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Thread: Non-ambering poly or varnish

  1. #1

    Non-ambering poly or varnish

    Hi Guys,

    I am looking for a good finish that will not cause the usual amber tint to the wood (or as little as possible). I like the color combination that I have right now on a coffee table and I want it to change as little as possible during the finishing process.

    Some people have told me that Wipe on Poly ambers less than other varnishes, is that true? I have a can of Varathane Clear Gloss ... is it worth getting some Wipe on Poly or are the two basically the same thing?

    Thanks again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Hey Dawson I am the last of the finishing experts. I havent even finished my projects this year. But last night i was browsing through the old Lee Valley Catalog and saw this stuff and i remember it cause it said it does not change the color, take a look at it.,190,42942

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    London, Ontario
    I find that Flecto Varathane WB is very clear.

    but this might be a good time to check out a magazine review since They test dozens of finishes and I don't...
    There's usually more than one way to do it... ........

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    falcon heights, minnesota
    art, that's what i used on a cribbage board that i didn't want to effect the color of parts of it. a bit on the pricey side though.
    benedictione omnes bene

    check out my etsy store, buroviejowoodworking

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Dawson, get some Minwax wipe on poly in whatever sheen you want, I use it for furniture restoration and it stays clear.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    The water-based polys tend to change the wood colors the less than oil-based versions, at least in my experience. Oil will always darken the wood a bit. I've used PolyCrylic with good results, and little to no darkening.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7

    Water-based poly gets my vote, especially for a surface that gets a lot of wear like a coffee table. Your can of Varathane may just be that...check the don't want oil-based. I put Varathane water-based poly on the hardwood floor I installed for my son 3 years ago, and it's doing fine so far. I also put it on a small wall shelf that I built for him out of some beautifully-figured ash, rubbed it out, and I'm very pleased with the result.

    Some things about water-based poly:
    It's as clear a coating as you can get (imo).
    It's very durable.
    It doesn't spray well (maybe if you thinned it way down, but I've always brushed it on).
    It dries very quickly. You can coat twice in a day.
    It rubs out well if you give it 3 or 4 days to cure enough to withstand the rubbing (put on 3 coats).

    There are as many ways to rub out a finish as there are what?...stars in the sky? Seems so to me. My preference is pumice and rottenstone, but I'm sure you'll hear about others. Use 2 grits of pumice followed by rottenstone and the surface will be as smooth as a baby' might not believe it at first. Try it on a piece of scrap to convince yourself.

    Wipe-on anything that is oil-based will affect the color. Plus wipe-on doesn't build well, so you end up with a beautiful surface that can't withstand any kind of punishment. It's all a huge trade-off...I actually like wipe-on oil (polymerized tung oil is my all-time favorite) when it suits the application. But for what you want, first try the above on some scrap...then expand your experiments.

    Good luck.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Target Coatings USL gets my vote. If you want a little tougher finish, use their EM3000CV.
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member and Member of Mensa
    My Weather Underground station

  9. #9
    Thanks Guys, great feedback once again. I ended up picking up some Minwax polycrylic last night and put a couple coats on. It's looking good so far.

    This time I really will post a few pics of some of things I've been working on lately. Thanks!

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