question to those who use Minwax wipe-on poly

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wilser, May 2, 2005.

  1. I have started experimenting on scrap before applying to the instrument, and the first coat went in. It pretty much got all absorbed by the wood and doesn't look shiny at all (I fear I mean have applied too little). Do you go by the instructions on the can or do you use a better method suited to instrument building?

  2. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    I've used it on a couple of instruments and I still haven't decided if I like it or not. It goes on pretty easy but builds slow. To get a hard gloss coat thick enough to withstand level-sanding I think I was up into the range of 15 to 20 applications. The other thing is that it doesn't bond well to previous coats if you let them get too hard before recoating. Then when you sand and buff you get lines where you sand through one layer into the next.

    That said, it does seem to make a nice durable finish when all is done. I think it's likely I just haven't figured out the right way to use it yet. The instructions only call for 1 or 2 coats so maybe it's intended as more of a sealer than a gloss coat.
  3. tjclem

    tjclem Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jun 6, 2004
    Central Florida
    Owner and builder Clementbass
    The thing I like about it is that I can apply it inside. I don't have to worry about it being too humid outside, like I do if I want to spray poly.......t
  4. hmm, yes, it does build slowly, it almost always seem to be absorbed by the wood. 1 or 2 coats is definetly not enough to get any good sheen. Also they recommend sanding with 220 between coats, which kind of seems harsh to me. Even sanding with 320 seems too much.

    Also, 15 to 20 coats is not so bad, since that's about what you have to do with aerosol lacquer. It does go on easily, but I'm concerned about having to wait for one side to dry before coating the other side. With aerosol, you hang the instrument from the ceiling and spray away. It dries quicker between coats (about 20 mins) and you can probably finish a whole instrument in a weekend. With this stuff, you have to wait 2 hours between coats.

    One question, do you sand between EVERY coat or do you build it up a bit (say 5 or 6 coats) before sanding?

  5. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I'm currently playing with Behr oil-based polyurethane (a hardwood floor finish). It's going on over a rattle-can red plywood body. If I can make plywood and spray paint look good, I figure I'll earn myself some refin bragging rights.

    My current process is to use a sponge brush and wet sand with 400 grit between coats to get rid of any dust or bubbles (I don't want them trapped under the finish). It seems to be working so far, provided I let it sit for at least 24 hours before I sand it (to prevent it from gumming up the paper). As far as I can tell the finish will be pretty close to bulletproof, but it's a bit time consuming to get it nice and flat.

    When it warms up I'm going to break out the sprayer and go to several coats a day to speed things up a bit.

  6. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    I was doing 6 to 8 coats an hour or two apart and then drying for a day or so before sanding and applying the next series. After the final coats I'd wait at least a week before the final sanding and buffing.

    YMMV - if you find a better method of using the stuff I'd like to hear about it. I'm not completely satisfied with any of the finishes I've done this way, although not having to deal with spraying almost makes it worth it.
  7. Well, I finished putting about 15 or so coats last night. So far, I kind of prefer spray. This stuff kind of leaves that linseed oil-like smell all over. Also, it dries so slow as to allow dust to settle in making it harder to achieve a level surface. All that is left is buffing.
  8. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    So far I've been sticking with the foam brush (fewer streaks than the natural bristle ones). I'm trying some fairly thick coats to see if I can get it to build faster.

    I've noticed the dust problem, though. Wet sanding gets rid of it, but sometimes it makes it feel like two steps forward, one step back.

    The light at the end of the tunnel is that I think I'll be able to get a wicked gloss out of it with a bit of patience.

  9. philthygeezer


    May 22, 2002
    I have had the same troubles.

    I started with Tru-Oil and it didn't harden up the wood and I was getting little dents and bruises on the body. The Minwax soaked in and cured that. So now I have Tru-Oil for colour and Minwax for hardness.

    I am thinking that carnauba polish over the Minwax might give me the best shine. What do you think of this idea?
  10. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    just buy the stuff in the can and use a regular brush, or my favorite: the foam brush. works just like the wipe on, except it's more concentratetd so it's easier to controll the thickness. doesn't really absorb. three coats will work for a nice look, and five is plenty for a nice hard finish. You can put it on indoors, and there isn't any aerosol to kill the enviroment.