revisiting polyshades for specific reasons.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by dobro23 posted 05-26-2013 07:31 AM 2249 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dobro23's profile


2 posts in 1824 days

05-26-2013 07:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: polyshades paneling pine even color trick tips hvlp spray

The situation is that my project is made of cheap 1/8” not real wood paneling bought from Lowes. I think it’s called cinnamon beech. I decided to use it because the project involves several bends and i needed it for its light weight and flexibility. my original though was Masonite but the paneling provided some fake grain and much more flexibility. now here’s the dilemma. I need to make the paneling darker. the ONLY thing that i have found that darkens it AT ALL is Polyshades. i bought a quart and haven’t applied it yet. i did put some on a 8” square of scrap of the same material and was very happy overall. seemed smooth and shiny and wondering if that’s because it’s going over an already applied factory finish of some sort. since such a small piece i applied it with a small cheap synthetic brush cause that’s what i didn’t mind ruining. the actual project is 2 4’x8’ sheets of the stuff. vertical surfaces and all edges trimmed with cheap ugly pine boards that are also bent. its the grain gets hidden its not a but deal but i would still LIKE do have a decently even colored finish. I found that if i lightly sad the paneling i can actually scratch through the “photo grain” layer. and i am afraid that the cheap pine is so cheap that it would look miserable ( which isn’t bad really in this case) if i used regular stain. I was hoping that Polyshades might be the answer to both problems here. 1 being getting something to color the prefinished NOT wood paneling and 2 being trying to get the pine and paneling colors to be similar and even. I have a moderate amount of finishing skill and usually get acceptable results brushing or wiping on finishes. I own a cheap HVLP sprayer but have NEVER used it. seems to me that this might be a good chance to try it out. the Polyshades seems too thick but i don’t know if that’s true. how would i thin the Polyshades and how do i know when it’s thin enough? looking for any tips and tricks that anyone has in the next day or two. I’m probably going to apply the stain tomorrow or Monday. thanks all in advance! wish me luck!

7 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


11618 posts in 2377 days

#1 posted 05-26-2013 08:14 AM

It’s oil based, you can thin with mineral spirits.

-- Rick M,

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3062 days

#2 posted 05-26-2013 10:14 AM

In my limited experience with Polyshades I have found it to be a miserable product to brush (blotching an sagging on vertical surfaces) but performs much better when sprayed. I bought a cheap HVLP gun specifically to try to improve the quality of finish with PS and I was able to achieve decent results. I thinned it about 10% using mineral spirits.

-- PaulMayer,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4215 days

#3 posted 05-26-2013 02:06 PM

You’re probably sailing in uncharted waters here. I’m surprised the polyshades even adheres to the faux paneling. I agree with Paul, though, that spraying is probably your best bet. I would try a mixture of around 20% mineral spirits.

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

View knotscott's profile


8012 posts in 3372 days

#4 posted 05-26-2013 02:31 PM

Polyshades can work, but it’s tough to get a great finish with. I’d thin to slow the setup time, and try very hard not to rebrush.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#5 posted 05-26-2013 02:39 PM

If I were going to set up a challenge for some one to prove they are a great finisher I would have them try and get a good finish with the products and material your using to make as tough as possible. IMO polyshades is a poor product then your trying to apply it to a panel with a photo grain plus troublesome pine . First I would take out your spray unit and practice using it by just using water on car board or what ever you have. If you can use something other than your Photo grain panel I would think about that,if not I would try spraying some dewaxed shellac on the panel and the pine (do a test on your scrap piece) then buy some General finishes dye/finish and spray it on your project.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1889 days

#6 posted 05-26-2013 02:43 PM

Good luck with your results! Look forward to knowing how it turned out.

With jobs like that, if you expect a final 80-90% ‘perfection level’, it can turn out fine. Explaining this beforehand to clients is an art form in itself but very necessary to keep moving forward on a project.

Tips and tricks: For final matching you could also apply coloured wax to the affected areas.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View dobro23's profile


2 posts in 1824 days

#7 posted 05-27-2013 11:54 PM

so, it actaully didn’t turn out too bad. like redsled said, 80-90%. i would say actually 95% in this case. there is a small run and a a few dark streaks but for such a miserable product, i’m pretty happy with the results. i sprayed on 3 coats in about 8 hours. had the piece out in the yard and used a cheap $40 HVLP turbine set up from Harbor Freight. I’ll tell you what, harbor freight sells mostly junk but that thing is worth all of $40 bucks! prolly worth 4 times that! I’ll post pics in about a week or so when the project is totally finished. thanks to everyone who chimed in on this and gave me a little direction. One question i have: I thinned the polyshades with mineral spirits by about 10%. Not sure why. would the gun not spray the thicker factory formula or is there another reason? just wondering…

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