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Polycrylic Finish (Read 2350 times)
Mr_Roboto
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I love YaBB 1G - SP1!

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Polycrylic Finish
Nov 28th, 2008 at 4:11pm
 
I've dreaded finishing ukuleles for some time.  There always seems to be some problem that causes little imperfections in the finish, often little crystal-like projections in polyurethane or brush or cloth marks.  I hated spray on finishes, because they were either too thick and ran, or turned to alligator hide if I tried to rush them. 

All that is now likely to be behind me, as I developed an approach that seems to give me everything I've been after:  A high level of control on the application, very fast drying, and no streaks or imperfections.  Here's the method and materials.

1.  A CAN of liquid polycrylic from Minwax (NOT the spray type).
2.  Microfiber polishing cloths from Wal-Mart.  (Mine are gold colored from the automotive department near the polishing compounds.)
3.  400 grit sandpaper from the PAINT department at Wal-Mart (not the power tool display with the sandpaper pads).
4.  A tack cloth (also at Wal-Mart in the PAINT department).

Approach:

1.  Finish final sanding of wood with 400 grit paper and inspect the top in the best light you can find, preferably daylight, and, importantly, daylight in shade (which reduces glare and shows more imperfections via diffuse light).

2.  When finished with wood sanding, wipe the dust off with a tack cloth.  (It helps to have a couple of these at least at around $1.50 each.)

3.  Using the microfiber polishing cloth from the automotive department, dip a little of the polishing cloth in the polycrylic and wipe it on the wood, applying a smooth, very thin, even finish. 

4.  The polycrylic dries VERY quickly.  You can probably sand in half an hour or so under good conditions, although the can recommends a two hour wait.  If the finish seems smooth and shiny visibly and to your touch, you may not have to sand at all.  If you do sand in between coats (Minwax recommends three coats with sanding between each) use 400 grit sandpaper (at least).  Use tack cloth to clean off wood after sanding.
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mblue
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Re: Polycrylic Finish
Reply #1 - Nov 30th, 2008 at 4:34am
 
I have used Polycrylic on several things (not ukes, yet) and I like it a lot. It changes to color of wood less than any other finish I have used.
Using a microfiber cloth for application, sounds like a good idea.
I have not finished my first uke yet, and I was thinking that I would use Tru-Oil, as recommended in the Hana Lima Construction Manual, but I will now try your Polycrylic method on some scrap wood, and then decide between that and the Tru-Oil.
Thank you for this information.
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mblue
Junior Uke
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Re: Polycrylic Finish
Reply #2 - Dec 25th, 2008 at 4:08am
 
Hi Mr_Roboto. I did a comparison between Polycrylic and Tru-Oil. I used your application methods, on both. I really like your idea of the microfiber cloth for application. It allowed for good control, and resulted in very thin, uniform coats. I have a cedar soundboard that I screwed up, so I used that for the test, half with polycrylic, and half with Tru-Oil.
I have to say that I ended up liking the Tru-Oil much better. The finish is smoother. It filled the wood better, it looks better, and when I run my fingernail across it, it produces less of an indentation/scratch.
It is so cool the way Tru-Oil ends up producing such a hard, varnish like (but better) finish.
One thing that I can say about polycrylic is that IF you want the apearance of the wood to be altered as little as possible by the finish, it is very good in that regard.
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