Water-Base Wipe-On Poly - WB vs OB - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-01-2019, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Water-Base Wipe-On Poly - WB vs OB

In LA, oil based products are banned, so no more arm r seal. At least now, I can feel rest assured I will die from SMOG instead of VOCs.

Since it's dipping below 55 outside, I need to finish my projects indoors using water based solutions.

1. Is this "Water-Base Wipe-On Polyurethane" from Minwax decent? The online amazon reviews sounds amazingly good.

2. GF Enduro Var - since that product is suppose to skip DW shellac, it goes on bare wood. Although, I recently applied Enduro Var on top of DW Shellac, however, I assume it will fail in a couple of years. How does it look compared to oil finishes when applied to BARE WOOD?

My last can spoiled since I left outside, and I didn't want to go out and spend $25 each time just to test things out, so I thought maybe you folks can help.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-01-2019, 08:26 AM
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Personally I don't think Minwax makes anything that is good. Their finishes scratch easier and their stains are prone to fade but in all fairness I've never used their water based poly.

In some applications where the wood or stain is light in color a water based finish is beneficial anyway. Oil based finishes tend to yellow with age and shows up badly on light wood.

You shouldn't have any more trouble putting a water based finish over dewaxed shellac than you would over itself. You can't really compare water based polyurethane with oil based polyurethane because the only similarity is the name. They are two completely different finishes. The oil based poly will always be the better finish.

There are problems finishing with water based poly you should be aware of. No. 1 is linseed oil. The water based poly is incompatible with linseed oil and will cause the finish to peal if it's not completely dry. Oil based stains contain linseed oil so they must dry a lot longer than you think before topcoating. Then when applying a water based poly to raw wood the appearance tends to be very bland. In order to enhance the grain otherwise known as making it pop most put a single coat of linseed oil on the wood first. Putting straight linseed oil on the wood makes the incompatible problem even bigger. In warm weather a person should wait a week before topcoating with a waterborne finish. In winter it's probably closer to two weeks. A natural stain would work as well and would only take a couple days drying time before putting the waterboarne finish over the top. There is a shortcut though, you can put a dewaxed shellac over the linseed oil and when it dries it makes a barrier coat allowing you to proceed with the waterborne finish.
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post #3 of 15 Old 01-01-2019, 02:40 PM
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I also do not like the water based poly for the reasons Steve detailed. I think I'd be tempted to drive out of state to purchase the oil based finishes of my favor, unless California has border guards that search your car and make you declare what you are bringing into the state. May sound extreme, but we have to drive up into Michigan to purchase certain bourbons that are not sold in Ohio due to some absurd legal restrictions. I doubt it's VOC related though.

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post #4 of 15 Old 01-01-2019, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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I also do not like the water based poly for the reasons Steve detailed. I think I'd be tempted to drive out of state to purchase the oil based finishes of my favor, unless California has border guards that search your car and make you declare what you are bringing into the state.
Oil Solvents will be extinct eventually though, and the bans will reach your region at some point.

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post #5 of 15 Old 01-02-2019, 02:09 AM
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I personally like to use Zinsser Sealcoat on Maple before applying WB poly to get a warm color similar to oil based poly. I agree with Sanvito that eventually all oil based finishes will be prohibited.

EDIT: Note that Zinsser does not recommend using Sealcoat under WB Poly but I have had no problems doing so.

Last edited by GeneT; 01-02-2019 at 02:13 AM.
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-02-2019, 06:09 AM
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I personally like to use Zinsser Sealcoat on Maple before applying WB poly to get a warm color similar to oil based poly. I agree with Sanvito that eventually all oil based finishes will be prohibited.
You can get the exact same look, color wise, with a thin coat of linseed oil or similar before the topcoat. I do it all the time with shellac, a quick coat of BLO followed by a sprayed on coat of shellac really makes woods like walnut pop. Same trick works for water based topcoats, just have to make sure that the oil is well and truly dry before topcoating, and a coat of sealcoat would make for best results. According to Zinser, sealcoat is compatible with all clear finishes, and is even recommended for use under water-borne poly, cant imagine where they wouldve also recommended against it.

Another agreement that the manufactured oil-based stuff is on its way out, as it should be. World would be a nicer place with fewer VOC's and less petrochemical products floating around, stuff is hardly good for the planet. Admittedly the stuff they use in polyurethane is probably pretty low on the list of harmful products, but still

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post #7 of 15 Old 01-02-2019, 01:11 PM
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I like Minwax's oil based poly. I think it's "bad" reputation is based on the fact that it is readily available at the big box stores and therefore is not "professional". (It is marketed to the home owner, not the professional, I'll admit.)

A fully cured (2 weeks or more) Minwax oil based will be hard enough that I cannot damage the finish by scraping a penny across the surface. This is significantly better than the GF water based finishes (I've never used their oil based).

There are more sophisticated tests out there, but the "penny test" is my go to for an acceptable finish. I have a cup holder at work that I made 20 years ago. Pressing the edge of the penny as hard as I can and dragging it across the surface leaves no marks at all. For me that is "acceptable".

Also note that the curing process does not end at 2 weeks. My 20 year old pieces have harder surfaces than the 2 week old ones do. 200 hours is typically said to be a "full cure", I suspect that 200 hours (close to 7 days) is about a 90% cure at best.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-03-2019, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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You can get the exact same look, color wise, with a thin coat of linseed oil or similar before the topcoat.
In the past day, I been adding 3 WB coats with a foam brush in my living room, every 2 hours, while watching netflix movies. No fumes, no gloves, and my mess is cleaned with water. Unbelievable. And I think it looks as good as the oil finishes I have bene using. Maybe in summer, I will go back to oil finishes, but WB is perfect for these cold days.
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-03-2019, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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WB finish stool
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-03-2019, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
You can get the exact same look, color wise, with a thin coat of linseed oil or similar before the topcoat. I do it all the time with shellac, a quick coat of BLO followed by a sprayed on coat of shellac really makes woods like walnut pop. Same trick works for water based topcoats, just have to make sure that the oil is well and truly dry before topcoating, and a coat of sealcoat would make for best results. According to Zinser, sealcoat is compatible with all clear finishes, and is even recommended for use under water-borne poly, cant imagine where they wouldve also recommended against it.

Another agreement that the manufactured oil-based stuff is on its way out, as it should be. World would be a nicer place with fewer VOC's and less petrochemical products floating around, stuff is hardly good for the planet. Admittedly the stuff they use in polyurethane is probably pretty low on the list of harmful products, but still
Yes the linseed oil base will impart a warm color to WB poly but at the time I was finishing indoors so the fumes would have been problematic. The last time I purchased Sealcoat (several years) the can did specifically state not to use with WB poly. Maybe the formula has changed since then?
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post #11 of 15 Old 01-03-2019, 10:08 AM
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In the past day, I been adding 3 WB coats with a foam brush in my living room, every 2 hours, while watching netflix movies. No fumes, no gloves, and my mess is cleaned with water. Unbelievable. And I think it looks as good as the oil finishes I have bene using. Maybe in summer, I will go back to oil finishes, but WB is perfect for these cold days.
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WB finish stool
I would like to know exactly what steps @sanvito took, in what order, to achieve those beautiful finishes. They really do "pop."
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post #12 of 15 Old 01-03-2019, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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I would like to know exactly what steps @sanvito took, in what order, to achieve those beautiful finishes. They really do "pop."
Step 1: After outdoor sanding, and light water spray to deal with grain raising, Grab the remote, and find a good movie on the TV.
2: place the board on your coffee table and add General Finishes Dye Stain. I mixed Org/Br/Red. no sanding.
3: Add thin coat of dewax shellac.
4: find a new movie
5: 1 thin coat with foam brush of GF High Performance Gloss, then 2 heavier coats with scuff sanding every 2 hours each.

I opted out of filling the grain as the coats filled it in about halfway. But now I worry about dust getting into the grains over time, and dulling the finish. I will try Timbermate next time, but not sure how that plays with GF Dye Stain.

That WB dye is amazing on African Mahogany. I'm planning on more projects with more color choices. My walnut projects come out bland using just Oil finishes. I plan to add a thin coat of yellow dye next time.

The HP Gloss is not too shiny at all. However, Arm R Seal Gloss is way too glossy.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-03-2019, 03:49 PM
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Personally I don't think Minwax makes anything that is good....
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-05-2019, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by sanvito View Post
Step 1: After outdoor sanding, and light water spray to deal with grain raising, Grab the remote, and find a good movie on the TV.
2: place the board on your coffee table and add General Finishes Dye Stain. I mixed Org/Br/Red. no sanding.
3: Add thin coat of dewax shellac.
4: find a new movie
5: 1 thin coat with foam brush of GF High Performance Gloss, then 2 heavier coats with scuff sanding every 2 hours each.

I opted out of filling the grain as the coats filled it in about halfway. But now I worry about dust getting into the grains over time, and dulling the finish. I will try Timbermate next time, but not sure how that plays with GF Dye Stain.

That WB dye is amazing on African Mahogany. I'm planning on more projects with more color choices. My walnut projects come out bland using just Oil finishes. I plan to add a thin coat of yellow dye next time.

The HP Gloss is not too shiny at all. However, Arm R Seal Gloss is way too glossy.
Excellent technique!!! I particularly like the use of the dewaxed shellac to "fix" the dye before top coating with the WB poly. For those not familiar with WB poly DO NOT USE TACK RAGS!!! IT WILL MESS UP THE FINISH.
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-05-2019, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent technique!!! I particularly like the use of the dewaxed shellac to "fix" the dye before top coating with the WB poly. For those not familiar with WB poly DO NOT USE TACK RAGS!!! IT WILL MESS UP THE FINISH.
Thanks for the tack rags warning. I didn't think of that, and I could have easily used one without thinking. I do use a damp towel to wipe down after sanding.

Well, I went out and got the Enduro-Var and will test it out. The thought of finishing my project this weekend is too good to be true.
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