Serious Comparison: Daly's ProFin vs. Minwax Wipe On Poly

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Forum topic by Lee Barker posted 02-25-2012 12:58 AM 14925 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3911 days

02-25-2012 12:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wipe on poly urethane varnish

There’s an abundance of opinions about finishes on LJ, many of them sounding like this: “I’ve always used SchmidFarns Sleek Elite #2.” If there’s no comparison, there’s not much weight there.

I had the opportunity this week to do this comparo: Two bass bodies, identical woods (cherry/alder), prepped exactly the same, stained with the same product and shade, finished in the same room, same lighting over each. There are a lot of constants there, like humidiity, temperature (it stays at 70oF there with the lights on), same application techniques, same filter materials, same applicators (4” square of cotton).
The bass bodies are on rotisseries so there are no real vertical applications.

Both products are labeled “semi gloss.” Minwax recommends recoat in 2-3 hours; ProFin in 4 – 8.

Here are my observations:

Always ready to recoat in three hours
Easy to get a thin, even coat
Lower sheen

Wanted to go on thicker; if I tried to thin the application, it would get streaky.
Really cuts back into existing finish quickly, almost like a lacquer.
Sometimes took all of 8 hours to dry to recoat
Higher sheen
Apparently more build

I am at 6 coats of each. I’ll repost in a few days.

Rough costs: Minwax, $24/qt. (in pints); ProFin, $17/qt.

Have you ever done a head to – head like this with finishing products? Let us hear about it!



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

8 replies so far

View driftwoodhunter's profile


273 posts in 3747 days

#1 posted 02-25-2012 01:51 AM

I hope we’ll hear more head-to-head comparisons like this, thanks for your observations!

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4549 posts in 3622 days

#2 posted 02-25-2012 02:20 AM

A friend of mine that is all he uses for his wood turnings is Minwax.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Dez's profile


1172 posts in 5138 days

#3 posted 02-27-2012 01:08 AM

Thanks Lee, I always appreciate real world performance results!
I have tried both but years apart and on different projects (ProFin on outdoor stuff!)

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2172 posts in 3911 days

#4 posted 02-27-2012 04:10 PM

The two projects sat over the weekend and are amply dry to the touch. The MinWax one is very near to ready to go. It will sit for a week before rubout.

The Daly one is a disappointment at this juncture; the finish has streaks in it, gloss vs. less gloss. This can be repaired, and I also think it could have been prevented had I thinned the product just a bit. I am confident that I stirred and strained it before each application.

I am glad I didn’t know that, because the accuracy of this comparo is dependent on constants, including using the product right out of the can. (That said, this can had been opened once three months ago. I decided that shouldn’t be enough to affect the test. Now you know. Maybe it did.)

To repair the Daly I’ll let it sit a week likewise and then wet sand it and recoat it with slightly thinned ProFin. That might complete it.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View G5Flyr's profile


99 posts in 2794 days

#5 posted 10-24-2015 03:17 PM

Hi Lee

I am a novice and always in need of education. Your review did an outstanding job in that regard. I am undertaking a new project within the next few weeks from a how-to book. The author suggested Daly’s Profin Satin. I’d never heard of it and I was looking around the internet for prices, availability and reviews. Your review popped up in the search and I am very glad it did. I’ve been using Minwax finishes since I started woodworking because they are readily available, easy to apply and reasonably priced. After reading your comparison I think I will stick with Minwax.

-- G5Flyr

View Captmike001's profile


5 posts in 1857 days

#6 posted 03-22-2016 12:19 AM

I appreciate your post so much, as I was just preparing to stain a project that I have worked on for months! I plan to use a product System Three called Top Coat. I spoke to the service people at System Three, explaining I wanted to “color” my Okoume plywood before putting a clear coat on. They recommended first, Daly Stain, but if not available, then Minwax. It appears much easier to apply evenly, and is certainly much more readily available.
I have worked very hard on this tonneau cover for my pick-up! At this stage, I cannot handle many mis-steps, and “do overs”

-- Capt Mike

View OSU55's profile


2776 posts in 3050 days

#7 posted 03-22-2016 07:47 PM

Minwax poly is ~$11/qt vs $17 for the other. Used a lot of different varnishes over the years – poly, alkyd, phenolic, hard to beat plain old cheap Minwax. About the only MW product I will use. Application has everything to do with how a varnish finish comes out.

A lot of luthiers are using WB finishes – fast dry, fast build. Ive had very good luck with Target coatings, on furniture not instruments.

View paintingcontractor's profile


2 posts in 2411 days

#8 posted 02-22-2017 03:27 AM

I have used mostly Profin.. here are before and after with Profin!!

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