Using water-based finishes
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Meet the pro
David Munkittrick has 30 years'
experience in woodworking. He
is an active freelance journalist,
furniture designer and builder.
He lives and works on an old
farmstead in western Wisconsin
where the pig barn has been
repurposed as his wood shop.
If you used water-based wood finishes years ago
and gave up in frustration, give them another try.
Newer versions have many advantages over solvent-based finishes: They dry much faster, so less
dust can settle into the wet coat, and there's less
waiting between coats. Cleanup takes soap and
water, not chemicals. They're low odor, pose no
fire hazard and are better for the environment.
But water-based finishes aren't perfect. They
raise the grain and are very sensitive to temperature
and humidity. They're nonyellowing, which is
good, but they can produce a bland appearance
on darker woods.
To help you achieve a great finish every time
and avoid the pitfalls, here are my top 10 tips for
using water-based finishes.