Let’s talk about finishing pieces, shall we? It’s the last step and an important one as it will protect your piece. And let me tell you there is nothing worse than having poured hard work into a piece, and then having something go wrong in that final step. The first thing I want to say before I get into specifics is that I NEVER USE POLYCRYLIC OR POLYEURATHANE ON WHITE OR LIGHT COLORS. This choice is mine, and may or may not be the right way for you to go, but I have seen so many cases of yellowing occur, even if it says non-yellowing, or if I’ve heard it doesn’t yellow from a source; most times, given time, the topcoat has yellowed. So that’s the most important tidbit of information you will get from this post.
Now, let’s get into specifics and I will show you the products I trust, and I will explain when I use them.
1. Minwax Paste Wax:
I just love this stuff! It is so easy to use, and doesn’t yellow and dries rather quickly, in less than 15 minutes. It is easy to apply. You just use a rag and wipe it on, following the brushstroke or grain of the wood. A little bit goes a long way, so don’t put too much in your rag. Another huge plus is that the finished look it gives is soft, and not shiny at all. I also really like how it feels to the touch, and typically one coat is enough. The downsides are that it will need to be reapplied at some point down the road, probably within a year, to continue to protect. Also, I have found that when I am using it on a piece that has been painted and then stained, it tends to remove some of the stain. That being said, it remains my favorite, my go-to finishing product. This product is also ALWAYS WHAT I USE ON WHITE.
2. Johnson’s Paste Wax:
I also really like this product for finishing pieces. It doesn’t dry as quickly as Minwax’s version and is much greasier and smellier, but it gives a very nice finish, low-lustre, and feels great to the touch. This product works much better over those pieces that have been painted and then stained. I also like to use this product on refinished pieces where I want a more rustic look. If that is the case, then I typically use 3 or 4 coats.
4.Minwax Wipe On Poly- Satin Finish:
When using poly, this product is my absolute favorite. I use it on refinished woods, and also on dark colors, like black, red, dark blues, and greens. It wipes on easily with a rag, but the only thing I will caution is that you need to be sure that you are using a lint free rag as otherwise, lint will get stuck in it and you won’t be able to get it out easily. Although the can states that it is satin, it will leave a bit of a sheen.
5. Minwax Water Based Polycrylic- Satin Finish:
This is the only poly/finish that I brush on. It’s important to use a good quality brush, especially one that won’t shed bristles in your finish! What I love about this product is the nice hard finish it gives a piece. It protects really well- water just seems to bead up on it! Although it has fabulous protection quotient, it yellows, so again, I only use it on colors where the yellowing won’t be noticeable. Also, although it is supposedly satin, it is pretty shiny. I have found that this stuff can serve to correct other paints mishaps. I once used a paint that just stayed tacky. It was a deep base, horrible quality. I really didn’t want to strip it all off, so I read somewhere that this finish could be used over it and would still harden. I tried, and it worked! I didn’t have to take backwards steps, so that was a huge relief.
So that’s a wrap of everything I use! I should add that I have also tried the spray versions of the polycrylic and the Minwax satin poly, and I don’t like them. I think for small items, like little knick knacks, they’re fine, but for furniture, I think you can see the spray marks. When you stand and catch it in just the right light, you see all the spray sheen, and it doesn’t look professional.
Please let me know if you have any questions! I am happy to help. You can comment here, or email me at [email protected]. Happy Wednesday!
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