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How do You Feel About Using Polyurethane as a “Finishing” Agent?

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Have you opted for polyurethane as a finishing agent, instead of varnish or lacquer? It must hearten you to know that its drying capacity is much faster than that of varnish; so dust will have to stay “homeless”! As with varnish, there is no danger of over-brushing or visible brush marks here. You can opt for any sheen from matte to gloss. And if you have followed all the instructions to the letter, there is no reason to believe that your item will not stand the test of time.

What more do you need? There is ease of application, durability, and clean finishing. So, go ahead—what are you waiting for?

Now, you would need at least two to three coatings to get satisfactory results. Since you are a homeowner, you can make do with affordable foam brushes; they do the job well. (A paid professional would need a more expensive brush, since this work is his bread and butter!) You also have the advantage of polyurethane being its own sealer (It forms a hard coating on the porous surface after you brush it).

You will achieve better results if you take up a small patch (say, around one foot square) at a time. Keep overlapping as you move from wet (already done) areas to dry (yet to be touched) ones. Work towards the grain. Just apply polyurethane and smoothen it out. It will settle on its own.

If it is a curved surface that you are handling, do not start at the edge and take an inward direction. Your finishing agent will disappear over the edge and your brush will have nothing left on it. Of course, if the surface is flat, then you do the edges first. Now, start at the middle and move towards the edges.
Does your furniture piece have turned legs? Well, work around each leg—begin at the top and work down. For unturned legs, just move from top to bottom on all four sides at once.

No product comes without its share of complaints. Some people feel that polyurethane does not come off easily when stripping furniture and that it is not so easy to repair. Well, experienced people have proved otherwise! If one’s amateurish efforts have resulted in chips or scratches, or in clear and ugly brush strokes—then one will need to strip the piece and re-apply finish. Probably, this task seems difficult too and hence, the grouse!

The table tops present at restaurants are made of plastic, which has received an ultra-thick finish. Unfortunately, ignorant people think that it is polyurethane. This has conveyed the idea to the general public that a polyurethane finish resembles plastic! Yes, the chemical structure of both is the same, but this finishing agent gives the sheen that your furniture deserves, similar to varnish and lacquer. If you need more convincing, check out three identical pieces, each coated with a different finishing agent. Can you make out the difference?


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