Am wondering if anyone out there has come across any objective product testing of water based finish brands/types.
I run a medium sized shop doing a mix of work, but the largest volume is hardwood tables for contract environments - offices, education, restaurants, etc. For this type of work we spray exclusively water based finish because that is what our clients want from an environmental & marketing perspective. We have settled on using primarily General Finishes stuff largely due to familiarity, overall quality, & ease of sourcing. But I am curious about other brands as well & trying to find any info I can comparing the products out there. Seems like there is a lack of any info that is not either: a) provided by the company itself, or b) anecdotal info from shops (like mine) who have used one or two of these products & have some opinions.
Particularly interested in two things. One , finding the 'toughest' water based product out there to offer clients in particularly high-use environments. Two, good outdoor finishes for tabletops, cladding/siding, etc.
So, anyone have any good resources or comparisons to share about these products? Am thinking GF, Target, ICA, ILVA, Milesi, Sansin - any others? I am open to anecdotal stuff too but particularly interested in data.
As far as waterborne products are concerned. I would look at Ceramic Industrial Coatings and Target coatings. Both companies have in house Polymer chemists who are always working to create better products. Since they are smaller the lead time from concept to production is significantly shorter. When talking about exterior coatings with significant protection for wood items I would recommend Target Coatings. I have used their polycarbonate urethane and so far it has performed for two years. The best product I have ever used is Chemcraft D Dur. It is a solvent borne coating that has the longest life I have ever encountered. I have exterior doors that I coated with D Dur that get full sun and extreme weather changes and are still viable after 5 years. Something to think about.
Just curious...of All The Things in the world, cars, fuel, diesel, cleaning products, fast-food waste, sonic pollution, plastic bags, paper bags, HVAC for their buildings, etc etc.
Why are your "clients" so concerned about what type of Product/Solvent is used to finish a desk top.?
Did you use the water clear poly or the Endurovar? The Endurovar is amber in color. I like both products and have used them on smaller projects and want to start using the water clear on kitchens but am just a little hesitant.
I manufacture custom butcher block. Last year I did about 200 from 18 x 24 to 48 x 120". Most get a mineral oil finish. If they order it with a poly urethane varnish it will get a GF enduro product. Oak, Cherry, and Walnut all usually get Endur-Var. Maple will get Clear Poly or CV. The only complaint we get is the finish not being dark enough. GF told me to use GF Armrseal as a seal coat, then clear poly or cv for top cote. Adhesion is fine and the color is great on un-stained wood. I have not yet had a customer un happy with the durability. Our customer counter in the office has 3 coats of the Gf CV on it and it still looks new after a year of daily use. CV is the toughest, I did a test with water on the surface, with the cv you could not even tell where the water sat all night, but the clear poly had a slight grayish stain around the edges. All that being said I have had issues using on Oak which I am about to post about right now.
by the way -- a really nice finish on walnut is two coats of seal-a-cell, then topcoat with a few coats of endurovar. the seal-a-cell pops the grain and imparts a nice amber, and keeps the water based from raising the grain, and the endurovar pulls out more color and provides protection. it's a great combo with nice color. something to consider.
i use a staining pad to apply the seal-a-cell - you can really flood it on. scotchbrite makes quick work of de-nibbing prior to endurovar spraying.
Thanks for the feedback. We have been using the general finishes stuff for a few years now - mainly the endurovar, but also the clear poly when I don't want the amber color of the enduro, and the outdoor stuff. Probably 4-500 tabletops a year, from moderate use (office conference tables) to pretty extreme (starbucks, restaurants/bars, etc). For the most part I have been totally impressed with how the finish has performed and held up a few years on, even in some of the high traffic spots.
I am always just curious about other brands/types of finish & how they compare to GF. So easy to get locked into one finish system, never sure what we are missing or how other brands compare. But it's hard to know which to try out - 5-6 different brands out there that people seem to like.
Wish there was some product testing out there that was focused on these kind of pro level commercial/industrial products. You can dig through fine woodworking magazine & find fairly well conducted tests of consumer type products (finish, tools, glue, whatever). But hard to find an equivalent for more industrial level stuff. Was just curious if anyone had ever stumbled across any good sources for that -
Hi Dave - generally speaking we get great results using the enduro-var on open grain stuff like oak. We have definitely had our ups and downs with it though and have certainly encountered the pin hole effect you described (in another thread).
The CV finish we have tried a few times and had mixed results. It's fussy for sure, esp. on open grain. But probably workable if you do enough of it.
We don't use a grain filler & I would not really recommend it, to me the open grain look is part of the appeal of these species. You can definitely get there with the WB finishes. I do think a lighter coat is a key.
I think pre raising the grain with water has a big effect with this stuff - not on every wood with every finish, but it's a good easy step for isolating/eliminating problems. Coarse grain stuff like oak, especially with stain, definitely wet down first before staining. Elm (even no stain) I find it can make a big difference in how the finish lays down, also maple. why? good question -
I have been using GF finishes for eight years now. Have been very happy with endure clear poly and the endure var finish. On open grain woods like hickory and red oak I have gone to finish sanding to 180 or 220 grit with hand orbital. I have very good results using the sanding sealer as first coat. With the enduro var gf said no sealer is needed. Clear poly on red oak looks terrible, so I have just been using the enduro var on that for a more natural look. On a side note, wondering what type of spray setups are being used for web finishes. I have been using a suction feed pressure cup and it works, but I would like to upgrade now and wondering about brands, pressure pots, or just upgrade to a better quality cup.
re: spray setups, we use one of these diaphragm pumps - http://homesteadfinishingproducts.com/qualspray-pumps/. Works great with the WB stuff, you drop the hose in the top of a 5 gal bucket of finish & we can leave it set up like that ready to spray pretty much indefinitely.
I like the general finishes 2 component water finish too. Another very good/durable product is Basic Coatings Street Shoe. It lays thicker than a lot of water finishes and is extremely durable. I realize this is a floor finish, but I know many people use it for other wood applications. Hope this helps.
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