Makes and Keeps Wood Beautiful
Region Australia
Makes and Keeps Wood Beautiful™

Water Based Helmsman™ Spar Urethane

Minwax® Water Based Helmsman® Spar Urethane


Water Based Helmsman™ Spar Urethane is a crystal clear, water-based finish that is specially formulated to protect wood against nature's toughest conditions.

  • Contains UV blockers to reduce the sun's graying and fading effects.
  • Forms a protective barrier against rain and moisture.
  • Special oils allow the finish to expand and contract with the wood as seasons and temperatures change.
  • Ideal for use on doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture.
  • Crystal clear finish is ideal for use over light-coloured woods and stains.
  • Dries quickly and cleans up easily with warm water.

Product Details

Sheens: Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin
Application Tool: Synthetic bristle brush
Location: Interior and exterior wood surfaces
Recoat: After 2 hours
Dry Time: 24 hours before normal use
Cleanup: Warm water
Coverage: Approximately 12m2 per 946ml
Coats: 3-4
Recommended Uses: Doors, windows, trim, bathroom cabinets, bar tops, kitchen countertops, outdoor furniture, not recommended for floors
Exterior: Interior/Exterior Clear Protection


  1. Surface must be dry and free of paint, wax, grease, polish, old finishes in poor condition or any foreign matter.
  2. Sand to obtain a smooth, uniform surface. Do not use steel wool. Remove all dust with a damp cloth.
  3. If desired, apply stain, such as Minwax™ Wood Finish™, to unfinished interior wood surfaces. Follow directions for application instructions and dry times.
  4. Stir well before and occasionally during use.
  5. Apply a thin coat of Water Based Helmsman™ using a high quality synthetic bristle brush. On unfinished wood, apply sufficient material to seal open joints, edges and end-grain.
  6. Let dry at least two hours, then sand entire surface lightly with very fine sandpaper (220 grit) to ensure an even finish and proper adhesion of additional coats.
  7. Apply second coat. Water Based Helmsman™ requires a third coat - repeat step 6 before application. Note: For exterior surfaces or for previously unfinished wood, four coats are recommended.
  8. After final coat, allow 24 hours before normal use. If applied to countertops, allow 72 hours before normal use.

CLEANUP: Clean application tools with warm water immediately after use.

COVERAGE: Approximately 12m2 per 946ml

Note: Dry times are based on good ventilation, temperature of 25°C and 50% relative humidity. Lower temperature, higher humidity, lack of air movement or application of thick coats will extend drying times. Always test surface for tackiness between coats. When used for exterior applications, maintain by lightly sanding and adding an additional coat(s) as conditions require.

Water Based Helmsman™ is not recommended for large exterior surfaces where maintenance would be difficult, such as decks and siding. Slight ambering may be experienced when Water Based Helmsman™ is applied over light-coloured stains or wood surfaces. Always spot test on an inconspicuous area to ensure satisfactory results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get the same protection with the Water Based Helmsman™ formula as I do with the oil-based Helmsman™ product?

Yes. You'll receive the same long-lasting beauty and protection with Water Based Helmsman™ as you do with the oil-based Helmsman™ product.

Does Water Based Helmsman™ naturally amber like the traditional oil-based product?

No. Water Based Helmsman™ is a non-ambering, crystal clear finish. Note that stains, paint and light coloured coatings applied under Water Based Helmsman™ may amber normally. Always spot test on an inconspicuous area to ensure satisfactory results.

Can I mix Water Based Helmsman™ with the oil-based Helmsman™ product?

No. The oil-based and water based products are not compatible and they should not be mixed together.

Can I apply Water Based Helmsman™ over the oil-based Helmsman™ product or vice versa?

Yes. The two products can be applied over each other as long as the first has fully cured. Follow the directions for the product you are using. Be sure to apply each coat with only one product. Do not finish part of a surface with one topcoat and part with the other as this could result in a uneven appearance across the surface of the wood.

Can Water Based Helmsman™ be used on interior floors?

No. Water Based Helmsman™ is formulated to expand and contract with temperature changes. Because it is flexible, it is not suitable for use on floors. Floors require a harder finish such as Minwax™ Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane.

Should Water Based Helmsman™ Spar Urethane be applied to exterior furniture?

Yes, but no clear exterior finish will permanently protect wood against direct sun, snow, ice and rain. Be sure to check the finish annually to determine if it needs to be recoated. If the finish warrants, apply an additional coat of Water Based Helmsman™ according to the label directions.

Is Water Based Helmsman™ suitable for decks and fences?

No. Decks and fences have special requirements for protection against the elements. Use an exterior product such as Minwax™ Decking Oil or Minwax™ Decking Stain.

Material Safety Data Sheet


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