Minwax polyurethane is a protective varnish that is used to seal wood stain. If the tipping-off doesn’t work well enough, add 5 or 10 percent mineral spirits to keep the finish open” longer and give the bubbles more time to pop out. When I bought my first HVLP spray gun in 2004, I was in the middle of an old house remodeling project that involved several rooms with stained oak trim. Test for this by applying stain to an area that will not be visible once furniture is moved back into place.
If you use a good enamel paint, then you don’t have to seal the piece with poly and it won’t turn yellow. If you have to do a lot of sanding, the higher the grit you use on your last step, the smoother your finish will be. Most non-professionals think that a 600 grit finish is fabulous. Polyurethane works best for floors though it also excels on doors and woodwork. Recently I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and have my downstairs floors refinished as they looked abominable after three dogs and twenty years of wear. I made sure to put it on thin, used a rag to wipe off quickly after brushing it on. If you want it thinner, use a rag to apply.
But a few years ago, when faced with a big wood-finishing project, I got tired of this tedious chore and explored the idea of using a low-cost spray gun for applying both stain and urethane. After sanding down my third coat, I usually spray it down with a can of aerosol poly. Apply a second coat of polyurethane if the finish has developed the whitish color that can result with cold-weather applications. Professional floor guys use a buffing machine to abrade the previous finish before applying the next coat.
A regular polyurethane will crack and fail after a couple short years in brutal exterior settings whereas a spar urethane can last a decade or so with care. I did not use an HVLP unit, rather I used what I had, a standard auto body sprayer, but then I have a 25 gallon compressor that can keep up with the required air flow. Do not want to use the water-based version, this Clear SEMI-GLOSS Fast-Drying Polyurethane works best. If I stained this dresser the old-fashioned way, it would take me a couple of hours to brush on the stain and wipe it off. I just finished my 3rd layer of polyurethane on my DIY maple dining room table.
Once the bubbles have popped out, you want the polyurethane to dry as fast as possible to get beyond the sticky stage (demonstrated here by a fingerprint in the finish) so dust nibs are kept to a minimum. It was finished with wood filler, red stain, and lacquer and it looks great except where a puppy chewed on the corner. Finish the surface with PolyShades within two hours of application of the Minwax conditioner.
De lamination of the finish (strings from in-between floor boards and around thresholds) came during the summer, after the wood opens from winter contraction (in spite of house humidifier use and monitoring). It takes stain evenly and is probably the easiest to stain and most forgiving wood available. Use 400 grit wet/dry paper in-between, or one of he new 400 (fine) grip foam pads from the big box stores.
Being in the custom cabinet industry I would advise you to not touch anything minwax its all around lower quality there stains are horrible and we only use them when we are matching something done in minwax, alot of the people that sell minwax we tell you that its not as good if they know anything about it. While highly rated, I couldn’t afford to spend upwards of $1,000 for something I knew I wouldn’t use often. I was told Waterlux is food safe and easy to repair if surface gets damaged from use.
You can use a brand name chalk paint or chalk paint powder to avoid sanding as they have additional minerals and clays that increase the gripping power of latex paint so that you do not need to use primer over these types of finishes. Water-based oil-modified polyurethane is a relatively new product that combines the durability of an oil base with the cleanup of a water base.
The only limitations I’ve found with that system are that the system is a bit expensive unless you’re working with these coatings a lot and keep ’em on hand and that you’ve got to be really careful about the stains you try to use under epoxy resins. I wanted to raise the dresser off the ground and make it easier to spray the underside of the bottom details. Depress button fully and spray using an even, sweeping motion with slightly overlapping strokes.
HOWEVER, after coating my dining room table with 3 coats of golden oak stain with conditioner, I found my wood wasn’t nearly golden” enough. I bought a can of the spray can version thinking it would be the same… the label was exactly the same, but it destroyed the foam. This stuff really shines in situations where you want to darken wood pieces that were previously finished.
I like to give the high-wear surfaces 4 coats, so any scratches are less likely to reach into the wood. If you are going to put decals on the piece, test one out on a piece of wood you painted in your color and see how a top coat does. Penetrol is a slow-drying oil product that lengthens the tacky stage of polyurethane and oil paint. There is no reason to use mineral spirits, actually I would advise you not to use mineral spirits.
Most people don’t know this but even after your done staining if you see a little imperfection you simply just go back over it with more stain to even it out! What this means is that if you take your time when applying the polyurethane finish to the wood, there will be less of an opportunity for air bubbles to form. When you get home and open it up, you don’t see bazillions of those dreaded bubbles. In the end, I did get it” and I do love the color (which as someone else mentioned, is not available in normal wood stain). I was concerned about the Minwax preventing the hot glue from sticking so I tested a piece.