Minwax Wipe On Poly: Take It To The Limit #1: Overview and Disclaimer

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Blog entry by Lee Barker posted 03-01-2012 05:56 PM 1527 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Minwax Wipe On Poly: Take It To The Limit series Part 2: Prep Process »

I am in no way connected to Minwax. As a professional woodworker, I view their retail product line as not quite professional level, but quality nonetheless. I also allow that any retail product has the potential to be an effective coating to have around.

I build vertical electric basses whose bodies are, generally, cherry and alder, and are about fourteen inches wide and thirty six inches long and two inches thick. The edges have a two grooves cut with a vee-groove/flush trim bit (an homage to the violin family; purely aesthetic).

The standard for workmanship and finish in the musical instrument industry is very high. My historical explainer is that the King had the best farrier, the best horse breeder, the best blacksmith, the best armorer, and so on, but one day the Queen tapped him on the shoulder and looked him in the eye and said, “You’ve got the best of everything, but my lute sucks!” So he went out and got the best luthier. And here we are.

Far and away spraying is the best method of applying a finish to these objects. Lacquer is the industry standard: It is fast and flashy. I am not set up to spray, so I am limiting myself to hand-applied coatings. Because of the amount of real estate on my instrument, I much prefer a semigloss or even satin sheen.

I have used GF waterborne poly with good results, brushed. Drytime two hours, and 6 coats builds a nice thickness and sheen that can be flat sanded with a final coat over that. I use this product on other parts of the instrument.

But I was curious about a wipe on oil based polyurethane, so I did a comparison of Daly’s ProFin vs. Minwax, mentioned on the Finish Forum here at LJ. Minwax won that, so I took on three more bodies, Minwax only, to develop the technique, and that’s what I’ll chronicle here.

Pictures will be included in subsequent posts.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

3 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2509 days

#1 posted 03-01-2012 07:58 PM

Having finished violin family instruments before, this is an experiment I’d like to see.

-- Brian Timmons -

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2714 days

#2 posted 03-02-2012 02:17 AM

I’ll be following this with great interest. I have had a lot of success with MinWax products (with a few notable exceptions) but a lot of folks on this site seem to have nothing good to say about Min Wax products. Looking forward to the pics.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View JimDaddyO's profile


548 posts in 3103 days

#3 posted 03-02-2012 12:33 PM

I really like the minwax wipe on poly. I have used it on a bunch of things, but not my guitar…french polished that, I think that pre-dates laquer as a finish on instruments.

-- my blog: my You Tube channel:

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