Question about Minwax Finishes

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by AngieO posted 07-18-2012 10:37 PM 3058 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2141 days

07-18-2012 10:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing staining question

Ok… went shopping today at Harbor Freight. LOL… now I know why people try not to ever tell anyone to go there. I saw a couple of things that made me wonder but overall I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without.

BUT… usually I hit the craft stores and I opted out of Hobby Lobby. My mom made me go to Michael’s instead of the pawn shop (looking for tools lol). As we were leaving I saw a display of Minwax products. This is what I ended up getting.

At my Lowe’s the 8oz cans of Minwax Wood Finish is 4.77. I got them for 1.99 each on clearance. The spray cans are 7.87 and I got them 3.19. I don’t know how much the wood conditioner is at Lowes but I got it for 1.99 as well. And I got the can of Polyacrylic for 1.79. I got it all for 29.19.
The little cans were all marked 1.79 a piece and the spray cans were marked 4.99. When I got home I realized they charged 1.99 for the little ones and 3.19 for the big ones. It works out in my favor so I’m not complaining…

So my question… Some of the cans are different. Some say “Wood Finish” and the others say “Wood Stain”. What’s the differences? And… What am I gonna use the Polyacrylic for? And… what do you guys think about the spray cans?

I just got one of each color they had because they were cheap and I wanted to try different colors to see what I liked most.

Thanks for all your help. I’m still learning this stuff. Now I need to go get out there and make something on my new workbench I made yesterday. And try out the colors that I just bought. I’m still on a high about how well the workbench turned out… and even more excited that it’s #4 right now.

25 replies so far

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2980 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 11:22 PM

I prefer the “Wood Finish” over the “Wood Stain”. The wood stains are water based and easier to clean.. that doesn’t really matter to me (I apply finish with a rag rather than a brush so it’s all disposable to me) and I think it just gives a smoother colour in a tone I like. Maybe it’s just me, but the water based ones always come out a bit browner.. and I like my wood stains red. Just personal preference.

I’ve used the spray and had decent luck with it. You still have to wipe it in and down but if you are doing a large surface, or an irregular surface BOY is it handy!! I do carvings and sometimes stain them and that makes life a lot easier.

Try the polyacrylic! Omg! You’ll love it! You need to apply several coats and I generally sand between every three or four. I like to do about 10 coats. It will give you a rock solid shiny surface that can withstand near anything. AND, it doesn’t yellow the wood even a little bit. This is a perfect finish to use on really pale woods, especially if you have contrast and you want to keep it as bright as possible. Also works good on purpleheart, in my experience. Most other finishes make it browner.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Alexandre's profile


1417 posts in 2185 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 11:28 PM

I have the wax.
I’m using it and dum dum dum. Expect a update on my project soon.

-- My terrible signature...

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2141 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 11:37 PM

Thanks for the info Lis

Alexandre… hope to see your project soon.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2506 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 11:40 PM

Myself I don’t like either but for the price you got them at Angie you can’t go wrong, I try to keep my woods in their natural color and just go for the pop wow factor, I’ve been using tung oil and Lacquer seems to be working for me.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3062 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 11:49 PM

A stain is what puts the color on a piece of wood. They come in many forms (water based, oil based, penetrating, wipe on, etc, etc). All behave somewhat differently, but only provide a color.

Finish is applied to protect the stain. Finishes can include oil based, water based, lacquer, shellac, etc. In addition to protecting the stain, they can add “shine” ranging from high gloss down to eggshell. Water based finishes usually dry clear without changing the overall color of the stained wood. Other finishes can add a slight tint (often yellow).

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2787 days

#6 posted 07-19-2012 12:09 AM

There is a lot of good information on the minwax website. Great prices you got too.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View NormG's profile


6109 posts in 2998 days

#7 posted 07-19-2012 12:10 AM

Sawkerk is correct, ciuld not have said it any plainer. Good with the work bench projects, post them as you can

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3977 days

#8 posted 07-19-2012 12:31 AM

MinWAX Red Mahogany stain Rocks ! Benn using it for years. I is found in any Walmart, so you can get it 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. It goes on easy and repeats. So far it has given me the old worn mission finish I strive for.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3095 days

#9 posted 07-19-2012 12:34 AM

Ya know AngieO, I find it really hard to believe what you are telling us…

went shopping today at Harbor Freight. overall I didn’t find anything I couldn’t live without.

Are you sure….....................

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

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2141 days

#10 posted 07-19-2012 01:25 AM

redryder – LOL! Well… I did buy some casters for my workbench. I’m taking the Lowe’s ones back. But that was all I got THERE. LOL…. I didn’t say anything about the other stuff I found elsewhere :)

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2980 days

#11 posted 07-19-2012 01:53 AM

The thing is that the coloured minwax finish still really requires a finish.. it’s just as porous when you are done as when you started.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2965 days

#12 posted 07-19-2012 05:36 PM

You stole that Polycrylic at $1.99.
I completely agree with Lis, it’s a great product.
Just don’t shake it, it’ll get all foamy.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2242 days

#13 posted 07-19-2012 05:59 PM

Angie, experiment with some other types of finishes as well. I am not a big fan of stains. If I want something dark, I will use dark wood. However my wife is and she is the boss, so almost everything I make for the house gets stained. You will find finishes like Danish Oil, and other natural oils are so much easier to apply and work with.

As the others have mentioned, what you have there will add color to your wood. It will still be as if it were bare though. You need to protect it and seal it somehow. There are many options, Just make sure what you chose is compatible with your stain


View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2141 days

#14 posted 07-19-2012 08:12 PM

Actually the Polyacrylic and the wood conditioner were the things that I was going to get multiples of. There was only one polyacrylic and two conditioners.

My son took a shop class in school and made a pretty impressive table. I’m pretty pleased with it. I actually bought the first thing of minwax stain (I used on my box and frames) to match the table he made because I intend to make one for a nightstand and I want them to match. He said they put polyurethane over that to seal it. So I have some of that.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4212 days

#15 posted 07-19-2012 08:38 PM

In the terminology Minwax uses, the yellow cans marked “wood finish” are oil based stains. The white cans marked “wood stain” are water based stains. I prefer the oil-based myself. The water-based stains, as Lis said, are easy to clean up, but they tend to raise the grain.

The polycrylic is a water-based clear finish. It gives a more colorless finish than oil-based clear finishes, which tend to be a bit yellowish in color.

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

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics