With these tips and techniques, you can apply smooth polyurethane almost flawlessly. Utilizing a roller, wiping on poly, and controlling dust are a few strategies. In this article, we show you how To Get A Smooth Polyurethane Finish.
Tools and materials required
- Orbital sander
- Paint roller
- Plastic sheet
- Mineral spirits
- Synthetic sanding pads
- Wipe-on polyurethane
- Wood stain applicator pad
How to get a smooth polyurethane finish?
Even though I have built dozens of cabinets and furniture pieces, I don’t consider myself a high-end finisher. Having said that, I have developed my own set of tips, systems, and techniques for applying oil-based polyurethane. They deliver excellent results, quickly and painlessly. It is a skip-the-brush method. It’s all about rolling poly on the large areas and wiping on poly on the smaller ones, and above all, controlling dust. Here are some tips I used while finishing my latest project, a flat-screen TV stand.
Step 1. Pencil lines
At every grit stage, begin by drawing light pencil lines around the periphery. Sand carefully as you go up the grit scale. Once the pencil marks have disappeared, moving on to the next grit is necessary.
Step 2. Clean the work area
Getting the perfect polyurethane finish requires a clean and well-organized work area. Having a messy work area will prevent you from achieving a smooth finish. In order to achieve success, you will have to work very hard. Make sure your workspace is clean. Keeping your projects and surroundings dust-free will allow you to achieve an impeccable finish with less effort. Keeping your work area clean begins with vacuuming the project, the floor, and the bench before starting the process.
The piece that will be finished should also be covered with poly. That way spills and drippings can be prevented from damaging your floor. The cleanup will also be much easier. The sheets can be reused several times before being thrown away.
As long as dust and dirt remain in the air for several hours after sanding and finishing, the piece should not be sanded and finished on the same day.
Step 3. Apply mineral spirits
Afterward, wipe down the ongoing project carefully with a tack cloth or lint-free cloth to remove all traces of dirt and dust. If necessary, use solvent on the cloth before rinsing it off. This is a good time to get rid of an old cotton t-shirt. It will work fine. Nevertheless, this step removes all dust traces in a matter of minutes. Using water will cause the grain to raise again, requiring sanding again.
Step 4. Apply a roller
An 8-inch roller can be used for applying poly. The process is fast and even. The result is nothing but a clean surface with no puddles or brushstrokes. You should use a ranking light after the finish is complete to determine whether the edges are covered completely. Repeat as necessary. Even so, the final result will be flawed if you watch it immediately after doing it. Don’t worry.
Each time you coat the roller, redip it in mineral spirit. If the roller is to be coated further, place it in a plastic bag. Make sure it is zippered. Make sure the tray is also dried. Once the poly is dried, it can be removed from the pan. Apply two coats of coating to the interior, sides, and tabletops of the cabinet for maximum protection.
Step 5. Complete simultaneously
Solid wood tops should be finished simultaneously on the sides, bottom, and periphery. Whether the bottom is revealed or not doesn’t matter.
The bottom should be coated carefully, then the top should be finished. This will take less time to dry. The bottom may show some fingerprints. I don’t mind since the final coat still hasn’t been applied. The final coat can be skipped on the underside since one final coat shouldn’t cause any problems.
Step 6. Apply polyurethane
When the roll-on coating has dried, take a few swipes of wipe-on poly and allow them to dry. This can be done in the same way as the roll-on poly. If you need to paint small and narrow areas, like legs, frames, and doors, use wipe-on poly. Do this after the larger surfaces have completely dried. In any other case, you will ruin the entire picture by smudging adjacent areas. A cotton rag and some gloves are all that you need for this step.
Step 7. A light sanding
Let’s gently sand the surface now with pads and papers. You should always sand between coats. You should use synthetic sandpaper between coats. A rougher periphery is the goal. Dust and hair are also removed.
Step 8. Dry in a dust-free area
Before letting the final coat dry, choose a dust-free area. Once the area is dust-free, vacuum it again and allow it to settle for one night. After the day is over, let your workpieces dry in the sun.
Is dry sandpaper suitable for wet sanding?
The answer is no. The dry sandpaper will quickly get clogged, which will ruin your work if you’re not careful. Even when using wet/dry sandpaper, you need to take care not to rub the paint too much.
Should I Sand the Final Coat of Polyurethane?
If you don’t sand the polyurethane coat, nothing happens. Sand the last coat only if you notice a few minor problems.
If there are bubbles, the surface is uneven, or there are many dust nibs, sand between coats of polyurethane as usual, and apply another coat.
Why do I get bubbles in my polyurethane?
The polyurethane that is thinned will seep into pores much more easily than polyurethane that is not thinned. The wood could show air bubbles if it has not been sufficiently sanded. As with sealing before applying polyurethane, the principle is the same.
How do you clean a polyurethane brush?
- Staining and finishing can be done with brushes.
- After use, rinse well. Clean brushes with soap and water. Polyurethane brushes should be cleaned with mineral spirits or paint thinner according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Let it dry.
- Between uses, store in its cardboard package.