Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table #23: Testing Finish Options

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by TungOil posted 09-07-2017 02:05 AM 1558 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: ID Pins and Setting Up the "Spray Booth" Part 23 of Dining table inspired by the Greene & Greene Thorsen table series Part 24: Testing Finish Options, Part 2 »

For a project this large, spraying is the only option to getting an even finish. Solvent based finishes are dangerous for a home shop and messy to clean up. I have been wanting to switch to a water borne finish system for a while so now is the time. Ideally I’d like one that behaves like a traditional solvent based lacquer; quick drying, easy to apply and provide good clarity and chatoyance.

The Target Coatings products have gotten consistent praise from many users. I ordered some quart size containers of the EM6000 Production Lacquer, EM8000 Conversion Varnish and EM9300 Polycarbonate Urethane for testing.

I prepared some test samples with the 6000, 8000 and 9300 as well as control samples using Arm-R-Seal (wiped) and Waterlox Original (wiped). The top sample in the image below is Arm-R-Seal over General Finishes dye stain. The samples below it are the 8000 and 9300 Target products.

My first samples sprayed nicely, but then I started having trouble getting the Target products to lay down nicely like the solvent based lacquers I’m used to spraying. I tried various air pressure and fluid nozzle settings without any luck. Each subsequent sample seemed to get worse, not better, and I was getting a lot of orange peel. After some head scratching, I decided to take apart my trusty DeVilbiss MBC and found that the water borne finishes has built up inside and started to corrode my fluid nozzle. A quick bath in paint stripper removed the offending build up but there is still some corrosion present. Clearly these water borne products are not compatible with my older gun’s internal components.

The two samples below were shot after cleaning the nozzle. While there is still a touch of grain raise evident, I was able to get a nice finish with no orange peel. I am pleased with the way the Target products sprayed and pulled down tightly to the wood while still allowing the grain to show through- I prefer a ‘close to the wood’ finish over a heavy build.

Time for a new gun. After investigating many spray gun options, I decided to order a CA Technologies Jaguar 100H HVLP gravity gun. This gun appears to be a good option for me since it can run on as little as 6 CFM @ 40 PSI which will work well with my 6.9 CFM Rolair compressor. It is also designed for water borne finish systems so corrosion should not be an issue. My finish testing is on hold until my new gun arrives.

Next steps: Complete my finish testing to sort out my finish schedule, then stain and finish off this table and ‘deliver’ it to the customer.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

7 comments so far

View Rich's profile


3174 posts in 640 days

#1 posted 09-07-2017 04:55 AM

That top piece is pretty stunning, Tung. I’ll be following this to see how the new gun performs. I’m always in the market for a new toy.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View EarlS's profile


1243 posts in 2398 days

#2 posted 09-07-2017 05:28 PM

I’m curious to see what you settle on for the stain and finish and how it turns out. This might just be the nudge I need to try WB again and get away from traditional poly and oil based stains.

How did the finish feel after you worked out the orange peel? Was there much roughness from the grain raising? My experience with WB finishes has been less than ideal since they always seem to raise the grain significantly and the extra sanding is a pain.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View TungOil's profile


974 posts in 545 days

#3 posted 09-07-2017 07:58 PM

Rich- I already changed my mind on the gun brand. Canceled the order for the CAT and instead ordered a DeVilbiss. They have performed beautifully for me for 40 years I see no reason to change horses at this point. Should arrive Saturday.

Earl- Jeff Weiss from Target called me this morning with some additional tips to help me fine tune the finish. He indicated that the EM6000 product does lay down just a bit easier than the others but that a good finish can be achieved with any of them. At this moment I’m inclined to spray the entire project out with the EM6000. It will not see daily use and I especially like the 100% burn in capability so repairs down the road would be easy. Jeff’s support is exceptional and he is very knowledgable.

Regarding roughness, at this point I’m still working through the details of my finish schedule to get the best surface. I still have some very slight grain raise coming through which should be easy to eliminate with an additional round of sanding. The majority of the grain raise is coming from the dye stain. The last test I did I applied three coats of dye stain, then a topcoat of clear followed by a heavy sanding to flatten everything out. After three more topcoat layers the grain had raised again very slightly so I will likely add another somewhat heavy sanding just before the last topcoat.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View PPK's profile


1078 posts in 860 days

#4 posted 09-08-2017 07:32 PM

Mmm… I think the Arm R Seal in the top picture still looks the best. It’s got that glow to it that I’ve never seen in a water-based finish… I have yet to try spraying Arm R Seal, but I think next project I’m going to.

-- Pete

View TungOil's profile


974 posts in 545 days

#5 posted 09-08-2017 07:41 PM

PPK- Agreed, the top sample looks great, but it also has the advantage of having the best grain of all the sample pieces as well. I’m determined to get the water borne to work on this project. Jeff Weiss at Target has been very helpful and I greatly appreciate his guidance and help getting me to a better finish.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View PPK's profile


1078 posts in 860 days

#6 posted 09-08-2017 08:16 PM

Oh dear. I was trying to post this on the Furniture maker’s forum. Sorry for the mix up.

-- Pete

View Mean_Dean's profile (online now)


6657 posts in 3198 days

#7 posted 09-14-2017 11:18 PM

I’ve always liked the oil-based finishes, and am very interested in hearing about your experiences with the water-based ones!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics