Product Incompatability Alert:

Minwax "Water Based Stain" is not compatable with epoxy - and probably not spar varnish as well. Applying epoxy by brush to Minwax "Water Based Stain" stained wood will severly fisheye as if the surface is contaminated with wax - (MINWAX).

I learned this too late after an unsuccessfull attempt to locate a specific stain tone from Mohawk "Ultra Penetrating Stain". I am now in the process of removing the Minwax stain. -- As recommended by CLC: check the compatibility of a stain with 'real world' epoxy.

Do Not Believe a simple product label or product description claim. The product vehicle may be water based but the supported pigment may be an emulsified oil or wax based product.

Nothing else to add due to the probability that my post would be censored...


8 replies:

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RE: Product Incompatability Alert:


Nothing wrong with a heads up. I used General Finishes water based dye. I raised the grain with water, lightly sanded and applied the dye. Very easy to work with. They do have an alcohol base version too. The water based gave me a longer working time.


RE: Product Incompatability Alert:


I called Minwax customer support - technical department and explained what had occurred with their so called 'water based stain' - absolutely no help at all. The tech said that their products are only compatable with other Minwax products... I wanted to use some harsh terms with the tech but refrained - as I did in the first post.

Thanks for your reply - I'll check General Finishes out...


RE: Product Incompatability Alert:

   If I may...a suggestion for CLC: Please stock more of the Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Stain - additional colors toward a honey tone or light oak. Thanks!

RE: Product Incompatability Alert:

   Test run Test run Test run. 
Saves a lot of work. Hope it turns out well for you.

BTW I used Mohawk. You can find the full array of colors if you search online.

Good Luck PP

RE: Product Incompatability Alert:

   Thanks PP!!

We have decided to replace the planking - all of it. Just spoke with sales at CLCfor the special order.

You are so right - Test run, Test run, Test run - also saves great big tear drops!

I found and ordered the correct Mohawk Ultra Penetrating Stain but will Test run anyhow!!

Thanks again,

Bill C.

RE: Product Incompatability Alert:

Glad this forum exists. I just did a test run with a Minwax water based stain and one of their oil based stains. I did the pre-stain product for the water based stain. After it had completely dried, i brushed on a thin layer of epoxy and covered it with peelply. The area where there was no peelply had fish eyes, but  where I had used the peel ply there were none. Maybe I was lucky. Better safe than sorry, will be going for the options listed in this thread. Also, the Minwax oil based stain did not fish eye, curious.


RE: Product Incompatability Alert:

Test, test, test & maybe test again if you have any doubts!

I'd used Minwax oil stains for years prior to 2013 with water-based Parks urethane varnish for a final finish. As long as I let the stain dry thoroughly (maybe a week, more often ten days) the urethane worked great on top. Virtually indestructable, but it's a urethane most commonly sold for finishing flooring so there's that.

Sometime around 2012 or '13 they must have changed their formulations. What I bought in 2014 to finish red oak interior trim caused the same urethaneto fail miserably after it had been applied and allowed to dry thoroughly.

Epoxy is even more sensitive to substrate chemistry for proper adhesion.

I've since switched to the GF line of stains also. I find their gel stains easier to get consistent results with as well as leaving a reliable bond to the urethane I like for final finish.

RE: Product Incompatability Alert:

   I just completed a kayak and used two colors of Minwax water-based stain with no problems whatsoever. I had done test samples before the build, which also went well. I put MAS epoxy over the stain, then glass.

On a previous kayak I used alcohol-based stain to avoid this risk. The sample went well, but I did get some minor fish-eye effects on the boat itself.  I think it's key to make sure whatever stain you use, make sure it has thoroughly dried before adding the next material.

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