Chickenma65

Polyurethane help

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I am applying polyurethane to the top of a table and I am using a white tee shirt but keep getting lint crazy all over the table.  What am I doing wrong? Is there such thing as lint free cloth?  The table was cleaned and free of dust before I put it on.  I tried a brush and it was bubbles all over. I put on a thin coat.  I don’t know why I am having such a problem.  What do I use to put this on?  And how do I put the final coat on if I have to keep sanding because of the lint? 

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Is it wipe-on poly or brush-on that you're using? Wipe-on is much more forgiving but takes more coats for the the same level of protection. Personally, I prefer to use wipe-on. If you have brush-on you can thin it out with paint thinner, assuming it's not water borne poly. The best thing to apply it with is old cotton t-shirt material that has been through the wash numerous times. It will shed way less lint than fresher cloth. Or you could try using a folded up shop towel (blue heavy duty paper towels). I've used those in a pinch & they work okay.

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2 hours ago, drzaius said:

Is it wipe-on poly or brush-on that you're using? Wipe-on is much more forgiving but takes more coats for the the same level of protection. Personally, I prefer to use wipe-on. If you have brush-on you can thin it out with paint thinner, assuming it's not water borne poly. The best thing to apply it with is old cotton t-shirt material that has been through the wash numerous times. It will shed way less lint than fresher cloth. Or you could try using a folded up shop towel (blue heavy duty paper towels). I've used those in a pinch & they work okay.

It’s regular poly. They are cotton t-shirts i’m using.  I will have to through the rest in a washer and crazy wash them.  I never used wipe on poly.  I always just used regular and wiped it on with no issues until now.  How do I thin regular poly?  

1 hour ago, RichardA said:

Wash it.

The t-shirts you mean?  They have been washed several times.  I will have to throw them all back in the washer. 

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If you use a brush make sure the brush is wet with water before putting it in the poly IF you are using a water based poly and I use a natural bristle brush.

That's how I did these cornhole boards and they turned out ok for my skill level anyway.

 

IMG_1469.jpeg

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It's also important to run the t-shirts through the dryer.  That lint trap, well it's catching lint.  Ultimately, if a particular t-shirt or brand of t-shirts are not working out, toss them and choose another.  Lint may also be accumulating from the environment you are finishing in rather than directly from the applicator.  Is there much dust in the air where you are working?

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I've never tried them, but microfiber cloths shed very little in the way of lint and are not very expensive.

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My experience using 'regular', i.e. brush-on poly with a rag has been less than spectacular. Too easy to over-work the poly. I like wipe on poly, and it seems to go on smoothest if I thoroughly moisten the rag with mineral spirits before I begin.

You guys that thin the brushing stuff to use as wipe-on, ever notice it crystalizing if you store it for a few days? Happened to me once, haven't tried it again.

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11 hours ago, wtnhighlander said:

Too easy to over-work the poly.

That's a good point.  If the polyurethane gets tacky it's going to pull fibers from the applicator.

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If you want to wipe on with a cotton rag get a wiping poly (Wipe on Poly, Uncolored danish oil or Arm R Seal). Brushing poly is difficult to apply with a brush let alone a rag.

13 hours ago, drzaius said:

I've never tried them, but microfiber cloths shed very little in the way of lint and are not very expensive.

Interesting I've had some microfiber cloths that were terribly linty. I've had some that were ok though.

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15 hours ago, MJC said:

If you use a brush make sure the brush is wet with water before putting it in the poly IF you are using a water based poly and I use a natural bristle brush.

All of the finishing guidance I've read about brushes says to use natural bristle for oil base products and man made bristles for water or oil based. Natural bristles puff up and get floppy when wet with water. I think you got good results largely because it is a small project and the bristles weren't wet long enough to lose integrity.

As others have said, I too have had good results using folded blue paper towels with wipe-on poly and blo/ms/poly blends.

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1 hour ago, Chestnut said:

I've had some microfiber cloths that were terribly linty.

Hey, but it was micro lint.

  • Haha 2

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2 hours ago, Chestnut said:

If you want to wipe on with a cotton rag get a wiping poly (Wipe on Poly, Uncolored danish oil or Arm R Seal). Brushing poly is difficult to apply with a brush let alone a rag.

Interesting I've had some microfiber cloths that were terribly linty. I've had some that were ok though.

I've used some that, if used on a rough surface will shed very fine fibers, or 'micro lint' as @Mark J called it. But on a smooth surface, no lint.

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You can thin regular polyurethane ( not water based) with mineral spirits) and use a good natrual bristle brush to get thinner coats.  You cannot really get a thinner coat out of full strength poly by trying to spread it out more.  Check out u tube videos to compare your technique.  Many people over brush when applying varnish.  Spread it on using as few slow light strokes as possible ( I brush in one direction only) then lightly tipped it of with a light full length pass and stop.

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