I officially hate Minwax Polycrylic

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Forum topic by Jofa posted 12-20-2013 07:04 PM 26349 views 1 time favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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272 posts in 1982 days

12-20-2013 07:04 PM

I’ve been using Minwax gloss polyurethane for a long time and the results have been great. However, I wanted to try water-based poly and gave Minwax Polycrylic a shot (mostly because I was trying to get a finish that wouldn’t tint the wood at all).

The polycrylic is tougher to work with IMO. Seems that it doesn’t lay down as nicely as oil based and it also seems to require a lot more to build it up.

Am I dreaming this or is this common?

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

31 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


5757 posts in 2957 days

#1 posted 12-20-2013 07:06 PM

The magazines sure make the water based products sound great. The lower VOC idea is good, but it seems the products themselves need improvement.
I like sprayable lacquer the best. The second coat melts into the first, and I am done in one afternoon.

I visited a quaint little furniture store with lots of handmade case goods. The finish on most pieces was rough and brushed-on. Then I found a craftsman style dining table in the back that had a wonderful satin luster and smooth finish. I complimented the owner on the finish and he said “Oh, I didn’t finish that one.”
I felt bad, but realized then that sprayed lacquer finishes are the ones I like!

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3864 days

#2 posted 12-20-2013 07:16 PM

The local HomeDepot switched from Minwax to Varathane. I was very impressed with the increase in quality and ease of use. I’ve learned that Minwax doesn’t work in a lot of situations and has low bonding capability. I used to like water-based finishes, but now prefer oil-based ones. The wood seems to like them better.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5091 posts in 2637 days

#3 posted 12-20-2013 07:20 PM

I wouldn’t judge waterborne finishes based on your experience with the Minwax. To me, Minwax is the Harbor Freight of finishes. Try one of the higher quality brands. Target Coatings, GF, maybe even the new Rustoleum Ultimate waterborne (may be the same as the Varathane product). Don’t get seduced by the word polyurethane either. All waterbornes are predominantly an acrylic resin finish….some of the manufacturers have added a small amount of urethane resins so they can (IMHO) put that seemingly magic word on the label.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29871 posts in 2482 days

#4 posted 12-20-2013 07:22 PM

I switched to Varathane as well. Didn’t like what I was getting from Minwax.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2254 days

#5 posted 12-20-2013 07:24 PM

Try General Finishes waterbased products. They are simply outstanding!

View nwbusa's profile


1021 posts in 2430 days

#6 posted 12-20-2013 07:45 PM

My experience with Minwax products is that they generally suck (especially their Polyshades stains). Varathane, on the other hand, has given excellent results.

-- John, BC, Canada

View pintodeluxe's profile


5757 posts in 2957 days

#7 posted 12-20-2013 07:51 PM

Fred, regarding your comment … “Minwax is the Harbor Freight of finishes”

I am still laughing.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Bill White's profile (online now)

Bill White

5070 posts in 4104 days

#8 posted 12-20-2013 08:41 PM

I don’t/won’t use any MW products. By in large they are “crapithane”. Yep! The HF comparison is accurate.
Mud in a can.
Wanna know how I really feel?


View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3721 days

#9 posted 12-20-2013 08:45 PM

As for most minwax products I agree they are the Hf of finishes ,I’ve used polycric for years with good results.
I also agree that General finishes makes good products. I have not bought any new finishing products in the last 6 months and I understand that many of the finishing projects have had to meet new VOC guide lines and have reformulated and are not what they use to be.
I’ve been spraying finishes for 40+ years and all of the different types of finishes shoot differently, particuarly when you switch from oil base to waterborne products. Water borne top coats need to be recoated in the time period the instructions describes on the can,they do not flow or melt into the previous coat like oil base products do. Like most top coats it’s important to stir you finishes throughly and remember to do so before recoating(many times 3 hours apart for WB)

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SuperCubber's profile


1037 posts in 2428 days

#10 posted 12-21-2013 04:07 AM

I’ve used both Minwax Polycrylic and GF water-based. While I prefer the GF, I don’t hate the Polycrylic. It haas given me great results. I just finished spraying a chair with it and it looks and feels great. That being said, I generally stay away from most of the Minwax stains.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View ChuckC's profile


842 posts in 3079 days

#11 posted 12-21-2013 04:20 AM

Polycrylic dries fast so you have to apply it in thin coats or it won’t lay right. I’ve used the stuff in a can and rattle can spray. I prefer the spray. If you prefer a can be carful not to shake it or you will get a lot of air bubbles. Just stir it with a stick.

View mrossk's profile


3 posts in 1778 days

#12 posted 12-21-2013 06:04 AM

Had very nice results with the Rustoleum, as well as with the General Finishes. Both much easier to use than the Miniwax, IMO

View pmayer's profile


1029 posts in 3209 days

#13 posted 12-21-2013 09:32 AM

I have had mixed results with MW PC. I tried General Finish as well and thought it was pretty good. I like Deft’s water based product better than both of them. I think it lays down and flows out better, and I like the tone of it better than MW as well (although the tone of the General Finish product is pretty similar to deft)

In the summer when I don’t mind leaving the windows open for a few days I use Minwax oil based wipe on which I like the look of better than any water based product.

-- PaulMayer,

View Tennessee's profile


2880 posts in 2658 days

#14 posted 12-21-2013 01:12 PM

I’ll stick my neck out and admit that I’ve used Minwax stains for decades. Their Natural is a wonderful grain enhancer. As far as their lacquer and polyurethanes, no thanks…I think I still have one quart of their brushing lacquer, (seems like an oxymoron statement on larger surfaces), unopened for years now.
I’ve been a Deft lacquer fan for years, was sorry to see that Lowes stopped carrying it. Varathane is excellent. For heavy finishes, I sprayed Mccloskey’s Gymseal a few times. Gone now, the replacement is called Man-O-War. Have not tried that.
I’ve tried a couple of the above mentioned water-based finishes. To this old goat, they are just too much of an adjustment for me. Too much wood fuzz. I’m like Willie – spray on one coat of good lacquer, go back a little later and put on one more coat that blends beautifully into the first, done…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2994 days

#15 posted 12-21-2013 04:18 PM

It is a mistake to take solvent based habits, tools and procedures into the waterborne field. You have to recast your thinking, get a good, purpose-built brush and practice while paying attention not to the work, but to how the material responds to what your hands are doing.

Perhaps this will make my point clearer: Consider an operation that you do on the tablesaw, one which can also be done on a radial arm saw, which you’ve never used. Switching from the former to the latter, and expecting excellent results, you would likely do some research, try some things out, experiment a little before subjecting your current project to potential substandard results.

Now to climb down out of this pulpit…. : )



-- " 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"

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