Yeah, if you think it needs more protection it could work. There are a few types of varnish you could use.
Polyurethane (make sure it says satin on the can though)- This stuff dries really hard, but has a slight yellow tint after a few layers. It is also very picky/hard to work with. It can be a pain in the butt (drips and bubbles can forum, and unless you sand it down perfectly smooth, it will show through the next coat) It comes in brush on (really thick), spray on (thin) and rub on (really thin).
Lacquer - This stuff dries fast, is easy to repair (it combines with the last coat, to form one thick coat so it is easy to get rid of drips and spots). It also dries pretty hard ( not as hard as poly, but hard enough). You will need to thin this stuff so it will level out before it dries (otherwise, it can develop an orange peel texture). It usually dries to a satin/semi gloss finish, but if it is a little more and the glossy side, just use some really fine steel wool to give it a satin look. I recommend you use this insted of the poly unless you have some experience with poly. It will just be easier to use. This stuff also comes in spray on (it come in both aerosol can form), and in a form meant for spray guns (that must be thinned)), and brush on (be sure to thin this) Choose what ever form you want, I would try the thinned brush on lacquer (MAKE SURE IT IS LACQUER THINNER), but the spray on may work too.
If the finish is a little lumpy/not smooth, try rubbing it out with really fine steel wool (000 or 0000).
There are also a few product out ther for guns like tru-oil. Brownells has a few products. Just read and follow the directions they give you.
Also, if you use the lacquer, make sure to do it in a well ventilated areas (do this for the other finishes too, but lacquer is the worst). The fumes could knock you on your ass if you inhale too much, or even be deadly in large amounts.
All of these finishes will be soft at first (and will continues to give off fumes for about a week), but after a week or two, they will cure and harden. You can use them after they dry, but just be carefull with them. Waiting at least a couple of days would be a good idea.
Last edited by texaswoodworker; 02-16-2012 at 10:53 PM.
No problem, I hope it turns out well. This is definetly the part of projects that gives me the most headackes. Just take it slow, and easy (not too slow with the lacquer though. It dries to the touch in 30 minutes. Probably less when thinned. Just let is sit for a few hours before handling).
It can. If it is too cold, the lacquer will take longer to flatten out (which means it probably won't), it is best to do it in an area at about 70-80 degrees. DON'T use a heater that would have to be close/on during the application or drying process, the fumes can be flammable!!! It is best to heat the area first, then shut off the heater. (or if you apply it outside, either do it on a warm day, or heat a ventilated room for it to dry in).
As for curing, temp won't have as much effect on it, but it is still best to keep it close to room temp if possible.
If you have any friends/family who has some experience finishing things, it would be best to get a little help from them too. If not, you could probably do this on your own too. Varnish can be picky. It doesn't like the cold, it will pick up any dust near it, and it is stubborn. The best thing to do before doing you stock would be to test it out on a piece of scrap wood.
P.S. I forgot to mention earlier that it will usually tell you the recommended amount of thinner you should use on the back of the can.
Last edited by texaswoodworker; 02-17-2012 at 04:12 AM.