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Okay so I know this has to be posted in hear, and unfortunately may fall in line with the "dumbing down" that other people have been frustrated with, but, alas I am so confused I have to ask.
I do not understand the difference between a varnish and a polyurethane. I seem to see the words used interchangably and I thought they meant the same thing. But then I was looking and saw stuff about spar varnish, oil-varnish, and some really confusing article on polyurethane finishes. (then there is the whole lacquer thing which I don't get either...but since I have no spray stuff I just figure ignorance is bliss). I read about Garrett Hacks homemade varnish with boiled linseed oil, turpentine, and varnish?!?
Here are my questions in a nutshell:
When someone says they used varnish as their finishing coat, are we talking about the can of minwax polyurethane that I have sitting in my garage or is there something else called varnish? (I know there are other brands but that was just my example)
What is the difference between polyurethane and varnish if there is one...both in chemical make-up and pros and cons of using it.
Does the spar varnish finish Lon Schleining used in his article in 2002, have the same protection as a polyurethane?
Finally the whole solvent thing was cleared up after an article I read...but I still have the question does thinning something make it have a less hard finish or does it affect the quality of the finish at all? Is it just used to affect dry time?
Lost in fumes,