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Minwax Your Plane


Posted a thousand or more times
I'm not sure how well it would work on the black. I haven't tried the black myself - mostly because I've heard the paper doesn't bond to the foam nearly as well on the black and comes loose very easily. I had initially hoped that the minwax treatment would help bond the paper to the foam better but I've found at least on the normal white board that's not the case, it doesn't weaken the bond but doesn't really help it any either.

On a related note - just have to say again I LOVE the minwax treatment. My second Versa had a horrible maiden (I was rushed building it, covered my CG marks and didn't realize the CG was about 2" further back than it should have been) and wound up in a canal. I thought for sure it was done for...but once it tried out it was fine. Heck the super sticky mud in the bottom of the canal didn't even stick to the mixwax and once the plane dried the mud just brushed right off! (Thankfully the water level in the canal was low enough my ESC/motor/RX didn't get dunked. My Lipo and lipo alarm got a nice swim though :(
So, for those who have done both Minwax and the EA tape technique, how do the two compare in terms of strength, durability, and weight?

Obviously the aesthetics of the two are completely different, and the tape seems to be well suited to "utility" planes whereas Minwax is far more appropriate for scale planes, particularly if you plan to paint them.


New member
How bad is the smell? With the winter months coming I don't like the idea of standing outside in -40 weather to minwax a plane.
I'm sure that most of you minwax with the windows open, but in the event you dont want to open the window. how bad is it?


Posted a thousand or more times
The small of the minwax is....horrible. Just really really bad. Even using it outside it gives me a headache. And even after leaving the boards outside for 24 hours I can still smell them 2 rooms away when I bring them into the house. And that's in 113F (in the shade) weather so they dry nice and quick :) (Coating outside in that kind of heat isn't much fun either!)

Maybe I'm just extra sensitive to the smell...but IMHO it's the biggest problem with the minwax treatment.

As for comparing to tape...minwax does not protect as well as tape. It's lighter than tape, and it takes paint better than tape - but with tape you usually just use colored tape for designs and forgo paint entirely so it's a tough comparison.

The tape does add more strength, the minwax doesn't really do anything to help strengthen the boards or help the paper stay adhered.

On the other hand taped boards don't stay hot glued to each other in my experience while minwaxed boards do (as long as you give the boards a few weeks to fully cure before gluing - other have reported hot glue not sticking to minwaxed boards...but I tend to let mine sit for a month or two after coating before using them and haven't had that problem.)

I don't have a good local source for tape (other than clear) and I'm too cheap to place an order online for tape since having to pay S&H makes me want to order a good range of color options and it all adds up quick to more than I want to spend. Clear tape isn't a great option for me since then it's hard to fully decorate the plane as paint doesn't stick well to tape and the weight of tape and paint seems like a waste. So while I like the EA tape method and it has some benefits over minwax I personally don't use it very often mostly due to a lack of tape.

$8 worth of minwax has coated over a dozen boards and I still have almost half a can left. So economically compared to tape minwax has a lot going for it.


Hostage Taker of Quads
So, for those who have done both Minwax and the EA tape technique, how do the two compare in terms of strength, durability, and weight?

Obviously the aesthetics of the two are completely different, and the tape seems to be well suited to "utility" planes whereas Minwax is far more appropriate for scale planes, particularly if you plan to paint them.
Tape with paper is heavier than minwax, but not by much. Without paper, taped foam is a lot lighter. The tape alone is not as ridgid than the papered foam, but *much* stronger if you've got good overlap along the seams.

In a crash, Minwaxed paper is as tough as the paper-foam bond -- once that fails then the foam underneath starts to crumble. Becasue of the flexability, I've had a higher damage resistance out of taped foam, since the foam and tape bend on impact. with CF spars for rigidity, it's primary failure modes will be to seperate from the spars or tear along poorly overlaped tape strips.

ALL THAT BEING SAID, the FT plans are built expecting papered foam. If you strip and tape the foam you'll have to take great care in folding (if you don't pre-tape the foam), and likely re-enforce some structures to eliminate floppyness (stabilizers and unfolded wings, particularly).
Hi all, I'm not sure if this question was asked already, as I didn't find it when I searched these forums, so here goes. I wonder how to clean the brush that I use to apply the polyurethane? I suspected this would happen, but was lazy to clean up the brush after applying a test coat of minwax. Figured there must be an easy fix for it, maybe not? I looked elsewhere, and some have said there is no way to get the brush back, and some have recommended paint thinner or mineral spirits. I'm sure people on here must have some experience with this issue. Also, is there an alternative to brushing the minwax?
Waterbased polyurethane minwax should clean of nicely with, well, warm water! And perhaps a bit of dish soap.

Polyurethanes are rather difficult to dissolve or remove once hardened, however. Looked around a bit, and people talk about fairly nasty solvents like laquer thinner or MEK (which may not work on all poly paint types) and different types of actual paint stripper chemicals, intended for use on wood or similar surfaces.
I wouldn't be surprised if your paintbrush itself might not hold up to these solvents/strippers?
I'd just bin the brush, chalk it up to having been a learning experience, and get a new one. And perhaps fill an old jar with warm soapy water before you start painting next time to dump the brush in, if you don't have time to clean it right away. Should keep it from hardening for quite some time.

If it's waterbased polycryllic minwax, same thing, warm water and perhaps some dish soap.
On hardened paint, some note that acetone might work in dissolving it. Or it might sort of just gum it up. I'd probably also bin the brush in this case, it'd honestly have to be a fairly expensive brush to be worth the hassle.

I hear of people having fairly good experience with using cheap foam brushes, regardless if on wood or model airplanes, but haven't tried them myself as cheap ones appear to be difficult to find over here.
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Thanks for the reply! I am using the oil based polyurethane;'cause when I read it, the flitetest article specified not to use water based. Theoretically, even the oil based one should be washed off with soap water when it hasn't dried. I will try it the next time, or use the disposable foam brushes. I'm sure they'd work well. As of now though, I just tested applying it using paper towels. Technically they should work like foam brushes. I'll find out if paper towels worked as well on one wing as the brush on the other wing. Let's see.
Right, the waterbased kinds supposedly tend to make the paper expand and ripple on dtf. Makes sense. We don't really have dtf over here, so I guess I lack experience on that specific task. The waterbased kind is useful for many other things though, like sealing in airbrush work or covering (less watersensitive) surfaces with cloth, paper or glass fiber.

Minwax suggest mineral spirits or paint thinner for cleaning the oilbased kind off while unhardened, by the way. Hardened it's more or less the same story as with the waterbased polyurethane.
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Turpentine or mineral spirits to clean your brush when using the oil based. When I ran out last I ended up finding brushes at the dollar store. A few for $1 so now I use and pitch.
I did a fast google, and it looks like Walmart will sell you a bag of 20 2" foam brushes for 4 bucks over there. No clue on the quality. Probably other similar offers available.

Over here it's more like 1-3 bucks a piece......and at 1 buck it's mail order and the freight still cost more than 10 brushes......Wouldn't care what kind of people I'd meet in there, we could really use some stores with that kind of price levels over here :rolleyes:


Rookie Pilot/Builder
So I should have read this before brushing the stuff on my planes... my glue is now sticky, anyone know if it will ever dry? How is the treated foamboard for cutting with a knife? Should I treat boards before cutting, or before gluing?
When I use MinWax I only use rub-on and never use a brush to apply. Spray can minWax is OK if you do not over apply. "Rub on wipe off". With the wipe on MinWax you can control this products paper penetration much better. I avoid any water base coatings as they can result in board warp. My experience is to use water based product sparingly and with thought. At present I am working with a Valspar paint product that is foam safe and found it works well to seal the edges and precoat your build. but it does not work well in cold temps. If any paint product can not dry reasonable fast or is over applied it trends to soak through the paper covering and attack the the paper to foam bond. The Valspar product work well if the temp is 70 f or above. We are talking about white board here as brown board has quit different properties. For what it is worth this is from my experience in working with DT board.