How to Stain Wood : Water-Based Vs. Solvent-Based Clear Coats

How to Stain Wood : Water-Based Vs. Solvent-Based Clear Coats

In this clip we’re going to take a quick look
at some of the various clear coat finishes that you can put on your stained wood piece.
Some of the different finishes you can use are Shellac, this one happens to have an amber
hue to it. Just a clear Shellac, this is a seal coat, but essentially does the same thing,
it is basically Shellac. And a Polyurethane, they usually come in a, this is a semi-gloss,
and here we have a high gloss. So let’s take a look at what these products look like on
our stained wood. Now this particular Polyurethane happens to be be a water based product, which
is very good for people who are bothered by the odor of a solvent based Polyurethane,
such as this product. Let’s take a look at the differences in how they, how they go on
and how they look on a piece of stained wood. The first thing you’ll, you’ll notice about
the water based Polyurethane is that it’s not really clear at all when it goes on. It’s
kind of a milky white sort of look. But it will dry to a clear finish. If you want to
take a look at how that goes on. You want to use nice, smooth, long strokes. Keep your
overlapping to a minimum.
When you’re first brushing out the finish you can press pretty hard but, you want to
use a lighter stroke, at closer to a 90 degree angle when you do your, your last stroke.
Now let’s take a look at the, at the solvent based Polyurethane. now you can see that the
solvent based Polyurethane is clear when it goes on. The brushing technique is pretty
much the same. You want to use a light stroke once you’ve gotten your material onto the
Press it in pretty good to get that initial material onto the wood and then lightly drag
the brush to eliminate any bubbles and streaking, if you can. And whenever possible, use the
best quality brush that you can afford. Now after letting these dry for a few minutes,
you can see the dramatic difference between them. This is just a single coat of semi-gloss
water based Polyurethane and a high-gloss solvent based Polyurethane at the top. Of
course, at the very top there’s unfinished wood. But you can see from a single coat,
that you obviously have to build up more of the water based clear coat, than of the solvent
based. But again, if you don’t want the hassle of having to use Turpentine, or Mineral Spirits
to clean up, and you don’t like the strong odor of the solvent based Polyurethane, then
water based can be a very, very good alternative.

9 Replies to “How to Stain Wood : Water-Based Vs. Solvent-Based Clear Coats”

  1. Thank you for the clear easy to follow instructions.
    A quick question. When you start building up a few coats of water based finish, do you need to do any sanding in between, or you just wait for one coat to dry and apply the next one? If you could let me know, that would be awesome. Thanks!

  2. The waterbased clear does not shine less than the oilbased and does not require alot more coats to build up the sheen to match the oilbased clear as he mentioned. He had forgotten that the waterbased clear he used was a semigloss only so no matter how many coats add it will only be a semigloss finish.

  3. i am finishing a laminate gun stock and would like a high gloss finish, but I also would like something that will wear well around the pistol grip and forarm. Would the fast dry Polyurethane be the best? The laminates are birch veneers that are coloured.


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