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Arm-r seal walnut. How many coats to fill grain?

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Forum topic by toddbeaulieu posted 09-27-2016 12:31 AM 488 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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toddbeaulieu

780 posts in 2464 days


09-27-2016 12:31 AM

Hello all!

I am in the final stages of edge grain walnut counter tops. I’m 5 coats. I fell like I’m almost there, but you know it can be, coat after coat and still getting the dimples on the grain. Do you think I should be almost there? Or, should I stop now and buff it down with liquid compound?

Thank you!

UPDATE: I’m not yet convinced that the dimples seen in the photo are related to grain. Thinking it might just be how the finish is drying, but just in case, I ended up picking up some filler and applying it last night, followed by another coat. I’ll check it out tonight to see what it’s looking like now. If it doesn’t settle down after one more coat I’ll try polishing it.


8 replies so far

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toddbeaulieu

780 posts in 2464 days


#1 posted 10-06-2016 12:47 PM

Well, change of plans. I was trying to get the perfect, flawless, mirror finish and just had too many struggles with that. Ten coats in (trying to knock down peaks and filling valleys) I finally made a fatal mistake of rushing it. I applied a coat before the previous was fully dried and it crinkled within minutes. Ruined. So I scraped them all down by hand and stared over. Ugh.

The new approach is to embrace the rustic side. I scraped irregularities and even left some scraper chatter marks. I’m doing gloss base coats with a satin top coat. Supposedly looks better that way, versus all satin. So once again, I’m left unconvinced of the capabilities of fillers, or at least of my skill level and technique using them.

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Drew

304 posts in 2560 days


#2 posted 10-06-2016 06:29 PM

Arm-r-seal is not a grain filler. Applying extra coats in an attempt to fill the grain is a recipe for disaster! Arm-r-seal recommends three coats. Stick with that in the future.

Next time seal the wood, then apply grain filler, then topcoat. Make sure to read and follow the directions on the filler! Everyone is a little different.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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toddbeaulieu

780 posts in 2464 days


#3 posted 10-06-2016 06:38 PM

Interesting Drew. I hadn’t heard that 3-coat recommendation. Great to know! Yeah, I thought I could eventually overpower it! ;)

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rwyoung

388 posts in 2932 days


#4 posted 10-06-2016 07:58 PM

GF recommends a MINIMUM of 3 coats. But getting crazy with the # coats is a recipe for disaster.

https://generalfinishes.com/retail-products/oil-based-top-coats/arm-r-seal-urethane-topcoat#.V_arHPkrJhE

Unless I missed it in their tech doc (https://generalfinishes.com/sites/default/files/file_downloads/Tech-Data-GF-Arm-R-Seal-050311.pdf) there isn’t a maximum coating limit. Some information can be gleaned from their 1MDFT (minimum dry film thickness, usually given in mils) comment. I think the average sort of wet mil thickness would be 3-4 to achieve a 1 mil dry.

Anyway, you can do some grain filling by wet sanding with this product after the first couple of coats. Instead of using water or MS to lubricate some wet-dry paper, use a little of the finish and work up a goopy slurry which can be forced down into the grain. Won’t be a 100% fill on most things but can help a bit. And can also fall into the fallacy of “if some is good, more is better” so don’t over do it.

And build coats with gloss then finish with satin or semi-gloss if you want to tone it down a bit. Generally has a cleaner looking appearance.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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Drew

304 posts in 2560 days


#5 posted 10-08-2016 06:31 PM



GF recommends a MINIMUM of 3 coats.
- rwyoung

It says right on the can “Three coats are recommended”.

I’ve used a lot of different finishes in a lot of different ways through the years. One thing I have learned is adding more coats than recommended usually ends with a headache!

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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mlipps

88 posts in 575 days


#6 posted 10-08-2016 11:42 PM

If you look at the site, GF says minimum of three coats. Arm-R-Seal (ARM)is not a grain filler. Use a filler than put on the finish. I just put on 5 coats of ARM (wipe on) if came out great (see the book cases in my projects).

Good luck in the refinishing.

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rwyoung

388 posts in 2932 days


#7 posted 10-10-2016 02:50 PM

GF recommends a MINIMUM of 3 coats.
- rwyoung

It says right on the can “Three coats are recommended”.

I ve used a lot of different finishes in a lot of different ways through the years. One thing I have learned is adding more coats than recommended usually ends with a headache!

- Drew

Um, yes, RECOMMENDED, not required as I wrote. Well documented on the label AND in literature available from GF on their web site or sales displays. Information found in the SDS and technical data sheets will be more in-depth than what can be found on the side of a can.

The word “minimum” appears in the further documentation. Due to variation in application method/technique/thinning, etc. they are allowing for the possibility that an additional coat may be needed to reach a total finished 3mil thickness (3 coats of 1mil each, the 1mil coming from the coverage recommendations found in the technical documents).

There are no guarantees of success implied by GF in their instructions. They are in the business of selling finish. Success is implied to come from three coats but they (or any manufacturer) is happy to sell you an extra can so you can get four.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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toddbeaulieu

780 posts in 2464 days


#8 posted 10-13-2016 10:00 PM

This thread has helped me quite a bit. I appreciate the debate and input from all. Because of this I realized that I was applying WAY TOO MUCH FINISH and I will continue to experiment and get better with arm-r-seal.

I switched to satin, scraped the entire thing for a rustic appearance and went with three coats. MUCH HAPPIER!

Please see my counter top project for the final result if interested.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/273114

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