Minwax on Your Plane

by FliteTest | August 14, 2013 | (38 Ratings) Posted in Tips

**DISCLAIMER**
HOT GLUE WILL NOT STICK TO MINWAX!
BE SURE TO GLUE YOUR AIRPLANE TOGETHER BEFORE APPLYING MINWAX.

Protect your scratch built foam airplane from moisture!  David and Josh share a quick tip using Minwax Polyurethane.


Do not want to use the water-based version, this Clear SEMI-GLOSS Fast-Drying Polyurethane works best.

Using a brush, you can brush on the Minwax.



**DISCLAIMER**
HOT GLUE WILL NOT STICK TO MINWAX!
BE SURE TO GLUE YOUR AIRPLANE TOGETHER BEFORE APPLYING MINWAX.

Allow the Minwax to absorb into the paper for a short time and then with a dry cloth, wipe off the access and allow the board to dry.

Your plane will now be water resistant! And your foam board will be much less susceptible to humidity.



With your foam board surface coated with the Minwax the liquid will run off surface. Hot glue doesn't stick to the Minwax very well so you will want to peel back the coated paper surface if you need to glue repairs or assemble your airplane.

When water gets on your untreated foam board it soaks in and can warp and wrinkle the paper surface.

All of the foam board and speed build planes that you see on Flite Test are treated with Minwax and it's worked out great and our planes hold up even better.

We'd love to hear your tips!  Leave a comment or post an article and share some of your scratch build tips!

Minwax USA

 

For Europeans ;)

 

COMMENTS

tannman102802 on February 2, 2014
where can you get it
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jordster1998 on August 14, 2013
could you leave my tip in related vids please seeing it does the same thing but strengthens the foam and is water resistant for only £2 ''£2 foam strengthening kit"
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tramsgar on August 14, 2013
"NOT water based", but what-based? I took a look at the Minwax product details page (I only read the last sentence):

"CAUTION! CONTAINS KETONES, ALPHATIC HYDROCARBONS, PROPANE, BUTANE. DANGER! EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. Keep away from heat, sparks, and open flame. Vapors will accumulate readily and may ignite explosively. Keep area ventilated during use and until all vapors are gone. DO NOT SMOKE- Extinguish all flames, pilot lights and heaters. Turn off stoves, electric tools and appliances, and any other sources of ignition. VAPOR HARMFUL. Use with adequate ventilation. Avoid continuous breathing of vapor and spray mist. To avoid breathing vapors or spray mist, open windows and doors or use other means to ensure fresh air entry during application and drying. If you experience eye watering, headaches, or dizziness, increase fresh air, or wear respiratory protection (NIOSH approved) or leave the area. Avoid contact with eyes and skin. Wash hands after using. For skin contact, wash thoroughly with soap and water. In case of respiratory difficulty, provide fresh air and call physician. DELAYED EFFECTS FROM LONG TERM OVEREXPOSURE. Contains solvents which can cause permanent brain and nervous system damage. Intentional misuse by deliberately concentrating and inhaling the contents can be harmful or fatal. WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY."

Seriously though, do this outside and wear gloves... =)
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bgreenrobot on December 20, 2015
Everything causes cancer in California, even breathing. So, they do not recommend breathing once you are there. There are no 'actual' scientific data that supports that disclaimer. It is just there to put the liability (in case you get cancer) on to the consumer. You can't sue the manufacturer, because they told you it would happen. When they 'test' to determine cancer risk, they give the mice nothing but chemicals to ingest, and almost always, it affects the mice health. Then, the disclaimer is added.
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jrbemis on August 14, 2013
Did the FT Spitfire as a fuse and wing build with the servoes installed. Masked off the servoes. Painted with Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane but did not wipe off. Seems ok but a lot of tooth on surface. Painted with alcohol solvent based paints with airbrushed. It looks awesome with skyblue underside; dark earth, middle green, and neutral grey top side. Planning on maidening this weekend after final assembly.
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Christian Jeppesen on August 14, 2013
Thanks FT this is one of those must know, for foam-board scratch builders. Keep em coming :).
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Lloyshius on August 15, 2013
Updated music?

Sounds good!
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Da99er on August 14, 2013
When I built my last F22 I cut out the parts, minwaxed them, then assembled with hot glue.... I didn't notice any difference with the hot glue, it stuck fine for me.
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rezq911 on August 14, 2013
What???? NO comments about the FT F-22?????? Is this gonna be a kit? Plans soon to follow??? Whats up Josh & David?
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hansdude on August 15, 2013
FT did a build video for the F-22 from RC Groups: http://flitetest.com/articles/F_22_Raptor
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rezq911 on August 15, 2013
Thanks hansdude.
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tramsgar on August 15, 2013
There's been mentions of a swappable F-22 "later on"... I think the issue is fitting the pod to a semi-pusher (prop in the middle!). Now with the versa-wing and "FT components" maybe this will be looked at again?
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sailorJohn on August 14, 2013
I tried this but found the paper really came off the foam easily after application. Could someone tell me what I did wrong.
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Drezed on August 16, 2013
Make sure you have the oil-based, and not water-based. I think it would be better to coat after assembly. :-)

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sailorJohn on August 16, 2013
I wonder if I could use a venturi type hobby sprayer
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Milk Man 1954 on January 18, 2014
Minwax has a spray can that works great also. works good if you have already built your plane.
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sailorJohn on August 16, 2013
Finally some magazine acknowledged we fly foamboard! FLYRC thank you.
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sailorJohn on August 16, 2013
FPV'ers check out AUVSI.COM the unmanned vehicle org. as seen on cspan . It sounds like they will represent drones to the FAA.
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sailorJohn on August 16, 2013
500 drone producers at the convention.
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andy_spoo on August 18, 2013
Anyone tried spray on lacquers? e.g. those used for circuit board production, http://www.maplin.co.uk/pcb-lacquer-29005

or plastic lacquer, e.g. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plasti-kote-400ml-Super-Clear-Acrylic/dp/B002HMQE72/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376810616&sr=8-1&keywords=plastikote+lacquer

Not tried it myself, I was just wondering if the results would be similar.
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SweFpv on August 14, 2013
Excellent article as usual! But do you guys know where to get this stuff in Europe. (Sweden to be more precise). Dont forget where you're coming from David ;)
Keep up the good work!
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Christian Jeppesen on August 18, 2013
Did you ever find a European replacement for the minwax? I cant find anything in Denmark :-(.
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SweFpv on August 19, 2013
No I'm afraid not :(
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Watersky1205 on August 29, 2013
Hi guys!
I am from Switzerland and I have the same problem as you. I wasn't able to find any product delivering the same result as the minwax...
I have found this website where they ship worldwide. The shipping cost is twice the price of the product but why not... I've just ordered mine... Let's see!
http://www.thepaintstore.com
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Watersky1205 on August 30, 2013
Bad news!!!!
Just received an email that there are unable to send over here...
Damned, I have to keep on searching!

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Watersky1205 on September 12, 2013
Ok, so after some search on the market here in Switzerland looking for something containing polyurethane (not easy because they don't write the component anymore, maybe not eco friendly enough), I have found something :D I believe this product is available in most European countries: "V33 Vernis Intempéries" (litteraly: Unclement Weather Varnish) http://www.v33.ch/vernis-exterieurs/b.-vernis-intemperies,610.html?&vars=cHJvZHVpdF9pZD02OTg%3D And it looks to work as good as the Minwax concerning water repelling. I did not try to paint it yet. I will update you on that as soon as I try.
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Quantumlight01 on November 17, 2013
ZAR ULTRA Polyuretanlack should be a good replacement here in Europe.
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igull on September 10, 2013
Minwax poly is essentially the same as 'Ronseal Hardglaze' - or as it's known today - 'Ronseal Ultra Tough Varnish'. Comes in three flavours, gloss/satin/matt. It's oil based. I've been using it for around 50 years, so its a proven product available in europe. Try your local B&Q in the UK - unsure of a diy retailer name on mainland europe. I have seen Ronseal products in Spanish stores.
Tip: If you want to make it a 'wipeable' variety, then just cut it about 50% with white spirit.
FWIW, the finish is fuelproof too :-)
Cheers
Neil
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RotateB4TheEnd on August 18, 2013
Do you apply decals before or after minwaxing? (ex: FT3D canopy decal)
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lracnolip on August 14, 2013
another good tip :-)
Have you guys ever considered adding a small wooden plate to the speed build kits for servos. That we people could glue the wood plate and screw the servos to the wood for easy removal or replacement.
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danield on August 20, 2013
Popsicle stick would do the same thing. I've done it for added strength, also removable, this is a guide line, hobby it up. Keep them flying, what ever it takes. :)

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danield on August 20, 2013
(All of the foam board and speed build planes that you see on Flite Test are treated with Minwax and it's worked out great and our planes hold up even better. - See more at: http://flitetest.com/articles/minwax-on-your-plane#sthash.ZDmmOMR1.dpuf)
When did this start.
Do I need to do this with my new speed build planes that I got today, or is this something you consider optional?
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liveyourdreamsRC on August 25, 2013
Whats with the meowing cats and slow-mo with FT music at the end?
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JonPaso on August 26, 2013
Also tape hinges will fail if used over minwax. Found out the hard way.
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lordst2 on August 27, 2013
I've decided to re-build my Super Cub pretty much from the ground up and wanted to give it a custom paint job. Has anyone tried using Minwax on foam to keep spray paint from bubbling up the foam? It seems like a good idea, but I'm not sure if I would be just wasting my time?
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jstryin2fly on August 27, 2013
Has anybody ever tried Never-Wet by Rustoleum its pretty crazy stuff but might would work
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joann69 on September 7, 2013
I have been using the Minwax on my scratchbuild airplanes. I would like to know how long should I let it set before the wiping off process is started. I'm been waiting about 2 or 3 minutes, is that enough time for it to soak into the paper before the wipe off of the Minwax
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Leefiero on September 11, 2013
Hi all!
In sweden I found the same product at Biltema.
http://www.biltema.se/sv/Bat/Kemikalier/Farg-och-Lack/Inredningslack-30554/
Good Luck!

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Watersky1205 on September 12, 2013
Hi all!
For my European friends who's got trouble to find or import Minwax, the following product is more or less similar.
After some search on the market here in Switzerland looking for something containing polyurethane (not easy because they don't write the component anymore, maybe not eco friendly enough), I have found something :D
I believe this product is available in most European countries: "V33 Vernis Intempéries" (litteraly: Unclement Weather Varnish)
http://www.v33.ch/vernis-exterieurs/b.-vernis-intemperies,610.html?&vars=cHJvZHVpdF9pZD02OTg%3D
And it looks to work as good as the Minwax concerning water repelling. I did not try to paint it yet. I will update you on that as soon as I try.
Have fun!
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amtpdb1 on September 18, 2013
I would like to see how they do it on the planes they show. I would think they would build it up first or the glue might not stick as well. do they try to paint it on the inside areas such as the inside of the power pod areas on the planes. Do they paint it on the underside of the spitfire wing and how far inside of the wing open ends? Does it hurt if it gets on the foam edges and does it seep in from the edge and hurt the paper bond? I purchased some but have not tried it yet do to my mentioned questions as I don't want to damage all my work! I would like to see a video on the finishing of a plane already built clear to the finish painting all in one video. Seems that flight test used to respond themselves, but it has been some time since I have seen a response directly from anyone! Maybe I have not been looking where they have been responding!
Thanks
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Rasterize on October 5, 2013
Remember Readiboard (Dollar Store Foam) has no glue holding the paper on, never has. It's just heat set to the heated foam in the final stage of their process. That's why there is variability in adhesion. The paper will eventually come off the old or the new stuff. (not really old or new, but just process variation). We all have to remember that just like fff, this material isn't "built" for us, but rather for garage sale posters or kids making posters for the local science fair where long term adhesion isn't an issue. And as long as you understand your plane won't last for the long term adhesion isn't an issue either.
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Girish Joshi on January 24, 2014
Is minwax polyurethane available in India ? If not, any alternatives ??

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Bents49 on October 11, 2013
For all you Aussie foam airplane builders "Minwax" is hard to find in Australia so i found the perfect sealer that is same as minwax as far as not harming or wrinkling paper for pre paint job and waterproofing ...its in all Bunnings Hardware stores nationwide called Bondall Monocell Satin Marine Varnish in aerosol can $14.95 but goes long way (3 planes so far) but is a nice sealer it hardens overnight so not fast but once dry its like a really great hard surface even makes paper lightly sand-able main thing is i can camouflage paint my FT Spifire now with aerosol enamels (like Chad did?) without worries on my scratchboard kit getting ruined ...
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RNZAF 101 on March 12, 2015
Thanks bro really helpful
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Philbobb on October 19, 2013
Try Zinsser seal coat, or any other de-waxed shellac. Hot glue still sticks to it, it dries in an hour or two, and it doesn't smell bad- the odor is denatured alcohol evaporating. I did a test with a couple pieces of foam board, one coated, the other not. Glued em together, the paper on the uncoated piece peeled before the glue did.
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Boneshack on November 6, 2013
FOR ALL EUROPEANS heres a Dutch product which is said to have the same properties as minwax:
http://www.nonpaintstore.de/de/de-ijssel/de-ijssel-pu-silkgloss-varnish-1000-ml?pk_campaign=google-ps-de&pk_kwd=De-IJssel
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Quantumlight01 on November 17, 2013
In sweden it should be: ZAR ULTRA Polyuretanlack
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gadget_addict on November 25, 2013
I use water based minwax from lowes on my foam planes. Carbon Z Cub, Apprentice and T-28 Trojan.. they're shiny and hold up well..
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ITCyoy543 on August 14, 2013
What about non paper coated foam?
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Christopher14 on December 12, 2013
If you do take the paper of the foam, when ever you score or bend it it will break. but if you put some packing tape in the foam board after you remove the paper it will be water proof, I will do an article on that soon.
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neusse on August 15, 2013
I have looked and looked. I dont think this exact minwax is legal in California. Something about low VOC rules.

Is there and alternative product available in California?
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Christopher14 on December 12, 2013
Every thing is illegal in California ;-)
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Shadow50 on January 16, 2014
I believe we should be able to find polyurethane based floor sealer in California. Just checked Home Depot and it appears to be instore Store SKU:# 995843.
By the way, I'm wondering if some of the alcohol based paints used for spraying the clear lexan bodies for RC cars will work? This could bypass the minwax waterproofing step. I imagine that the paint when dry should repel water. It sprays fine over depron.
Just need to use less tacky tape when masking for details and graphics. It's no fun when you peel the paper away from your model.

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Milk Man 1954 on January 18, 2014
Minwax has a spray can that works great also. works real good on planes that are already built.
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stevevm on January 18, 2014
I was concerned about the Minwax preventing the hot glue from sticking so I tested a piece. Treated it, let it sit for a couple of days and then tested gluing it. I had no problem at all.
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hele559 on January 31, 2014
would this work?:
http://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/paint_decorating/interior_paint/bondall_monocell_stain_varnish_500ml_cedar_114788/

and does it matter what kind of wood it is made for as long as it seals it?
OR: is there any other sealant in NZ that's reasonably cheap that will work??
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RCmaniac on August 14, 2013
Very good tip!
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PaladinDG on February 5, 2014
I bought a can of the spray can version thinking it would be the same... the label was exactly the same, but it destroyed the foam. Paper immediately bubbled up and the foam warped. I am so glad I tried on a test piece of foam first!!! DO NOT BUY THE SPRAY CAN VERSION!!
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BGR on February 16, 2014
I recently built the FT F22 and after assembly I applied Minwax. The Minwax wicked into the paper and got under the hot glue fillets. The glue hinge on the flaperons was also compromised so fearing that all the glue joints were compromised I scarped the plane. I do not know how you guys are getting away with application after assembly. Could you please explain how this is done?
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Tony McArthur on March 4, 2014
hi all, worth saying that "minwax" is just the brand. in essence any oil-based polyurethane will work and the finish is only going to impact the look of the undercoat so its not overly important if you use satin or gloss.

In australian markets the best product i have found is Cabots Cabothane Clear. comes in a 250ml tin for $10 and will coat 10+ planes with relative ease. the best application method i have found is actually to apply with lint-free cloth like a tea-towel or polishing cloth. apply generously, wait 5 mins then wipe off and leave for approx 45 mins. it will still feel sticky to the touch but this helps your oil based sprays to stick like crazy and has no bad effects. tape off your surface before application if you only intend to use this as an undercoat as when the tape is removed it creates a nice line and you will not suffer dis-coloration of the polyurethane over time.

once again, Australian market = Cabots Cabothane Clear available at Bunnings. :D
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ilovetoflyfpv on June 3, 2014
Hi Tony

What spray paint would you recommend once I've used the Cabots Cabothae Clear?

Cheers

Jase :)
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medic563 on September 19, 2014
Can vinyl decals be applied over the mini wax finish?
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minwax-in-europe on November 11, 2014
I have good news for us. Minwax is now in Europe.
www.maszynoimpex.com.pl
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BirdStrike on January 19, 2015
Did you guys Minwax before or after you assembled the airplanes? I have just tried Minwaxing all of my cut outs for the FT Storch and it warped everything and then the paper just pealed right off the foam so I had to scratch my entire build. Please can anyone help me? What did I do wrong?
Also I am not using the water based Minwax and I also did not drench my foam board in the Minwax. Any ideas will help.
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Captain1938 on July 5, 2014
Can one apply vinyl decal over the mini wax finish? Also has anyone tried monokote or ultrakote on the foam board?
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the_law_man01 on March 27, 2015
Several have monokote and/or ultrakote covered planes built with foam board. I've seen several build threads on rcgroups.com reference this. Don't have any readily available links though. If I remember right, you just have to be real careful with the heat application. Only use just enough heat to cause the -kote to stick and don't let the heat gun or iron to sit in one spot for too long.
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lazermule on December 27, 2014
So I went through the Minwax steps as outlined above, let it dry for a couple of hours and then followed up with an interior latex. As the latex dried, I saw the paper bubbling up and soon it released completely from the foam. Nothing else to do but peel all the paper off along with my new "Piper Yellow" paint job from my Old Fogey. Not a big deal on the fuselage, but now without paper the wing is VERY flimsy. Any ideas on how to stiffen the wing back up? I do have one flat carbon spar inlayed into the underside of the wing...maybe add another?

So where did I go wrong? Did I not let it dry long enough? Seemed dry when I started in with the latex paint. The input I got was that once treated with Minwax, pretty much any paint will work...not in my case, unless of course the Minwax hadn't fully cured. Not sure...

LM
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the_law_man01 on March 27, 2015
For recovering your cub or any other future builds if the paper releases after applying minwax, you could use coffee filters. Apply a layer of minwax. Allow a minute or two for it to get tacky. Lay on a coffee filter and smooth it out with a brush. Then, apply Minwax over the filter. Nearly like laying on fiberglass or carbon fiber layers but with paper and polyurethane rather than fiber and epoxy. That might work.
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Zman on July 10, 2015
Don't do it! I applied this Minwax to my beautiful "Nutball" and now have warped wing. Haven't flown it since as I know it will be like flying a corkscrew into the air and then down into the ground.
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BillyBobjones on August 6, 2015
great article!! but i was wondering about the color what if you put a bit of food dye in it to color it would it work?

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dkruger` on August 31, 2015
Has anyone thought of trying to add a pigment to the minwax for a lighter one coat light blue,red or yellow color effect?
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femmpaws on September 20, 2015
I have used both Varathane and Minwax polyurethane before but not on foamboard. I see you were using Gloss, have you tried using Satin finish?
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