a latex-gloved hand wipes a polyurethane-soaked cloth across a tabletop « »

What Is Polyurethane?

It's a kind of super-tough varnish formulated so that its microscopic chains of resin molecules will bond tightly with one another as it dries. The result is a finish that's much more resistant to water, solvents, abrasion, and impacts than traditional varnishes.

Some polys have oils that give wood a warm, amber tone. If you want wood to keep its light color, use a water-based poly.

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