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Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks/getting a smooth 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.

Hi Richard, please give me more info about your staining schedule...type, manufacturer, application method, dry time, etc...usually this results from either incompatible stain and topcoats, or the stain is not fully dry, or the stain was applied too thickly, and not wiped off properly or thoroughly enough...some waterborne topcoats are very finicky with oil stains...stripper residue can also cause issues, if the stripper was not washed down with the appropriate afterwash before staining, and the surface not completely dry. I would not thin the topcoat at all...or at the very least NOT with water...only the appropriate thinners should be used with these coatings...waterborne is not water based..typically it's glycol ethers which are water soluble, but water should not be used to thin's also important to stir these products well before and during application, never shake the can to mix, and lay the finish on quickly and deliberately, tipping off immediately as you go, and not over brushing.....
Post back..
Regards, Greg

Cabinets, Furniture, Woodworks

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Greg Scholl


Questions on Woodworking, wood finishing and refinishing of all kinds, repairing furniture and wooden objects, Architectural details, Woodturning, carving, tool usage, product usage, some chemistry as it applies to woodworking and related interests,cabinet making and furniture construction/design, etc. I have experience with all manners of colorants, finishes, paints, stains, dyes, glazes, and coatings, wood species recognition and usage,tool recommendations, blade types and recommendation,techniques and methods for many Woodworking related issues, etc.


Fine furniture restorer and cabinet maker for over 30 years,serving high end Antique dealers, Interior designers, Collectors in the CT area. Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.) Sold, built, serviced, setup Home, Industrial, and Commercial stationary woodworking tools for a major tool retailer in CT. for three years, sold hand and power tools , provided knowledge, parts replacement, service, and on site service, Trade show Demo, and training as well.

Published in Fine Woodworking Magazine (12/97), included on Fine Woodworkings first "Best of Fine Woodworking" CD-ROM (2002) ...("27 year compilation of expert know-how")

Art School at Silvermine Guild in Norwalk, CT., 9 year apprenticeship in a European run Cabinet and Restoration shop in CT., various classes on subjects having to do with the field. Seminars from major Tool manufacturers, Skil/Bosch, Delta, Powermatic, Ritter, Porter cable, Milwaukee, Dewalt/B&Decker, Performax.

Past/Present Clients
Many varied clients including work on Martha Stewarts' Westport, CT. show house, many fine Antique dealers and private collectors in and around Fairfield County and in Woodbury, CT. (the Antiques capital of CT.), Golden Age of Trucking Museum,Consulting for area Painting/Decorating and Building contractors on non painting issues..(staining, wood prep.,clear finishing, floor restoration and architectural detail restoration and repair, etc.), local Museums and Historical Societies. For the last two years I have been employed with Schwenke Auctioneers Inc.- Woodbury Auction LLC., as a staff photographer,IT tech,and doing restoration and repair work as well.

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