Applying Oil Based Varnish Over Water Based Stain

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Forum topic by JohnnyQ posted 12-08-2016 09:23 PM 5422 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JohnnyQ's profile


14 posts in 3342 days

12-08-2016 09:23 PM

Happy Holidays All,
I am building a wagon for my daughters and they would like it finished with a pink stain. No surprise there. The only stain I can find that in pink is water based. I would like to top coat with an oil based varnish/poly for durability and preservation from high FL humidity and UV. It will be kept in the garage when not in use but the sun here in FL is brutal. I have a couple questions.
Do I have to use an oil based varnish/poly?
Can I apply the oil based poly on top of the water based stain?

8 replies so far

View Madmark2's profile


405 posts in 790 days

#1 posted 12-08-2016 09:51 PM

Oil & water don’t mix …


View AandCstyle's profile


3179 posts in 2459 days

#2 posted 12-08-2016 10:00 PM

Johnny, I would use a water based poly, such as Target's EM9300. An alternative would be to apply a super blonde shellac and put the oil based poly. Make a sample board because the oil will darken the finish somewhat. Finally, you might try using the oil over the dye without the shellac, but, again, make a test board. FWIW

-- Art

View bondogaposis's profile


5091 posts in 2553 days

#3 posted 12-08-2016 10:32 PM

Can I apply the oil based poly on top of the water based stain?

Absolutely, as long as the stain is completely dry, you will have no issues. I use water base stain under oil base finishes all of the time with out problems.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View mrbob's profile


182 posts in 770 days

#4 posted 12-08-2016 10:42 PM

Just remember the oil base will change the color tone of the pink, more so then most water based polys.

View OSU55's profile


1970 posts in 2191 days

#5 posted 12-08-2016 11:07 PM

No, my choice would be Target 9300 to prevent color change. Transtint dye can be added to the 9300 as a tint. Yes, oil over water works fine, but no OB finish is water clear.

View martyoc's profile


44 posts in 1118 days

#6 posted 12-09-2016 12:45 AM

Check the color effect of the poly over water based stain to be sure its still what you want, but you can safely use poly over water based dyes. I’ve done it in most of the furniture I have built and have never had a problem.

-- Marty O'C

View Kelly's profile


2131 posts in 3146 days

#7 posted 12-09-2016 05:52 AM

I’ve used oil based product over water based stain hundreds of times. Just wait the appropriate time, recommended by the stain company, and go for it.

That aside, have you looked into dye? It’s MUCH more pink, if you want that.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5176 posts in 2695 days

#8 posted 12-09-2016 12:04 PM

You will be fine, but the advice above (dyes, the color shift, etc.) is spot on. You might want to reconsider the oil just because of the color.

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

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