+Water Based Finish
The aspen on the puffins and the Santa has the water based acrylic finish. Time will tell if the aspen gradually turns more yellow. The aspen has yellowed quite a bit on pieces that are over 10 years old.
Intarsia Whiting Gel is also good if using white pine or any white wood that yellows. The white pigment will help keep the wood a lighter shade. This whiting is the same basic formula as the regular Old Masters clear gel finish, with white pigment added. The pigment can make the gel look more lumpy. For more natural results just use one coat of white followed by two coats of clear. Be sure your wood is nice and smooth, with any stain if there are scratches the white really soaks in and will stand out more.
For all you purists out there, if you do not want to use stains of any kind the “High Performance Polyurethane Water Based Top Coat” is probably your best bet.
I picked up a can of General Finishes “High Performance Polyurethane Water Based Top Coat” Satin sheen. I experimented with it on the aspen for the puffins. It did require sanding between coats which is a pain. However, it did keep it nice and white. I tried this finish on other wood species and did not like the results. I am so spoiled with the wiping gel, it was hard for me to get a even finish on the wood. After the final coat I used some #0000 steel wool over the surface to remove some brush strokes.
I made the Panda in 2000, so it's been exposed to the light for many years.
I have a unique opportunity to have most of the pieces created for the patterns hanging in the building. Some are from 1988. I can see how wood colors change over time. Some wood gets lighter and some gets darker. I have found most red colored wood gradually turns brown. I used to use WRC for faces however it gets very dark as it ages. I use Basswood for any people. Yellow heart keeps it's color very well.
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