Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/finish


I have recently been doing a project in my home.  I did a remodel to our bathroom.  So I was refinishing some of the wood cabinets and they were coming out really well.  I stripped them, stained them and then went to put varnish on it and I seem to be getting these tiny bubbles that do not all go away when it is dry so the finish isn't quite as perfect as I'd like it to be.  Do I need to thin it some how, or what do I need to do?  Any suggestions?  I am using a product called helmsman spar urethane and it is water based.  Thank you.

Thanks for the email -- sorry about the slow response; I frequently travel with my wood care company.
I guess my first question would be; was the stain you used - oil based or water borne?
Did you give the stain ample time to dry - per container instructions?

I see where you used a water based finish.
When using a water base product; the water is the vehicle  for the product to travel to the final destination, thru the fibers.
Sometimes they have a tendency not to adhere to a stain of a different base.
I have found in my refinishing;  I have to stay with either both water or oil base products.
That doesn't state that is the cause of of the tiny bubbles.

I wouldn't thin the product; unless the instruction on the label; state that it is an option.

The bubbles are stating that the finish; isn't being allowed  to dry as intended.
Are you applying a heavy coat of the finish?

When we are using  water borne acrylic products; we usually apply with a roller and lightly pull with a good brush.
This seems to let the water in the product evaporate; without bubbling as much and the acrylic can seek a smoother level.

I don't know of this helps or not.

you might be able to lightly steel wool the finish (0000 - steel wool)  to see if you can remove some of the bubbles; and maybe apply a new coat.
Always steel wool in an inconspicuous  area!!

I wish you the best with your project.

I hope this somehow helps with your situation.

Joe Eldridge
Conscientious Wood Care

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks

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Joseph A. Eldredge


We have been in the wood care business for almost 30 years (we are still learning) We do refurbishing and touch-up of furniture, paneling, antiques etc. The number one question that we receive; is what do I use on my furniture, to keep it looking moisturized, clean and get the depth perception back into the finish. I believe we can help on products to use and answer questions on why we don't use certain products that are available to us. I am sure that there are many questions on wood care that we can't answer; but, give us a try anyway. We find that many people use products for maintaining the wooden furniture, etc., and can't understand the reason it looks worse as they continue to use certain products. Most people use the products that their mothers and grandmothers used. Finishes on furniture have come a long way; from shellacs, waxes, varnishes etc. Give us an email and see if we can help with some of your questions and concerns.


Have worked in Omni, Brown Palace etc. hotels. Have refurbish items in the Colorado Govenors mansion and the Colorado Capital building etc. We have been caring for millions of dollars worth of furniture and antiques for large corporations for years.

Have received certificates from numerous companies who teach wood care clases through-out the country.

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