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Forum topic by MHarper90 posted 07-15-2015 11:56 PM 684 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 1655 days

07-15-2015 11:56 PM

Hey y’all, I’m looking for some advice about finishing a small box (shoe box size) I am making for my fiancĂ© as a wedding present. It’s curly maple and purple heart. I used to work in a shop for a summer camp that builds all of their own stuff, where outdoor projects got an exterior stain, and interior projects got shot with HVLP lacquer.

Now I’m in the Navy and barely have the tools and space at hand to build this box, much less the old Graco HVLP. My old habits make me want to buy a rattle can of Minwax spray lacquer, but I’m worried that I won’t get as good of results as I’m used to. Also, this box has some special details (you’ll have to wait for the project posting later) that are going to make brush or spray difficult to reach.

Can anyone shoot me some ideas of a great, simple to apply finish? I’m not necessarily against the lacquer idea yet, but I’d love to do what’s best for the project, not what I’m just used to doing. Also, I’m not trying to change the color much of the woods, so it needs to be a pretty clear finish.

Thanks for the help! I can’t wait to finish it up and post a project page for it.

4 replies so far

View Luthierman's profile


210 posts in 1055 days

#1 posted 07-16-2015 12:26 AM

Wipe on poly, buddy. Love that stuff. Dries very quickly too.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2658 days

#2 posted 07-16-2015 01:41 AM

I am a huge fan of shellac applied via BlackCherry’s blog. Quick, simple to do, cheap, and produces a beautiful finish. I now use this on all of my boxes.

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

View BurlyBob's profile


5419 posts in 2234 days

#3 posted 07-16-2015 04:15 AM

I started finishing some bifold doors today using varthane water based poly. I’m spraying it, but the label says it can be brushed on. I tried a brush on another water based poly years ago and found that a sponge brush worked better. It’s very susceptible to air bubbles, hence the need for a sponge brush. One positive thing is that it dries crystal clear. So if your not wanting to change the color with other finishes, a water based poly might be the answer.

View dhazelton's profile


2756 posts in 2265 days

#4 posted 07-16-2015 12:28 PM

Boiled linseed oil and paste wax the part of the box you can apply it to. If you can’t spray or brush an area you can just pour it on and let it drain off.

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