I’ve been a brush-on topcoat kinda guy, figuring that was the only way it could be done and have a decent finish. Now I’m a convert to wipe-on poly.
A couple of cans of the Minwax stuff have been in my finishing cabinet for a while – one of those purchases that I thought would be good to have in my arsenal. This weekend was the first time I gave the stuff a go, and I love it.
1. The fumes seem to be weaker. I don’t know if it’s the formulation or the fact that the can opening is much smaller, but I wasn’t blown away. Of course I had my respirator on, but still.
2. Drying time seems faster. This could be because I felt like I had more control over the amount I used, and maybe wasn’t has liberal with the amount I applied.
3. My first coat was smoother. To the touch, this felt much smoother than when I brush on poly. This could be because I used a brand new cloth, versus a brush that could have particles in it. Even so, it seemed like I barely needed to sand before the second coat. By the way, I’m a sanding guy, not a steel wool guy, but I’ll save that debate for another time.
4. It took wax really well. I prefer to apply paste wax as my final finish, and since it’s hand applied, it seemed even better suited for a poly that’s applied by hand.
5. It’s applied by hand. I like taking shortcuts as much as possible in building something (shortcuts don’t equal low quality, another debate for another time), but there is something to be said for that human touch given to a project. There is a reason people prefer the look and feel of a custom piece – it has character that can only be achieved through the hands of an artisan.
While I may slip back to a brush on occasion, I think from now on most of my projects will get the rub down.