from which you will build upon.
sand with 220 grit or higher to remove any dust in the finish
and wipe down the project with a tack cloth. Then brush on a second
full strength coat.
sand the project again and wipe it down with a tack cloth.
some of the polyurethane into a glass jar and add an equal amount
of mineral spirits (you can also add a 1/4 capfull of Japan drier
if you want).
3 paper towels and wad them into a ball.
a clean, unprinted cotton T shirt around the ball of paper towels.
We'll call this the "applicator".
the applicator into the glass jar and press the applicator against
the jar side to squeeze out any excess polyurethane.
the polyurethane on to the surface in one direction with the grain.
Start and finish each pass in one long and even stroke.
return to the top and wipe a new path of poly trying not to overlap
the previous path by more than a half inch. Reload the applicator
with polyurethane as needed. You want it to put down a wet, flowing
coat (but not so wet that it leaves heavy ridge lines.
doing this until entire work piece is covered. DO NOT re-apply
the poly until the previous coat is dry even if it looks streaky.
Failure to follow this step will screw up the finish.
The first coat may take an hour to dry. After it is dry, lightly
drag a straight razor blade along the grain of the wood at a 70
degree angle. This will pull up any dust flecks without removing
the finish. On curved areas where the razor blade will not go,
use #0000 steel wool. Then wipe the project again with a tack
subsequent coats will dry within 30 minutes. Apply at
least 5 coats. On my dining room table I did 25 coats over the
course of two days and it looks incredible!
if you wish to have a flat or semi-gloss sheen, it's best to use
gloss polyurethane as it is (supposedly) a chemically stronger finish than
semi-gloss and flat. To bring the gloss down to flat, use #0000
steel wool. To bring the gloss it down to semi-gloss, use rotten
stone powder mixed in water and a wad of T shirt to rub it down.
To really bring out the gloss, wait 2 or 3 weeks and buff the
surfaces with a fine automotive finish such as 3M Perfect-It polish.
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