When I put the poly on, the wood (stained cherry) looks amazingly bright, with depth of color. After it dries, it looks dull. Is there a top coat I can put on to make it bright like when it is wet?

Note, I am using satin poly since I don't want a glossy finish, but I do want a bright, deep, color.

  • 2
    I think you need gloss to get the effect you want, go to a paint shop and look at their samples.
    – Jasen
    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:30
  • 3
    Yeah, the "wet look" is gloss. Might also want to compare oil-based .vs. water based .vs. oil-modified water-based. Water-based tends to be "clear to bluish" while the oil and oil-modified tend towards an amber tint.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 27, 2021 at 13:05
  • Sounds like I should switch to glossy for my final coats then? Mar 27, 2021 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


For critical color "warmth" and "color pop" on fine wood projects (e.g. musical instruments like guitars) drying oils (e.g. tung oil, boiled linseed oil) are often used. Sometimes they are then hand-rubbed only, or wax, lacquer, shellac, or even poly are applied on top.

I recommend you visit Woodworking Stack Exchange and search under the "Finish" tag.

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