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Minwax Wipe-on Poly vs Arm-R-Seal urethane wipe on topcoat

Joined
Feb 21, 2011
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Location
Elkhart, IN
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www.riccsdesigns.com
One of my go to finish for my turnings for years has been Minwax Wipe On poly (solvent based not the water based). But within the last year or so Minwax changed the can label design. They also must have changed the formula. I don't get the consistent results I used to get with the older looking labeled can.

Arm-R-Seal is supposed to be a urethane wipe on top coat. It's way more expensive than Minwax.

Has anyone had experience with Arm-R-Seal? Has anyone compares the two side by side?
 
Joined
May 4, 2010
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Bozeman, MT
After years of the stuff gelling in the can before I could use all of it, I've taken to mixing my own wipe-on poly from a can of regular and a little mineral spirits. I can choose how thick or thin I want it, and I'm finding I like thicker better. Mixing your own, you also have the choice of which polyurethane you want to use.
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2020
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Minneapolis, MN
I've done Dean's method many times. Experiment with the smallest can (8oz?) of gloss oil-based varnish (Minwax works just fine) and blend it with mineral spirits. Start with 2 parts varnish to 1 part mineral spirits, add more MS if you desire. (Minwax Wiping Poly is very thin, maybe 1:1?) You can't mess this recipe up. Try a 1:1:1 with linseed or tung oil, too.

For small batches, baby food jars work well for this. I'd buy a couple jars of the most disgusting looking flavors on the shelf, dump them in the trash, clean the jar and lid thoroughly, and then mix my blend with measuring spoons, or a coffee scoop. When in use, wipe clean the rim of the jar and the lid with MS on a rag, then seal it up. Cleaning it prevents the varnish from "gluing" the lid shut. Or, paint stores will have empty metal paint cans for a few bucks, maybe as small as a pint. A can of Bloxogen is your friend, too, if you don't use it before it cures in the jar/can.
 
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
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Lebanon, Missouri
As above, I've been mixing my own wipe on for many years. These days I mainly use minwax helmsman spar urethane, mixed 1:1. Have used the regular mw poly a lot as well. I do not use it to build a film, rather I apply it like danish oil - flood on, keep wet for 20-30 min, wipe off. Buff with carnauba when cured. Stoploss bags work great for keeping varnishes etc fresh for a long time.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2011
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Location
Traverse City, MI
I haven't tried the expensive stuff. I also mix my own using the Minwax Fast-Dry poly with a little mineral spirits. I bought stop-loss bags on Amazon and can use the whole quart that way. I've found our small prescription bottles from the pharmacy are handy small containers for mixing small batches.
 
Joined
Feb 16, 2021
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Parkersburg, West Virginia
I have never used the Minwax but have used Arm R Seal for a few years. Arm R Seal is a great finish I just wish they made something between satin and gloss. I have been using the satin and mixing it with 10% mineral spirits. Lately I tried waterlux and like it a lot. Just a little more shine than Arm R Seal satin.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
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Brandon, MS
Not a poly fan but got what was almost a full gallon at estate sale. I put it in wine bags I got on Amazon (much cheaper than Stop Loss) . this was maybe 2 years ago and do not know how old it was when I got it but it still pours and cures.
 
Joined
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Doug Freeman - any particular reason you prefer the Helmsman Spar over the regular?
It has a bit darker color, and with a higher oil content, is more flexible, and thinned, is basically like a danish oil. I have yet to have an issue with regular poly, so not do to that. On many pieces I mx in a bit of dye to acquire more contrast in the grain, and the spar requires less dye, provided its a brown shade I’m after. I sometimes use other dye colors, and will use the reg poly.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2007
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Location
Eugene, OR
The more I use the Rubio Monocote, the more I like it. I have yet to try the ceramic top coats though. They have an outdoor version as well. I am having some screen doors made later this year, and will try it on them. Ease of application is a top priority for me, along with how well it repels water and 'stuff'... It is expensive, but a tiny bit goes a loooooong way.

robo hippy
 
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