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MinWax Wipe-On Poly vs. Watco Wipe On...

Steve_Conroy's picture

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Hi everyone,
I am about to finish a mesquite desktop for a large computer workstation which will see lots of action. I'm looking for good protection, depth of color (to see the mesquite) and relatively short intervals between coats. I have a number of questions:

1. I'm used to spraying lacquer for my projects, but through this forum I have been persuaded to consider a wipe-on poly this time. How would the wipe-on perform compared to a nitrocellulose lacquer?

2. Is there a difference between Minwax's wipe-on (Dano's favorite)and Watco's wipe-on?

3. Is there a better alternative than lacquer or wipe-on? (I hesitate to use Behlen Rockhard Tabletop, I understand it is a brushed application, and have had less than prediictable results with brushing)

I would appreciate any feedback,
Thanks Steve

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #109512, reply #1 of 19)

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Steve,

I wouldn't say that Min Wax Wipe On Poly is my favorite finish, it's not. But, where durability is a big concern and a client still wants a hand rubbed look then, I will use it.

That being said, I've not tried Watco's wipe on poly primarily because I don't particularly care for their other finishing products...

Since this is a computer desk that I assume will see some fair amount of use, I would more than likely go with a high build film finish such as Interlux Goldspar 95 which is a one part high gloss polyurethane spar varnish or Goldspar Satin 60 which is a modified polyurethane low luster varnish. Using a high quality China bristle brush will yield very satisfactory results. FWIW.

Dano

Howard_Acheson's picture

(post #109512, reply #2 of 19)

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For a given film thickness, varnish--whether brushed or wiped on--is a more durable finish than lacquer. It will stand up to more abuse.

That said, and Dano knows this is coming, you can make your own wiping varnish. Mix your favorite with a thinner 50/50. Using mineral spirits will allow a longer tack free time than if you use naphtha.

I have tried Minwax's product verses the "homebrew" and I can not find any difference. YMMV.

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #109512, reply #3 of 19)

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And I will add my recommendation for using marine spar varnish (non-poly) to make your wiping varnish. Spar is more flexible than poly and thus less apt to scratch. You can choose the "sheen" you want by choosing satin or gloss. You may have to go to a "real" paint store to find non-poly varnish any more. This finish (non-poly wipe on varnish) is impervious to water, heat and highly wear resistant.

Keith_C's picture

(post #109512, reply #4 of 19)

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Does anyone else apply the wipe-on with 600 wet/dry besides me? Seems to fill the grain and smooth it out a whole lot better. I still sand then raise the grain and sand again as prep. I still sand between coats also.

Steve_Conroy's picture

(post #109512, reply #5 of 19)

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Thanks Dano, Howard, Gretchen and Keith,

From your comments so far, I conclude that Watco and Minwax wipe-on poly are most likely comparable, because as Howard points out, even home-brewed wipe-on is comparable.

Gretchen, I'm am wondering which spar varnishes you use or spars you at least recommend.

Thanks for your continued input to this forum,
Steve

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #109512, reply #6 of 19)

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Steve,

The Interlux products I mentioned are spar varnishes, one is a poly, the other a modified poly. Their Schooner Varnish 96 is a "traditional" spar varnish. Epifanes is another high quality manufacturer of marine grade spar and poly spar varnishes. Z-Spar also manufactures a decent spar and poly spar varnishes....FWIW.

Dano

wedgehead's picture

(post #109512, reply #7 of 19)

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I have had good results with McClolskeys spar. Be prepared for a bit more sheen than you are used to. The satin is so glossy (for me) that I haven't even tried the gloss.

Steve_Conroy's picture

(post #109512, reply #8 of 19)

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Dano and "Wedgehead",

Thanks for the clarification. Sounds like the McCloskey's will be too glossy for my client, who definitely wants a satin sheen.

Thanks again, Steve

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #109512, reply #9 of 19)

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Steve,

I recently ran a test on McCloskey's; it's floating around in here somewhere. Any who, I wouldn't use the stuff on a bird house, much less on a commissioned piece, sorry Mike.

It wasn't clear to me that this
i is
a commissioned piece, so now that it is clear, I will
i strongly
recommend that you go with the Goldspar Satin 60. This is not like your Min Wax Helmsman poly that looks like saran wrap. I don't know about yours but, my work is guaranteed so I don't half step when it comes to finishes....FWIW.

Dano

wedgehead's picture

(post #109512, reply #10 of 19)

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What problems have you had with McCloskey's Dano? I have had no problems with it, but I also likely have lower expectations due to my general lack of finishing skills......:o)

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #109512, reply #11 of 19)

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Mike,

It wasn't that I had any problems. First off, what I tested was their Man O'War Spar Varnish; has the consistency close to that of wipe on varnish which meant that I had to use damn near three times as much as normal and is already starting to flake and peel after about six months...

Dano

wedgehead's picture

(post #109512, reply #12 of 19)

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Wow, I haven't seen that so far, but I haven't subjected it to any outdoor type stuff. Hadn't really thought about it I guess, but it is pretty thin stuff. I've always felt that was the reason it levels so well. This is interesting, maybe I take too much for granted. The can i have is about empty. Next time I'm in the paint store I might browse around a bit and see what is new. It's not impossible to teach an old dog a new trick is it?
Gotta go. Have to go to Cambria for a couple days to hang some doors and trim for a friend. What a crappy place to work....Catch you next week.

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #109512, reply #13 of 19)

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Dan, not my experience either (referring to Wedgehead's answer below).My applications are not outside and I do use it in a 50/50 mix. And my experience is different from Wedge's--not glossy at all. It is possible that if you don't keep the flattening agents mixed that you will get more gloss. It is in my experience a hard wearing finish for table tops. Haven't run into your spar recommendations but will give a look out.
My sister, an exceptional refinisher, uses Pratt and Lambert spar (non poly) varnish and swears by that.

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #109512, reply #14 of 19)

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Gretchen,

I do know that Pratt & Lambert paints are of excellent quality...When it comes to varnishes, though, I tend to use what the boat builders use. I've tried and used more varnishes than Carter has pills over the past 40 years, so I'm very comfortable in recommending Interlux, Epifanes, and Z-Spar to others. These are available only through your marina or chandlery. FWIW.

Dano

JohnYaya_'s picture

(post #109512, reply #15 of 19)

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At the risk of going completely off topic, I couldn't resist asking.
Dano said..."Carter has pills "...

Who is Carter?

Danford_C._Jennings's picture

(post #109512, reply #16 of 19)

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Used to be a pharmacutical company that made "pills"...Guess it kinda dates me...

Dano

Steve_Schefer's picture

(post #109512, reply #17 of 19)

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Carters little Pills - Used for back pain. Does that date me. I still have some that I found in my Grandfathers medicine cabinet after he passed away.

Dave_Arbuckle's picture

(post #109512, reply #18 of 19)

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Grandma used it as "Carter's Little Liver Pills". They were sold as cure for a lot of things back when, you know the kind of snake oil claims that used to, uh, well, and sometimes still do get made. ;-)

What they are is a laxative, and may still be made as "Carter's Pills". A Yahoo search brings up lots of stuff, here's one that's kinda cute: http://theoldentimes.com/liverduty.html

Dave

Steve_Schefer's picture

(post #109512, reply #19 of 19)

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Laxative...? Oh Shi...

Yep your right, that's what they are, I just checked the little glass tube and thats what is says.
S