On day 3 the finish line was finally in sight for my two tone dining table project! Eating dinner on an actual dining table as opposed to a coffee table finally seemed like reality instead of a far away dream. I work from home, so was able to apply the first coat of Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic in the morning. I then sanded down the first coat, cleaned off the dust with a damp cloth and applied the second coat during my lunch break. This allowed the polycrylic to dry for 4 hours until I finished work. Finally I sanded down the second coat and applied the third and final layer. If you need to speed this up, 2 hours should be sufficient between coats.
A couple of lessons learned that may make your refinishing a bit smoother (literally and figuratively): The Minwax can instructs you to use a high quality synthetic paint brush to apply the finish. I did not have good luck with this AT ALL even with using a Purdy bush. In fact, it was going so badly I decided I would throw caution to the wind and use a foam brush for the final coat. This worked infinitely better. Consequently, I would suggest using a cheap foam brush for the entire application and save your Purdy brush for a painting project.
Another tip: on large surfaces, water based finish tends to dry before you have a chance to spread it out. One technique I found online was to start applying the finish in the center and brush it out to the edges. This prevents dripping on the ends and provides a more even coverage. This helped as well as applying extra finish to the brush. More finish equals a longer drying time, giving you some extra seconds to spread it out more evenly.
Given all my issues with water-based polycrylic, you’d think I would not recommend using it. However, I will continue to because it is durable and easy to clean up. Our table is in a high traffic area so durability is paramount! Also water-based finishes can be cleaned with just soap and water, which is perfect for projects at home.
Here is the finished product and I couldn’t be more pleased with it.
Two tones can be applied to almost any type of furniture so don’t limit yourself to tables. I’d love to hear of any projects you’ve used this technique on or any suggestions for making it easier. Please leave comments below!