Kitchen Table Redo: Part 3 - Tips for working with Minwax Polycrylic

I am excited to say that I have finally begun putting the final coats of Minwax Polucrylic on my table!! It is a wonderful feeling to be getting close to finishing such a large project. BUT, I am not done. I cannot wait for the feelings of "Oh my god I have finally finished this darn table" and "Sheesh, now I can finally move on to my other projects." It is going to be a glorious day! And, hopefully that glorious day is tomorrow, as that is my goal for finishing it! I am having friends over Saturday evening to celebrate my birthday, and I very much want my dining room table to be in the house and looking fabulous.

Take a look at this beautiful, shiny chair! 



















I have put two coats on the bottom of the table and one coat on two of the chairs. I will finish the one coat on the other four chairs this evening (I am taking a break from the fumes and dim lit garage to blog, obviously, and work on other chores I need to finish before this weekend). I am pretty sure I am going to keep it to one coat on the chairs. Minwax is a very tricky material to work with and I am not at all enjoying the process.
The air bubbles. I find the only place they are
showing up once dry are on the poles and
 other non-flat surfaces.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I entered this project with no freaking idea on how to use Minwax Polycrylic properly, except for the directions on the can, and my first coat of Minwax was bubbly and looked awful. So, I decided to stop and do some research on using Minwax. My first stop, was naturally furniture redo blog posts. Unfortunately, none of the ones I looked at mentioned the bubbly problem I was having so I assumed it was me and got very irritated. BUT, then I did a couple Google searches and low and behold, the bubbles happen to most everyone! That was such a wonderful discovery, I decided to collect the various tactics for dealing with these pesky bubbles and put them in one place.

Quick Tips for Working with Minwax Polycrylic:

  • Make sure there are no dust particles or hairs on the surface, as these tend to cause bubbles. eHow
    • I did not find this tip to be very helpful, because I have two cats and a dog, and I unfortunately carry their hair with me everywhere. I did wipe down the surfaces before applying the Minwax, but did not find it did much to prevent the bubbles.
  • Often the bubbles are caused by over working/painting. To avoid this, try using less brush strokes.  eHow
    • This is something I did find I was doing. I was treating the Minwax like paint, which it is not, and was trying to smooth out the bubbles by continuously working it. I started using very light brush strokes and found this to help rid the surface of bubbles.
  • Often the bubbles will disappear after a couple of minutes. If they do not, try tapping the furniture being painted to help the process along. eHow
    • I tried tapping the wood, banging the wood, and all sorts of other types of movement to create vibrations and it did not work.
  • If the bubbles dry, sand it down and reapply the Minwax. eHow
    • I have not come close to even considering this step, but I have also not done the top on my table yet...I really hate sanding, so I hope it does not come to this.
  • Brush with light strokes and in one constant direction. eHow
    • This is what I did and it works really well. I felt like I was often over working the polycrylic, but if I was consistent in direction and using a light touch, the bubbles eventually went away.
  • Dewhisker the wood first. This creates a smooth surface. ncwoodworker.com
    • I did not do this, so I suppose my project will be "rough," but I think I am okay with this...
  • Do not shake the can and allow the can 24+ hours to settle before use after purchase. This is one of the causes for lots of air bubbles. ncwoodworker.com
    • I did this, but not on purpose, and I still had many air bubbles.
  • Paint in 70 degrees Fahrenheit or better. ncwoodworker.com
    • Um...I do not think I did this, as it is spring and the weather is wonky. 
  • Do not dip your brush into the can and then wipe excess on the side of the can. This can cause air bubbles. Instead, dip less deeply to avoid over loading the brush. finewoodworking.com
    • I did this and it did create a lot of bubbles. When I stopped, I still had bubbles, but there were less.
  • Use a foam brush to remove the bubbles. finewoodworking.com
    • I did not do this, but while scouring the web I noticed there were quite a few people that were quite adamant about this technique.
All in all, I think my two finished chairs turned out wonderfully! They are shiny and I do not mind the few bubbles that show up once the furniture is dry. Who knows, if they do start to bug me, maybe I will break down and sand them off and reapply the polycrylic...but the odds are very low my friends, very low indeed.

I hope this was helpful. Enjoy projecting. :)

12 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. Thank you for these tips! I'm starting a first coat of polycrylic tomorrow, and I'm SCARED! :)

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  3. I REALLY appreciate you collecting this information. I'm about to use this product for the first time and am feeling nervous. At least now I am prepared with some ideas for when things aren't necessarily going my way (which I believe is inevitable)!

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  4. I know this is an older post but I'm doing white dining room furniture and I am getting dust and hair in every application! I tried switching brushes, I took back and exchanged my can TWICE, I'm now using foam... no better. I thoroughly cleaned everything, multiple times, even used wet cloth, then dry cloth, used wet paper towel, then dry paper towel. No difference. Do you think it could just be the static in my house? I have no other explanation.

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    1. Try using a tack cloth. That really helped get particles that nothing else would pick up

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    2. Try using a tack cloth. That really helped get particles that nothing else would pick up

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    3. I was also going so suggest tack cloth. You can pick them up at an auto part store

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  5. If I honestly thought using this polycrylic would have been so darn difficult I would have left it off!!! I've just decided that the dresser will have a textured look and well...that's all I can hope for. I will never use this stuff again...it's way above my experience level :(

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  6. If I honestly thought using this polycrylic would have been so darn difficult I would have left it off!!! I've just decided that the dresser will have a textured look and well...that's all I can hope for. I will never use this stuff again...it's way above my experience level :(

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  7. Hello Katie, I'm from Indonesia, I like about this polycrylic and I made them on my cafe table. Nice to know you.

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