Minwax wood finish

cocoonerFebruary 19, 2011

Does anyone use this product? It is the stain that is oil based in the yellow can. I've been using it for years, but am wondering if the formulation has recently changed. It seems that the results are blotchier than they used to be, and I'm doing nothing differently.

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First, that is a stain, not a finish.

Second, it depends on which wood it is used. Pine/similar woods are grown much faster and harvested much younger now.

That results in less dense grain which results in more difference in stain absorbtion.

One way to counter act that situation is to use a wash coat(or conditioner coat) of shellac diluted to what is called a one pound cut. That is one pound of shellac flakes mixed into one gallon of alcohol. Or a half pound into a half gallon and so on.

If you buy a can from the store of premixed shellac, there are two important things to know.

First, shellac has a shelf life. About three years. That is true for factory mix or home mix. So, look for the manuf. date on cans.

Two, the stuff in the cans is usually a three pound cut, so it has to be diluted to get the concentration necessary. I used to cut the canned shellac 2 to 1&1/2. Now, I just buy flakes and mix an amount I will use in 6 months or so.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 10:56AM
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Handymac is sort of right by stating that it's not a finish. But, it does contain some oil/resins that form a surface film with additional coats. A different type of stain (aniline dyes) will simply color the wood with zero surface build up.
I too feel that the formulation changed a bit several years ago for some of the colors at least.
Sealing with shellac then gel stain is the best way to guarantee no blotching.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 11:47AM
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In addition to all the above, there are several other things.

Depending upon the color, the "stain" colorant can be a pigment, a dye, or both. The way to tell is to put a stir stick into a can that's been sitting a while. If there's sludge at the bottom, that's the pigment. If there is a lot of coloring further up, that's the dye. If there is sludge and little coloring at the top, then it's pigment only. If there is no sludge, it's dye only. If there is both sludge and lots of coloring further up, then it's both, which I think is the most common case. Pigments are the usual culprits when it comes to blotching.

I don't know about Minwax, but most finishes have been reformulated in the last few years to lower the VOCs to meet new state regulations. Rather than have specific products for non-VOC and VOC states, they just reformulate the base recipe for everyone. I'm not sure this would contribute to blotching, but it does make them "different."

Here is a link that might be useful: more on blotching and conditioners

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 12:23PM
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Thanks for the responses and the Flexner link. I do know about conditioners, dyes and the like. I was just wondering if anyone else had noticed differences in their results if they used the product. Maybe I'm just getting more fussy as I go along.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 5:27PM
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Maybe that's a good thing. The biggest things going for Minwax are that you can find it nearly everywhere (my local grocery store carries it!) and it's cheap. It's not really known for the best quality finishing results. Those guys must be marketing geniuses because you can barely walk down a finish aisle in a DIY market without seeing those yellow cans hogging all the space and when most people think finish, they think polyurethane. I can't tell you the number of customers that tell me that they have polyurethane on their new furniture. I've never seen a piece of factory-finished furniture that has polyurethane on it.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 5:58PM
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