Polyurethane finish brand name

Hi, I like to know if there is really difference between different brands of polyurethane finishes. I have come across brands like MINWAX, Benjamin Moore, BEHLEN, MOHAWK, Target Coating. Some of them are easily avaliable at my local home department store (MINWAX) like HomeDepot or paint shop (Benjamin Moore). Others are available through special ordering which can be quite expensive. As I mentioned in my previouse message, I will be doing caoting on my table top. I need to have a smooth look and durable finish. Looks like Poly is the best bet ( Isn't it?). I have thought that brushing is the common technique to apply the POLY, looks like it is not. People are talking about using different techique like using foam, cloth and ... . Can you share your experience on applying the finish on Horizontal surfaces like table top and vertical surfaces like table legs? Should I dilute the POLY before applying it? For example, on MINWAX can it was written that its content (oil-based POLY) does not need to be thined? Would it be OK if I use polyurethane made for Hardwood for my purpose?
thanks a lot Fardin
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I've had the best results by using wipe-on poly. Minwax makes it, as does others. Or you can make your own by diluting poly with mineral spirits. Wipe it on with an old cotton tee shirt, sand between coats. Apply at least three coats. You won't get sags, drips or brush marks with the wipe-on technique. For brands, I've had good luck with the ones you've mentioned.

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| | I have thought that brushing is the common technique to | apply the POLY, looks like it is not.
A lot of it will come down to your personal preference. I hate foam brushes. They fall apart and leave little foam bits in your work.
My favorite way to apply polyurethane is wiping. I use a pre-thinned (for wiping) oil-based brand called Old Dad's that is readily available for me. I haven't used enough different brands to have developed a feel for the differences between them. But I definitely prefer oil-based poly instead of water-based.
The reason I like wiping is precisely because you get no brush marks. But the downside is that you have to apply more coats because each coat is thinner. I use the glossy poly and adjust the sheen at the end using abrasives and/or wax.
| on MINWAX can it was written that its content (oil-based POLY) | does not need to be thined?
The manufacturer's thinning recommendations are not inviolable rules. I haven't yet met a solvent finish that failed to work when thinned reasonably to ease its application. I generally don't thin anything unless I have a problem with its consistency out of the can. But for wiping you want to thin it.
| Would it be OK if I use polyurethane made for Hardwood for | my purpose?
Don't see why not.
--Jay
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Jay Windley wrote:

Poly toughens the varnish. You don't need a thick finish for protection. Three coats are adequate, four if you want a deep gloss.
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I have found best results with a wipe on gel poly or Zar alkyd base diluted about 20% with thinner to avoid leaving brush marks. Use a china bristle brush.
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