How to Get Better Results with Polyurethane
Combine brushing with wiped-on coats for an easy, durable sheen
Synopsis: Polyurethane is one of the simplest and most widely available commercial finishing products, and if you haven’t tried it lately you should read about Ben Blackmar’s method. His approach calls for two different satin-gloss polyurethane products—a fast-drying version of the standard brush-on product, and the thin, wiping variety. He starts with a thin coat of wipe-on to seal the surface, followed by several brushed-on coats to build a durable protective film. Then, instead of applying wax, he adds another thin coat or two of wipe-on to perfect the satiny, medium sheen.
I’ve tried all kinds of finishes in my woodworking career, from beautiful but tedious hand-rubbed oils to quick but expensive sprayed-on lacquers. Nowadays, the finish that I use most often is one of the simplest and most widely available commercial products out there—polyurethane. The finish has significant advantages. First, poly is oil-based, which makes it…