Help with Enduro-Var. Will thinning it make it possible to put on thinner coats?

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Blog entry by riooso posted 01-22-2014 04:12 AM 2514 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello guys,
Today I put down my first coats of Enduro-Var. I am very impressed with the toughness of this finish but, unless I am getting something wrong, it is a thick finish. I have been looking around on the site and, if I am not mistaken, it is meant to give more of a “plastic” finish. I would prefer a finish that did not hide the open grain so much. Is it possible to thin it slightly so that it would level at a little bit thinner application? Or, it may be, that I need to go to the High Performance Top Coat. I am in the beginning states of a couple of pieces for my daughter’s kitchen so I can make changes.

Any input would be appreciated!


4 comments so far

View WhoMe's profile


1564 posts in 3213 days

#1 posted 01-22-2014 06:31 AM

I guess my first question is, what made you choose enduro var?
From what I have read in the general finishes publications, enduro var contains varnish resins for a thick and hard finish that is well suited to high wear situations like floors.
In my experience, varnish has always been a plastic like finish. Most of the time, I see it used on boats.
I might have missed it but what is this finish going on?

If you are wanting the wood grain to show up better, you should be looking into more of a oil/poly type wiping finish.
Those seem to protect well while allowing the grain texture to still be visible. I’m playing around with the Maloof mix that Rockler carries and I am liking it so far.
I have also used thinned oil based poly and the 3,2,1 (mineral spirits, oil based poly, BLO) mixture with good results.
Granted, here in southern California, the aqmd has made it almost impossible to use oil based finishes anymore.
Luckily, the Maloof stuff is still available. Other than that, almost all finished are water based. Which stinks.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies, the wall gets in the way AAANNNDDD table saws BITE my fingers!!!.. - Mike -

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1906 days

#2 posted 01-22-2014 07:24 AM

Mike, water based finishes don’t really stink!

Most prefinished floors use water based finishes, and they constitute about 80% of floor installations. My flooring suppliers have told me that they used to be so hard that conventional floor finishing systems couldn’t effectively resand them, so they had to come up with new sandpaper capable of cutting through the finish.

In other words, the sandpapers which used to allow floor finishers to sand the old varnish finishes on floor couldn’t cut the mustard when it came to the prefinished hardwood of today.

Now they can!

10 years ago, I woulda said “right on buddy” but after learning to use water based stains, clear and shading waterbased laquers, tinting brush on stuff, ( and it has never ceased to be a learning curve), I’ve gotta think if this “oldworld” fella can learn to adapt to the times, you can too!

I haven’t had a single complaint from my family or clients in 4 years now about the “stink” of solvent based finishes.

Didn’t Dylan write a song about “changing times” or something like that>


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View riooso's profile


38 posts in 2615 days

#3 posted 01-22-2014 09:30 AM

Thanks for the reply guys. Mike, the reason that I picked Endro-Var is because the units are going to be use in a kitchen and it is one of the uses that they suggested. It is a damn hard finish and coupled with wanting to try some water based chemistry does intrigues me. I also live in California and water based products have come a long way in the last five years and I thought I would make the jump to a water based product. I have traditionally, and still do, used lacquer, varnish, polys, and wipe on products and they all have their place. I just felt kitchen cabinets need something different. It is nice to have another product in the quiver of tools that I have available. Endro seems to show a little grain when put on just a tad thinner but it does not seem to flow at that rate of application. Not looking for the total grain to show through, just a tad.

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2593 days

#4 posted 01-22-2014 03:55 PM

Richard, try cutting your varnish with a mineral spirits. I would try thinning by 20-25% test on some scrap. If it works you are golden.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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