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Finishing Products Comparison Chart

» Evaporative Finishes:

Evaporative finishes dry as their solvents disperse into the air. They will always redissolve into the solvent originally used to thin them, making them easier to repair but also a little less durable.
Product Ease of Application Repairability Flame Resistance Health & Safety Water Resistance Chemical Resistance Scratch Resistance
Wax Excellent Excellent Good Good Poor Fair Poor
Shellac Good Excellent Fair Excellent Fair Poor Fair
Nitrocellulose Lacquer Fair Excellent Poor Poor Good Good Fair
Water-based Finishes Good Poor Excellent Fair Good Good Good

» Reactive Finishes:

Reactive finishes undergo a chemical change as they cure, making them not only more difficult to repair but also more durable (except for linseed and tung oil) than most evaporative finishes.
Product Ease of Application Repairability Flame Resistance Health & Safety Water Resistance Chemical Resistance Scratch Resistance
Linseed Oil Excellent Excellent Good Excellent Poor Fair Poor
Tung Oil Excellent Excellent Good Excellent Fair Fair Poor
Oil-based Varnish Good Poor Good Poor Excellent Good Good
Oil-based Polyurethane Good Poor Good Poor Excellent Excellent Excellent
Catalyzed Lacquer Poor Poor Poor Poor Excellent Excellent Excellent

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