Surface must be dry and free of old finishes in poor condition, paint, wax, grease, polish, dirt or other foreign matter. That particular Minwax stain and finish are pretty good for hardware store stuff. Coat soft, porous woods such as pine or alder with Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner by applying it with a brush or cloth. Bring the item you’re running to a warmer environment to apply polyurethane, which you can do with mobile elements such as furniture. So, that’s my two cents in the polyurethane department and it’s based purely on my experience with furniture. I settled on MiniWax products (Stainable Wood Filler, Sanding Sealer, Red Mahogany Stain, Dark Walnut Stain).
I used Minwax Polyshades Bombay Mahogany on some pine shelves and the first coat I used a foam brush, (Do not stir, do not shake, do not mix the can, any movement causes bubbles),and barely, I mean barely stained it. Then let it dry overnight. I got the tinted varnish and shot on a couple of coats then some clear polyurethane. It was recently suggested to me to use an oil instead (Boiled Linseed Oil idea) or Thompson’s water seal. We never have to do so any more), spray a coat or three, let it dry, and THEN spray your poly. Sadly, the best way to make them the same color is to start from bare wood on all the parts.
After reading posts on this board, I tried applying the poly both fast and slow, but no matter how careful I was, I kept getting bubbles in the finish. The final coat can be left as-is or if you want to seal it with poly, then sand it too then I would use 50/50 poly/mineral spirits and wipe on 3-4 coats or if using a WB polycrylic, I would use a HVLP sprayer. I plan to use the manufacturer’s gel stain (ThermaTru) on both the fiberglass door and the wood trim, hoping to get them to match. I spray 2 coats of gloss, followed by a final coat of the sheen desired (satin, semi-gloss, gloss).
As the stain dries you may see small shiny areas where the stain is seeping back out of the grain, Wipe these areas off as they appear. Brushing polyurethane is not complicated, but somehow authors and manufacturers have succeeded in making it seem so. They have done this by introducing myths into their instructions. For water-based stains, pretreat wood with Minwax® Water Based Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. I used this to refinish the floors in two kid’s bedrooms, and the treads and handrail on our stairs.
After the first coat dries, you’ll need to either sand it with fine-grit sandpaper (220 grit) or use steel wool. If you let a coat of polyurethane dry for more than 12 hours before applying the next coat, re-sand the finish with 220-grit sandpaper and wipe with a clean cloth dampened with mineral spirits to remove dust. Left to right: Zar oil stain Merlot” color; Old Masters Penetrating Oil Stain ‘Dark Mahogany” color; Old Masters Gel Stain Cherry” color. When I spray the stain, I am able to apply a very thin additional coat if I need just a slightly darker color.
Eventually, I was able to perfect my technique and apply just the right amount of stain, brush it smooth, and not wipe it. Cutting boards and other wood items that come in contact with food do well with butcher-block oil and food-grade mineral oil. I know that the polycrylic really doesn’t change the color of the wood (this is what I’ve read). Unfortunately, those with durability properties similar to the varnish require spray facilities that can manage the flammable and often toxic solvents that those require.
The stain seemed to go on much more evenly, and the grain blended in more with the rest of the wood when the stain was applied, which was definitely a welcome sight. The standard for refinishing wood floors today is 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane. Minwax recommends using Minwax Hardwood Floor Cleaner to regularly clean any floor after the polyurethane has cured. The refinisher who came looked at my upstairs floors and recommended water based poly.
Water based polyurethane is good for things that are not exposed to extreme or rigid temperatures such as picture frames, side tables, bookcases and desks etc. Maison Decor: Chalk Paint® Tips – chalk paint dries quicker so use one fluid brush stroke, not back and forth like you’re used to. We have the floors damp mopped weekly and unfortunately the finish is slowly eroding over time. After years of oil-based polyurethane use with your same mixed feelings I decided to give this a try also about the time this article came out. After applying gloss pecan polyshades, I still apply a coat of polyurethane over that.
I used to hate having to apply a lot of coats of oil-poly because it took forever, like a week or more and that meant I had to keep my shop completely free of dust for most of that time also, which meant I couldn’t work on anything else. To protect your brush from drying and hardening between coats, put it in mineral spirits, or easier still, seal the brush in a zip-lock plastic food bag and put in the freezer until you apply the next coat.
I build a lot of distressed looking furniture where I put a colored base coat of latex, another colored coat of latex over it then sand over the top coat to expose the first color and some of the bare wood. The pigment builds up in the pores, darkening them more than the surface wood which highlights the character in the wood rather than obscuring it. And some stain colors look very natural on mahogany like Old Masters Dark Mahogany” color. A couple of years later, while repainting my truck, I bought another spray gun at a local automotive paint store for $150.
After everything was sanded down, and the dust was wiped away, I put a coat of Wood Conditioner on the butcher block according to the instructions on the can. Turn to Minwax® to add rich color and durable protection to your wood project in a single step. Minwax® preparation products are the first step to ensure your wood surfaces show their most beautiful colors and smoothest finishes.
I used oil-based products as I was aiming to use the top for a work desk and I had one small section of my 1st coat of polyurethane lift off of the surface after the 2nd coat had dried. Nevertheless, the existence of primers and sanding sealers (and the recent addition of SealCoat,” a dewaxed shellac from Zinsser, marketed for use as a sealer” under polyurethane) have created a belief among some that something has to be put under the polyurethane to make it bond better.
Due to its runny consistency, you will have to apply very thin coats on vertical surfaces and watch closely for drips. It excels in high traffic areas like floors where it forms an incredibly hard and resilient coating that can handle just about anything. Apply a thin coat of Helmsman® Spar Urethane using a high quality natural bristle brush. But in this case the wood is your base coat and the polyshades is the translucent clear color.