What finish has the least effect on wood color?

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Forum topic by Tedster posted 811 days ago 979 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2270 posts in 814 days

811 days ago

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

-- I support the 28th Amendment.

11 replies so far

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7265 posts in 2251 days

#1 posted 811 days ago

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.


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2270 posts in 814 days

#2 posted 811 days ago

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.

-- I support the 28th Amendment.

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376 posts in 1747 days

#3 posted 810 days ago

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

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447 posts in 1236 days

#4 posted 810 days ago

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 1572 days

#5 posted 810 days ago

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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2270 posts in 814 days

#6 posted 810 days ago

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.

-- I support the 28th Amendment.

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1805 posts in 1834 days

#7 posted 809 days ago

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


2938 posts in 890 days

#8 posted 809 days ago

Any varnish or spar.

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

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964 posts in 1468 days

#9 posted 809 days ago

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


15667 posts in 2821 days

#10 posted 809 days ago

Water based poly for sure.

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

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2709 posts in 1180 days

#11 posted 809 days ago

Crystalac water borne poly. No color at all.

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

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