Q: I’m through sanding and cleaning my floors and am getting ready to apply an oil based semi gloss finish. Someone told me to clean the floors with mineral spirits, is this true? Should I use mineral spirits on sanded wood?
A: I wouldn’t do that on bare wood. Just vacuum well, and if you like, wipe the floor down with a micro weave mop. Make sure there is no dust on window sills, etc., and no air movement across the floor while it sets up. Make sure your finish and applicators are clean and free of debris also.
White residue from mineral spirits?
Related Q: We are having unfinished sawn white oak installed and the installer used mineral spirits to show us the color of a few boards. There is a white residue on parts of the boards. We had the mill do a light wire brush and the installer was going to buff the floor before staining it. Will these marks buff out of the floor? Is it safe to use mineral spirits on unfinished hardwood? Would paint or laquer thinner be better? Thank you.
A: Mineral spirits, paint thinner (unless you mean turpentine), and varsol are all the same, though unless virgin mineral spirits is used there can be other contaminants in the mineral spirits. Having said that, I wouldn’t expect any issue with the spot. Get a piece of fine sand paper and give it a rub.
I would use water on the wood to give an indication of the colour of the wood if using an oil based finish. If it is non ambering water borne, best to apply a small sample with the finish. It dries fast and can be easily removed.
Sticky mineral spirits coat
Q: I sanded the top of a Knoll walnut desk, stained and applied mineral spirits. The finish is sticky. I was told the last step is to apply a gel top coat. Have I done something wrong? What to do next?
A: I’m not sure why you applied mineral spirits to the stain. I’m also not sure how you applied the stain. It should be applied, not to heavy but evenly, let sit for 5 minutes and then remove the excess with a clean cloth. It sounds to me the stain is not dry and you have to wait. Maybe a fan blowing on it would help.
Follow-up: Thank you for your prompt response. I was advised or misunderstood about applying the mineral spirits. Will the stain plus spirits dry if I give it enough time? If yes, is the gel top coat the right final step? If yes, what’s a reasonable amount of time to expect it to dry? Is Gel Top Coat the right sealer for Minwax Penetrating wood stain?
A: It is only a desk, so it doesn’t really require heavy duty protection. Gel varnish is wiped on rather than brushed on. Probably easy for you to deal with as a novice.