Hi, we have a beautiful but very smelly old teak (?) type wardrobe that we’ve tried to clean in every way recommended online but we’d now like to try varnishing the inside to seal in the smell of mothballs etc.. Someone recommended oil based polyurethane varnish as being better than water based for this. What do you recommend? Thanks for your time
Either oil or water-based polyurethane will do the job. Water-based is fast drying, so the smell goes more quickly, and it dries clear, but it’s more expensive.
Oil-based is cheaper, takes twice as long to dry, and slightly tints the wood an amber color, although that’s less of an issue with teak. Each polyurethane has strengths over the other depending on the application, but given that your use is purely for sealing purposes and not water resistance or knock/abrasion resistance, either will do.
Be aware that teak is a naturally oily wood. To ensure proper adhesion for your chosen covering, wipe down the surfaces with either acetone or paint thinners before applying the polyurethane. I’d apply at least two coats of oil-based poly and four to five of the water-based. I hope that helps!