Brush Marks in Varnish

Brushing varnish on is tricky. A wiping varnish may give good results more easily. May 23, 2007

We recently installed approximately 179 linear feet of maple wainscoting and 20 linear feet of 85" maple doors. The finish that was applied was a satin oil based polyurethane. The problem we are having is ridges in the finish. We used a Minwax stain and then a Minwax poly sanded in between coats and still have ridges. A natural bristle brush was used. Also the satin finish is too shiny. There are 3 coats of poly on the walls, doors, and all the casings around the windows. Any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor P:
Not sure what you mean by ridges. Perhaps you need to thin product out a bit with some thinner so it spreads nicer? Work in sections and take your time. I would suggest working with Zar stains and poly over Minwax - this is a far superior product. Too shiny - switch to a flat poly. Zar makes one!

From contributor T:
Brushing vanish is a bit of an art. If you don't have the skills, a wiping varnish is a much better and forgiving approach. Sand out the ridges as much as possible with 220. (Your door will probably look like it has a disease if you do it right.) Get a good satin wiping varnish - I use Waterlox satin, but you may want to stick with poly. Thin it (Waterlox) with 1 part thinner to two parts varnish and wipe on a thin coat with a pad of lint free cloth. You'll probably need 3 coats. If you want to use the poly you've already got, thin it 1:1.