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  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Chandler, AZ, USA.
    Posts
    170

    Behlen's Rock Hard table top varnish....

    I have built a cherry / cherry p/w trestle table for my two little girls. Because of the potential abuse, I have chosen to use BRH for the project. I am used to a multi coat oil finish on dresser tops and such, it gives a super smooth satin glow. Anyway, I put the first coat of BRH onto the cherry p/w trestle and the underside of the cherry (solid) top yesterday afternoon. My first thought is that it took FOREVER to dry. (I live in Phoenix, AZ) My second concern is that I tried this morning to knock the finish down with a synthetic steel wool pad and it didn't seem to smooth it out much. Part of the reason might be that I only sanded the bottom to 180, but even the veneer p/w finish is also rougher than what I am used to. My past experience with polyurethanes is that you can't judge the final look after the first coat. I would really like the table top to come out super smooth... are there some BRH users in the crowd that have "been there, done that"?

    Best Regards,
    Harold

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Trussville, Al, USA! USA!.
    Posts
    677

    RE: Behlen's Rock Hard table top varnish....

    Harold,

    I used this finish on a table that was to become a bathroom vanity. It was before I knew very much about finishing. I wanted a smooth, high-gloss finish. Thus began my education on "rubbing-out" a finish. I eventually did get a finish I was happy with, after much perservence and perspiration, with the aide of two grades of pumice and then rottenstone. However, if I'd known then what I know now (how many times have I said that!...)

    My problem was mostly due to dust getting in the finish before it cured. (Reference the long drying time you mentioned) What I would do now is, apply however many coats I wanted to get the build I wanted, maybe with a light sanding in between to cut the dust nibs or bubbles off. Then, let the finish cure after the final coat (the longer the better, a few days at minimum, a couple of weeks ideally) Then, use #0000 steel wool and wax and give it a good waxing/buffing. This will give you a very smooth satin finish. If you want high gloss, then you'll have to move up to finer abrasives like I mentioned before. Be careful if you do though, not to cut through the top coat, or you'll get a "witness ring" where the layers meet. Good luck.

    Ron

    http://basecamp-1.com/ronsworld/woodwork/projects.htm

    The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play. - James T. Kirk

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Chandler, AZ, USA.
    Posts
    170

    RE: Behlen's Rock Hard table top varnish....

    Thanks for the input... I had started on two projects already, and my findings mirror yours. I have three coats on a customer's home office. This is cherry plywood with a hardwood edge. I also have three coats on the daughter's solid cherry table top. The final coat went on pretty dust free. I will wait a period of time before I do the paste wax / 0000 rubout. I probably will be happier with a reduced shine finish as opposed to the current ultra high gloss. It was interesting for me in seeing how hard it got before the third coat went on! It sat for 48 hrs after the second, and the 220 paper that I was trying to knock it down with would barely touch it until I pressed pretty hard! (usually, I just drag 220 over the surface and it does the job.) Then, I used a synthetic steel wool pad and gave it a few minutes of elbow grease to get the finish to an even haze. To clean, I wiped with mineral spirits on a rag, a dry rag, then a tack cloth. I put the final coat on ASAP and even managed to avoid kicking the DC hose like I had done on the first two coats, which added a nice light sprinkle to the job. I think it will turn out really well, and my daughter (oldest) can't wait to start using it!. (the youngest doesn't yet understand things, hence the need for an ultra tough surface!)

    Did you do the rubout by hand? With the grain or a swirl? I was maybe thinking of trying a synthetic pad with wax and my RO sander, but I haven't done this before.

    Thanks again for your input!!!

    Harold

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Trussville, Al, USA! USA!.
    Posts
    677

    RE: Behlen's Rock Hard table top varnish....

    I did the rub out by hand, and going with the grain. However, if done properly, it shouldn't matter if you "swirl" or not, since the next finer abrasive should remove all the scratches from the previous. Only the last rub would need to be with the grain.

    But, if I were to do it again, I would be very tempted to use my ROS and a pad, I just didn't have those when I did the first one.

    But, I've been happy with the finish left by the #0000 steel wool and wax, so I haven't gone any further with the rubbing process since then.

    Ron

    http://basecamp-1.com/ronsworld/woodwork/projects.htm

    The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play. - James T. Kirk

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