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Thread: Looking for a topcoat recommendation for a kitchen table

  1. #1

    Looking for a topcoat recommendation for a kitchen table

    Hi,
    Like the post heading says, I'm looking for a topcoat recommendation for an Alder kitchen table, 54" round that will likely see lots of wear and tear. I'm planning on aniline dye followed by shellac followed by wiped on glaze. The question is what to put on top. I can spray HVLP and would prefer to work with a water based finish but I do not like the look of WB Poly for this particular project.

    Any fans of GF Enduro Var? If so would this be a good application for it? And would I need a vinyl sealer or any kind of sealer over the glaze, before the topcoat?

    If I cannot get what I want in water based, then I was thinking a pre-cat Lacquer might be the next logical choice and any recommendations there would be great.

    Or if I'm going in the wrong direction and should consider a completely different route, do tell.

    Thanks
    Edwin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    So you know, EnduroVar is a WB poly. I think it looks good over dyed wood, and it's the most durable WB product I've used, but if you don't like the look of WB poly then don't use it.

    Within GF's WB products EnduroVar sits between their Enduro PreCat lacquer and Enduro Conversion Varnish for chemical durability. So if you want to step up from EnduroVar, the CV would be the correct step. If you somehow do choose EnduroVar you definitely want a sealer over the glaze if it's OB. Sealcoat shellac works fine for me. Vinyl sealer should, too, as Flexner calls it a universal sealer, but I've never tried it.

    Sticking with WB, I think TC's EM-2000 (alkyd) would be a good choice.

    Personally, for a kitchen table I would use Arm-R-Seal or Waterlox. They look great and are very durable. The only downside is you can't spray them, or at least I wouldn't. But I could see using one of those for the top and a WB for the rest.

    John

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    So you know, EnduroVar is a WB poly. I think it looks good over dyed wood, and it's the most durable WB product I've used, but if you don't like the look of WB poly then don't use it.

    Within GF's WB products EnduroVar sits between their Enduro PreCat lacquer and Enduro Conversion Varnish for chemical durability. So if you want to step up from EnduroVar, the CV would be the correct step. If you somehow do choose EnduroVar you definitely want a sealer over the glaze if it's OB. Sealcoat shellac works fine for me. Vinyl sealer should, too, as Flexner calls it a universal sealer, but I've never tried it.

    Sticking with WB, I think TC's EM-2000 (alkyd) would be a good choice.

    Personally, for a kitchen table I would use Arm-R-Seal or Waterlox. They look great and are very durable. The only downside is you can't spray them, or at least I wouldn't. But I could see using one of those for the top and a WB for the rest.

    John
    Thanks for the advice John. I happen to be a big fan of both Arm-R-Seal and Waterlox, these days Arm-R-Seal a little more. Traditionally I have wiped both those finishes, which results in thin coats and a really good look. Here since I'm looking for more protection what would you say if I proposed brushing on the Arm-R-Seal to build it up a little more, and then after some curing time level and rub it down to the satin sheen I'm seeking?

    My end goal is a satin sheen and a deep finish. My experience with WB Poly is good for many things, but lacks the depth of the solvent based finishes you've mentioned.

  4. #4
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    Edwin, I think you've got the right idea. I've had really good luck adding about 25% mineral spirits to ARS and brushing on the first 3 or 4 coats, however many it takes to eliminate all thirsty areas and give a uniform sheen. Thinning it gives a longer working time so the finish flows out w/o streaking or uneven build up. I put the next coat on as soon as the prior one doesn't stick when I gently touch it with my finger. That allows each layer to melt into the one below. If there are obvious dust nibs I gently scuff sand them off; otherwise not.

    When I've got a good base built up I let it dry a day or two so that I can wet sand it flat with my ROS and then switch to wiping on the final two or three coats with no thinning. For a satin finish I would use gloss for the brushed on coats, and then switch to satin for the final, wiped on coats. The other approach would be to use gloss for everything and then rub it out. That's more work, but pretty fool proof. I wait at least 10 days before rubbing it out.

    John

  5. #5
    John,
    This is awesome, thanks for helping me develop a plan. I feel confident about this. The technique of multiple varnish coats melting in when barely dry is a new one for me. I'm assuming you do this during the course of the day allowing the collective layer cake to start into the full cure overnight. I live in the SW where the humidity is low, so the process may even go a little faster for me. I'll experiment on some scrap with this technique. Let me know if I've misunderstood.

    So in summary, my strategy is the following schedule:
    1. Spray WB aniline dye misted on
    2. Lock down with a spray coat of Sealcoat
    3. Apply WB glaze manipulated to taste
    4. Lock down with spray coat of Sealcoat
    5. Topcoat with Arm-R-Seal, wiped on base, brushed/wiped on top as you've described

    Sound like a plan? Now I just need to build the table itself.
    Edwin

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Edwin, that looks like a good plan. Your interval between coats may indeed be pretty short, maybe only a few hours. For me it was around 6 - 8 hours, although I think the first one took more like 12 hours. Turning a fan to gently move air across the surface will help speed up the drying, too.

    Don't forget to do the bottom You don't have to put on as many coats, and it doesn't have to be pretty, but you definitely should do it.

    Good luck.

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Atlanta, GA
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    405
    I've had good results with GF high performance waterbase topcoat. I finished my breakfast table with GF dye stain and topcoat with high performance. It's survived a year now with no signs of letting up any time soon. My 3 year old has beaten the crap out of the table, putting hundreds of dents on it by banging his wooden toys over the top but the topcoat hasn't shown any signs of cracking at the dent locations. We also wipe the table with household cleaner daily and it's holding up well. Breakfast table 01.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
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    48
    Edwin,

    I used Sherwin-Williams post catalyzed varnish on a kitchen island top a couple of years ago, and I can tell you that stuff is TOUGH.

    It has taken plenty of abuse - oil spatters, bags of groceries, constant wiping with wet dishcloths - you name it, and it looks as good as the day I brought it in from the shop.

    It's pricey, I'll admit, but well worth the cost. Buy a gallon of post-cat, not pre-cat and a quart of catalyst and the remainder will keep for a long time for other projects.

    Be sure to measure varnish and catalyst precisely, mix thoroughly and clean the gun within 12 hours (I think) after you fill it. I bought a cheapie Harbor Freight gun for $12, thinking I could toss it if I were delayed and the varnish solidified. I wasn't and it didn't and the gun did a nice job.

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