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I am looking for a finish for a dresser. The look I am going after is basically automotive clear coat that is several coats thick. The dresser is maple that is un-died, just the natural color. I tried Minwax Polycrylic on a test piece and it brought out the grain of the wood just like I wanted, but didn’t know how well a water base would hold up. Any thing better out there? The finish I am going after is …

Clear (no yellow hue)
Thick deep coat
High Gloss is ok
Want to show off the grain as much as possible
 

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Did you consider an epoxy coat? That will give you a thick bartop style finish. I'm not sure how well it would work on any vertical surfaces though. Just something to consider.
 

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Polycrylic is some tuff stuff when cured really. They do make ii in a floor finish strength. Several coats and you are good to go.
GO NOT USE ANY STEEL WOOL!!!!!!!! You can buy Scotch brite pads just for finishing, ues fine between coats and after last coat lightly then take a pc of terry towel and buff the poop ou of it and it will be b u t full
 

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I've used the Polycrylic on occasion for the inside of some cabinets. It was okay, but there's better stuff at better prices. The Polycrylic doesn't spray very well when compared to others so especially if you're spraying, I'd look at other things.

http://www.targetcoatings.com/index.html

I'm a huge fan of Target Coatings and use them regularly. I use the 9000 poly for when I want a thicker, built-up finish on cabinets and the Emtech and Hybrivar conversion varnishes for a smoother look. I've become a big believer in their water-based shellac, although for furniture I still use alcohol-based shellac for the most part.

I also use the older M.L. Campbell water-based lacquer, the name escapes me, and it works very well too. I don't know what the availability of their products is though.
 

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I just orderd some WB poly from target coating, which come highly regarded. Many recommend a coat of clear shellac to highlight the grain and figure of maple. I like the look of shellac for a sealer.
 

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Maple Finish

For a "wet look" clear finish, I often use the Varathane Diamond Finish 200031. This is a relatively forgiving product to spray. Usually apply about 4-6 coats, spray with HVLP conversion gun, sanding with 240 between coats.

After the very last coat, and sand with 600 sand paper followed by 0000 steel wool (steel wool is okay after the very last coat) and then polish with automotive rubbing compound.

This only costs about 5 bucks a gallon more than Polyacrylic and is a better product.

The above is a lot of work b ut comes out nice.
 
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