A change in finish, Wipe On Poly versus Brush On Lacquer

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Blog entry by Blackie_ posted 01-18-2013 01:13 PM 3439 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Kicking Brush On Lacquer to the back of the shelf and putting Minwax wipe on poly on the front shelf.

After following Boxguys (Big Al) finishing method I found it much more greatly to my liking what a huge difference, I know there’s a world of finishing methods and technique’s and I had settled into the one above without notion of feeling the need for any further exploration until the start of this week when I decided to step outside of my finishing realm and make a change, so glad I did, as much as I hate to say sometimes change is good :)

All of my previous projects I’ve used a sequence of finishing coats, starting first with one coat of Tung Oil with a wipe and drying time then following it with several coats of Brush on Lacquer and that was it.

The beginning of this week I used Big AL’s finishing method which also started off with a coat of Tung Oil wipe and dry then two to four coats of wipe on poly drying and sanding in between coats, and lastly following it up with Minwax finishing paste wax using 0000 steel wool.

Both finishes give you greatness in appearance, I found that wipe on poly was much more friendly to apply also with much less worry for runs, as Lacquer thickened during the coats applied, I found it harder to apply also very susceptible to running, dry time for Lacquer was faster as the dry time for poly was a two day process instead of a one day process but with wipe on poly came much better results and much easier to apply, by following it up with the final coat with Minwax finishing Paste Wax put the cherry on the top, my thanks goes out to Big Al for sharing his finishing method, it is now mine. :)

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

7 comments so far

View camps764's profile


846 posts in 1300 days

#1 posted 01-18-2013 01:31 PM

having an arsenal of finishing techniques is always good…different pieces call for different finishes. Wipe on Poly was my default for most things. You can make your own by cutting Poly with Mineral Spirits…cheaper than buying the Minwax Wipe on Poly. This gives you more flexibility, if you want a few heavy coats, a lot of thin coats, several thin coats and a final heavy coat, etc.

Also, you might want to check out Canadian Woodworks finishing method. He uses a wipe on Oil blend…the Wood Whisperer uses something similar in some of his projects. I have started donig this on some projects as well and REALLY like simplicity of it.

-- Steve

View Blackie_'s profile


4122 posts in 1452 days

#2 posted 01-18-2013 01:58 PM

Thanks Steve, great info.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

17252 posts in 1278 days

#3 posted 01-18-2013 03:20 PM

Wipe on makes it a lot simpler

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View janice's profile


1090 posts in 2365 days

#4 posted 01-18-2013 03:47 PM

Interesting. I’ve been wondering about the wipe on. I’ve been using polyacrylic lately. Like that alot better than polyuerthane. But I do want to try this method that is now yours. I saved this as a favorite so I can come back to it. Thanks.

-- Janice

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5311 posts in 1232 days

#5 posted 01-18-2013 04:40 PM

Thanks for the post. This raises an interesting question that I’ve considered opening, but will pose here. Has MinWax reformulated its polyurethane so that it is no longer prone to turn amber? The only reason I used lacquer on my last project was to preserve the natural color of the wood since polyurethane has historically turned wood (maple in particular) amber. However, on several projects I’ve done since late summer and used MinWax polyurethane, the finish has seemly remained clear like a lacquer finish. Has anyone had similar experiences or any knowledge? Thanks for any input.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Blackie_'s profile


4122 posts in 1452 days

#6 posted 01-18-2013 05:26 PM

John something comes to mind that you might try.

Minwax makes a wood conditioner I wonder if that would counter that amber effect on maple, also what about sealing the wood with shellac? I’m no expert just throwing that out there.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Roger's profile


17059 posts in 1744 days

#7 posted 01-18-2013 10:23 PM

Interesting Randy, and everyone above. This is another reason why this site is so informative. Everyone has input. It’s like makin a big ole bowl o soup. You get a bunch o recipes, with a bunch o ingrediants, and add, subtract, or whatever to your pot, and, voila. Another gr8 bowl o soup. It’s always good to have knowledge of so many options on the finishing parts o this fine hobby.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

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