My winning waterborne combination. What's yours?

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Forum topic by Lee Barker posted 05-18-2012 05:19 PM 1587 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3056 days

05-18-2012 05:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: waterborne finishes general finishes gramercy brushes

General Finishes Polyacrylic semi and Gramercy waterborne brush.

Full disclosure: I have no connection to any entities mentioned here.

The task is brush application of waterborne finish on instrument necks and bodies. 7 – 8 coats.

The necks are straightforward. Shown is the fixturing for these: They stay horizontal for the brushing, then I tip them up to dry. The devices are Panavise, model 300, slightly modified. Vertically, any runs (occasional, but rare) are easier to deal with. Note convenient sandpaper.

The bodies are slightly more challenging because of the rounded edges (5/16R) and the grooves as shown. They are fixtured to lock in place in 90o increments.

Previous brushes I’ve used were somewhat soft on the end, but stiff elsewhere. In brushing at any angle, the overlapping bristle bodies would actually scrape the sides of the body.

Enter the Gramercy waterborne finish brushes. I bought them from Tools for Working Wood. These synthetic bristles don’t load up with water and they are so incredibly soft that brushing this material out is a delight. This is a very well thought out product. I have used them with other WB finishes and I find this particular combination is significantly better.

The brushes clean quickly in warm water.

As always, the two most important habits are to strain the stuff every time and be sure you have abundant lighting in your finish area.

I sense that we’re in a period of refinement of this product (and accompanying techniques), having moved from the original novelty and experimentation phase.

Your thoughts and observations?



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

6 replies so far

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2567 days

#1 posted 05-18-2012 06:28 PM

Lee, thanks for the commentary. I like waterbornes second only to solvent lacquer, so I think I’ll pick up a Grammercy or two.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2899 days

#2 posted 05-18-2012 06:43 PM

Thank you so much for this, Lee. I’ve never used the Gramercy offering, but I will now. Strong multiple guitar station, too:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Terry Ferguson's profile

Terry Ferguson

203 posts in 2873 days

#3 posted 05-18-2012 07:23 PM

Having personally seen your bass instruments, I can attest to the fact that they are very well designed and crafted and beautifully finished. Waterborne finishes keep improving and the brushes are something else – hope to own one soon.

-- Terry Ferguson, Bend Oregon

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3056 days

#4 posted 05-19-2012 05:18 AM

These products tend to say things like, “For a deeper finish, add a third coat.” If that statement reflected my experience, the product would seldom leave the shelf. I don’t see much depth until 6 or 7 coats.

And now, having completed two necks and three bodies, I see that I need 8 coats to get the same sheen and depth that I was getting before with 6 or 7. I don’t mind the extra coat and its associated time because I am sanding less because the coating is flatter.

It was over 70oF in the finish room today, and the stuff was drying very fast. I had to really concentrate to keep a wet edge. I’m concerned how higher summer temps will affect that. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I’m still pleased with this combination.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3255 days

#5 posted 10-25-2012 04:45 AM

do you prefer the polyacrylic over the High Performance?

View NiteWalker's profile


2738 posts in 2782 days

#6 posted 10-25-2012 09:48 AM

Milo, it’s an old post, but the high performance is more durable than polycrylic. For general use the polycrylic is probably fine, but for less money and around the same performance or better, there’s rustoleum ultimate poly. I use crystalac supremium (spray only) or polyoxide (spray, brush, pad, etc.). They’re extremely durable and impervious to most household chemicals.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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