What finish has the least effect on wood color?

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Forum topic by Tedster posted 05-10-2012 06:08 AM 1109 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2344 posts in 1092 days

05-10-2012 06:08 AM

I use straight wax when I want to avoid darkening the wood, but are there other choices?

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who are good at math and those who are not.

11 replies so far

View Loren's profile


7967 posts in 2529 days

#1 posted 05-10-2012 07:08 AM

Yeah, wax.

Super-blonde shellac doesn’t shift color much.

The various higher-grade poly’s like Varathane Elite are
less cloudy than lower grade polys. The average person
can’t see the difference but all poly is a bit cloudy. Still,
the color shift is insignificant. Clarity is hard to judge
as well and my perception of Varathane Elite as more
clear than Minwax poly may be my own fantasy.

Then there’s lacquer.


View Tedster's profile


2344 posts in 1092 days

#2 posted 05-10-2012 07:24 AM

My lacquering is limited to spray cans :) but my projects are all small items so that is an option. Thanks for the tips on poly.

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who are good at math and those who are not.

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 2025 days

#3 posted 05-10-2012 04:27 PM

Depends on the wood, BLO on Maple and Pine only bring out a soft yellow tinge.

View HawkDriver's profile


447 posts in 1514 days

#4 posted 05-10-2012 04:36 PM

I have had great success with rattle can lacquer and recently Deft has come out with a new can(blue in color vs. green) I thought to myself, there will be no difference. I was wrong that new can spays almost as well as HVLP IMHO.

-- Patrick, Helicopters don't fly. They beat the air into submission.

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 1850 days

#5 posted 05-10-2012 08:25 PM

Osmo Polyx oil clear is as transparent as you can get. Acrylic varnishes won’t impart an amber hue either.
I have sprayed a clear matt acrylic varnish straight out of the tin with my HVLP sprayer and the finish was perfect.

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2344 posts in 1092 days

#6 posted 05-11-2012 03:26 PM

Thanks for the tips, everybody. I’m going to look into all these options as time allows. Wish I had the space for an HVLP setup.. maybe one day :). Top of my list is trying out the new Deft spray-can lacquer (HawkDiver) that I didn’t know about.

-- There are three types of people in this world... those who are good at math and those who are not.

View MT_Stringer's profile


2364 posts in 2112 days

#7 posted 05-11-2012 04:37 PM

I have been using Deft Clear Wood Finish since discovering it back in the early 80’s. Clear lacquer (and now available in water base). Dries fast and makes for a good looking finish. I used it previously to seal wood craft projects that my wife had painted patterns on with acrylic paints. No runs, discoloration or anything.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View RussellAP's profile


3032 posts in 1168 days

#8 posted 05-11-2012 04:38 PM

Any varnish or spar.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View patcollins's profile


1134 posts in 1746 days

#9 posted 05-11-2012 04:56 PM

Water based poly doesn’t change the color much, about what the wood looks like when you wet it with water.

View CharlieM1958's profile


15923 posts in 3100 days

#10 posted 05-11-2012 05:15 PM

Water based poly for sure.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View NiteWalker's profile


2710 posts in 1458 days

#11 posted 05-11-2012 10:30 PM

Crystalac water borne poly. No color at all.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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