Avoiding Drips and Runs with Water-Based Poly

      Brief advice on how to brush-apply water-based poly to doors without creating drips at the lower edges. December 31, 2005

I'm brushing a custom cherry addition to a kitchen with Varathane water base poly to match the existing finish in the kitchen. I am also going to sand and add a fresh coat of poly to the existing kitchen after my install. I have never used water base before, though I have had great results with Miller oil base polyurethane, applied with Sherwin Williams ProVal brushes. I don't like how much thinner the water base is, and I'm noticing as I apply the water base (this time using Purdy Syntox, synthetic varnish brushes) that I am developing buildup on the underside of drawer fronts and vertical surfaces. I never had this problem applying oil base, because it always seemed to hold its form, even against gravity. I have the following questions:

1) Are there different application techniques for water base that get the same finish as oil base?
2) What do you think the best brushes for water base poly are?
3) When you do develop a large dried drip hanging off the bottom of an edge (in this case the backside of a drawer front) is it necessary to resurface the whole piece and restart?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
I have used Flecto Varathane many times. I do however use spray application mostly, but have brushed on occasion. There is one thing I do differently when brushing a finish than I do when spraying a finish. I finish the front of doors and drawer-head first and work on the back surfaces second. Let me explain:

1. Lay door face up on your work surface. Apply poly to the face and all four edges.
2. Pick door up, holding in the center of the back, use a clean damp rag and clean around the back edge of the door to remove any drips or errant brush marks.
3. Allow to dry.
4. Place door face down on work surface and finish just the back of the door, the edges were finished with the front.
5. Using a clean damp rag, clean the edges of the door. Note: A clean soft work surface is key to this process success.

This process will eliminate the drips and runs you are experiencing. One more suggestion - if you do get drips and runs, remove them with a single edge razor using it like a mini cabinet scraper to remove most of the drip and then sand level with the surrounding surface.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2017 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article