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Minwax Wipe-on Poly


mledbetter

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My 8 year old son and I built this for his first real guitar now that he's taking lessons and wants to be able to play like EVH :D so this was kind of our tribute.

This guitar is no build like most of the projects on here - I bought a mighty-mite neck, used parts I had in my shop and bought an ash body off of some guys out in Cali that will custom CNC anything you want for a very reasonable price. This was an early Charvel San Dimas type of thing. We got it with a hard tail.

I was going to use tung oil but woodcraft was closed and the only stuff you can get at home depot is formby's and i wanted the pure oil so I could control the mix. I saw the min-wax wipeon product sitting there and figured what the heck. I immediately fired up this board and didn't find much in the way of a review but found a few things online where people had used it. No negative comments were found so we figured we'd use it.

I wanted a guitar that resonates and had a very thin but durable finish. For this we didn't even grain-fill. We just stained it using a mix of transtint blue and amber to get the green we wanted.. and after letting it dry 24 hrs and sanding the grain backdown with 320 paper and restaining.. we began the application of the minwax poly.

The first coat deepened the color and brought the yellows of the ash out. This never went away as the wood doesn't soak the stuff up quite like it would an oil. That was good in this case. I didn't want to have to do 10-15 coats. The second coat went on well with about 12 hrs in between coats. The 3rd coat went on after about 6 hrs and by the next morning I used some 0000 steel wool and buffed a shine into it. For about 4-5 days it was a bit soft and you could drag your nail through it and leave a mark, but you could bugg it out with a standard yellow guitar polishing cloth. After about a week or so you can't scratch it. It's a great matte lustre - at an angle you can see the reflection of the hardware in it, but from the front it's just a nice rich color.

Being a parts guitar, I have to say I was insanely surprised with the mighty-mite neck.. for 85 bucks.. that thing was dead on and didn't need any work at all. This is hands-down one of the best playing guitars I have ever owned.. i'm going to build myself one next :D

Anyway - I hope the information about the minwax stuff is helpful to someone. If this is the type of finish you want, and i realize it isn't for everybody, the minwax product is excellent. Goes on easy, dries to the touch in about 15 mins or so, and is just really easy to work with. Unplugged, this guitar is LOUD.. it resonates so much.. and the sustain is unreal.. the low e will ring on forever.. Was a lot of fun and a quick and easy build for a simple kit type project.

guitar_closeup.jpg

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Thanks, I was considering this as a finish but was unsure....

So you only put three coats on? Man, that must have been one of the cheapest and easiest finishes ever.

I like the green ash btw.

Yes, just 3 coats. I'd probably do 5 coats next time. The temp was also cold and rainy and I didn't really have an adequate place for it to dry. It's not a super smelly finish though so letting it airdry for a few mins and bringing it inside works pretty well too.

In normal dry conditions you can do 3 coats a day.. let it cure, then rub it out with steel wool and it would look great.

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Fine Woodworking rated the Minwax wipe on poly as one of the best wipe on finishes out there. I bought some satin for a Bass build I will be doing.

As far as the yellowing goes you should have tried a Shellac sealer. No guarantee it would have stopped the ash from yellowing so much as ash does have a yellow tint. The Minwax was rated as a very clear hard coat.

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I always considered doing Tru-Oil as a finish, but it seems this wipe on might be even better...and you can get it on Home Depot! I had no idea where I could find Tru-Oil...

Oh, another thing...I´m also considering Mighty Might for the necks...There wasn´t anything you had to do to it? What kind of frets are there? Sorry, but I´m very curious about them, since they are very cheap.

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Thanks for sharing your experience. I always considered doing Tru-Oil as a finish, but it seems this wipe on might be even better...and you can get it on Home Depot! I had no idea where I could find Tru-Oil...

Oh, another thing...I´m also considering Mighty Might for the necks...There wasn´t anything you had to do to it? What kind of frets are there? Sorry, but I´m very curious about them, since they are very cheap.

About the neck.. I bought mine form JCs guitars on ebay. They "say" that they inpect each one and are picky about what they sell.. whether that is true or not I have no idea. But the neck I got was straight as an arrow.. Frets polished nicely, very level, and absolutely not a single sharp fret edge anywhere. Feels broken in. The satin finish is great too and i typically hate satin finishes.. I was very surprised.

The fret wire is not vintage but it's not jumbo either.. I don't know exactly the spec but it's a very playable neck but the frets aren't so "jumbo" that your note detunes when you press too hard on them. I hate that.

My home depot has tru-oil and I have used it as well. You can build tru-oil up to a mirror finish if you want but in my experience it never really cures, it's always a little soft and plasticky. It's a polymerized finish so the plastic feel makes sense I guess. For a satin finish, you can cut tru-oil with 50% naptha and it dries faster and cures faster. I'd use truoil again, but i'd never take the time to do a mirror finish on a guitar with it.. it would scratch every time you touch it and just be disappointing.

People have great results with Tung oil, but you'd want to get the pure stuff and cut it with naptha or some other thinner.. Tung oil can take days or weeks to harden if you don't cut it.. but it can make a beautiful finish.

For me, if you want a glass finish with no grain.. you might as well spray your guitar with some sort of lacquer. If you like the look of wood and just want to preserve and make it look better, the wipe on and oil methods are great.. It's when you try to make oil look like lacquer that you get in trouble.. it's just not meant for that.

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Thanks for your reply...but would this Minwax wipe on you used be better than Tru-Oil in your opinion? I´m looking for easy to apply finishes that don´t require any complex set up and that are non toxic. Anyway, thanks for the review and I hope your son enjoys his guitar very much, it came out great!

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Thanks for your reply...but would this Minwax wipe on you used be better than Tru-Oil in your opinion? I´m looking for easy to apply finishes that don´t require any complex set up and that are non toxic. Anyway, thanks for the review and I hope your son enjoys his guitar very much, it came out great!

i've used both and for my net one i will be using the wipe on poly again.. there are pros and cons to both but I am impatient and don't do well with long process finishes that have opportunity for me to "screw up" :D

My son loves the guitar - he just gets pissed when i play it.. I can't help it his turned out better than any of mine!

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Fine Woodworking rated the Minwax wipe on poly as one of the best wipe on finishes out there. I bought some satin for a Bass build I will be doing.

As far as the yellowing goes you should have tried a Shellac sealer. No guarantee it would have stopped the ash from yellowing so much as ash does have a yellow tint. The Minwax was rated as a very clear hard coat.

I had read about using a shellac sealer AFTEWR i finished this one. I def plan to use it the next time. if nothing else I think it will help the finish lay better and build up a little nicer.

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Also, usually Wal-Mart, amazon.com, Woodcraft, probably Rockler.

Ace Hardware has true oil too.

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May I ask if the finish lets the natural texture and pores of the wood show through? Or does it fill the pores with such few coats?

In my experiments with it, it doesn't fill open grain. You need to use a grain filler first, unless you want to be able to see the grain. Of course with enough coats and sanding, it must eventually fill, at least some of, the grain.

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Just to cover a few Poly concepts

Wipe on Poly comes in many different forms, even tung oil is a poly 90% of the time. Poly does penetrate the wood and helps pop exotic grain, but not all poly is good in doing this. Too high a solids count make for poor penetration. maple syrup vs water.

By using a very thin shellac you can get good penetration and bring out the grain. Always keep a scrap piece of your project so you can test the finish.

One of the factors in the FFW test results I quoted for Minwax was light color. deep penetration. quick drying time (you can apply several coats per day) great water resistance and very low cost. Some of the wipe on Poly's I have assumed were great (and expensive) did not do so well. This is not to say they are used right from the can as in the test results. It does make you wonder why you are spending so much.

Now I have never tried to buff a Poly finish so my preference would be satin with a poly. If anyone has buffed a Poly let me know how it worked out.

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i buffed it out on a pbass;

i still need to get some shots; its not an amazing mirror sheen; but it is smooth and reflective;

i wont do it again though that far; i used the 3 rubbing compounds (stewmac) and polish; and have serious sand thru problems in certain spots due to the lack of a real build up of solids;

though steel wool 1-0000 with a polish gave a very transparent reflectant 'satin' sheen (gloss w.o.p.)

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... My home depot has tru-oil and I have used it as well. You can build tru-oil up to a mirror finish if you want but in my experience it never really cures, it's always a little soft and plasticky. It's a polymerized finish so the plastic feel makes sense I guess. For a satin finish, you can cut tru-oil with 50% naptha and it dries faster and cures faster. I'd use truoil again, but i'd never take the time to do a mirror finish on a guitar with it.. it would scratch every time you touch it and just be disappointing.

I've never seen Tru Oil at a Home Depot, are you talking about the Birchwood Casey product?

Also I've never thought it felt plasticy or was super soft and I've used a bunch of it.

On the naptha, in my correspondence with Birchwood Casey they only recommended thinning with mineral spirits.

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I've never seen it at Home depot or any hardware store around here. There was a Walmart that carried it, but they stopped. Luckily I have several gun stores around me and they all pretty much carry every Birchwood Casey product practically. They have aerosols, small and big bottles, sealers, and so on. Since its meant for use on gun stocks, might as well go to the source if you have a local gun shop. I really like the stuff as well, easy to use and looks good. J

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Gun shops around here are uncommon, to say the least...I don´t think there is even one. Maybe insome sporting goods store, but it´s doubtful. That´s why I got interested in this Minwas poly thing, seems like if it´s available on Home Depot and gives good results (I wouldn´t go for a high gloss finish) it might be a very good option...I have like three Home Depots here!

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Just to cover a few Poly concepts

Wipe on Poly comes in many different forms, even tung oil is a poly 90% of the time. Poly does penetrate the wood and helps pop exotic grain, but not all poly is good in doing this. Too high a solids count make for poor penetration. maple syrup vs water.

By using a very thin shellac you can get good penetration and bring out the grain. Always keep a scrap piece of your project so you can test the finish.

One of the factors in the FFW test results I quoted for Minwax was light color. deep penetration. quick drying time (you can apply several coats per day) great water resistance and very low cost. Some of the wipe on Poly's I have assumed were great (and expensive) did not do so well. This is not to say they are used right from the can as in the test results. It does make you wonder why you are spending so much.

Now I have never tried to buff a Poly finish so my preference would be satin with a poly. If anyone has buffed a Poly let me know how it worked out.

Actually, the neck I applied it to, I was using the satin wipe-on, but it made a really nice flame appear in the maple, to I decided to instead buff it out to a shine, to showcase the flame. Turned out pretty nice.

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Gun shops around here are uncommon, to say the least...I don´t think there is even one. Maybe insome sporting goods store, but it´s doubtful. That´s why I got interested in this Minwas poly thing, seems like if it´s available on Home Depot and gives good results (I wouldn´t go for a high gloss finish) it might be a very good option...I have like three Home Depots here!

I figured some areas would have very few guns shops and some wouldn't have any, but I never it see it mentioned as a place to find the stuff really, so I figured I'd mention it since technically its where you are supposed to find it. I recall someone linked the actual site itself Birchwood and Casey and it was very well priced. If I used more of the stuff their bulk order was super cheap compared to buying small bottles. It'd probably last longer in a larger volume also. You'd have to check their shipping policies, hopefully they do world wide shipping, but I do not know. I would guess they would, but you never know these days. If they didn't I could always get the order and resend it down to you, being in San Diego, I'm fairly close, wouldn't be too bad I wouldn't imagine.

I have a few different cans and sprays of different finishes and I believe I have some of that minwax quick dry poly in a can somewhere that I wanted to try for the heck of it, but have yet to try it. Since buying it I've heard different results from different people, some people have had issues, some have shown great results, I think most any finish can work, provided you find the right method for it and do not combine it with any products that are not compatible or use some barrier coats of shellac between non compatible finishes. I test everything before using it, so I'll get around to trying it soon enough. J

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