hi I would like to put a finish on my cigar box. i read somewhere that you can use PVA glue this sounds like a nice alternative.   has anyone done this how does it work and how do you apply it , with a brush rag, finger rub?   any disadvantages?



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are the elmers and the titebond family of glues all PVA's. i have found some articles that say elmers white is not..... the net is not the best place to find cohesive information. no matter what you find there is always someone saying just the opposite...


I have used Furniture Grade Modge Podge. You can get this at Michaels/joAnn. Its good for inside during the winter. It leaves a very thick clear coating if you do 3 or 4 coats. Coats dry in about 1/2 hour. It comes in gloss or matt . Be sure it the Furniture version.

White Elmers glue would not be a good alternative as a sealant. It is not permanent. If it comes in contact with water, or any moisture, it will start to reactivate.
Wood glues are a different formula, although they are water soluble when in liquid form. Most dry and are water resistant or water proof. Check the container to be sure.

If you are looking for an indoor safe finish have you considered shellac? Available in clear and amber finishes. Minimal fumes and dries and seals the wood quickly. Can be "french polished" for a finer finish.

i am sorry i noticed i was not clear ... this is a paper covered box i would just like something to protect the artwork.  the hodge podge sounds like it might be good.

Ah, tricksies that one is, preserve the artsies work my precious, nassstieees little hobbits use the wrongsies stuff and the art work runsies like Tammy Fay Baker's make-up is doeses em<Gollum, Gollum>

Don't use anything water based in that case, a risk of damaging the paper or the ink.  look for a rattle can of something like laquer or shelaq or similar that you can put on in quick THIN coats and dries fast and needs paint thinner / mineral spirits / etc for clean up.

I have had great results using rattle can spray lacquer.  The best way as said is many light coats and if you don't want a gloss finish just buff it with fine steel wool after it dries.

I have recently become a fan of the rattle can of  Zinzer Spray Shellac dries in 15 min. available at  home depot. matt to satin finish depending on how many extra coats you use.

For wood finishes, I've used Danish oil, linseed, Tru and others.  I finally fell onto Minwax Wipe On Poly.  basically, it's thinned oil based poly.  Dries fast, adds a nice light tone to the wood, and dries fast.

Rustoleum makes a great clear spray enamel matt or gloss.  Dries quick, very clear, but like Lacquer, the solvents are nasty...  I mostly stopped using Lacquer due to my lack of ventilation.  I'd have to spray, hang and leave...

i ended up using the modge podge hardcoat (furniture)

after 5 coats it came out a nice satin finish just what i was looking for.

however it says in the small print not to wipe it with anything wet (as some people here have warned about PVA,s) but after 4 weeks it is completely cured and you can use a damp rag to clean.... i may be going to the minwax wipe on poly in the future... a friend of mine recommended it and i also saw it recommended here.... on the neck i used Danish Oil.... natural....

thanks for all the input and Merry Christmas.

I use lots of this stuff, mostly the gloss. Its great on the paper boxes any really holds up to water and humidity. I even have a couple of small tables I've covered with it and wet glasses don't effect it.

Lots of thin coats that have a chance to dry will build up and give you that thick hard coat.


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