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Polyshades still bad?

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Forum topic by MattEffinCameron posted 01-04-2017 07:43 PM 810 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MattEffinCameron

10 posts in 372 days


01-04-2017 07:43 PM

I am getting ready to finish a floating shelf, and the tops to some built-ins. I tried about 6 or 7 different minwax stains, and many many blended variations thereof, and nothing gave me the color I was looking for. I then tried this minwax polyshades color that looked like a good match, and on the oak I am using, it looked PERFECT. Simply amazing. It was exactly the color I had been searching for.

So I was just searching the forums here, looking for any tips on working with polyshades since I have only used normal Minwax stains in the past….and I found nothing but cautionary tales (mostly from ~5 years ago).

Is that still the case?

I wasnt picking it because it was easier or cheaper…just because it is the only stain I have found that nails the color I want. My assumption was that I would apply a coat of the polyshades and then a couple coats of polyurethane.

That color is “American Chestnut”, which looked substantially different from the English, and Red chestnut colors minwax offers in normal stain.


15 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4757 posts in 2330 days


#1 posted 01-04-2017 08:26 PM

Polyshades isn’t a stain, it’s supposed to be an all in one finish. The cautionary tales come from the stain being embedded into the varnish. In application it can get really streaky, and it’s not a solvable problem. After several coats it looks more like paint than a stain with a varnish over it. But you only have to please your self, so don’t get wrapped up in what others think. If you have the effect you want, then I’d say you’ve found your finish.

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

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

2640 posts in 2010 days


#2 posted 01-04-2017 09:14 PM

The problem I had with polyshades was it wouldn’t dry. This was several years ago I won’t use it again so can’t tell you if they fixed the problem or not. I finally had to go over it with another poly. Try it on a sample piece before using it.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1425 posts in 1826 days


#3 posted 01-05-2017 04:56 PM

Have you considered using dyes vs pigment stains found at the bbs? Can mix your own colors and tint topcoats without obscuring grain. Yes there is a learning curve but so much more can be achieved. I use Transtint walter/alcohol solvent and wd lockwood oil based. Heres info on oil based with poly.

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woodbutcherbynight

3645 posts in 2246 days


#4 posted 01-06-2017 02:38 AM

Skip it, it was meant to do two things at once and failed at both. I have a bookcase in the basement that I made and finished with this stuff. Lesson learned, it looks…cheap, crappy etc etc etc etc.

LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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pontic

503 posts in 446 days


#5 posted 01-06-2017 05:11 AM

I call it polyurinthane. You have to have a paint booth and a HVLP system to do polyurinthane so it come out halfway decent.

-- Illigitimii non carburundum sum

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MattEffinCameron

10 posts in 372 days


#6 posted 01-06-2017 02:36 PM

alright, guess I will keep hunting. Thanks for the feedback.

I actually e-mailed minwax telling them that according to….everyone….their polyshades product blows and asking what formula I should use to mix their regular stains to obtain the american chestnut finish. No response yet…

I will check out sherwin williams and maybe see what they have at woodcraft….but it sounds like either way i’ll be buying a bunch of stains or just compromising on the color.

View MattEffinCameron's profile

MattEffinCameron

10 posts in 372 days


#7 posted 01-06-2017 02:55 PM

Dear Matt,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Minwax. We appreciate your interest in our products.

Unfortunately, we cannot duplicate the color in the Wood Finish line. The English Chestnut would be the closest match.

I hope this information is helpful. Please respond back if you require additional assistance.

Regards,

Craig

Minwax Product Support

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4757 posts in 2330 days


#8 posted 01-06-2017 03:09 PM

You might take a sample of the color somewhere and get it custom mixed. I have no specific reco’s…it would be a matter of searching around for a place that does that type of stuff.

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

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MattEffinCameron

10 posts in 372 days


#9 posted 01-06-2017 03:12 PM

thanks…I was thinking I might check with sherwin williams to see if they mix/match?

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1504 posts in 1224 days


#10 posted 01-06-2017 03:19 PM

I remember seeing a display in the my local Woodcraft store about mixing General Finishes water based stains to get a custom color. The display had a few recipes for custom colors but you can experiment with the colors to fine tune. Their water base stains are all suppose to be inter-mixable to get a custom color.

GF might have more information on their website.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

9105 posts in 2129 days


#11 posted 01-06-2017 03:22 PM

It’s not that PolyShades is bad, it’s just that people (here [on LJ] especially) don’t use it for the right application. They use it thinking it’s going to be a stain they won’t have to finish over. It’s really not very good for that, as many will point out. When I used it, I used it intending for it to be more like a really tough paint and it worked great, exactly as I had hoped.

If your goal is to see the details in the wood grain after you’ve applied finish, then I’d look elsewhere. There’s a reason the sample pieces (at least at the retailer I bought it from) make it look like an ultra gloss paint…

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

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Mosquito

9105 posts in 2129 days


#12 posted 01-06-2017 03:24 PM



I remember seeing a display in the my local Woodcraft store about mixing General Finishes water based stains to get a custom color. The display had a few recipes for custom colors but you can experiment with the colors to fine tune. Their water base stains are all suppose to be inter-mixable to get a custom color.

GF might have more information on their website.

- Lazyman

There are also transtint dye’s (and other brands) as well, which many have used for similar things as well

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - http://www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods - http://www.TheModsquito.com

View Cooler's profile

Cooler

299 posts in 680 days


#13 posted 01-06-2017 07:56 PM

I met Norm Abrams at a Hardware Show in Chicago and he uses Polyshades for pine and cherry to avoid blotching.

I’ve used it on pine and found it entirely satisfactory.

-- This post is a hand-crafted natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar should not be viewed as flaws or defects, but rather as an integral characteristic of the creative process.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4757 posts in 2330 days


#14 posted 01-06-2017 08:51 PM

If it works for you, that’s great. But Norm is one of the last folks on earth you want to take finishing advice from!

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

View pmayer's profile

pmayer

987 posts in 2902 days


#15 posted 01-06-2017 11:23 PM

I think it’s terrible stuff for brushing, but I’ve sprayed it with satisfactory results. Not great, but satisfactory. I’m a huge fan of Transtint. That stuff is like magic.

I agree with Fred on the Norm comment. Norm is one of my all time favorites, and I still go back and watch NYWS periodically, but he should have farmed out the finishing on that show. There were so many times that I couldn’t believe what he was doing to the piece in his finishing room. But, in spite of that he’s still ‘the man’ in my view.

-- PaulMayer, http://www.vernswoodgoods.com

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