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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Okay for what we needed
I used this to change the color of an old blonde dresser. I purchased the dresser for $50 at a thrift store with plans of turning it into a media center. I really liked the lines and the solid build of the dresser. The color, not so much. I planned to strip it and refinish it but after doing the top of the dresser I really did not want to put that much effort into it...
Published on August 24, 2012 by Courtney

versus
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Let us help you RUIN your natural wood finish!
And this is just the product that will HELP you ruin that beautiful wood.

I've been staining wood products (doors, furniture, household things) for many, many years. I tried polyshades ONCE and that was enough for me. I applied it to a very old exterior door that I'd meticulously stripped down to bare wood. I was so disgusted with this product that I waited...
Published on November 24, 2007 by Rosemary F. Thornton


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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Let us help you RUIN your natural wood finish!, November 24, 2007
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
And this is just the product that will HELP you ruin that beautiful wood.

I've been staining wood products (doors, furniture, household things) for many, many years. I tried polyshades ONCE and that was enough for me. I applied it to a very old exterior door that I'd meticulously stripped down to bare wood. I was so disgusted with this product that I waited several days for it to fully dry and then sanded off the whole mess and began again. It really is THAT bad. It doesn't save steps, it ruins wood.

If you don't mind having a finish that looks like a hyperactive, sugar-crazed, angry toddler installed super-ugly, wood-grained contact paper over your wooden item, then by all means, try the polyshades.

This product is hard to work with and leaves a blotchy, unattractive, is-that-really-wood-or-something-else finish on your natural wood. If you're accustomed to working with real stains and real poly, Polyshades will drive you to drink.

If you want your finished piece to look like it was professionally finished, spend the extra time, money and effort and do it the right way. Apply minwax stain and then apply two or three coats of minwax polyurethane (with a 220-grit sanding between each coat). Yeah, it's more work but at least you'll have something to be proud of when you're done.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blotchy and Uneven..., May 31, 2011
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
Like the previous two negative reviews, I had the same experience. Contrary to what the reviewer who positively used this item stated, we DID use the pre-stain treatment recommended by Minwax and still had a terrible time with this stain. It is incredibly splotchy despite multiple different techniques we used to apply it. I had a feeling this product was too good to be true, and I was right. I would highly recommend taking the extra time and money to buy a can of good quality stain and a can of sealant. It is well worth it to not attempt to make this shortcut.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Okay for what we needed, August 24, 2012
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
I used this to change the color of an old blonde dresser. I purchased the dresser for $50 at a thrift store with plans of turning it into a media center. I really liked the lines and the solid build of the dresser. The color, not so much. I planned to strip it and refinish it but after doing the top of the dresser I really did not want to put that much effort into it. I thought about painting it white, but really liked the wood tones since my living room trim and other furniture is all wood. I purchased this product against the reviews and figured I could still paint it if it looked terrible. I spent $13 for a quart at lowes and went to work. I agree that you have to be cautious with the drips and make sure to wipe them. I have a few drips and dark spots in my finished product. Overall for the amount of energy I put into the dresser redo I am happy with the results. It is hard to brush on, you have to move quickly and smoothly. I used a synthetic brush even though the instructions say natural, I just did not want to invest in a nice brush or try to clean it out after. I really am that lazy. I love the color and although you cannot see wood grain, the finish still looks like wood. All in all I only paid about $75 for the dresser and the quality beats what I can find at IKEA any day. I would possibly used the product again if I was refinishing a piece and did not want to paint it. I probably will never strip furniture again so this is a great way to get the look of wood with little effort.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful, November 2, 2011
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
This product stinks, I spent time sanding down a queen size headboard and I have put two coats of this rubbish on and it's still only about 60% of the shade of what it's supposed to be on the can. It's totally unforgiving with regard to blotchiness, streaks and drips. It is certainly not a time saving product in fact it's completely the opposite, I would have been quicker using a penetrating stain and three coats of poly. The reason I did not research this rubbish before using it was that I usually use Minwax products and I trust them. Do not touch this stuff with a bargepole!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Polyshades has a purpose and an ideal application method. This may help you decide if Polyshades is right for you., January 27, 2014
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
After using Polyshades for the first time to finish a custom cabinet and entertainment center I built, I was not all that happy with the finish. I read over the directions. I am very good with oil based paints and from everything I read, using alkyd painting techniques is certainly the best approach to brushing Polyshades. The finish was acceptable, but not as good as if I had stained and finished with polyurethane in separate steps. In that scenario, I would rate this product 2 stars.

The most notable issues with a brushed application (and keep in mind I consider myself good with brush applications of finishes) is the inconsistency in the finished color. Fortunately, the inconsistency was so consistent; the piece appeared to be intentionally finished in that style (if that makes any sense).

If you insist on using the product and applying with a brush, be sure to use a 100% natural China bristle of good quality, adequate bristles (not a chip brush), and keep it clean with mineral spirits as you use it. The Polyshades will thicken up in the bristles and affect your finish. This is the same caveat for alkyd painting.

THERE IS A PURPOSE FOR POLYSHADES and more important, there is a better application method.

First, if you're finishing bare wood (as I was in my first experience of Polyshades), pass on the Polyshades and go the traditional route. The only exception to this is if you are in a rush and have HVLP spray equipment.

Now secondly, and most important to this review: If want to refinish a piece, that’s when Polyshades works very well. Polyshades can be a time saver, but sometimes it the most practical solution.

Using kitchen cabinets as an example, suppose you wanted to darken your Golden Oak finished kitchen cabinets. This was the project I was willing to give Polyshades a second chance on. Why was I willing to give it a second chance? Well, after reading up on the product, I began to understand what it was exactly. And understanding what the product is as well as reading up on application methods, I was not only willing, but excited to tackle my kitchen cabinet refinish with this stuff.

After my research, Polyshades ended up in a category of being a Toner finish. So what is a toner finish? Simply put unlike the clear finish product one would apply to a piece AFTER stain, dye, oil, etc., a toner is the clear finish product tinted with dye. Theoretically you could make your own Polyshades by adding tint to a can of polyurethane. The take-away from knowing this is understating the intent of a toner. That is, a toner is to be used and thought of as a top coat only. You are not staining / absorbing color into the piece. You are (for lack of better words) essentially “painting” a translucent, stain look-a-like, onto the top of the piece. In fact, when using toners for professional finishing, they’re usually applied AFTER a first coat of CLEAR.

So, that is when I realized that REFINISHING with Polyshades may just be the best usage. And in fact, it works rather well. To avoid the inconsistent color banding of the top coat and after much reading up on toners, HVLP spraying is the only way to go. In refinishing pieces such as cabinets, prep work for applying Polyshades is exactly like the prep work required for applying a fresh coat of polyurethane. You need to clean the surface, sand or steel wool the finish to promote adhesion, clean the surface dust, and apply the finish.

The best thing about spraying the finish is, once you have done all of the work of masking and after you realize just how quick the product applies via HVLP, you will not hesitate to top coat your new Polyshades finish in a clear polyurethane for the added protection suggested on the back of the Polyshades can.

Important points:

The color finish is completely uniform when using HVLP to apply

The viscosity of Polyshades is ideal for spraying with HVLP

Stir the product well before pouring into your paint cup and mix your paint cup while spraying

Spraying the product will cut the application time DRAMATICALLY. If you were planning on spending 3 hours brushing, you will spend 20 minutes spraying. This is not an exaggeration.

You will have a flat, stroke free finish

Use a gravity sprayer (I say that only because that is what I used and it worked very well)

Make the first coat as light as possible. It should only be a “sealant”. The color after the first coat should not be the desired end color.

Using the HVLP method, after the second coat, the color was exactly as desired and advertised on the can. Keep in mind, this was going from a light Golden Oak to a very dark Espresso!

The spray application end result is so much better, and the application time is so much shorter, the time taken to mask and protect the interior cabinet surrounding walls, counter tops, floor, ceiling, etc., is completely worth it.

When spraying in-doors – WEAR A RESPIRATOR, establish forced ventilation, and do not over pressure your sprayer. Paint with the lowest pressure possible. Remember – HVLP – High Volume, Low Pressure.

Finally, if you don’t believe spraying is the ideal application method or if you think Minwax would not recommend it, ask yourself why Polyshades is available in a spray can.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't use on bare wood but great for going over unstripped wood, June 23, 2013
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
This stuff definitely takes a little skill to use. I used it in my office to go over old golden oak trim and doors that were in pretty good shape but just wanted to darken them a little to give them a more modern look. The results were really nice, but I will admit that it dries quickly so being able to get it good enough and leave it alone will save you a lot of headache. It will never be perfect, so if you want perfection, take the trim off the wall, strip it down to bare wood and use conventional stain and poly (actually the gel stains work really great and are less messy) but you have to much more time and work involved. I am very happy with the results and got a darker look while still preserving the natural grain patterns in the wood.
Do not use this on bare wood!!!!! I have tried it before and it is a nightmare. It dries way too quickly and you will get splotchy and uneven results. The fact that I went over wood that still had poly on it worked to my advantage because it stuck to the trim but doesn't really soak into the wood and you can get much more even results. I lightly sanded half of the trim and then did the other half without sanding it and actually the half that I didn't sand came out better. Great Adhesion too with a really hard, durable finish.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars DO NOT BUY, March 7, 2013
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
If you want a blotchy, uneven finish, this is your product. I've used this stuff before, but forgot how much I hated it. I bought a can to finish some new wood doors and tested on a side of one door that doesn't get much use. Polyshades is extremely difficult to work with. The poly component starts to dry very quickly, so if you attempt to go back and blend or retouch areas that you literally just did (like not even 2 minutes before), it will smudge and blotch. It is IMPOSSIBLE to blend as you go, so you get a very uneven finish. This crap might be okay for smaller products, but for bigger jobs, go with a regular two step process. Believe it or not, it will probably be quicker, and you'll get a much better result.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yes blotchy, March 8, 2012
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
Thin coats.. yes.. tried that.. 2nd coat was a disaster.. scraped it off..
someone must have been lucky.. got thick and splotchy for me almost instantly.
if you HAVE to use it.. put on one coat only, but I recommend using a stain then clear poly.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Total Garbage, January 23, 2012
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
Don't use this stuff. It will get thick and blotchy. I did everything according the directions and the finish looks terrible. Its almost glittery and way inconsistent. I'm now in the process of sanding everything down as best I can and doing the right way with stain + Poly in separate steps. This will ruin your project!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Should have listed to the reviews, December 5, 2013
This review is from: Minwax 61360 1 Quart Tudor Polyshades Satin Wood Stain (Tools & Home Improvement)
I am on the 2nd coat of an expensive office desktop refinishing project. I've gone too far now to turn back since I don't have the luxury of time to sand this all off and restart. I read a few reviews before hand and most of them were like the ones here - bad. But I was anxious to get this project done so I ignored the reviews and forged ahead. The result is just as the reviews said - quickly turn taffy like, streaks and blotches everywhere, dark drips almost impossible to avoid. Now that I've experienced the product, it is just what I should have known. Stir together a quick drying polyurethane with a colored stain and this is what you get - streaky, botchy, sporadic uncontrolable application. I am an amatur and it is now obvious why we must first apply the stain and second apply the clear urethane.
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