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using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet doors

rj055 Member

anybody use arm-r-seal oil-poly on cabinets, if so, any suggestions on avoiding build up where the door panels meet the stiles, rails. I'm using GF arm-r-seal and wiping it on.

5/20/17       #2: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...
rich c.

Why? And of course the obvious answer, don't wipe it on so thick. Never heard of a professional shop apply any finish by hand and use a product like that. I'm baffled that you would use such a labor intensive method.

5/20/17       #3: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...
david zaret Member

sure. on a few high-end kitchens, i've done exactly that. it's incredibly durable, looks great on walnut, and is on-site repairable. it's definitely labor intensive, so reserve it for fine work, but i feel as though it's a great finish. i use a staining pad for application - three coats of arm-r-seal over two of seal-a-cell. if time is of the essence, spray.... but if not, arm-r-seal is a beautiful finish.

btw - another option to achieve a similar look with more speed is two coats of seal-a-cell on the raw wood, then spray a clear for protection.

5/20/17       #4: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...
John Member

I like ARS a lot, but only use it on projects that I can't spray. You have to apply it thinly to keep it from building up at the panel/frame juncture. I use a blue shop paper towel most of the time. If you do get some bridging you can brush it out or give it a little blast of compressed air.


5/21/17       #5: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...

John's got the right methods. Another one is to use an absorbent harder material like cardstock or one of the different kinds of cardboard. Use it like a chisel & rag for glue.


Many shops use other techniques than spraying CV in flat, dull, semi, or gloss.

It all depends on the architect/designer/client and the budget. We have done many hand applied projects. Does a residential library cover head to toe in cherry qualify. The wanted depth, durability, and very little film thickness. Its also used extensively by custom guitar shops. Spraying will not achieve this look. Wipe on poly is the modern version of French polishing.

Wipe on is not just for some DIY dude refinishing a tired chair.

5/21/17       #6: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...
John Member

Adam, that's a great idea of using card stock to suck up the extra that bridges or is in the corners, etc. Thanks.


5/22/17       #7: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...
rich c.

You are saying you can't spray a film thickness as thin or thinner than wipe on poly? I'd take on that challenge any day. Custom guitar shops extensively use GF wipe on poly? Maybe you could give a list of shops, since there are so many that use it, and then I'd believe you. The guitar builders I know like to buff and polish the finish. It would take forever for poly to get hard enough for polishing, if ever.

5/22/17       #8: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...

Rich, anytime you suspect someone posting is not a professional woodworker you make condescending comments as you did to the OP which serve what purpose? Are you insecure? Afraid some amateur might learn the super secret forbidden handshake that only woodweb members know? Couldn't actually make it as a professional woodworker so you went back to corporate? When was that, 20 years ago? There's many acceptable solutions to any given problem and your opinion is not the gold standard...far from it.

Instead of writing useless, self aggrandizing responses try actually answering the questions posed in a thoughtful, helpful manner or skip the post. If the moderators deem any content posted is not in accordance with the guidelines THEY wrote, THEY will remove it.

5/22/17       #9: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...


I'm not trying to pick a fight.

You can spray a very thin coat, but it offers very little protection, nor depth. People use penetrating finishes for that very reason.

There are many, many brands & types of wipe on poly. They all have different properties and purposes.

If you have only seen high gloss buffed guitars, then stop by a guitar shop. Don't just look at the bodies of electrics. Acoustics and necks are better examples.

My very good friend ran the Guild Custom shop in Westerly, RI for 8 years. He introduced us to a line of wipe on poly that they were using everyday for different parts of the guitars. It is not hard enough for buffing, because its not buffed.

If you've got a dusty shop its a good choice as well. One of my other friends was an old school craftsman. He made a living hand applying Watco type finishes for most of his career. Multiple coats hand buffed. It builds to a soft deep finish that is easily repaired. His backyard shop was too small and dusty to spray. He switched to a wipe on poly after 20 years, because the fumes were lower and its more durable. I hope someday I will achieve the same level of woodworking.

Personally, I do not pigeonhole myself to one product line or product. If someone suggests a product I will try it. When we made the plunge into WB 15 yrs ago, I bought over 10 gallons of different products from different companies. After spraying all of them on different test panels & smaller projects, we settled on a few and stuck with them for years.

Do yourself a favor and continue to try new methods and products. At the very least it will reassure yourself that your current offerings are the best in your experience.

5/22/17       #10: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...

They also did/do electrics, and a couple of their ex-employees are nationally known and do one off customs with insane inlays.

Guild Custom Shop

5/24/17       #11: using a wipe on oil-poly on cabinet ...

We had a finisher in our town that charged incredibly high prices. He was the go-to guy for projects that had a lot of enkeboll type moldings.

He did a sample door for us out of poplar lumber. The door had a red aniline dye then some kind of wiping paste that looked like shoe polish. It left a bit of residue in the corners and made it look very old.

In the end this red poplar door ended up looking like a chinese lacquered box.

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