Aqua Coat Grain Filler

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Forum topic by CharlesNeil posted 09-29-2011 04:08 PM 9843 views 3 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2389 posts in 3840 days

09-29-2011 04:08 PM

this is more a review than anything, I got the filler and gave it a good go, and found it did quite well, so thought I would just let you know , just my .02 , nothing more,,, here is what I wrote in my blog

18 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3547 days

#1 posted 09-29-2011 04:27 PM

Thanks for the information seems like a good product. I never heard of a grain filler that was clear before.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3894 days

#2 posted 09-29-2011 04:57 PM

I have to see this… Thats great Charles thanks for the heads up.

View RBWoodworker's profile


441 posts in 3322 days

#3 posted 09-29-2011 06:23 PM

Ordering mine this weekend..I need some clear for the sideboard I am making..glad to see this review..I was wondering if they even made a clear.. now I know..

-- Randall Child

View tinnman65's profile


1356 posts in 3384 days

#4 posted 10-01-2011 02:22 PM

Thanks for the info on this product, I know we can ALWAYS trust your judgment on matters of finishing!

-- Paul--- Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. — Scott Adams

View DS's profile


2897 posts in 2390 days

#5 posted 12-01-2011 10:58 PM

I am making finishing samples for an upcoming Office Bar project in Macassar Ebony.
This needed to be a full-fill and high-gloss finish and I was excited to find this thread and product information here on Lumberjocks.

The Aqua Coat came last night and I was ready to go.

I first sealed the bare wood, sanded with 320g and applied the aqua coat with a auto body squeegie.
When this was dry, I sanded it and was surprised that there was a significant amount of shrinkage in the grain which necessitated a second coat.

Rather than coat directly again with filler, I chose to apply a second coat of sealer. The second coat of filler seams to have finished off the job.

The first coat of Gloss Lacquer will be applied tonight. So far I am pleased with this product.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View CharlesNeil's profile


2389 posts in 3840 days

#6 posted 12-01-2011 11:02 PM

sometimes a second is needed, it all depends on the grain depth, its hard to tell until the first coat is sanded back, but thanks and let us know how it does when the topcoat is applied sounds like a beautiful project

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2939 days

#7 posted 12-02-2011 02:27 AM

Just read the blog there, very interesting. Something I’ve found that works for me with regard to filling grain in oak is to lay down the first coat of lacquer, then squeegee in lacquer, (I use 10” disposable knives in my planer and find the old ones are perfect as a ‘Doctor Blade’ for this purpose) flat it back, and then go with another top coat or two.
If you want to eliminate grain raising with a waterborne product, give it a good wet wipe and let it dry before the final sand.
Of course, CN knows this, and my reply is targeted at mere mortal fellow woodworkers.

It just occurred to me, CN, Charles Neill and Chuck Norris are never seen in the same room at the same time.

View DS's profile


2897 posts in 2390 days

#8 posted 12-02-2011 07:22 PM

For some reason I am struggling a bit.

Each coat of lacquer looks great when wet, but as soon as it sets, the grain begins to telegraph through.
I reapplied the filler (3rd coat) after the first topcoat of lacquer and it seemed to look really good. After the second coat of lacquer the grain telegraphed again.

Don’t get me wrong 95% of the grain is filled. It’s that last 5% (small grain lines) that are driving me nuts. If this weren’t a mirror finish you might never see them.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View CharlesNeil's profile


2389 posts in 3840 days

#9 posted 12-04-2011 04:55 PM

lacquers are evaporative finishes, and can be redissolved by their own medium , meaning , after the first coat of lacquer, and sanded to smooth, the next coat is going to some what redissolve and swell the first, if your using a precat, or post cat, after several days its not as bad, but still happens, the key is simply to get enough build on there and give it enough cure time so it doesn’t soften all the way down, its a PIA , trust me I know, this is one of the primary reasons I switched to water bourne products, with them what you see is what you get, meaning get a good smooth surface and the next coat is not going to redissolve it, while I cannot be 100% certain, I also suspect the lacquer softened the grain filler a little, and thus that little fine grain showing.

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3020 days

#10 posted 12-04-2011 05:58 PM

Charles, thanks for posting this here, as well as writing the more in-depth blog on it. Sounds like a good product, and one that I’ll keep in-mind for the future.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View DS's profile


2897 posts in 2390 days

#11 posted 12-05-2011 07:38 AM

Okay, I think i have this worked out.

It was really late, I was really tired and I didn’t notice my spray tip was dirty when I applied the latest coat. The gun spit a bunch of goobers all over the sample. I should know better than to try to work when I am tired.

The next morning, I used a more aggressive grit sandpaper to get rid of the goobers. This seems to have done the trick as the last coat looks gorgeous. Apparently, I was using too fine a grit sandpaper between coats.

I polished the last coat with 8000 grit, then 12000 grit followed by an automotive paste wax. Glad I was working with a sample and not the finished product.

Macassar Ebony EC, Gunmetal Ebony, and Macassar Ebony BR veneers

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View CharlesNeil's profile


2389 posts in 3840 days

#12 posted 12-05-2011 09:59 PM

peace as well , looks great,, rock on

View DS's profile


2897 posts in 2390 days

#13 posted 03-02-2012 03:44 PM

Well, I finished my Ebony Bar project using the Aqua Coat product and I thought I’d add my 2 cents to Charles’ comments here.

First off, the end result was really good. A full fill finish is a lot of work regardless of your technique or the products used to acheive it.

My biggest complaint with it is that is doesn’t sand very well without clogging up the abrasive paper before its time. Even waiting several days between coats made no difference.
Initially, a fresh sheet of sandpaper would cut really well, then in short time it would start to burnish the finish with squirrely marks from the ROS due to build up on the paper. The only solution for this that I found was to change disks often. Since, this was a significantly large piece in this filler, it meant about 50 abrasive discs to finish the job. This is really high, but, turned out to be necessary to acheive satisfactory results. Attempts to clean the discs did not work, though, I found I could tolerate some of the burnishing to knock down the high points in a panel, then come back with a fresh disc and dress it up.

As discussed earlier in this thread, grain lines were persistant. This could be from using lacquer versus another finishing material as Charles suggested. Getting rid of them came down to having enough coats of material and sanding back to eliminate the grain.

In all, it gets a passing grade. The finish looks great and I have found no other good solution that doesn’t affect the color of the wood.
I would use it again with the knowledge that I need to allow for abundant supplies and extra time for extra coats.

A big thanks goes out to Charles Niel and all those LJ’s who contributed to this thread for helping me to a successful end with this project.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3311 days

#14 posted 03-02-2012 05:26 PM

thanks charles

like many
i to have been looking for
and disappointed by grain fillers

especially the old ones that you had to
‘use a burlap rag
and rub across the grain’

i never once had any luck with them

good review and sharing

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Earlextech's profile


1160 posts in 2660 days

#15 posted 03-02-2012 06:45 PM

I’ve been using Aqua Coat for years. I have found their customer service to always be excellent as well as all of the products they make. The grain filler in particular works great. Also, I always say that sticking with one product line, rather than mixing different ones together will always end with a better result. Great looking project DS251!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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