George Vondriska

Top Coat Overview

George Vondriska
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Duration:   6  mins

There are LOTS of options for top coating your projects, and the choices can be very confusing. This video breaks top coat finishes into various categories, and explains advantages and disadvantages of individual finishes. It’ll help make choosing finish for your next project a lot easier.

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9 Responses to “Top Coat Overview”

  1. Dave

    I made wall plaques with inscriptions. The hand-lettering artist used acrylic paint, and she insisted on starting with unfinished wood. NOW, I want to finish the plaques. Sanding between finish layers will be problematic since I do not want to knock off the raised hand lettering. I thought to use water-based Minwax Satin Polycrylic for the brush-friendly, quick- drying attributes. How to resolve my sanding problem? Thank you for your time.


    When should you use a wax finish? What are the pro's and cons? My project is an oak headboard. I've stained it with Min Wax true black.

  3. Michael

    <strong> Ticket 19611 Im about finished with building a crib for my first child. Im still deciding on finish, what are your thoughts on Rubio Monocoat? Is it worth the money? Or do you think I can get the exact same effect from something ill find at the hardware store? Any input from anyone would be awesome!

  4. nameless29

    Can I put Poly over the Watco Danish Oil?

  5. Keith H

    I was not aware you could use shellac in between coats of poly. Question; Is that recommended, and for what reason? Would it be strictly for adhesion purposes or does the shellac between coats add an extra dimension to the finished piece ? For my first coat I always use equal parts of tung oil, poly and mineral spirits and I apply it with 400 grit wet/dry while constantly wiping off the slurry as I go to get the smoothest surface I can. I sand between coats w/600 grit wet/dry dipped in Min. spirits and then wipe it down. Is this the point when I should apply the shellac, before and after each coat of my rubbing poly? Do you think it would enhance the finished look? Thanks

  6. Keith Mealy

    There is a world of difference between water-borne products (mostly acrylic) and oil-based varnishes. They "cure" differently and at much different rates, they're chemically different, and often they have different coloring properties.

  7. Keith Mealy

    Normally, you can intermix oil-based products (oil, mineral spirits, and oil-based varnishes) in any proportions. Be aware though, that unless it says 100% pure tung oil, you are getting one of the imposter "Tung Oil Finishes" most of which don't contain tung oil as an ingredient or component of varnish. They are normally either thinned varnishes or oil-varnish blends. Of course, the real question is "Why would you want to do this?" Tung oil has a mystique about it that I don't understand. It's more expensive, harder to apply, if you mess up application, you have to strip and start over, and provides no real advantages over boiled linseed oil. In fact, the Watco Danish Oil shown in the video is not "oil" but an oil-varnish blend. While it's undergone several owners in the last 30 years, the most recent formulation I found was roughly 2/3 mineral spirits (which thins the solution and evaporates away, contributing nothing to the final finish), 2/9 linseed oil, and 1/9 varnish, with traces of driers and/or colorants. It's just a shame that manufacturers persist in deceptive labeling and naming of their products. It makes what should be simple science into confusing and misleading information.

  8. woodgrain

    I put the pol over the Watco oil all the time. It works fine and is easy to repair.

  9. Daniel McAfee

    can you put Poly overtop of Lacquer like you can with Shellac?

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