Rubbing Out a Waterborne Finish

Is it worth rubbing out a finish after repairing a few small defects to restore the original sheen? November 15, 2011

I am using GF EnduroVar on a kitchen I am building. I sprayed 2 coats over dewaxed shellac. Most of the doors and frames came out great, but a few had orange peeled and some had a few other defects such as the proverbial "drapery."

I sanded those doors down to what I thought was the prior coat and re-sprayed. What I didn't realize was the ambering of the finish built up and those doors are now darker than some of the others... Lesson learned.

I still have a few doors that have some defects in the finish and/or glossed up because the finish built up too much. I don't want to have to sand them all back down yet again, but instead would like to rub them out back to the satin sheen.

I have never rubbed out a finish before, although I feel perfectly comfortable doing it. I am reading all kinds of different methods. Use water and dish soap; don't use water, use mineral spirits; don't do this, do that... Now I'm getting confused.

I want to do this right and deliver a high quality product to my customer the first time. Any advice?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
No matter how or with what you rub them out with, they will not match! With that said, WBs take 7 days at 70 degrees 24 hours a day to cure any rub out that you do before that time. Set them away in a dark room for a full week, then sand them flat with 400 or 600, 800, 1000 wet dry paper with a lot of water and a little dish soap. Once they are at this point, you can scratch them back down, top a satin with compound or Scotch-Brite or dry steel wool. Next time use a water white material.

From contributor B:
How many doors/drawer fronts we talkin' here? My advice is, stick to what you know. You know that if you sand the doors/drawer fronts like you did to the others, you'll come out with a decent batch. Methinks you're opening a can of worms trying to rub them out to match. I use GF's Endurovar (and GF's other products for many years). I don't think two coats is enough build for any kitchen situation, especially in the triangle of death (sink, dishwasher area). With an extra coat (I usually put 4 coats on all lowers) you'll get an even looking finish and some more protection on your cabinets. Think no callback in a couple of years to fix water damage.

From the original questioner:
Yeah, I will probably end up sanding these few doors back down rather than using them as a learning tool... I wasn't trying to rub them out to match the tone, I knew I couldn't do that. I was attempting to fix some imperfections in the finish by rubbing them out. A few dust nibs that got in there, a couple of places where the finish pooled up at the edge of a profile. Nothing major but certainly noticeable. I was able to use a denibbing file to level out the problem areas so I thought I could just blend them out or rub out the entire door to make the sheen uniform and get it back to satin.

From contributor A:
I concur with the guys about re-spraying the bad ones. However, I disagree with the wait 7 days/70 degrees/24 hours with all waterbornes. I've buffed (random orbit buffer) AguaBarnice (catalyzed MLC WB) the next day. I mean 24 hours, temp was not controlled, but certainly did not stay at 70 all night. I have likewise buffed (random orbit) several of the Oxford products after 3 days at typical temps. The modern waterbornes reach 95% of final hardness in a few days at room temp in my experience. You can force cure them to 100% in a day or so at 90 degrees. This would be called post curing by boat builders.