DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum

DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum (
-   Painting Forum (
-   -   Acetone before poly? (

CallMeVilla 12-26-2013 07:24 PM

Acetone before poly?
Here is the situation: Restaurant tables, previous finished with spar varnish. During use, they have been spilled on with oily food, water, you name it. They need refinishing OVERNIGHT.

Light sanding seems to leave a residue of oil which causes the poly to lay down unevenly. Deep sanding removes everything ... but I would like to avoid it because only one light overnight coat is hardly enough.

Question: Can I use acetone and a steel wool pad to scrub the oil off the lightly sanded surface? Letting it flash off (fast) I would then apply poly with a brush leaving the table top to cure under heat lamps overnight. The resulting coating would be thick enough and the oil would be gone.

Is acetone the best choice or mineral spirits?

inspectorD 12-27-2013 06:34 AM

Sounds like it may work, but I would not use the steel wool. Some of the fibers may get stuck in there. 220 sand paper.
Kind of like when you put the first sealer coat on before you poly. Just sand it smooth. To clean the top, I would try denatured alchohol with a rag.

Maybe you can try just one table first...on an off night?
Another thought... they have to close for a day sometime. Vacation? New years Day?
Those tables are gonna still be kind of Gummy even after one day.
Good Luck!!:beer:

CallMeVilla 12-27-2013 08:33 AM

Might go with denatured alcohol instead of acetone ... found this elsewhere:
Denatured alcohol works great as a hard surface cleaner; especially against stains and dirt that more traditional cleaning agents fail to remove. It works best as a spot cleaner and should be applied with a cloth or rag rather than poured directly onto a surface and wiped.

While I was researching, I found this tip on using acetone: Acetone can also be used in combination with automatic transmission fluid to create an effective penetrating oil. Brake fluid is sometimes used in place of ATF. These mixtures (usually 1:1) can be useful in loosening rusted or stuck bolts.

Chris 01-03-2014 06:19 AM

What about a tsp mixture? My grandfather uses it on everything he repainted and it seems to work well. Just a thought?

DFBonnett 01-03-2014 08:14 AM

In your case I'd skip the sanding, wipe down with mineral spirits, apply Wil-Bond following package directions, then apply a coat of quick drying varnish. I've done this on doors where a guaranteed overnight dry was required and it turned out well.

CallMeVilla 01-03-2014 08:16 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Giving this thread closure ... Here is the technique I ended up using with great results.

Starting at 3PM, on a dry table outside, we did a very light sand with 180 grit paper. Then, wearing appropriate gloves, we scrubbed the old surface in one direction with a scrubby pad and liberal amounts of acetone. This stripped the dust and surface oils. The crud was clearly visible on the scrubby pad. A quick vigorous rub down with a clean rag followed.

A new coat of Minwax Spar Varnish followed (clear semi-gloss) applied with a brush. (see pic below) After 10 minutes of settling time, twin halogen work lights were positioned shining heat onto the surface for 45 minutes until the varnish started to go off (no longer sticky to the touch).

Moved the table tops inside, where they dried for regular use by 7AM the next day. Sheen was bright, no problems with "fish eye" holes in the surface. The reflection in the picture is from trees nearby.

Chris 01-03-2014 09:02 AM

Looks great! I will have to remember that.

havasu 01-03-2014 04:38 PM

That is slick!

kok328 01-03-2014 06:48 PM

Nice job!
Would methyl ethyl ketone or MEK be an option to using acetone?
MEK is some wicked stuff so be careful.

CallMeVilla 01-03-2014 06:55 PM

My guide was organic chemistry. Acetone works and I suspect MEK would too. Tried to keep it simple ... and efficient.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:31 PM.