Finishing a project with the right protective coating is the final touch and should be done right. Here’s a quick look at how to protect that brand new project. For years I didn’t put much thought into the finish on my projects. After spending so much time working through the build, I would rush through the final step and get it inside the house looking good. This hurry would show up a bit later when the piece couldn’t hold up to wear, water, or daily use. After plenty of research I figured out that there are actually a lot of choices out there and they’re specialized for a reason. One of the best resources I found was from the DIY Network comparing the differences between polyurethane, shellac, varnish, and lacquer.
Overall, I’m a fan of the water-based Polycrylic. For the majority of my projects it’s a great overall finish that is forgiving, durable, and dries fast. Also, the off-gassing from a water-based finish is much less potent, so there’s less of that chemical stench afterwards. I’m also a fan of the wipe-on rubbing oil for small jobs that need a good hand polished look.
What is your go-to finish for wrapping up your projects in durable beautiful style?