Minwax Helmsman Spar water-based urethane? Anyone with familiarity?

monoloco

Member
As a builder for over forty years I have never been a big fan of water base polyurethanes. The one I like the most is Last N Last. I think Fine Woodworking did a review on it years ago. Especially for any darker wood, mahogany, walnut, cherry the water base just gives the wood a lackluster appearance and doesn't look nearly as rich as an oil based product. We use Helmsman or Epifanes......a quart goes a long way!!!
That's why I apply a coat of wipe on oil/varnish finish prior to the water based poly. I let the oil finish dry for two days then apply the poly. I have experienced very good durability with this finish.
 

brownvan

2017 4X4 HR 144"
Unless one is planing on parking the van in the lake, water based poly is plenty durable. I applied 4 coats over a coat of wipe on oil finish, on each side of my paneling with a HVLP system, lightly sanding between coats with a purple abrasive pad. It looks great, and has had zero durability issues, and no out gassing. I used the same water based poly in my shop on work benches and shop fixtures, and it's been surprisingly durable, even on work surfaces.
What brand & type of water based poly?
 
I am just not a fan of water based finishes.....thin, odd coloring on dark woods at times, brittle, inflexible. Just not as rich. I do get the reason people want to use water based, easy cleanup, low VOC etc. How many yachts and sailboats have their brightwork finished in water based material?? I think really is a question of personal preference and intended usage. All the countertops and Lagun top in my van are sapele with four coats Helmsman spar varnish.....I am from Maine and its what we use in the boat building community, that or Epifanes.
 

Onefin

Active member
I am just not a fan of water based finishes.....thin, odd coloring on dark woods at times, brittle, inflexible. Just not as rich. I do get the reason people want to use water based, easy cleanup, low VOC etc. How many yachts and sailboats have their brightwork finished in water based material?? I think really is a question of personal preference and intended usage. All the countertops and Lagun top in my van are sapele with four coats Helmsman spar varnish.....I am from Maine and its what we use in the boat building community, that or Epifanes.
Photos of the Sapele counters and table top? Sounds awesome!
 

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