Can wipe-on poly fake Waterlox?

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Forum topic by Ben posted 03-12-2016 08:56 PM 556 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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372 posts in 2851 days

03-12-2016 08:56 PM

Hey guys,

I am working on my kitchen. I have all the base and upper cabinets done. They were finished with three coats of Waterlox (i think gloss). I only have the upper soffit frame and panel detail to finish building.
I’m wondering if I could get away with wipe on poly, as it’s so much easier to use – quicker to dry, readily available, etc…
The Waterlox is hard to find, expensive, goes bad in the can quickly once opened, and is extremely noxious making it difficult to live/be in my house while finishing for three days.

Would the eye notice the difference? I have a few pieces of furniture done in wipe-on poly, and to me it looks roughly the same.

The Cherry has aged and darkened really nicely, so obivously this new batch will take awhile to catch up to that.


2 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4981 posts in 2488 days

#1 posted 03-13-2016 12:04 PM

You answered your own question: “Would the eye notice the difference? I have a few pieces of furniture done in wipe-on poly, and to me it looks roughly the same”. If they look good to you, that’s really all that matters. But here’s something to consider: Waterlox is a phenolic resin varnish, the darkest color of varnishes. It is also the hardest and most durable (arguably) of the resins used. But that darker color may have something to do with the appearance of the cabinets. Agree with the odor problem, but it seems you would have a least some of that with anything (oil based) that you use. As for the spoil problem, that will pretty much happen with the others as well, albeit a little more slowly. But there may be a solution if you want: Stop Loss bags. A disclaimer: I have some of these, but have not had a chance to use them. What might be cheaper and also work is to put marbles in the opened can to get the fluid level up near the top….less oxygen for the varnish to react with. Just my opinion.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OSU55's profile


1665 posts in 1984 days

#2 posted 03-13-2016 01:20 PM

I agree with Fred, if it looks the same to you that is all that matters. I have used thinned poly instead of waterlox or danish oil for many years. My experience is urethanes are harder than phenolics or alkyds. As for color, I use WD Lockwood oil dyes and mix in with thinned varnish to get the color I want. I use this for more subtle coloring. Dye stains for more intense coloring.

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