Water based finish for wooden plaques and other small products.

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Forum topic by helluvawreck posted 05-30-2015 12:40 PM 1292 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3748 days

05-30-2015 12:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: water based finish spray room spray finish

I will be manufacturing a line of wooden laser engraved plaques. The more that I think about it the more that I believe that it would be better to put a nicer finish on them than what I will be able to do with a simple oil finish. My plaques average 8 in. x 16 in. So they are small products in nature. The other projects that I will add to the line would be boxes, small wall cabinets, spice cabinets, etc. Many of these items will also be engraved.

I have already added a second room to my shop that is 14 ft. x 30 ft. This was done to keep the sawdust separated from my laser engraver. It’s much better for the laser engraver to kept very clean. In fact, this addition has been separated into two equal rooms. There is a wall with a six foot opening that separates the room. The opening is sized for a standard 6 ft. double walk through door. I haven’t yet installed the door but I could easily do so. So the finishing room could be even more insulated from dust. There is also a removable square built into the framework behind the sheetrock so that an installation of a fan could be easily installed.

I have insurance on my shop and business but it will not be practical to use flammable materials. One other plus that I have in my shop is a central heat pump. I keep the temperature at 60 deg in the winter and 80 deg in the summer. This should help me a lot in finishing in the winter months.

My question is have they developed yet any dependable water based finishing materials to put a reliable finish on these smaller products that I have listed above?

If you know of water based finishes that are dependable what are your favorite ones?

Thank you in advance for helping me with this problem. I sure would appreciate your advice.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

15 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 4025 days

#1 posted 05-30-2015 12:48 PM

Minwax water based Poly for floors.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View MyChipCarving's profile


657 posts in 4007 days

#2 posted 05-30-2015 01:37 PM

Hi Charles,
If you’d like, I could check with a company I work with that produces a LOT of laser engraved images. They must use a time tested production method to finish their products.
Private message me if you’d like me to check it out.

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

View jack1's profile


2152 posts in 4909 days

#3 posted 05-30-2015 02:26 PM

Min wax is the only one I know for sure. Are you going to spray?

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3748 days

#4 posted 05-30-2015 02:40 PM

I was thinking of spraying. I have plenty of room to put in a nice spray booth. I would probably build the booth myself. However, flammable finishes would be totally out of the question. The spray booth would not need to be very large. I would probably build it large enough to at least handle an end table.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Bluepine38's profile


3387 posts in 3967 days

#5 posted 05-30-2015 02:43 PM

I have been using Varathane water based interior polyurethane on my bowls and other projects for a few
years with good results. It is a low odor formula and has held up very well. I prefer the clear satin finish,
but you might prefer a different finish. I have been using three thin coats over 3 coats of Bullseye
sealcoat, but it should work OK on its own.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Hermit's profile


241 posts in 2207 days

#6 posted 05-30-2015 02:50 PM

Not available to post a direct link but this may be helpful

Scroll all the way to the bottom
click on computing moisture content of wood
click on woodworking software
click on wood finish selector
click on “Click to run wood finish selector”

-- I'm like the farmer's duck. If it don't rain, I'll walk.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3748 days

#7 posted 05-30-2015 03:40 PM

The more I think on it the more I think that it might work. A cup gun would work wouldn’t it? If so we have an auto body shop supplier hear in town. When we were in the molding business we bought a couple of cup guns from them. Way back yonder we used to finish our table legs in large quantities. We use to use pressure pots with laquor and sanding sealer. I can’t use the flammable stuff anymore. For small quantities and something as simple as 8 in x 16 in flat plaques a cup gun would work ok wouldn’t it? I could give it a try Monday if I can lay my hand on the right finish. I would be delighted if I could get my sales up to 160 plaques a week. So that wouldn’t be a great big qty to finish.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10942 posts in 4934 days

#8 posted 05-30-2015 04:56 PM

Sounds GOOD!

Will you share some of your Plaques with us?

... are the Custom… or canned?

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View DocSavage45's profile


9019 posts in 3724 days

#9 posted 05-30-2015 06:38 PM


Wondering what you are up to in that new shop. I’d check with Charles Neil. That’s his claim to fame. “I’m a finisher!”
160 plaques a week? Go man go! LOL!

I’ve got a hvlp gun, but it’s still in the package. Many people rave about General Finishes. Just my thoughts.

Best of luck in your venture!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Drew's profile


401 posts in 3982 days

#10 posted 05-30-2015 10:16 PM

GF Enduro should work well for this and is easy to spray.
Enduro Var would be nice too. It has a more amber tone, but isn’t as easy to spray and is expensive!
I personally spray Emtech 8000 & 9300.
I think 9300 would be an excellent choice for this. Lay down your first coat cut 50% with water, then 2 full strength coats after that.


View runswithscissors's profile


3118 posts in 2907 days

#11 posted 05-31-2015 03:37 AM

Another suggestion: Deft water based clear acrylic, in satin, semi gloss, and gloss. Dries very quickly, can be recoated in an hour, and sprays beautifully with a cheap HVLP gun (like the HF that comes with its own blower; Rockler has the exact same sprayer with their own badge on it). It does require a light sanding between coats, because as a water based finish, it will raise the grain a little.

Almost no odor to this stuff; and you can leave it in the gun between coats.

You can get it through Amazon, if you can’t find it at a local retailer.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3748 days

#12 posted 06-03-2015 01:43 PM

Thanks for the replies, all of you guys. I have bought a spray gun kit from a local body shop supply house that is in my town. It’s three spray guns: one primer, one finish gun, and one detail gun. The whole kit was $135.00. The store owner said that he has sold a lot of them and that they work well. He also sells devilbiss and other equipment as well. He has a good reputation and there are a lot of body shops in town and I took his word for it. These are Taiwanese guns which explains the low cost. However, they look well made so why not give them a try. Besides, I have to get rolling and started playing around with them on Monday. So far they have worked very well and what I plan on doing is get a couple of extra finishing nozzles and caps. I think the only difference in the parts are one is a 1.4 mm and the other is a 1.7 mm. The guns look Identical so by changing a few parts I will have two finishing guns. The detail gun is a smaller version and might be great for small things. I’m not thinking that this will be what I end up with but if they work well for a month they will be worth it since they will buy me some time to research a little more properly. Right now I am experimenting with some poplar that I got from my brother. He sells hardwood lumber and molding. I have a friend that has made custom furniture and also refinishes antiques and he is also going to give me a little help.

I thank you all very much for your advice.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View DocSavage45's profile


9019 posts in 3724 days

#13 posted 06-03-2015 04:22 PM


Good to see you on the move!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3572 days

#14 posted 06-03-2015 05:25 PM

In order of my favorite!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6109 posts in 3191 days

#15 posted 06-03-2015 06:08 PM

There are many good waterborne finishes out there these days. Waterborne’s are all I spray in my shop.

I prefer a gravity fed gun over a cup gun. There so easy to clean up.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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