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Waterborne finishes and sealers

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Forum topic by Andybb posted 12-30-2016 12:19 AM 1181 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


12-30-2016 12:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing water based dyes

I just made a picture frame with lacewood veneer, sealed with epoxy then oil based Deft to finish it but I’m trying to go to an all waterborne system for the environment and speed. However I still want to get that “amber” oil based glow and it seems like diluted trans-tint would be great for that. I think the overall look is too dark which detracts from the contrasting wood in the border.

A few questions…

1.How do you decide when to use sanding sealer vs. filler, or which woods require filler vs sealer and does shellac do as good a job as the sealers/fillers under waterborne finishes?

2.Which goes on first? Tint then seal and sand or seal then tint and sand?

3.I have used a few solvent based lacquers but have recently used Varathane and Profinisher since they are water based but have been looking at http://www.targetcoatings.com/product/emtech-em6000-wb-production-lacquer/ after reading http://www.solowoodworker.com/wood/targetcoatings.html and also Deft waterborne stuff. Any recommendations?

Folks have said that the tint makes the figured wood pop. So, am I thinking correctly that I could use the water based tint under the finish for that? If so, are there any veneers that do better than others or require a more specialized treatment? Are there any questions I should be asking? :-) Thanks in advance.


-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!


23 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1169 posts in 2369 days


#1 posted 12-30-2016 08:11 AM

I’m going to recommend any of Bob Flexner’s books on finishing. You’ve asked some good questions that really beg for long answers! And yes, there are other questions you haven’t asked but whose answers you want to know.

I’ll make a couple of observations, though:
- that’s a nice looking frame.
- an epoxy-as-sealer is a very unusual practice
- Target Coatings are a big step up in performance from those you can buy at your local hardware store. General Finishes, also. And others. The stuff on the shelf the hardware store isn’t crap, but is designed for a very inexperienced user and thus sacrifices performance for ease of application and ability to achieve some kind of result under less-than-ideal circumstances. If you know what you are doing (and by the questions you ask it sounds like you are a ways down that path) you can do better.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2332 days


#2 posted 12-30-2016 12:09 PM

I’ll second Mark’s suggestion about Flexner's book a great source of info and very easy to read. A good second would be the one by Jeff Jewitt. Pretty much the same info but arranged a little differently. I’ll offer my opinions on your questions, tho.
1: the only time I use a sealer is if I want to put a barrier coat between 2 things, and dewaxed shellac is the best for that regardless of what those 2 things are. I do use filler on open grained woods, but as often as not that’s the finish I’m using (typically oil based varnish) though I have used Pore’O Pak.

2:If I’m using dye to tint, then I seal it from whatever follows. You have t be careful with dyes, they are typically dissolved in water or DNA, so topping them with shellac or a waterborne will make a mess (redissolves the dye). Top coats need to be sprayed. Most oil based stains have a binder, so they can be top coated after they cure without that streaking problem.

3: Again, Mark’s suggestion is along what i think. The box store stuff is just not as good as the Target Coatings, GF, or some of the others. You might find the GF stuff locally, and it comes in quarts (Target only sells gallons). With some of them, there is a tint designed to mimic the oil based amber coloring you want, so you might not even need the pre step of coloring. Check the label, for example the GF HP product is water clear, but the Enduro Var has the tint.

Did I mention: buy one of the books, both those guys are finishing consultants to the industry and I think one (or both) should be required in any shop.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View OggieOglethorpe's profile

OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 1949 days


#3 posted 12-30-2016 02:08 PM

General Finishes waterbournes, including EnduroVar, an ambering product, are fantastic products and often easier to find than Target. In fact, is so good, I can finish a frame like yours with a foam brush, I don’t even have to bother with my spray gear.

A few year’s back, I switched from ML Campbell, which I’d used since 2003 or 4, to GF, due to local availability and have been extremely impressed. Several of my local paint stores, as well as Woodcraft sell the General Finishes line. Both ambering and non-ambering products are available.

I don’t use sealers under the GF products, unless I need a barrier between stains. I’ve applied it over boiled linseed oil and oil based stains as long as they are fully dry. My favorite dye is Behlen Solar Lux, as it’s non-grain raising, but I often use TransTint products to tint my clear coats when spraying. I prefer NGR dye stains on veneers, as I’d prefer sanding as little as possible to avoid sanding through the veneer.

Relating specifically to General Finishes EnduroVar, the manufacturer specifically states that they don’t guarantee compatibility over shellac, but I’ve used it over Seal Coat on several small personal projects and it’s worked well.

Add me to the choir on the Flexner book… Years ago, my finish rep gave copies away as a textbook. ;^)

Once more thing about WB fiinishes… Once you get it on, LEAVE IT ALONE! Waterbourne can look really scary as it coalesces. Don’t touch it, you didn’t ruin it. ;^) As an example, with a foam brush, I’ll quickly apply a full, wet coat with minimal brushing, then just go away for 20-30 minutes. From ~ 5-10 minutes after application to ~ 20, it will look scary! Try it on prepared, sanded and dyed scrap to see what I mean.

View Andybb's profile (online now)

Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


#4 posted 12-30-2016 09:20 PM

Thank you for the responses. Looks like I’ve got some studying to do. Got the 3 Flexner ebooks from a friend. The reason I was asking about Pro Finisher is because in this forum the luthiers seem to prefer it over the Target making me think it is comparable.

Especially see post # 392
https://www.talkbass.com/threads/using-water-based-products-for-instrument-finishing-target-coatings-9000-6000-and-varathane-wb.1116168/page-20

Turns out I have a pint of GF semi that I got months ago from Rockler. The can is 1/3 empty but I can’t remember what I used it on.

So, it seems the consensus is to skip the sealer, use shellac instead, then apply my finish, be it GF or Wbased?

I’m just trying to get to something that looks and feels good and is repeatable with some minor variation depending on wood type.


General Finishes waterbournes, including EnduroVar, an ambering product, are fantastic products and often easier to find than Target. In fact, is so good, I can finish a frame like yours with a foam brush, I don t even have to bother with my spray gear. I don’t use sealers under the GF products, unless I need a barrier between stains.
- OggieOglethorpe

This I like. :-)

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

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OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 1949 days


#5 posted 12-31-2016 01:32 AM

So, it seems the consensus is to skip the sealer, use shellac instead, then apply my finish, be it GF or Wbased?

A.) The General Finishes products I’m using ARE waterbased.

B.) Dewaxed shellac IS a sealer… but it’s also a universal barrier. If I’m going over bare wood, I skip it. If I’m preventing an earlier product from being disturbed by the next product’s solvents, or sealing in grease, silicones, oils, or anything not compatible with the next product, I use it. It can also minimize grain raising on some woods by waterbourne products. With some systems, product family sealers can do the same. Many finishing system sanding sealers sand far better than shellac, if you’re not staining.

c.) Test your entire process the first time, including dyes, pigment stains, glazes, paints, and sanding grits on scrap to verify compatibility and make sure you’re happy with the final feel.

I’m a bass player too, and there is just as much finishing folklore, maybe more, on Talkbass and guitar forums as on any woodworking site.

Never apply a finishing schedule you read on the internet to a project you’re not willing to toss in the trash without testing it yourself.

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Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


#6 posted 12-31-2016 02:40 AM


B.) Dewaxed shellac IS a sealer… but it s also a universal barrier. If I m going over bare wood, I skip it.
c.) Test your entire process the first time, including dyes, pigment stains, glazes, paints, and sanding grits on scrap to verify compatibility and make sure you re happy with the final feel.

Never apply a finishing schedule you read on the internet to a project you re not willing to toss in the trash without testing it yourself.

- OggieOglethorpe


Words to live by. Got it. Thanks a million. This gives me a process I can use as a baseline to make some scrap prototypes. I knew the GF was wbased. I should have said GF or other wb products.

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2332 days


#7 posted 12-31-2016 11:57 AM

If you bought that can of GF only “months ago”, it should be good for use. But remember most waterborne finishes have a shelf life, even if they haven’t been opened. In one article Jewitt speculated unopened figure on up to 2 years. Just a cautionary note…..

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


#8 posted 12-31-2016 10:29 PM

Pulled that can out and took a closer look. It’s the oil/poly, not wb. But, Amazon Prime to the rescue. Ordered a pint last night and it arrived this morning.

Not, that anyone would care but I’ll post some pics of my test results. Along with the Lacewwod I’ve got a hunk-a-figured reclaimed maple that i think will make some nice re-sawed veneer.
Gonna try sanding to 220 or 320….
1.Sanded bare wood w GF wb
2.sanding sealer w GF wb
3.Shellac, light sand and GF wb

Don’t have any target or pro finisher but will also do the above with the varathane as I’m curious as to the color added by the GF since the varathane supposedly adds little or no color.

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

2905 posts in 2096 days


#9 posted 12-31-2016 11:02 PM

Andy, I heartily recommend the Target products. You mentioned figured wood pop so I thought I would mention Target's WR4000 which is a linseed oil emulsion in a water based product to help pop the grain and provide some amber color you want. It is available in quarts, but shipping is pricey. If you have questions, call Jeff Weiss at Target. He is a great guy.

-- Art

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Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


#10 posted 12-31-2016 11:28 PM



Andy, I heartily recommend the Target products. You mentioned figured wood pop so I thought I would mention Target s WR4000 which is a linseed oil emulsion in a water based product to help pop the grain and provide some amber color you want. It is available in quarts, but shipping is pricey. If you have questions, call Jeff Weiss at Target. He is a great guy.

- AandCstyle


Thanks. And yet another unexplored fork in the road. Plus I plan on trying brushing and spraying all of these combos. The combinations are becoming logarithmic. :-) But OggieOglethorpe’s foam brush of the GF is mighty appealing.

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

View Andybb's profile (online now)

Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


#11 posted 01-01-2017 09:13 AM


Once more thing about WB fiinishes… Once you get it on, LEAVE IT ALONE! Waterbourne can look really scary as it coalesces. Don t touch it, you didn t ruin it. ;^)
- OggieOglethorpe

So, Happy NY.

I applied Varathane, GF water base and GF oil based alone and over shellac. I applied shellac first and let it dry then the finishes. My first impression was that the oil had that characteristic “amber” tint but I liked the GF wb over shellac also. It wasn’t the same as the oil but the shellac under it seemed to make up for it. Interestingly enough the oil based GF over the shellac seemed to actually have less amber than the oil only as if the shellac blocked the oil from interacting with the wood. Then, a half hour later the GF wb over shellac was the clear winner as the oil wasn’t as obviously more amber. My least favorite was the 2 wb finishes without shellac. Bare wood at the top. Plus I was able to add 2 more coats and sand following Mr. Flexner’s instrucions while the oil was still tacky. photo IMG_1264_zpsvesn0gfq.jpg

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

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shipwright

7781 posts in 2636 days


#12 posted 01-01-2017 03:37 PM

Just a note about sealing with epoxy:
I agree with just about all of the above but in certain situations, like some serving trays I have made with thin veneer marquetry on them, I will use a bar-top type epoxy to absolutely “bulletproof” the surface before sanding and applying my finish of choice, usually french polish.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

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OggieOglethorpe

1276 posts in 1949 days


#13 posted 01-01-2017 05:19 PM

Try adding a drop of TransTint Honey Amber dye to each 8 oz. of the waterbased finishes… It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes a difference. It’s fantastic on white oak….

Fred made a good point about shelf life. I usually buy gallons and three empty quart cans. The first time I open the gallon, I stir completely, stir even more if it’s not gloss, then completely fill the three quarts. For non-gloss products, I usually fill the quarts half way, stir more and verify all flatting agent is suspended, then fill the quarts the rest of the way. This keeps the sheen consistent. I’ve never had issues with the full quarts, but once a decent amount of air gets into the can, you have to pay attention.

All of my WB products get a strip of blue tape on the lid. On this tape, I write any tint information, and the dates of the first time I remove finish from the can, and each subsequent date gets a note with the date and remaining quantity. For example, 4 drops TT Honey Amber / Open – 12/15/15 / 3/4 – 1/18/16 / 1/3 – 2/4/16

Don’t forget to always strain WB as you remove it from the can, and don’t pour leftovers back into the can. I like 125 mesh strainers, any good paint store will have them. You can wash them and keep using the same one for a few sessions.

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Andybb

554 posts in 442 days


#14 posted 01-01-2017 06:54 PM

Again, excellent! Feels like I’m closing in on a few very workable techniques.

Just wondering if there is any advantage to HVLP spraying this instead of brushing on? And if so, I’m assuming I should thin it with a little water?

Also, I’m now curious about using the trans-tint in the finish vs the shellac on the wood or both?

Thank you all again for the feedback and the Flexner books suggestions.

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4762 posts in 2332 days


#15 posted 01-01-2017 08:55 PM

Some waterborne finishes are ready to spray in the can, others might not be but don’t go adding water to thin randomly. The label will usually specify the maximum amount it can be thinned, adding more will screw up the chemistry. I’ve seen some that allow up to 20%, but 10% is more common.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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