Wood Finishing: Varathane Pro Finisher Oil Based Clear Review

This is one of the few user-friendly urethanes still on the market. Over-zealous government regulations have led to many urethanes that are difficult to use. Success with this oil-based formulation is easy.

PUBLISHED 2Aug2019: If you’ve been finishing wood with urethane for any length of time, you know that it has become significantly more difficult to get good results. As government regulations squeeze excellent urethanes out of existence, they’re being replaced by fast-drying, low-VOC waterbased formulations that seem engineered to leave behind brush strokes and hardened bubbles. If you’re been trying to lay down a nice clear wood finish but failing, chances are the urethane you’re using is partly to blame. The thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way for you.

Varathane Pro Finisher urethane is entirely different than the modern urethanes that line store shelves. It’s one of the few oil-based formulations still on the market and it’s every bit as good as the outstanding urethanes of the 1990s. In fact, it’s even better than any of my previous favourites. The main claim to fame is that this stuff doesn’t form bubbles as you brush it on, and it dries slowly enough to flow out. That’s not to say that it’s slow drying, either. Dry to the touch in six hours, Pro Finisher quickly forms a rock-hard film so it sands well between coats. No gummy residue clogging up the 220-grit sandpaper from this stuff. As with all urethanes, I prefer a satin or matte finish because it shows imperfections  so much less prominently than semi-gloss or gloss formulations. You won’t be disappointed. It works just as well on floors as it does on cabinets and trim. About $75 per gallon in most hardware stores.

Do you have a wood finishing project in mind? I’ve created several key articles and videos you need to take in:

How to Sand Wood: Click here for a detailed tutorial on the best and most efficient ways to sand fine woodwork. Sanding correctly is a key step.

How to Buff Wood: Click here for a detailed tutorial on buffing wood so it has a glass-like final sheen. You can get glass-smooth results with this method, and it doesn’t even take very long.

Got a wood finishing question? Send it to me at [email protected]