Want to save money on finishing your woodworking projects? Learn how to make your own wipe-on poly!
When it comes to finishing woodworking projects, boiled linseed oil is a popular choice, but it may not be the most protective option. Many woodworkers turn to wipe-on polyurethane for a more durable finish. However, store-bought wipe-on poly can be expensive, almost as much as a half-gallon of regular polyurethane. But don't worry, making your own wipe-on poly is easy and cost-effective.
How to make your own wipe-on-poly
To make your own wipe-on poly, you'll need straight polyurethane and mineral spirits. Ensure that the polyurethane is oil-based and not water-based because the latter won't mix well with mineral spirits. To create the mixture, combine equal parts polyurethane and mineral spirits in a graduated jar and stir (not shake) the polyurethane. Allow the mixture to sit for around thirty minutes to let any bubbles work their way out.
Thickness of your finish
You can adjust the thickness of the mixture by varying the ratio of polyurethane to mineral spirits. For thinner coats, try a mixture of two parts mineral spirits to one part polyurethane. Once you've made your own batch of wipe-on poly, label the can accordingly for future reference.
Benefits of home-made poly
Homemade wipe-on polyurethane is an excellent option for achieving a durable and beautiful finish on woodworking projects. Applying many very thin coats of well-diluted poly can build up a finish that protects the wood while allowing it to be absorbed quickly. The drying time and level of protection provided by each coat depend on the ratio of mineral spirits to polyurethane and how thinly it's applied.
Thickness of poly
It's essential to consider the mixture's thickness and how many coats to apply. Thinner mixtures dry faster but may require more coats to build up enough poly to protect the wood, while thicker mixtures require fewer coats but take longer to dry. Sanding and buffing between coats will also impact the final finish.
In conclusion, making your own wipe-on polyurethane offers a straightforward and cost-effective way to achieve a durable finish. While there are other finishing options available, homemade wipe-on polyurethane is an excellent choice for achieving a professional and protective finish on woodworking projects. So, head to the shop, mix up some poly, and have some fun experimenting with different mixtures to find the perfect finish for your project.
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