Spar Urethane for a tack box?

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Forum topic by Anthony Finelli posted 02-16-2011 04:35 PM 1297 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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Anthony Finelli

52 posts in 2204 days

02-16-2011 04:35 PM

I have been asked to build a tack box for a young rider who is mainly going to be using it at fairs and horse shows. It is going to be in the elements to some point but not out in the pooring rain/mud etc… She also wanted this tack box to be a heirloom peice, something her daughter could keep for years and repurpose in the case she finds a new love other than riding horses.

I was going to use a spar urethane (minwax, clear gloss) to protect it from the elements/uv rays, is this a good idea or would you all recommend something else? [The tack box is built from birch plywood and pine (money was a issue for the customer)]

I appreciate your help!


-- Salem, New York "Find something you love to do and you will never have to work another day of your life"

1 reply so far

View fussy's profile


980 posts in 2474 days

#1 posted 02-16-2011 11:20 PM


Spar varnish is a “long oil” that will stand up to wood movement because it is softer than polyurethane. Ploy will resist scratches and wear better than spar, but neither provide any real protection against UV rays. If this is not going to be left outside continuously, UV protection shouldn’t be a big deal, but if that is a concern, then using something like Epiphanes’ Marine Varnish would be best. It has the highest concentration of UV shielding (and thus is the MOST EXPENSIVE product out there) you can buy. Even so, to get the best protection, it is recommended that one use at least 6 coats to get the maximum benefit. The biggest problem you would encounter using spar or poly would be the need to refinish at intervals of as little as every year or two depending on how much time it spends in the sun. THat would involve completely sanding to remove the chalked or peeling finish. If it’s going to spend a lot of time in an open truck, I’d use marine varnish and hang the cost. If it’s going to be covered or just sit for a few hours at a time in the sun, I’d use poly for the scratch and wear resistance. If it’s going to see a lot of temperature swings, I’d use spar. Actually, from your description, I’m leaning toward poly. Several coats, rubbed out nicely, then use a good car wax (some uv protection) after it’s FULLY CURED-30 DAYS AT LEAST.



-- Steve in KY. 44 years so far with my lovely bride. Think I'll keep her.

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