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Polyurethane over oil stain....still tacky!


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#1 sinebar1

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 06:57 PM

I used some Minwax wood finish stain on my fiddle but it remains just a tiny bit tacky after more than a day of drying. I'm starting think it's not going to dry. Do I dare apply some polyurathane or spirit varnish over it?

#2 Anders Buen

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 08:48 PM

I used some Minwax wood finish stain on my fiddle but it remains just a tiny bit tacky after more than a day of drying. I'm starting think it's not going to dry. Do I dare apply some polyurathane or spirit varnish over it?

I think you should wait a few days before the next step. In my experience a polyurethane varnish tend to shrink, so it may slip off the underlaying layer in e.g. corners and between the ribs and the plates. It does not adhere well to other varnishes, so you will need to use sandpaper on the surface before adding the polyurethane varhish. Even then it is possible to rip off the layer in sections, if you are able to come under it.
"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts". A Einstein

#3 stradofear

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:20 PM

I think you've crossed over the line here. You're going to get better advice on this problem from furniture makers than violin makers.

#4 sinebar1

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:22 PM

I think you should wait a few days befaore the next step. In my experience a polyurethane varnish tend to shrink, so it may slip off the underlaying layer in e.g. corners and between the ribs and the plates. It does not adhere well to other varnishes, so you will need to use sandpaper on the surface before adding the polyurethane varhish. Even then it is possible to rip off the layer in sections, if you are able to come under it.


I wonder what the spirit varnish would do?

#5 joerobson

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:41 PM

You should wait until a day after the smell goes away. This stuff is just mineral spirit, dye and pigment so it doesn't ever really dry, the solvent just needs to evaporate before you seal it up.
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#6 jezzupe

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 09:56 PM

um well everything was fine up until the poly....

it will dry, you most likely applied it to the stain too soon and it is now absorbeb some its solvents and will now prolong the dry time...

if you can, hang it outside in the air and mild sun...that will help it dry...

i would NEVER recomend petroleum oil base polyurethane for a violin...

but, well too late....

the seal coat would have been the right choice for a top coat....

you may apply shellac over poly, but it must be dry....

i would just be patient and let it dry....

any dry time for poly must be extended once multiple coats are applied

#7 Anders Buen

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 10:32 PM

For your info, the polyurethane varnish I have experience with is water based and for floor finish. It is extremely resistant to wear, and is thus harder to wet (or dry) sand and polish.
"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts". A Einstein

#8 FiddleDoug

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 05:58 AM

You're probably asking the wrong people here. First of all, not very many violin makers use Minwax stain on their instruments, and second, about the same number use Polyurethane. Talk to the furniture makers or flooring guys.

#9 Fellow

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:37 AM

I used some Minwax wood finish stain on my fiddle but it remains just a tiny bit tacky after more than a day of drying. I'm starting think it's not going to dry. Do I dare apply some polyurathane or spirit varnish over it?


+++++++++++++

Why the stain is still tacky after a day?
Have you found out? Do you need to seal it too?
It is kind of unusual to me.

#10 sinebar1

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:40 AM

um well everything was fine up until the poly....

it will dry, you most likely applied it to the stain too soon and it is now absorbeb some its solvents and will now prolong the dry time...

if you can, hang it outside in the air and mild sun...that will help it dry...

i would NEVER recomend petroleum oil base polyurethane for a violin...

but, well too late....

the seal coat would have been the right choice for a top coat....

you may apply shellac over poly, but it must be dry....

i would just be patient and let it dry....

any dry time for poly must be extended once multiple coats are applied


No no I haven't applied the poly yet. I was waiting to here some advice before I did anything. I touched it this morning and it was better so I think it's starting to dry. No I won't use polyurethane if it's not a good choice.

#11 Anders Buen

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:59 AM

No no I haven't applied the poly yet. I was waiting to here some advice before I did anything. I touched it this morning and it was better so I think it's starting to dry. No I won't use polyurethane if it's not a good choice.

Polyurethane will proably adhere better to bare wood than to other varhishes. I first thought minwax was a sort of a varnish, but I understand that it is a stain of some sort.

However, I have tried to seal an experimental fingerboard for a hardanger with some thin holographic paper decorations on using a water based polyurethane varnish. It has a strong surface, but it separated from the surface of the holographic paper by pushing the nail against it. So not a good choice for that use. Superglue is better.

The point of using it over other varnishes is that it gives an opportunity to ink decorate instruments that already are varnished. It seals the drawings. The water soluted varnish will not dissolve the ink drawings, however a spirit varnish will. This, of course, depends on the pens used.
"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts". A Einstein

#12 jezzupe

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 09:45 AM

No no I haven't applied the poly yet. I was waiting to here some advice before I did anything. I touched it this morning and it was better so I think it's starting to dry. No I won't use polyurethane if it's not a good choice.



ok without getting into good bad or better, lets just keep it simple


1. coat shellac

2. the stain

3. one more coat of thin shellac

4. one more coat of shellac

5. one more coat of shellac...

6. done...let dry

7. rottenstone or very fine pumice mixed with a little rubbing oil, small circular motions and the with the grain....

this will smooth out your finish...



if you can find some sap from a softwood tree, you can add small bits of that to your coats 4-5...just let it melt in, this will change the way it feels brushing it and will inrease dry times


you need to apply enough clear coats ontop of the stain to bury it "safely" under them....

this way when you go to smooth it out with the rotten stone you will not burn trough into the color

your final two coats should be as perfect as possible...but if you get some funny spots don't panic....just let it dry....and then rub it out with the rottenstone...

again this is not my favorite way to do a violin, but it will work....

good luck....i'm glad you did not put poly on it...its good for floors and furniture but not violins

always allow for adiqute dry time....do not rush recoating

#13 iburkard

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 10:20 AM

Adding more of anything on top of the existing coats will just make matters worse... good that you didn't add anything yet.

Minwax stain and finish combos are notorious for staying tacky for a very very long time. I've said it here before... don't know how they stay in business with such a product, and sorry to hear that it's on your instrument. It is a very thick opaque stain/sealer, and will obscure most of the beauty of the wood and muffle the sound. I'm pretty infuriated that anyone brought you down this road.

You'll probably need to strip the finish off... or just keep waiting as Joe suggested, for the solvent to evaporate.

#14 sinebar1

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:12 PM

Adding more of anything on top of the existing coats will just make matters worse... good that you didn't add anything yet.

Minwax stain and finish combos are notorious for staying tacky for a very very long time. I've said it here before... don't know how they stay in business with such a product, and sorry to hear that it's on your instrument. It is a very thick opaque stain/sealer, and will obscure most of the beauty of the wood and muffle the sound. I'm pretty infuriated that anyone brought you down this road.

You'll probably need to strip the finish off... or just keep waiting as Joe suggested, for the solvent to evaporate.


How bad will the sound be muffled? Will it be noticable to an ametuer like me or just to a profession violinist.

#15 iburkard

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:27 PM

I depends how thickly you applied it - it tends to go on heavily. It was recommended in another thread that you rub away almost all of the stain, so if you did that, it won't do as much harm (and might actually dry), but if you just brushed it on it is too thick.

As for placing shellac over a Minwax stain and finish products, forget about it. It won't last.

As Doug stated, most people here won't be able to help you, because most people here would never finish a violin in this way. The last time I used Minwax was on a picture frame, so rubbing it away was easy.

#16 sinebar1

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 12:34 PM

I depends how thickly you applied it - I know that it tends to go on heavy. It was recommended in another thread that you rub away almost all of the stain, so if you did that, it won't do much harm, but if you just brushed it on it might be too thick.

Even if you are just learning to play or make, you will notice.


This stuff was not thick though. In fact it was water thin. I know I'm just a beginner at this but I'm having hard time believing it will dampen the sound. I'm thinking it would have to soak all the way through the wood but like I said I'm just a beginner at this.

#17 iburkard

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 01:03 PM

Any thick over coat can deaden the sound without penetrating the wood. I've applied a shellac clear coat too thickly in the past, after doing repairs, and it really killed the works (and it wasn't even that much). It doesn't have to penetrate the wood. We all make mistakes, so I'm just passing on what little experience I have. I'm not here to talk you out of what you believe. You'll find out on your own.

I'm also familiar with Minwax, and learned not to use their products (on furniture etc) because of the long dry times (regular fast dry poly stuff is fine, but other oil and poly products take forever). If you're using the one step product, the results will be too thick. If you're using regular wood stain (which you probably are - described as thin), it might technically work with a decent end result, but not the best. I'm tired of chasing the rabbit.

#18 sinebar1

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 01:28 PM

Any thick over coat can deaden the sound without penetrating the wood. I've applied a shellac clear coat too thickly in the past, after doing repairs, and it really killed the works (and it wasn't even that much). It doesn't have to penetrate the wood. We all make mistakes, so I'm just passing on what little experience I have. I'm not here to talk you out of what you believe. You'll find out on your own.

I'm also familiar with Minwax, and learned not to use their products (on furniture etc) because of the long dry times (regular fast dry poly stuff is fine, but other oil and poly products take forever). If you're using the one step product, the results will be too thick. If you're using regular wood stain (which you probably are - described as thin), it might technically work with a decent end result, but not the best. I'm tired of chasing the rabbit.


Well the next one I'll use only violin quality that way there will be no guessing. The good thing about these unfinished Chinese fiddles are that they are cheap enough to experiment on.

#19 FiddleDoug

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 01:46 PM

Seems to me that on this violin, and your previous one, (on this forum, and another one) you have already been advised against using several products that aren't designed for instruments, and been given good advice on which products to use. Still haven't seen any pictures of either instrument. Are you actually a troll, just trying to get us worked up?

#20 sinebar1

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 02:39 PM

Seems to me that on this violin, and your previous one, (on this forum, and another one) you have already been advised against using several products that aren't designed for instruments, and been given good advice on which products to use. Still haven't seen any pictures of either instrument. Are you actually a troll, just trying to get us worked up?



Huh! Where the hell do you get off? If you don't want to help me fine then just ignore my post but lets don't start throwing accusations around. I have actually been led in a number directions incuding the method I used which I used because it seemed the simplest and quickest rout.




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