Well, the stain has had about 12 hours to dry, and the can says a minimum of 8, so I should be good to start applying the finish. All of the other furniture at Saint Peter’s has a polyurethane finish, so this cabinet will get the same. There will be several problems with applying a poly finish to this piece. Poly is a film finish, meaning that it builds up a film that gets thicker the more layers that you apply. Since I have a few tight-fitting pieces, like the retainer ring for the window and the doors, that wouldn’t be acceptable. I also have a lot of nooks and crannies to get finish into as well. That usually means blobbing a fair bit of finish onto an area and letting it flow into the tight spots, unfortunately that will also cause runs. So to get a poly finish I am going to make up a wiping poly. It is a very easy finish to make, you simply mix polyurethane and thinner. I prefer Naphtha to lacquer thinner because it is more refined and the fumes are not nearly as nasty. I want a thin finish, so I mix them 50/50. If you want thicker, you just mix in less thinner.
The purpose to using this is that it is basically thinner. It can be applied liberally, then the excess is wiped away, leaving a smooth shiny finish. True, it is still a film finish, but the thinner consistency allows the poly to get soaked into the wood, where the thinner evaporates and the urethane hardens initially within the pores of the wood. This benefits me in this situation because I can apply several layers before I get any significant build-up in my door jambs and such. Also, it is way easier to get into the tight spots. Since you can wipe away any excess, you don’t have any runs either. The only real draw-back is that you need twice as many coats. But it also dries faster than straight poly, so I can do two coats a day.
I applied the first coat in the morning.
Before closing my jar, I added a strip of Teflon tape to the threads. I usually have left-over, but I never get to use it because the lid always seals shut with excess poly. One suggestion, I found on the web, to prevent this, was the Teflon tape. We will see how it works.
I applied the second coat later in the evening, when I got back home.
Things are starting to get shiny. Hopefully I will get another two coats on tomorrow and be done. I think I will stick with just two coats on the tight-fitting areas, to prevent any build-up.