Wood is more likely Khaya, but sold as mahogany. Anyway, trying to fill all grain prior to topcoating with MLC Magnamax. Looking for full filling of grain...dead flat surface.
I've gotten color wanted by spraying diluted Transtint but when I go to use conventional oil base Behlen grain filler it shifts color and clouds in a not-good way. Tried several color mixtures all with similar results.
Next I tried MLC Level Sealer, and got closer but deepest grain still visible after 3 spray & sands. I did take note that the Behlen filled areas of sample board looked substantially better fill wise, but of course color is wrong.
I could probably get where I want with more subsequent coats of Level, but all that sanding increases the chance of sand through...not fun.
Googling around for "clear grain filler" I came across Chrystalac which looks like it might work if I used it prior to Level, but I'm really gun shy of water based anything after a couple of negative experiences.
I'm confident with oil and solvent based finishes, not so much water borne or based.
My question is this; will Chrystalac work to shorten process? I could just buy some and try it on sample board, but thought I'd tap the collective wisdom here before yet more experimenting.
if your not a commercial type producer polyester is not going to be easy for you to get but it is the correct way to fill pores properly... if your a smaller shop or hobbiest your best bet is to shoot sand shoot..... Try using the highest solids gloss coating you can.. like a Conversion Varnish Gloss.... Spray your build coats and cut as flat as possible between each coat to keep your total film thickness down... spray your final coat with your desired end sheen... this will get you your fill without losing your clarity... been there done that.... We have it a little easier these days with a U.V. roll coater to Fill any grain... still have to use polyesters and a 2k poly topcoat for items not able to go down the roll coat line but sure beats sanding and spraying 5 times to get things totally pore free
Look into MLC Polarion. Put down 3-4 coats of the sealer at 6-8 mil, 45 minutes apart. Wait overnight to dry and sand back hard with 220 or 150. Put another 3-4 coats down like the first time until filled. Sand back medium hard with 220 until flat. Put on 1 or 2 coats of Polarion topcoat. Comes in flat, satin or gloss.
This is a 2K polyurethane system. I get great results by doing this on Red Oak.
Thanks all. Rich C, I tried conventional grain filler but with enough colorant to not look weird in grain, it shifts color and clouds grain.
I did try a sample with Crystalac and was pleased. Maker says you can use it intercoat which looks like the way to go.
Sample is: spray dye>lacquer sealer>scuff>Crystalac> scuff>Level>sand 220>level>sand 220>Level>sand 220> two coats Magnamax.
Photo's not great but I hope you can see my tape line with and without Crystalac.
Thanks for the photo Leo. Poly is probably way more protection than this needs and would require yet more experimentation. Plus I just like the way lacquer finishes off.
My best results for Level sealer , are to put a couple fat coats of the level sealer .... This helps remove air trapped in wood and set the base to really start filling . I used to put on all my wet mils first for build but found initial coat and dry , seems to help fill better . Let dry for about an hr then sand with 220/320 . What ever you feel more comfortable with . Don't worry about scratches they will fill . Then spray the crap out of the mahogany with more level sealer . You can put up to 10 wet mils on without getting pin holes or solvent pop . Make sure to let this dry over night and draw down ! If you don't your only fighting yourself in this process . Spray these pieces till they look like they are filled with wet products. The next day it will look like you did not put anything or enough on because Level will draw down and take the shape of Everything You give it . Repeat process if necessary . Now my problem typically with level is its clarity .... So I've switched to doing this with Krystal dull top coat .( I don't like sanding gloss ).. It's clearer and sands fine . Now yes there are mills issues right ... Well you will be sanding the crap out of this so the chances are you will not exceed your millage with final coats ..... Krystal 39% solids give or take so if you spray let's say 10 mills it drys to 3.9 mils then you are sanding this down for grain fill .
This may take you a little test try but believe me it works . I've been a high end finisher for 27 years now . Let the product work for you .
Sorry I do not like old school grain fillers and have not tried the Crystallac
That's why I got away from Level Sealer. It takes to long for it to fully cure and if you don't let it fully cure it will shrink back and show you some grain telegraphing through.
With the 2K Polarion the problem is much diminished. If you want it to fully cure it only takes 3 days. The Level Sealer still takes at least 21 days to fully cure. I usually let the Polarion sit overnight and haven't had any telegraphing with Red Oak.
Peter , sorry for late response .
yes Level can go directly over dye stains . No , I personally do not reduce it . I will put down a tack type coat , give it a around a minute then put on a couple good wet coats . It has a good hang time if you don't reduce it , less likely to run or sag . Especially if your gonna be doing furniture . type pieces it sounded like .
I'm assuming you think you'd like to reduce it to maybe eliminate air bubbles or air being trapped .
Maybe put on a couple tack coats , then your wet coats if it makes you feel more comfortable . Test some fall off to try different full strength applications . Everyone sprays a little different and equipment make a difference sometimes too . I use the Kremlin Rexson pumps which really will put out some material .
I guess my thought is that your just defeating how the level works at the point of reduction for filling grain .
On a side note , Leo , our rep has never brought up the Polarion . So I will like to look into that .
Can you sandwhich glazes and toners or effects In between coats ? Remember that the Euro x stuff they had you could not .
I don't have an answer for you about sandwiching coats. I basically use it for working surfaces, countertops, tabletops and bench tops. None so far needed to have glazing. I don't see any reason why you couldn't make a toner coat with the 2K and spray it in between coats. It can be tinted, so you can use it as a toner.
Thanks Leo ,we do a lot of custom faux finishes so I was just wondering . Usually a lot of different levels of color and effects In-between .
And I was thinking about the curing and grain telegraph after effect you were talking about . Typically , stuff doesn't hang out in our shop for very long , certainly not long enough to cure . Everything being done down here is in emergency mode . No body can plan for Anything it seems like .
If the grain is coming back after it has cured , nobody has let us know it has happened .
I can see where a deep grain like oak would probably do that though .
Thanks Leo , . I just pulled up the info on The interior sealer . We're in Florida ... So I'm wondering how fast that is kicking off .../or your pot life your getting . Pdf says about a 2 hr window . A lot of stuff can be sprayed in that time frame ... I saw nothing in regards to stacking or layering colors for effects . I saw it recommends no more than 6-8 mils ... Is that a total final build recommendation or just for the 2-3 wet coats? I will talk to my rep too , but just picking your brain with your knowledge of the stuff . Thanks I know it's late here so I will check back tomorrow to see if you've responded .
Well, 8 mil is a lot better than 5 mil you get with CV. If you need to sandwich layers you can thin the product and get many more layers. Thinning 30% isn't uncommon. Especially for people without AAA pumps. I've thinned 50% with no ill effects.
Not sure how thick my coating on the Oak is but I'm guessing 10 mil. I've had full samples kicking around for more than 6 months now. I would figure if there was going to be a problem, it'd show by now.
James, my knowledge is somewhat vintage. It's been many years since I worked in a production shop. Thinned base coats was customary, presumably for greater penetration and bonding. The finishing we did and the little I do now for clients is straight forward stain and lacquer.
I've tried to keep up on current products and techniques because it interests me, but don't get much opportunity to try new things. Unfortunately, my local supplier seems to churn through a lot of finish guys. I'll miss the last one, he came from SoCal shops where they did all sorts of crazy finishes...polyesters, gilding, faux whatever, price no object stuff. Loved talking finishing with him.
So I test new stuff on myself mostly. Used Euro poly on some cool doors I made for our house, that's some serious clear coat! Taught myself about a few other MLC products, ask questions, buy some, try it.
Current project is some open baffle speakers and subs for our house. I'm an audio geek from way back still get a bang from doing associated woodworking.
I'll be interested to hear what the verdict is on Polarion intercoats. This is a technique we never used in the shops I worked in but I've messed around and taught myself. Lots of interesting stuff in the finish world these days and I'm the curious sort so I like hearing how others get things done.
Good afternoon . Yes I remember reducing everything 25-30% religiously . Sand , spray , sand , spray etc . For fine finishes or not . Lacquer coats that melted in to each other . I've shot many precats and post cat lacquer , but when I was introduced to (Krystal ) , instantly fell in love with that stuff . The Krystal sealer is fast dry for flipping , powder sands .fast . The top coat is phenomenal . We're in South Florida so after an hour on top coat I can flip 2 sided parts . . This combo lays out and draws down real nice with out any reduction . Lol , when I started using it in 2004 , I was still a fan of reduction and did 20% on my sealer and topcoat .no longer do that . .Clarity and Durability is excellent .Ive sprayed this stuff on rainy days and while it's raining with 5-10% flow2 in it and no blush . Try that with a lacquer .... I've got pieces from 2004 in my home that look like the day I shot them .Conversion varnish longevity is what sells the jobs down here .
I know shelf life is good , but sorry I'm not a fan of magna max , magna clear however is nice ..I guess .. At least with that , less chance of yellowing when putting on more than a couple coats over a paint and glaze . . It happens a sag in a corner or trash and need to respray . If you did that with magna max you've just changed the color . ...
It's funny because we all know what works for us and it's very hard to stray away from that . And usually our working environment dictates what we're working with . I too try to keep an open mind , because the new guys in this industry are learning the new products and techniques that go along with them . I'm not however too thrilled with a lot of it . I've tried many different things and always go back to MLCampbell conversion varnish system . I've used it for so long now I know most of of its little nuances . Learning new products is fine ,,, it's when youve got to start trouble shooting them and the reps or techs give you half ass guesses because product is so new , or finding someone with the knowledge base . As well in production , time is always of the essence so it's why I stay with my tried and true .
This wood web forum is new to me so I don't know how often I will be on here in the future . I've enjoyed our conversations and input from the folks on here . Can't wait to try Leo's Polarion ...
Any way for the future my email address is
if I can help or just wanna keep in touch
That's your best bet. New cartridge and fresh shave will work too. Standard organic vapor cartridge will work fine. But since you can't smell the iso's you need to make sure you don't put more than 8 hours on a pair of cartridges.
Regards to Jason, I have known him for years. I never went wrong with any of his tech help.
That said, M.L. Campbell makes Acid Cure Sealer (a/k/a AC Sealer). It has an 8 hour pot life. A full fill on oak is achieved in 2 coats. You can sand back to the flat of the wood or to just above the surface (just as you would sand with any sealer). Read their tech sheet, the stuff really is that easy to use.
The other methods mentioned, while they may work with success and not too much shrinkback over time, involve way too many coats, too much labor, or too many steps.
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