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Is it practical to wax an article that has been finished with spar urethane? This item will be exposed to the weather for 4 - 6 hours on occasion. If waxing is practical, how long should the urethane cure before waxing? Thanks,

  • You can apply wax to it. You could also apply butter to it, but I'm not sure what the advantage of either one would be. This type of coating doesn't call for that. Historically there were other coating technologies once existed where wax was appropriate, but that has no bearing here. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 28 '19 at 5:36
  • I don't expect that any finish is impervious to the harshness of our Colorado sunshine. I assume it would be easier to reapply wax on occasion, rather than a new coat of spar poly. If waxing would have detrimental affects on the poly, then it obviously wouldn't be practical ... – Lon Jul 29 '19 at 16:43
  • poly isn't designed to be maintained by waxing. The idea is it's supposed to eliminate waxing by providing a higher performance coating. If you want trad coatings that use wax, go for it, but follow up. If you want higher performance coatings, stop using spar varnish on things that aren't spars. Spar is not sailor for "better", it means flexible at the expense of more desirable qualities. Hence spars need more maintenance than fixed brightwork, but you give spars that extra care because losing a spar is so crippling. If you want higher performamce still, LPU. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 29 '19 at 19:36
  • Thanks for your comments, although I'm still a bit confused. I've already applied 3 coats of non-diluted spar urethane to these boards, so opting for another, more appropriate, finish is not a path I want to go down. If you think that waxing will have no detrimental affect on the urethane, then I will do that as an added protective layer. If you feel there is no added protection from wax, then I'll leave them alone ... – Lon Jul 30 '19 at 13:51
  • I've already applied 3 coats... If you are ultimately worried about protection, don't wax. Leave them alone and monitor over time. Eventually you'll need to refinish the boards. As per Harper's great answer, wax will do nothing but provide a slight temporary change in sheen and make future refinishing much harder. – dwizum Jul 30 '19 at 19:52
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Is it ... practical ... to wax urethane?

Well, it can be done. You would be ill-advised to do so before the urethane fully cures. My stuff wants 30 days, but yours is surely 1-part urethane which cures via reaction with air or moisture, so I'd give it a few months.

My concern is, I don't see how much good it will do. Obviously you're very attached to the idea of "waxing" things, and I gather that is wisdom handed down over the ages. That is wrong-headed because coating technology changes much faster than that; all folk wisdom is obsolete. If you were using a traditional varnish, then you should use trad maintenance techniques (but you wouldn't use wax for that). But you went for urethane because either you wanted less work or more durability.

That said, I don't see any harm to it... though when it comes time to recoat with an actual varnish, you'll regret it. Wax is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse when you're trying to prepare a surface for recoating (the others being linseed oil, silicones, and latex paint). It will require tedious, painstaking, complete removal with harsh chemicals, or the next coat will fish-eye and you'll have a ton of work to do. I shudder just thinking about it.

As far as resisting UV damage, polyurethane is already pretty good at that.

Since you went after poly you presumably want a higher performance coating. If so, avoid spar varnish. Spar varnish is for spars. Spars bend a lot, and normal varnishes will crack and split, admitting water, trapping it and rotting the spar. So spar varnish has a lot of additives to make it flexible at the expense of traits you want in a varnish. Not least, on normal brightwork you want a very hard varnish that will resist scuffing, because scuffing reduces gloss and gloss is the varnish's best defense.

They make even higher performance coatings, but you will sacrifice "easy application" or "classic appearance", depending on the product you use.

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  • Thanks for all of your input. I'll heed your advice and avoid the waxing. These are corn-hole boards that I built as a weekend project, but with the finishing (and errors) they have taken me 4 weekends. Now I'm ready to put them out for play. – Lon Jul 31 '19 at 14:33

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