Which is easier to apply Brushing Lacquer or Brushing Polyurethane

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Forum topic by Woodworker_Collins posted 06-10-2012 05:03 PM 1334 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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195 posts in 2540 days

06-10-2012 05:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tip resource question mahogany finishing refurbishing sanding modern polyurethane lacquer brushing

I am nearly to the finishing stage of a restoration project i have been doing on an old mahogany table, i am going for a semi gloss finish but i want it to be as easy as possible to apply so i wonder in your opinion which is easier to apply. By this i mean is it easy to spread, do you have to sad between coats, how may coats do you need to put on and which drys quicker. I thank all who try to help me with this problem.

-- Adam, Ireland,

3 replies so far

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3127 days

#1 posted 06-10-2012 05:10 PM

I have found they both dry in about the same amount of time. I use 0000 steel wool between coats. The polyurethane is definitely easier to spread than lacquer. You will find the fumes on the lacquer and oil based poly strong to work with. You can also buy water based poly which has no fumes. Good luck…...............

-- mike...............

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#2 posted 06-10-2012 05:22 PM

Lacquer dries really fast so dust in the finish isn’t as much
of a problem as it can be with varnishes. Also lacquer
doesn’t need to be sanded between coats. Arguably
this makes lacquer easier to apply, though of course the
fumes are nasty.

If you want the toughest finish for the stuff you choose,
use gloss and rub it down to dull it out. Semi-gloss and
matte finishes have “flattening” agents in them which
weaken the finish a bit.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3359 days

#3 posted 06-10-2012 09:17 PM

Good advice from Loren. Pesonally, I would choose polyurethane for a table because it is more durable and resists water and alcohol stains better. I always sand lightly between coats with 240 grit to remove dust nibs and hair straws. I usually do three coats. I like to rub out the final coat with car rubbing compound you can buy at a petrol station. this leaves a super smooth finish which is beautiful and very nice to the touch. My advice is to go for better rather than easier when it comes to tables.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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