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  • Q: In the Getting Started Shaker Table series why does Mike Pekovich apply wax with steel wool when he counsels against that procedure in a previous Fine Woodworking article?

    In the Mar/Apr issue (#218) of Fine Woodworking, Mike Pekovich has an article on the virtues of Wipe-on Poly. In his process, he rubs out the finish with dry 0000 steel wool, and then follows with the finishing coat of paste wax, applied with a cloth.  He comments that for years he had rubbed out the finish by applying the wax with steel wool, but as of #218 he has found that "The wax makes it hard to see the scratch patterns created by the steel wool", so he now rubs out the finish with a dry steel wool pad and then applies the wax with a dry cloth as the final step.

    In the Season 3 project of Getting Started, Mike does the finishing of the Shaker side table.  In his demonstration, he uses his earlier process, highly touting the tactic of applying the paste wax with 0000 steel wool, saying "It's (the wax) going to give you a nice even luster over the whole piece...".

    Was the season 3 project made before his change in procedure? It appeared to me that the Season 3 project was published well after the article in Fine Woodworking. 

    I realize that this sounds like picking nits, but I have a keen interest in the subject.  I love the Wipe-on Poly procedure he used (especially the version using the steel wool to apply the wax),  and I completely agree with the title of his article "Wiping Varnish: The Only Finish You'll Ever Need". If one follows his procedure along with your other articles on sanding, filling and staining, and is careful in each of the processes, this finish can rival the look of the best lacquers, plus offer infinitely better protection! The days of the "plastic look" can be over with a little care.



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