Water based urethane, how many coats to get a great finish???

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Forum topic by Michigander posted 06-15-2012 11:13 PM 4630 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2445 days

06-15-2012 11:13 PM

My cherry TV cabinet staining came out well. I have put 5 coats of General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane on it and it looks great. How many coats should I put on for the best protection, without becoming visible (as in plactic looking).

7 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2387 days

#1 posted 06-16-2012 12:09 AM

You’ve already gone two coats more than needed. Why more?

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3345 days

#2 posted 06-16-2012 12:28 AM

I agree with Clint. Three coats should usually do the trick.

Remember to give the finish time to cure before you put anything on it! It takes time, up to 30 days.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2876 days

#3 posted 06-16-2012 04:44 AM

What sheen?

I use GF WB Semi Gloss poly on my instruments. I’ve found that the build doesn’t really show any depth until I get to 6 or even 7. I use a Gramercy brush from Tools for Working Wood= and it’s worth every penny. I get a thin coat that’s very even. Recoat in 2 hours.

I let it sit a week before I rub it out. This particular procedure, for both bodies and necks, has evolved over the years and acts just like I want it to.

I hope this helps, though it is not a direct answer to your question.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2445 days

#4 posted 06-17-2012 01:01 PM

Sorry for the delay in getting back here; been away from the computer. Thanks for the input guys, the sheen is is satin and I am pretty satisfied with the way it has turned out. For the box components I am less concerned with getting depth but more bruise protection. As this is a TV cabinet, components will be slid on the shelves and cables bumping around etc, so I want to protect from that. As for the top, I would like the protection as well as depth as the top will be solid cherry.
Thanks for your input.

View killerb's profile


150 posts in 2424 days

#5 posted 06-17-2012 01:43 PM

More coats will not make the finish harder. It just makes it thicker. As the others have said, 3 is fine. bob

-- Bob

View Michigander's profile


220 posts in 2445 days

#6 posted 06-18-2012 02:27 PM

Thanks Guys, appreciate the help.

View Arvid's profile


17 posts in 3037 days

#7 posted 06-18-2012 03:04 PM

The number of coats really depends on the application method. With a brush, I usually stop at three as mentioned above, but it I spray or wipe on a finish I normally go higher. The other thing to mention when using water based urethane, I normally start with a base of dewaxed shellac for color/warmth then at the urethane for protection.

-- Arvid, Washington DC

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