Sealing Furniture: What topcoat should I use?

Sealing Furniture: What topcoat should I use?
There are so many options when it comes to sealing your refinished furniture.  How do I pick the right one?
Here's a quick crash course on sealing your furniture.  If you want to learn more about furniture refinishing including cabinets, furniture, or artistic painting, checkout my classes -  they are packed full of learning content and I am there to answer questions and help!  You can view my classes here: ABW Courses
In this post I will go over furniture sealants & topcoats:
  • What they are
  • How they work
  • Choosing the right finish for your project.
Types of finishes reviewed in this post:
  • Water Based Varnish
  • Salve & Wax
  • Urethane finishes

 

Let's start with Water based finishes:

Wise Owl's Matte and Satin Varnish is unlike any other water-based top coat.
It is made with crystal clear resin to yield serious protection that will not yellow or discolor whites due to the crystal clear technology.
An extra bonus is that it's industrial grade strength so it is suitable for cabinets and high traffic areas. (Although Wise Owl One Hour Enamel already contains a topcoat in its formula)
Video tutorial on how to apply Varnish with a B12 cling on brush:
B12 Cling on Brush link to purchase:
*Varnish Tip-If you are getting lines when applying your varnish, switch to using a sponge (for example an automotive sponge) for a more clean application.
Other Tips:
*Never shake your top coat - it puts air into the top coat and will leave bubbles and an uneven finish.  If you do shake your top coat, let it rest until the bubbles have settled completely before using. 
*Stir it well before use
*Make sure to topcoat in cooler weather otherwise it may dry fast and will be hard to get a nice clean finish.
Waxes:
**WAXES SHOULD ALWAYS BE APPLIED LAST**
Waxes are designed to repel water and other substances, so you cannot place a glaze or varnish topcoat overtop of wax. You must varnish, wax, or just use your wax as a top coat.
You can apply with either a lint free cloth or a 2" palm brush.
Hemp oil wax is all natural beeswax with hemp oil. Its buttery texture promotes smooth and easy application yielding a strong protective finish for projects. Use as a sealant for painted projects and on wood grain as well.
To BEAUTIFY AND REVIVE, bring out the grain, and to protect raw wood.
Makes a wonderful and natural ALTERNATIVE to FURNITURE POLISH, simply apply over finished or unfinished wood.
NATURAL SEALANT -May be used in place of FURNITURE WAX over painted pieces. It is much softer and easier to apply than wax due to its high hemp seed oil content.
Use to REVIVE SOFTEN AND PROTECT leather (you can even use it to add water-resistance to your boots!)
REMOVES OXIDATION from tarnished metal and hardware. Simply apply and wipe away years of patina and grime.
NEUTRALIZED ODORS, use inside drawers to seal and protect while removing unwanted smells from furniture.
WATER RESISTANT- provides protection against water rings and moisture. It may also be used to remove existing water rings.
Makes an excellent HAND AND NAIL TREATMENT! Our natural formula is so safe and we know you will adore softening and moisturizing your hands while using it!
AROMATHERAPY- enjoy the calming scents while reviving leather, wood, metal and more!
ANTISEPTIC, ANTI-FUNGAL, ANTI-PARASITIC AND BACTERICIDAL PROPERTIES- protects against mildew, mites, parasites and pathogens and even repels insects! Who needs moth balls when our Furniture Salve smells like a day at the spa! We all know some of the best furniture finds come from the roadside, and we don’t always know where they have been!
HEMP SEED OIL FORMULA -Contains all of the scientifically packed powers of this all natural super oil.
ADDS A SOFT SHEEN AND LUSTER to your projects. If you love using hemp seed oil alone, but wish it had more of a shine, then this product is for you. It also provides more water protection than hemp seed oil alone.
SUBLIME, SOFT, and STRONG formula that is easy to apply and goes a LONG way!
Salve Can be applied with a lint free cloth or with a 2" palm brush.
The 2" palm brush is ideal for applying salve or waxes with it's easy to grip handle, hence the "Palm" brush, and it's sturdy bristles.
Get yours today!

Salve Blog Post

Urethanes:
**These are only for use with Stained surfaces. DO NOT apply a urethane finish over a painted surface or it will cause it to yellow.**
I Typically use Polyurethane to seal stained table tops. If I am brushing it, I prefer an oil based Polyurethane as it has a slower dry time and you have more time to work with the topcoat. You will need a special brush for this - you will only want to use it for oil based topcoats and you can either throw it away when you’re done, or you can clean it with lacquer thinner and store it.
I use water based polyurethanes for stained table tops when I am spraying because I don’t put oil based products through my sprayer.
You can find urethane finishes at most hardware stores.

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