I've been using Krystal and Magnamax for about a year now, often switching between the two finishes to get a good feel for using both finishes. I typically spray both finishes unthinned. At this point I think it's easier to get a great looking finish using the Magnamax. I'm curious as to how others feel about the look of the finished product using these two products?
From contributor P:
I honestly hate Magnamax and I spray a great deal of Duravar. I do spray a lot of Krystal on antique white glazes.
The problem that I keep having with Magnamax is sanding it. I stain a piece, let the stain dry thoroughly, self seal with magna, then let it dry and then sand it. It never sands as easily as Duravar and it seems to clump up on the paper. I don't have these problems with the other topcoats.
We switched a while ago to Krystal sealer and then Duravar. Nothing at all compares to the Krystal sealer for dry time and ease of sanding - eg. 4-5 wet mils of K. Sealer, 68 degrees with moving air for 15 minutes and sand to a powder.
I have yet to try Duravar, but definitely like the look of Magnamax compared to Krystal. I just don't know if it's really durable enough for kitchen cabinets. I also find that Krystal stinks for too long. How is Duravar for smell?
I use Duravar for almost everything. It's very amber in color which I like. I believe Duravar is stronger than Magnamax, yet a finish not maintained will fail no matter what. I did a lot of pre-cat laquer kitchens in the past and I never had call backs for failed finishes. I always let my stain dry overnight, then seal and let dry for a few hours or overnight again, then sand and topcoat. Overall I am very happy with the look and use of Duravar.
Duravar is 85% cross-linked after only 48 hours. Magnamax reaches its useful durability in about 3 weeks time. After three weeks both Duravar and Magnamax have about the same durabilty.
Duravar is higher in solids by volume. That means fewer coats need to be sprayed to get to your maximum dry mil thickness.
Both coatings gum up the sandpaper (corns). This is because the coatings are tough and rubbery. If you want less toughness, you will get less durability, but finer rubbing qualities. If you want all that, then go with shellac or lacquer.
Duravar is a post catalyzed lacquer and Magnamax is a precatalyzed lacquer.
Krystal is about as durable as any of the good conversion varnishes, making it plenty tough (a TR-6 rating). It has a tiny amount of nitrocellulose in it but the coating is known as a non-yellowing coating and this is accurate.