Minwax Polyshades

I had an epiphany today concerning Polyshades.
Fellow came in with a table that had at one time been a perfectly innocuous reasonably well made piece of cheap unfinished furniture, but it was now brown and streaky and covered with brushmarks and dust blobs and looked like Hell. I instantly recognized it as Polyshades. Actually correcting the problems would be more effort than the table is worth (I mean if it was my table for my own use I'd have fixed it but it would be more in labor than we'd be likely to get for it). I went over it with some steel wool to knock down the gloss so the brushmarks didn't show so badly but it needs a strip and redo if it's ever going to look decent.
That's where the epiphany came. I realized that Polyshades is one the most _difficult_ finishes on the market to apply well and this is probably why it has such a bad reputation. Why? First, it's translucent--any variation in thickness shows as a color variation. Second, it dries fast--it doesn't level well and you can't apply it by brushing it on and wiping it off like you can a stain--by the time you've got the surface covered it's started to dry. Third, it's got the good abrasion resistance that's characteristic of polyurethane--sanding it flat is a pain in the butt. Fourth, the gloss is really shiny--if there's anything wrong with the finish, you'll see it. Only way to get it _even_ is to apply enough that it turns into brown paint. Or to spray it, which most folks aren't set up to do. Or use it on small projects where a single brush stroke will cover everything.
The big trouble with it isn't that it's a bad product, the big trouble is that it's sold as something that's easy to use. It's not. If this same fellow had gone over that table with a regular stain and then the wipe on polyurethane he'd have likely ended up with a nice looking table and probably in about the same amount of time. But nobody told him that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You did not mention the type of wood used for this table? Yes, it's not effortless to use Minwax Polyurethane. This is not my favourite finish. I had good result with it on Luan doors/windows trimmings previously varnished. The sanding was easy as the applied varnish was 20 years old. I found this easier to remove the trimming from the walls and do the sanding and varnishing on a work bench.
When I refinish furniture I remove the old coating using carbide scrappers and sand after. I like to use several coats of Tung oil on bear wood. After the Tung oil is dry and depending on what type of furniture and wood I use clear water born varnish. Happy New Year
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well, since you are being bold about Minwax, I will be, too.
I don't find that much wrong with Minwax products. Most of the time people have problems with their finishes it is their fault, plain and simple. Over the years I don't think you will find me bashing them on this forum. I don't prefer their finishes, but they are *much* better than some of the higher dollar finishes out there. For example, their polyurethane is just about bullet proof.
I digress.
As far as Polyshades is concerned, I think you nailed it down perfectly. FWIW, I couldn't agree more.
You must put PS over an existing finish such as lacquer based or shellac based primer. Putting it over plain wood is suicide as the grabby, porous nature of raw wood will take all the finish (and color!) unevenly. The person that applies it to raw wood doesn't stand any chance of a good end product.
You can't second coat that stuff. If you think coat #1 was bad, wow... try a second coat. You get a different color, streaking, and overall something really awful. To my knowledge there is no way to fix it.
I had to finish a small box for a friend of mine and I couldn't figure out how to get the finish he wanted. It was a color that matched a store that was really popular at the time called "The Bombay Shop" or something along those lines. The colors were nice, but the furniture was all MDF with that color on it. It was a proprietary color, and apparently Minwax struck up a deal to sell it so the home guy could match the knick knacks purchased there.
I chickened out. I sprayed the box with shellac. Sanded, then sprayed again. I changed over to a fine 1.2mm tip from my high pressure gun, and sprayed PS which I had cut down by about 30% (that sir, is cowardice!) to make sure I didn't get too much on too fast. It was like shooting water. It layed out nice, and I put about 4 coats on it, and even shaded the edges darker like the store stuff.
It came out looking nice, but WHAT A PAIN. It isn't anywhere near worth the effort it takes to use that stuff. A **novice** could have sealed the box, dyed it, shaded the edges and then covered with a nice lacquer in half the time. I do mean that literally. Never again for me.
(Note to self; no talking about projects when drinking bourbon with friends.)
Yet the my commercial rep at HD tells me that sell the hell out of that "one step stuff they advertise on TV". Go figure.
Robert
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In article <9e1fc5f5-117b-46c4-86d7-
says...

Keep building it until the whole project is a uniform brown. But at that point you may as well have just painted it brown to begin with.

So that was the deal on that place. Never really looked at any of their products.

Clever of them if so.

Yeah.
Personally I see the stuff as being a problem solver. It's already been finished and now it has to be a different color and a strip and refinish is not an option, that's probably the best use for it.

The power of advertising. And then the poor bastards get it home and try to use it and the result looks like crap. Or maybe for them it looks good enough.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That would be a different grain finish. The modern way to stain wood cabinets and stuff is to seal it first and then spray on colour and finish. If you stained it first the grian shows. No grain is the new "IN". I hate it.
The big trouble with it isn't that it's a bad product, the big trouble is that it's sold as something that's easy to use. It's not. If this same fellow had gone over that table with a regular stain and then the wipe on polyurethane he'd have likely ended up with a nice looking table and probably in about the same amount of time. But nobody told him that.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Everything else dries too quickly as well. Just get used to thinning out everything so that you have enough working time.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.