Might as well just smear on some lemon marmalade and call it done.

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Review by JustJoe posted 08-08-2013 09:56 PM 5670 views 0 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Might as well just smear on some lemon marmalade and call it done. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

We need a “0 Stars” selection. Better yet, negative stars. Minwax Polyshades would be a -27 stars.
This little can of [email protected] ruined a chest I was refinishing. Well I did, the minwax was just the weapon of choice. I should have known that the proper finish for a vintage machinist chest is NOT found in Wally World between the light-bulbs and the duct tape. But no, I was too lazy to drive over to Lowes even though IT WAS RIGHT ACROSS THE #@$##$^ PARKING LOT.

So I bought this can of Minwax Classic Oak Satin Stain and Polyurethane. I put it on the chest. I watched the beautifully cleaned wood (four days work) shudder, take its last breath and turn a putrid vomity brown. (Is that what classic oak is? Then what is that picture on the can for?) But the real insult is that I can’t even begin to start sanding this junk off because it won’t dry.

We are now at hour #74. That’s three days and two hours for the number-challenged in the bunch.
3+ days and this hideous mess is still just a sticky goo. It’s a miniature Brea tar pit. The only reason the chest isn’t covered in a matted carpet of dust-bunnies and dead bugs is because the color was so ugly I put a large cardboard box over it right after I applied the stain. It just wont’ dry.

So please, if you’re building that special little project, or restoring something vintage and you find yourself in Walmart somewhere between the light bulbs and the duct tape just stop and tell yourself “Self, don’t do it.” Drop the minwax polyshades and back away slowly. If you insist on applyiing trash to finish a treasure, then save the $4.97 and just buy a can of lemon marmalade. Smear it on as thin as you can get it and put it aside someplace dust-free to dry for 3 days. You’ll get the same result and save a bit of money in the process.

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37 comments so far

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4128 posts in 3074 days

#1 posted 08-08-2013 11:24 PM

sorry your having such a hard time.that sucks.i’ve used polyshades a couple of times and was satisfied with the results.which since i’ve started using danish oil and blo i haven’t touched any minwax stains.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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7085 posts in 3482 days

#2 posted 08-08-2013 11:49 PM

Boo Polyshades.

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2469 posts in 3199 days

#3 posted 08-09-2013 12:09 AM

Sorry you have had such a bad experience with the MinWax Product … I have had very good luck with that brand for many years, but I admit that I have never used the Polyshades.
I have had finishes that just would not cure properly and the only way I got them off was to use a cabinet scraper and wash with a solvent proper for the type of finish.
Why is it always the best piece of figured grain or the heirloom antique?? Murphy’s Law??

And we did read and follow the instructions on the can? ... Sorry, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity … ;p

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

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548 posts in 2951 days

#4 posted 08-09-2013 12:22 AM

Justjoe, Your rant is nothing but a rant without any details or photos. What type wood, how was it prepped, etc.etc. There are members here in LJ that are skilled in the finishing of wood. Let them help you before you spring a leak.

-- Art, Pittsburgh.

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958 posts in 4267 days

#5 posted 08-09-2013 12:24 AM

The picture on the can is just there to sucker you in, sort of like the sea monkey pictures, with all the cool little creatures with their little sea monkey city. I don’t like polyshades, but mine did dry overnight when I used it. Since you said it’s a refinish, I’m thinking there could have been something in the wood, maybe some type of oil that kept it from curing? Then again, it could have been something in that batch or that can too. I use Formby’s Tung Oil finish sometimes and it always dried fairly quickly for a varnish, but my last bottle wouldn’t dry at all even on clean wood with nothing else on it. It got to the tacky stage and that was it. It sounds like the same problem you’re having maybe.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

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1554 posts in 2922 days

#6 posted 08-09-2013 12:27 AM

The wood is sitting under the can. The original lacquer was hand-scraped off and then the entire piece was sanded down to clean bare wood. A dental pick was used to clean the gunk out of the screw holes for all the hardware and then it was cleaned with a shop-vac and then a tac rag.

The can was well-mixed and then a foam-brush was used to put a light coat on.
And then I waited 3+ days for it to dry.

EDIT: This is actually my second experience with this stuff. The first was my aunt’s cabinets. She ordered new doors (bare maple) and chose a light stain. It came out orange.

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1568 posts in 4127 days

#7 posted 08-09-2013 12:35 AM

I haven’t used that stuff but I’m considering myself warned.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

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906 posts in 2788 days

#8 posted 08-09-2013 01:46 AM

I will 100% second this review. I misguidedly bought a can a few years ago. I think mine was classic oak as well. I tried it on something or other, and had about the same results you got, Joe. However, there was a silver lining.

That can of polyshades, with 7 brushstrokes worth of Polyshade missing, sits atop a shelf in my shop to remind me always to read third-party reviews before buying anything for the shop. Someday I’ll be thinking of it on the day our town does toxic waste removal, and it will go, but the memory of it will remain.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

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51 posts in 2802 days

#9 posted 08-09-2013 02:08 AM

I agree its crap… but take the box off! it cant dry in there it needs air circulation,

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1554 posts in 2922 days

#10 posted 08-09-2013 02:25 AM

Yes Bailey, the shrine to ill-advised purchases, or as I like to call it: Everything in the big shed and most of the attic.

Groovy – the box came off yesterday morning. It’s had enough air. It just needs a decent burial now. I don’t have the patience to strip this thing again so I’ll probably just throw it in a closet or shed and continue to work on the other chests I’m fixing up.

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881 posts in 3325 days

#11 posted 08-09-2013 02:31 AM

Joe, thanks for posting a humorous review for what is a painful subject. I’ll heed your warning.

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

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3158 posts in 3056 days

#12 posted 08-09-2013 03:18 AM

I had the same experience with polyshades. I did find that brushing it on and wiping it off thoroughly that it would eventually (after several days) dry enough that you could put varnish over it and the varnish would dry to the touch and you can use the item. Like Bailey the can now sits on the top shelf to remind me never buy it again.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

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424 posts in 3443 days

#13 posted 08-09-2013 04:44 AM

How’d it look on that test board before you put it on your project?

-- Douglas in Chicago -

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6210 posts in 3697 days

#14 posted 08-09-2013 06:05 AM

I wouldn’t trust any stain + topcoat in one. It is too difficult to get both the right color and good water protection.

I have tried maybe 50 Minwax products, and have been satisfied with exactly 0.

Try Rodda, Cabot, or Varathane brand oil based stain. Then spray pre-cat lacquer as a topcoat. It dries in 15 minutes. You can do the required two coats in one day.

Sorry for your woes.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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1512 posts in 4348 days

#15 posted 08-09-2013 08:48 AM

thanksfor the warning about this product. i have used minmax gel varnish stain+poly in one and have been pretty pleased with the results… I’m not using it for my fine handmades, just for an ikea butcher block table. Works great for that – dries to the touch in minutes and as hard as it needs to be within a day.

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