Minwax vs. Watco Wipe-on Poly. Probably more than you wanted to know.

I've been using Minwax satin Wipe-on Poly for some time and have been very happy with it. The last time I tried to buy some at McGuckin's Hardware here in Boulder they had switched to Watco, so having read somewhere here that they were the same I decided to try some Watco. I found them to be quite different. In particular the Watco seemed to take more coats to build up my standard finish, and took longer to dry.
The back-of-can directions were different too. Watco had the standard warning that you see on the back of all the oil finishes about proper disposal of rags to avoid spontaneous combustion. Minwax did not. So... I did a little detective work. First I poured the 1/2 oz of each into small plastic cups and let them sit for a couple weeks.
Minwax: plasticy hard. Maybe a little soft when squeezed. Watco less quantity of unevaporated material, quite soft when squeezed, oily on top. My conclusion, which I later saw verified in some postings here, is that Watco has a much higher percentage of oil than Minwax, which seems to have little or none. (Minwax's suggested drying time between coats: 2-3 hours. YMMV.)
Some other myths: Minwax and Watco are owned by the same company. In fact, Watco is owned by "Rustoleum Brands," with a parent URL of http://www.flecto.com /. They also own Varatane, BTW.
The Minwax web site says they've been in business for over 100 years. A little googling shows that "Thomspson-Minwax" was bought by Sherwin-Williams around 1997.
Anyway, I still like the Minwax a lot better.
Enough of this, I'm off to make some sawdust -- along with a curly Maple hall table with walnut legs and drawer fronts.
--
Vince Heuring. To email, remove the Vince.

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T/M once owned Watco, IIRC. Formula change didn't thrill me. Oh yes, I'm sure you know that Thompsons and Minwax were different companies, too.
I wouldn't expect a "Danish oil" to have the build or durability of a declared varnish.

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Certainly not the same thing, as you now know first hand. The Minwax wipe-on is just polyurethane in form that can be wiped on. Mainly just thinned a bit, since you can wipe on any poly by thinning it a bit yourself.
You might have read that Watco and Minwax Tung Oil Finish are the same thing. I would not say they are the same thing, but they both are a polymerized oil, and might even have a little tung oil in the mix. Might not too. I like the MTOF better than Watco when I want an oil finish. Watco is too thin for my taste.
-- Bill Pounds http://www.billpounds.com/woodshop

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I agree.
For a lot of the stuff around the house like finishing kitchen cabinets, bath vanities, handrails etc, the Minwax WOP (no ethnic slur intentended - I'm half Italian!) is great. The fact that it dries quickly is a definite plus in that you can apply multiple coats in one day and dust settling is not a problem.
On some projects, I have used the gloss version and I think that the results are better than anything I have ever done with so little effort.
My 2.
Lou
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