Water-Based Vs. Solvent-Based Clear Coats

Views: 10855 | Last Update: 2008-07-10
See examples of clear-coat wood finishes. Learn about different finishes for staining wood in this free woodworking and wood project series from an expert carpenter. View Video Transcript

About this Author

eHow Home & Garden Editor

Video Transcript

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 wood. 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.