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Thread: Water poly vs lacquer for table tops

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Water poly vs lacquer for table tops

    This question has probably been asked and answered before, so feel free to post links in your reply. I've googled it a good deal and haven't landed on a discussion that nails it for me, yet.

    So which finish is better for tabletops that will be in regular homes, being used for meals, kids homework and so on?
    - precat lacquer or water-based poly (acrylic)?

    I have reasonable spraying skills with lacquer, and have brushed on plenty of water-based poly. If I end up going with the "poly" for this next batch of tables I will consider spraying it, if that influences your advice. I've used Zar exclusively over the years.

    My concern is that I've read that hot plates and alcohol spills can affect the lacquer. Is this so?

    Which is more durable to wear?

    I should add that I'm pretty useless with wipe on poly, never seem to get a nice surface, and I don't feel these tables are appropriate (the time investment) for the hand rubbed poly/oil finish I use on other furniture.

    thanks, Mark

  2. #2
    I would go with water based poly only because of toxicity of lacquer.

    At Jim Becker's suggestion, I recently finished a dining table with EmTech 8000 WB conversion varnish. I was extremely happy with it. Sprays like a dream and you can do multiple coats and be done in 1 day.

    Heres' the data sheet.

  3. #3
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    The TC conversion varnish would be a great choice, far superior to most any pre cat lacquers. One step short of that product would be GF's EnduroVar. It's very easy to spray and very durable to foods, hot plates, etc.

    John

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys, I was not at all aware of these water based products. I've read a little about them tonight and they seem to be the way to go.

    Just to be clear - are you both saying these are more durable than regular precat lacquer?
    How do they compare to oil based polyurethane?

  5. #5
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    Both are better than most pre-cat lacquers. The TC conversion varnish will be superior to OB poly, the EnduroVar about equal.

    John

  6. #6
    Wonder if the conversion varnish would work over minwax antique oil finish?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by greg bulman View Post
    Wonder if the conversion varnish would work over minwax antique oil finish?
    Yes, the EM8000cv will cover that, provided that either the existing finish is fully cured and lightly abraded or sealed with a thin barrier coat of de-waxed shellac.
    -----

    I had a chance to "fondle" the very large kitchen island top that I finished with the EM8000cv earlier this year and the surface remains "pristine", even after multiple entertainment events and daily use by my client/friend. I also put it on my replacement upper cabinets in our kitchen and it's noticeably a great product from the standpoint of durability and ease of keeping clean without damaging it.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    Thanks. I might give it a try im doing a farm table with cherry top and have a coupe of coats of antique oil on it. Like the color it gives cherry. Being trying o decide on topcoat.

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