I used a bunch in the past for some trimwork. After 3 or 4 months all the poly started peeling off, and about a year later only half the wood was covered in poly. The peeling poly also removed some of the stain along with it. That made the peeling all the more obvious.
I may have screwed something up in the application process, but... I'm never going to use the stuff again.
If you take the time to build your own stand, don't waste it finishing with Polyshades. I've found it to be inferior to separate stain+topcoat products, and you also can't properly build up several layers of topcoat.
I'm not much of an expert on stain, but that's because I spend a lot of money on wood. For topcoat, I love General Finish's Arm-R-Seal. This stuff is just amazing. Wipe on and walk away. (And repeat 3 or 4 times.) I've also used General Finish's water-based products as well. They are very good, but not quite as good as the oil-based products. This is an instance in which the "pro" grade stuff is only a little bit more expensive than the Home Depot stuff, but much much better.
I have used various colors of http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2000760/2573/HOMESTEAD-TransFast-Dye-Powder-Dark-Red-Mahogany.aspx for many projects. You can mix to get the exact color you want, with a lot of experimenting. And, the powders mix in alcohol or water. The advantage of dyes over stains is that they actually color the wood instead of just depositing pigments on the wood. So, they can reduce the contrast between hard and soft grain a great deal. I used them mostly on birch, just to get the colors I wanted.
Just a quick thread de-railment, then re-railment.
Hoppy, those dyes look awesome! I've never heard of them before. I wish I had known about them, because I'd bet you probably can't accidentally sand off the dye if you missed a small bit of poly someplace. I'm going to get some of that and do some experimenting!
Re-railment: I would recommend getting a single piece of the same type of wood that your stand is made out of, along with 4 or 5 different small amounts of stain/dye. Tape off a few squares on the wood, and start staining. Don't be afraid of mixing stain either. One of my favorite stains is a first mixture of 50/50 sedona red with red oak, and a second coat of 50/50 mix sedona red and red mahogany.
Polyshades is a fine product as long as you have a steady hand.
It's just polyurethane with dye added to it, as they said above. Polyurethane is about the toughest finish that most DIY'ers have available to them.
It takes a while to dry, which is the only real downside.
Buy a GOOD QUALITY china-bristle brush to brush it on. Some people like foam sponges on a stick, but I get bubbles galore with them.
If you have an air compressor, and a good garage, you can get a cheap spray gun from Harbor Freight for $20 and spray on the Polyshades, it looks lovely when sprayed. Just spray VERY light coats, thin the Polyshades a little with paint thinner if you need to, and BEWARE the flammable overspray-- do this only in a well ventilated area.
Hey I used Polyshades on my DIY stand and I think its pretty good. Here is pic of my project with it. I used Classic Satin Black. But I used wood conditioner first. But u have to buff with 0000 (?) steel wool after each coat until the last coat or it wont brush on properly. I never had any problems with bubbles and it does take awhile for it to dry but who cares. I used a $5 HD brush. I personally never had any problems with it and my project came out good. I am happy. So remember, 1. Sand the wood; 2. Use wood conditioner; 3. Polyshade; 4. Buff with 0000 Steel Wool; 5. Polyshade again; 6. Buff with 0000 Steel Wool after each coat of Polyshade you apply until the last coat.