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How is Polyacrylic Different from Polyurethane for a Woodworking Finish?

Q: How is polyacrylic different from polyurethane for a woodworking finish?

A: Polyurethane is a widely used oil-based finish that creates a durable protective shell over woodwork once it’s cured. Polycrylic is the brand name of a Minwax water-based finish. Available in high gloss and satin finishes, it can be applied with a spray bottle or roller. Polycrylic offers protection of the wood along with faster drying times. It’s ideal for use on light wood surfaces like ash, maple and birch because it has no tint. It also works well over water-based woodstains. Cleanup of Polycrylic is easy with water and soap, and the finish is clear and does not have a yellow tint like polyurethane. Due to its runny consistency, you will need to apply very thin coats on vertical surfaces and watch closely for drips. If applied too thickly over dark colors it can give a milky finish.

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