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Forum topic by ed13 posted 02-13-2019 08:08 PM 878 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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32 posts in 1115 days

02-13-2019 08:08 PM

I used Arm-R-Seal about 5 years ago on a table and chair with great success. Since then, I’ve used other finishes. Twice in the last year or so, I’ve tried to use Arm-R-Seal and have ended up with cloudy, streaky results even though I’m using the same techniques I’ve used in the past. There are so many variables in finishing, but I’m wondering if the Arm-R-Seal formulation has changed.

My question is, are there any people out there that have been using Arm-R-Seal consistently over the last 5 or more years and have you seen any changes in how it works over that time? If a bunch of people say they used it 5 or more years ago and also within the last year and don’t see any changes, I’ll know it’s me, not the ARS.

10 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


8635 posts in 2714 days

#1 posted 02-13-2019 08:36 PM

It hasn’t changed as far as I know. Every time I’ve used it has turned out great. What’s your technique?

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View JohnDi's profile


79 posts in 1998 days

#2 posted 02-13-2019 08:39 PM

I’ve been using it almost exclusively for more than 5 years and have never been disappointed.

View SMP's profile


1462 posts in 470 days

#3 posted 02-13-2019 08:41 PM

A few things, make sure you stir it really really well, especially if you are using the satin; you want to really get those flattening agents in suspension, and use it right away, and keep stirring throughout, make sure you don’t see any goldish looking swirls while stirring. Apply with a light hand, too much pressure can cause issues. Also, temperature and humidity can affect it, so it could just be difference in weather from last time you tried it.

View EarlS's profile


3316 posts in 2912 days

#4 posted 02-13-2019 08:47 PM

The times I have seen streaking with Arm-RSeal happened because of too little finish in the brush or on the pad, too much pressure, or re-wiping the area over and over. Stirring helps keep the finish consistent as others mentioned above.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View ed13's profile


32 posts in 1115 days

#5 posted 02-13-2019 09:27 PM

Thanks for the replies. Very helpful- Now I know it is something on my end. With regard to temp and humidity, that’s been the same at least one of the times (fall/winter). My earlier success was ARS over general finishes dye stain on red oak with plenty of drying after the dye. One big difference is that my recent projects have had different treatments under the ARS. In the current project, I’m putting ARS as a top coat over general finishes “milk paint,” which is really an acrylic paint. Maybe that’s the issue, at least this time?

For technique: Five years ago, for the table top, I applied wet coats with a foam applicator. It wasn’t “put it and leave it,” but it wasn’t heavily worked, either. Three or four coats, scuffing with 600 between each, were enough to give me the film I wanted, so they were definitely wet coats. Five years ago, for the chair and the table base, I wiped on many thin coats, scuffing with 600 between each. I started with cloth for wiping, but switched to paper. I believe I built a base in gloss and did final coat(s) with satin. Table and chair came out perfect and the ARS finish is bullet proof.

In the last year, I’ve tried everything. I tried wet coats with a foam brush and tipping off. I tried a wet coat “put it and leave it” with zero working, again by foam brush. It went on looking like clear glass and dried to have clouds and streaks. This was satin, so I tried again with gloss. Same outcome. I tried wiping instead of the foam brush. No better.

If you guys are having success, it’s something on my end. I think I should plane some wood, put no dye or color of any kind, and go right to ARS and see what happens. Now that I think of it, when I scuffed the current project, there was some red in the dust, so it’s likely the red GF “milk paint” is migrating up into the ARS. That could explain the current problem, perhaps?

View ed13's profile


32 posts in 1115 days

#6 posted 02-13-2019 09:29 PM

Oh, I meant to ask: The can says to let dry 12 to 24 hours between coats under good conditions, but I remember it saying 6 to 12 in the past. That’s why I wondered if the formulation changed. I could be misremembering the label. I definitely managed two coats per day 5 years ago, one early morning, one mid to late evening. Does anyone remember if the label used to say other than 12 to 24 hrs?

View CaptainKlutz's profile


2050 posts in 2059 days

#7 posted 02-14-2019 05:19 AM

I use Arm-R-Seal (ARS) a lot over last 10 years. Buy gloss version in gallon jugs, and satin or semi-gloss in quarts for final top coat. Apply it via HVLP spray, brush, and/or wipe; what ever fits the project. Haven’t seen any changes in it?

IMHO – about only time ARS behaves ‘strange’, is during high humidity conditions, or when substrate is not completely dry after application of water/alcohol based dye/stain?

AZ humidity is generally low, but on those few days we have 80%+ RH, ARS has tendency to leave behind ‘streaks’ if applied too thin via wiping, or attempt to touch up a spot with brush as it dries. 1st coat can dry in couple of hours, but additional coats dry slower; with temperature/humidity determining just how fast. Cool and humid conditions can require 24-36 hours between coats.

If I rush to apply ARS too soon after applying water/alcohol dye stain, will get streaking and slight blush in ARS as it dries. Switched to a NGR acetone/alcohol solvent blend for my home made dyes, as it dries fast – even with higher humidity levels.

You mentioned milk paint? Be cautious applying oil based poly over milk paint, as not all milk formulations are same. Classic milk protein/casein binder will dry much faster than some of the newer acrylic/latex type binders. It can take 4-5 days for thick layer of acrylic/latex to fully dry. The newer acrylic milk paints also seal the wood, and won’t let ARS soak into the wood for good adhesion. For milk paint with acrylic binder, would be better to use a water based top coat.


-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Laughran's profile


83 posts in 2493 days

#8 posted 02-14-2019 11:09 AM

I first used Arm-R-Seal in 1990 when we built our first house and have used it with no problems until a few years ago. The last few years I have had problems with it streaking and cloudiness. I thought it must be my technique and tried many different ways to apply it with no success. I would even buy a new can for each project. So I have stopped using it, it is very frustrating to work weeks on a project and then have the finish come out cloudy and streaky.

-- David

View ed13's profile


32 posts in 1115 days

#9 posted 02-14-2019 07:33 PM

@CaptainKlutz that’s an interesting idea that it could be from the acrylic “milk paint” needing longer to dry. I would actually prefer to use a water born finish, and I’ve been using High Performance and Target EM6000, but right now it is 60F in the shop, which seemed to cool to brush on High Performance, and it’s 50F where I’d spray, which is too cold for the EM6000. I picked the oil because it should do better in the cool temperature.

The GF dye stain has very little binder in it, so you raise a good point that it would be much, much drier after 24 to 36 hours than three or four rolled coats of acrylic paint.

@Laughran have you found something to use instead?

View Laughran's profile


83 posts in 2493 days

#10 posted 02-15-2019 05:57 PM

I have tried both Liberon Finishing Oil and Waterlox satin with tung oil but I have only used each one once on small projects. On the those projects they both looked good but I need to use them more to see if I will continue with one of them or try something else.

-- David

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