January 3, 2017 by Scott - Saws on Skates
Polyurethane has it’s place, but for me, I generally don’t use it for my DIY furniture projects. Polyurethane is too finicky, the application is difficult and it doesn’t give the look I want for my projects. These are three reasons I don’t use polyurethane and what finish I use instead.
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3 Reasons Why I don’t Use Polyurethane
Polyurethane is way too fussy for me. Just look at the instructions on the back of the container… polyurethane must be applied in a dust free environment. That rules out applying polyurethane in my workshop or applying polyurethane outside. In my small house that means I’m applying poly in my kitchen!
Air bubbles are also an issue with polyurethane. Never shake a can of polyurethane or wipe your brush on the rim of the can because you’ll introduce bubbles into the finish. The bubbles will dry in your finish and leave the surface bumpy. The only way to get rid of the bubbles is to sand, which means more time and effort.
Just like air bubbles, drips can be an issue with polyurethane. Drips must be corrected right away while still wet. If drips are allowed to dry they’ll need to be cut out with a razor blade and sanded. Again, this is an extra step that will consume your time and effort
Application is Difficult
Applying polyurethane is difficult. The product must be applied with a brush in long, even strokes. You must also keep a wet edge. If you touch an area with your brush that is dry or drying, you’ll pull the finish which could leave bumps when it finally dries. These bumps will need to be sanded.
The Final Look
While polyurethane provides a clear, durable finish, to me it looks plastic-like. Polyurethane does not become part of the wood. If you look closely, you can see it just sits on top of the surface.
Where to Use Poly
Don’t get me wrong, polyurethane has it’s place. It’s great for floors, doors, woodwork around windows and doors and furniture that will get lots of abuse like dining tables and kitchen cabinets.
What I Use Instead
For my furniture projects I use a top coat that is waaaay less finicky, the application is a snap and the finish looks like a hand rubbed finish you might find on a quality antique. I use Bob’s Miracle finish for wood!
Because it’s a wipe on top coat, you don’t have to worry about applying in a dust free environment. You simply wipe it on, allow it to penetrate the wood for a few minutes, then wipe off. This means you can apply outside with plenty of fresh air and not have to worry about dust or insects getting trapped in your finish.
Air bubbles and drips aren’t a concern either. Again, you’ll wipe it on and wipe it off. So bubbles and drips are virtually impossible.
Did I mention this is a wipe on top coat? That means the application is sooo easy! Wipe it on with a rag, allow to penetrate and wipe it off with a clean rag. That’s it! No brushes, no worrying about keeping a wet edge and no sanding in between coats.
Because Bob’s Miracle finish for Wood actually penetrates into the wood, it becomes part of the wood itself. It doesn’t have that plastic, floating on top of the wood look that poly has. For me, Bob’s Miracle finish for Wood has the exact look I want for my projects. A timeless, not too shiny, hand rubbed look you might find on a quality antique.
Poly has it’s place on floors, doors, trim and table tops, but for me, I prefer a hand rubbed look on my furniture pieces. Who has time for finicky, difficult to apply finishes when you can make your own DIY finish that is easy to apply and gives amazing results. Make a batch of Bob’s Miracle finish for Wood today!