Watco

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
Decided to try Watco wipe-on-poly on some smaller pieces. I am using it on cherry. I think wipe-on is a misnomer. I felt like I had to rub really hard to obtain any penetration. I also found it dried so fast I had to keep putting more on the rag or it became so tacky it left unsightly marks. I have actually sanded a piece and started over.

Any comments on the Watco.

I have started thinking what I am making does not need a poly finish. I do not have any experience with other type products used on low wear surfaces. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Oh, any thing I use will have to be hand applied. Cost is something I need to watch.
 

Michael Mathews

Michael
Corporate Member
Keye, when you apply Watco, apply very wet and let it sit for several minutes, then wipe off what doesn't get soaked in. If right after application you see dry spots, apply more to those areas before wiping. Check the instructions on the can.
 

Barry W

Co-Director of Outreach
Barry
Corporate Member
Keye, when you apply Watco, apply very wet and let it sit for several minutes, then wipe off what doesn't get soaked in. If right after application you see dry spots, apply more to those areas before wiping. Check the instructions on the can.
Excellent instructions - exactly the same published by Bob Flexner in Wood Finishing 101.
 

Mark Johnson

Mark
Corporate Member
I've found that you have to follow the Watco instructions very carefully or you end up with a mess. Done right, it is not too hard and produces a nice satan finish. BUT don't forget that wipe off step and don't let it sit too long.
 

llucas

luke
Senior User
+2 to what Michael and Barry said above. I use a lot of Watco and really like it. It is an "in the wood" finish. If you put it on and it disappears, then put more on in that spot (or all over). You can recoat the entire piece repeatedly in short intervals...just wipe off the excess after a few minutes. It does not give a high shine appearance but will buff to a very nice soft glow, and if the wood has been well sanded will have a very warm natural touch. You can also wet sand with it if you find some last minute scratches. I also use it as a first treatment for wood that I plan a final lacquer finish...just make sure to let it dry for a few days before putting on that topcoat.
 

JohnnyR

John
Corporate Member
The above replies are for Watco Danish Oil finishes and are right on! However the OP stated Watco Poly which is a different animal. It is not a penetrating finish. It can be used "over" Watco Oil. I'm no expert but when I've used wipe on poly the first coat doesn't look so good but after several coats (with drying time in between) it evens out as the wood stops sucking it up unevenly.
 

Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
Yeah, poly needs a gentler touch than the oil finish, which is almost foolproof done per instructions. Wipe-on (or wipe-off) poly is more of a one-shot deal with enough put on but not more than will absorb. Light coats left to dry completely first allow for multiple but fewer applications needed than oil will require. Would make a good topcoat over an oil finish, I think.
 

Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
Wow. I thought I was being taken out behind the wood shed. I always read instructions so I was really confused. I have used the Danish oil and like the product, not so much the wipe-on-poly.
As always thanks for taking the time to help.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Wow. I thought I was being taken out behind the wood shed. I always read instructions so I was really confused. I have used the Danish oil and like the product, not so much the wipe-on-poly.
Well, you learned about wipe on poly. The Danish oil products are much easier to use.
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
Keye, over the yeas I have used wipe-on poly on many projects, I like the product and it easy of application. That said, my go to brand is Minwax Wipe-On Poly. I did try the Watco brand on one occasion (assuming that all poly was created equal), but I found that Watco took much longer to dry than Minwax. As I recall, I also noted that Watco seem more viscous and didn't spread as easily. I am sure Watco is a great product and that my preference for Minwax may simple be due to the fact that I had become use to the application characteristics of Minwax.
 

cobraguy

Clay
Corporate Member
Stumpy Nubs has a video out in the last week or so about making your own wipe-on poly (cutting regular poly with mineral spirits) and some application techniques. The neat thing is how you can tweak the dilution depending on your application. He also claims cutting your own is cheaper. Haven't tried it, but looks interesting.
 

JoeH

JoeH
Senior User
I have ALWAYS used my own wipe on poly. 50/50 mix. You soak a rag and wring it out. Wipe the item like you were a teenager working at a diner wiping down tables at 10:58 and you get off for a date at 11:00 (i.e. don't wipe and wipe and wipe). Just wipe it and move on. It will even out over multiple applications.

You can recoat pretty often. Wipe gently with steel wool every two coats to remove nubs. Build coats as desired. Typically I end up with about 6 coats.

You can put it on over oil for increased finish depth.

Very simple, nearly foolproof.
 
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Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
I have ALWAYS used my own wipe on poly. 50/50 mix. You soak a rag and wring it out. Wipe the item like you were a teenager working at a diner wiping down tables at 10:58 and you get off for a date at 11:00 (i.e. don't wipe and wipe and wipe). Just wipe it and move on. It will even out over multiple applications.

You can recoat pretty often. Wipe gently with steel wool every two coats to remove nubs. Build coats as desired. Typically I end up with about 6 coats.

You can put it on over oil for increased finish depth.

Very simple, nearly foolproof.
What is your 50-50 mix made of, Joel? Diluting is a popular approach for better control and a quicker dry time. Gets you closer to a wipe-on oil method. For practicality, using an oil finish first gives you the ease of a foolproof initial finish with a wipe-on poly at the end for a final protective coat. Just keep in mind the accumulative coloration effect of the number of applications to preserve final appearance.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
The Watco wipe-on poly can also be thinned with mineral spirits (MS) just like varnishes for an easier to use wipe-on finish.
 

Brian Patterson

Bstrom
User
The Watco wipe-on poly can also be thinned with mineral spirits (MS) just like varnishes for an easier to use wipe-on finish.
That’s what I figured but was curious nonetheless...wilL look at those ‘recipes’ too, Jeff.

Just read the Pop Woodworking article - excellent tutorial on the three methods, especially the dry brunch approach for vertical surfaces.
 
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Keye

Keye
Corporate Member
I made my on wipe on poly back in the early 70's. I changed to Minwax somewhere along the way. I really liked it. After being away from making sawdust for so many years for some reason(dumb) I decided to try the Watco brand.
 

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