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What is "acrylic varnish"?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 05-19-2015 06:50 AM 825 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1560 days


05-19-2015 06:50 AM

I’ve been talking to an artist friend of mine who paints. Mostly with oil paints (he’s very good). He said something about using an “acrylic varnish” in his painting.

So I did some digging and discovered that if you plug acrylic varnish into Google the vast majority of hits are for artist products.

When I think varnish I think a combo of oil, resin, and solvent thinner like Waterlox or polyurethane varnish. When I think of acrylic (non-yellowing, highly transparent) I think of water base finishes like Minwax polycrylic.

So my poor brain is having a hard time figuring out what an acrylic varnish is, chemically speaking. Does anyone know of a wood finish that could be categorized as an acrylic varnish that isn’t water base?

Thanks.


5 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#1 posted 05-19-2015 11:21 AM

It will be interesting to see the replies to this, I think exactly as you….acrylic is waterborne and varnish is cooked oil with a resin. But with all the misleading naming conventions rampant in the finishing industry (and no standard to follow) it may be just another mic-named product. I know for some time car finishes used to NC lacquer, and they are now mostly acrylic lacquer…and it’s a solvent base product (at least it was quite a few years ago). Who knows, maybe they really came up with the needed chemistry to make an acrylic varnish.

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

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ShawnSpencer

81 posts in 1009 days


#2 posted 05-19-2015 12:48 PM

I do some painting myself and I believe it is marketed that way to say it’s a vanish that is compatible with acrylic paints. You can use oil based paints and things over acrylics but, anything acrylic over oil is a big no no. It will peel. As far as the make up of the product I got nothing.

-- I know you know...

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1560 days


#3 posted 05-19-2015 07:49 PM

With the acrylic varnish you use for painting; does it thin with water or mineral spirits?

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ShawnSpencer

81 posts in 1009 days


#4 posted 05-19-2015 11:24 PM

The bottle says do not thin with water but offers no other instructions. It says it’s a acrylic polymer emulsion if that helps. It’s really almost water thin and evens really well. I never felt the need to thin it.

-- I know you know...

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Purrmaster

914 posts in 1560 days


#5 posted 05-20-2015 04:28 PM

I still can’t find much information on what artists acrylic varnish is. But about half of the ones I see for sale thin with mineral spirits. In wood finishing terms I haven’t seen a varnish that uses acrylic resin and thins with mineral spirits. Everything that is acrylic is water base.

I suppose in theory you could make an oil based varnish with acrylic as the resin, the same way you can do it with alkyd or urethane as the resin. But not one seems to do it in wood finishing land.

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