Refinished desk getting sticky.

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JenniferinFL
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Refinished desk getting sticky.

Postby JenniferinFL » Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:42 pm

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a really dirty, gunky oak desk, probably from the 50's. I sanded it down to remove the debris and had it down to bare wood. I did not use mineral spirits as I was down to bare wood and really doubted there was any old finish left. Anyhow, instead of staining, I just used wipe on poly for 3 coats and sanded with #0000 steel wool in between. It dried nice and was no longer tacky after 6 hours or so. I waited 48 hours to start using the desk and did apply a coat of SC Johnson Paste Wax.

Now, most of the desk is still very nice with no tackiness, but I use it as my computer desk and it does get several hours of use and I have a bad habit of resting my wrist on the edge of the desk. That spot is already getting a bit gunky. Should I have used a different product rather than wipe-on poly? I was under the impression that poly was probably the best choice for something that gets daily use. Is there anyway to remedy that or is it normal to have to scrub down and re-wax a desk that gets regular use?

This was my first attempt at refinishing something and it turned out so nice that I picked up an old child's desk and refinished that for my daughter. She hasn't started using it yet, but should I have used something other than wipe-on poly for that as well? It isn't tacky at all, but, who knows when she starts using it.

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Bob Boardman
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Postby Bob Boardman » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:18 am

Jennifer:
Poly is a good choice, but a few questions first.
- How long did you wait between coats of the poly?
- Am assuming this is a waterbase poly, correct?
- Did you thin the poly - if so, how much and with what?
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JenniferinFL
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Postby JenniferinFL » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:27 pm

Well, the poly is Minwax Wipe-On Poly in Clear Gloss. Unfortunately it doesn't specify anywhere on the container whether it is water or oil base.

I didn't thin the poly as the directions on it stated that it wasn't recommended, not sure if that helps you figure out whether I used oil or waterbase. I did see some cans at the store that said waterbase, but this one didn't. The first two coats were closer together, something like three hours apart. The last coat I didn't get around to putting on until something like 12 hours later.

What is odd about it is that's it's sticky just where the finish was really bad on it originally. I probably should have used mineral spirits on it anyways just in case something had been spilled on it.

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Paul S
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Postby Paul S » Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:33 pm

Oil base poly becomes durable pretty quickly but water-base poly can take weeks. If you didn't use water-base poly, the culprit may be the paste wax. It has a low melting point and frequent contact with the body may be the source of trouble.
Paul

JenniferinFL
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Postby JenniferinFL » Wed Jan 01, 2014 8:48 pm

Well, I found the one I bought on the Minwax website and the one I bought is the oil-based one. I'm thinking you may be right about the paste wax being the issue. I was more generous with it right along the front of the desk where I knew it would receive the most wear.


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