Polyurethane Spray Painting
Polyurethane finish is considered the easiest to apply and most durable of all types of wood finishes. The two different types of polyurethane finishes are water-based and solvent-based; this is the older and more established form of finish.
Polyurethane is a plastic-based resin, available in satin, semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes that provide a hard, durable gloss for crafts and model-making and can be applied to almost any surface. The finish very thick, hard and glossy, much like an automobile finish.
They are also frequently used for boats and marine applications. When a clear finish is applied over wood, it has the appearance of a smooth, plastic shell.
It can be applied to most types of plastic, fiberglass, wood, metal and most fabrics. The most valuable feature of polyurethane finishes, apart from a flawless, glossy finish, is resistance to water and chemicals, including gasoline. This makes it ideal for model-making. It is high in solids, making it slow to dry, but creating a thick, durable film.
Polyurethane is available as a clear topcoat and also in many colors. For larger projects, a two-part finish can be mixed up. This requires some care, because if the finish and the drying catalyst are mixed incorrectly, the finish result could bubble and crack with use. For painting items like model airplanes, more flexible and slightly thinner polyurethane formulated specifically for its flexibility is a good choice. Polyurethane finishes are usually applied with a spray gun or spray can, although some formulas can be brushed on.
As with most finishes, the best method of application is in several thin coats instead of one or two heavy coats. Since polyurethanes are hard and glossy, they will show every surface imperfection, so starting with a very clean, smooth surface is essential, as is sanding between each coat.
There are several types of polyurethane finishes and paints, and several ways to apply them. The size of your project and its use will determine the best type of finish and method of application.
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