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What Waterborne Finish Do You Recommend for HVLP?

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Forum topic by gerrym526 posted 04-16-2021 04:38 PM 670 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gerrym526

307 posts in 4895 days


04-16-2021 04:38 PM

Guys,

I’m going to start using an Apollo HVLP unit that I bought several years ago, but didn’t have a shop for. Have not sprayed finishes before, so there’s a learning curve ahead of me.

What I do need help with is finding a good waterborne finish brand (urethane, satin finish) to use.

Those of you who use HVLP-what brand do you recommend?

I know the cost per gallon will be more than the “cheapie” products (minwax, varathane, etc.) that I’ve brushed on projects in the past, but it’s not the primary consideration here.

Want to use a finish that sprays well and has excellent solids, looks good, and lasts.

Thanks in advance for the help.
Gerry

-- Gerry


10 replies so far

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3279 posts in 1690 days


#1 posted 04-16-2021 05:07 PM

My go-to waterborne finish is Varathane. Comes in various varieties and colors. I’m sure there are other choices that people with more experience than me can recommend.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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CaptainKlutz

4456 posts in 2581 days


#2 posted 04-16-2021 05:40 PM

If you want satin finish, selection and trade off becomes more challenging.

Problem with dull sheen finishes is they get shiny when scuffed or dinged. So any finish that creates shiny scuff marks while moving it around shop; requires waxing and careful abrasion to even out sheen. Satin finishes usually need to cured longer to ensure shop handling doesn’t scuff up soft surface.

Not an expert, but have tried several WB finishes:

GF Enduro shows scuffs easier than most I used, and leaves pinkish amber color.

SW Kem Aqua is OK. Spraying seemed to be more temp sensitive, requiring retarder solvents in warm weather.

Gemini Evo WB leaves a decent finish on cabinets; but still scuffed easier than I liked.

Heard good things about ML Campbell Agualente WB, both clear and pigmented; but it is an acrylic modified WB pre-cat lacquer and you wanted a polyurethane?

Suggest Renner 851 WB poly with optional catalyst as tougher than any of the above.
The only WB tougher than Renner 851, is the Renner 1321 poly with catalyst. Can hit Renner with hammer and see no marks. Cured surface is so hard, it laughs at garnet sandpaper. Requires ceramic or zirconia paper if you need to remove it and start over.

Of the cheap big box store options, the Varathane Floor poly is pretty durable. The key to floor poly is addition of aluminum oxide to increase durability. Same stuff found on sand paper? LOL The filler is not perfectly clear to my eyes, but close. So using 4-5 heavy coats can diffuse grain in wood a little. For wood flooring, most people don’t notice. But on a figured wood keepsake box, I could detect slightly lower clarity. Point is; a floor poly clarity loss can be a decent trade off for low cost, durable satin sheen?

Most commercial high solids WB finish recommend use of turbine HVLP or pressurized cup sprayers. WB tend to have heavy body, and require better atomization. Using an Apollo HVLP offers this and makes spraying WB much easier. You will only need to use thinner or retarder based on ambient temp and flow out; not help get material through the gun. BTW – One big challenge with spraying satin finishes, is too much thinner increases the sheen level.

Only area I stray from mfg PDS recommendations on spraying is thinner/retarder. Distilled water as thinner only works so well. Here in low humidity and high temp of Arizona, even WB finishes need retarder to prevent orange peel, ~half the year. Most WB materials tolerate butyl cellosolve as retarder. Others like GF Enduro, prefer 50:50 propylene glycol and water mixture. Some mfg sell an expensive retarder solvent packages, but the SDS typically has one of the two above as primary ingredient, besides water? :)

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

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bilyo

1366 posts in 2189 days


#3 posted 04-17-2021 02:45 AM

I can’t be as specific as CaptainKlutz. I can only say that I have had good experience spraying Varathane Ultimate. I am in lower Alabama. So, conditions are usually quite warm and humid. I spray with a cheap LVLP gun with a 1.3 or 1.5mm tip without any thinning. I usually spray over a coat or two of Seal Coat. Results have been excellent and the finish seems to be quite hard. I can’t vouch for long term durability yet.

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Andybb

3279 posts in 1690 days


#4 posted 04-17-2021 04:02 AM

Nor do I have anywhere near the experience of CKlutz but with Varathane, for a hack like me, it always sprayed nicely, dried fast, looked great and was developed to be used on floors which meant it was durable. It is also self leveling (whatever that means) so even with a brush or roller it looks sketchy when it first goes on but It levels out very nicely. I can’t say it’s my favorite finish but I can say it is my favorite waterborne finish and perfect for certain projects.

Varathane’s feelings are a little hurt because you lumped it in with “the cheapies”. :-). It’s a great one to start with as it’s forgiving and looks good. Although, as much as I tried with endless scrap pieces and various techniques it still wasn’t quite as rich (chatoyant) as the oil based finishes but that was only on really close ADHD, OCD side by side inspection.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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Robert

4558 posts in 2567 days


#5 posted 04-17-2021 10:56 AM

As I speak I am using Target Coating high build acrylic lacquer EM7000.

Fantastic product & customer support as well. No thinning, 1.3 tip.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View tdwilli1's profile

tdwilli1

29 posts in 2673 days


#6 posted 04-17-2021 01:56 PM

Same as Robert. I only use Target coatings now. Excellent product and results.

View gerrym526's profile

gerrym526

307 posts in 4895 days


#7 posted 04-18-2021 04:53 PM

Guys,
Thanks for the advice-much appreciated.

I’m looking into Target Coatings, and found there’s a local distributor who carries them. Will probably try the waterborne Urethane product for my first venture into HVLP.

Gerry

-- Gerry

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3279 posts in 1690 days


#8 posted 04-18-2021 05:38 PM


Guys,
Thanks for the advice-much appreciated.

I m looking into Target Coatings, and found there s a local distributor who carries them. Will probably try the waterborne Urethane product for my first venture into HVLP.

Gerry

- gerrym526

Sounds like a good plan. I started with Varathane then bought a couple of Target products (I forget which ones). They were all good products to spray and there was very little difference between them. To me, the goal with waterborne is to mimick the chatoyance of pil based finishes and none of them were quite up to the task but if you weren’t able to compare them side to side I doubt anyone would notice or care.

Here is a link to the thread I started 4 or 5 years ago where there was a pretty in depth discussion of target coatings, waterbornes and shellac. I had forgotten how much effort I put into trying to figur out which was the best for looks and for time invested. Don’t know why some of the pics are gone or says Photobucket as I have never used Photobucket for anything but some of them are still there as well as what I considered good feedback at the time. I had also forgotten until now why I have a lifetime supply of various Transtint colors on the shelf.

As I vaguely recall I got the best results putting shellac under the waterborne finish and adding a little amber trans-tint.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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CaptainKlutz

4456 posts in 2581 days


#9 posted 04-18-2021 08:22 PM

I m looking into Target Coatings, and found there s a local distributor who carries them. Will probably try the waterborne Urethane product for my first venture into HVLP. – gerrym526
If you can get local distributor support for commercial wood coatings, be it Target or any other brand; it is not a bad decision.

Buying commercial wood coatings from distributor puts you in touch with people who eat/breathe/live with wood coatings. They get to visit all the large local mfg and help ensure their products are successful. So they know what works best, on what kind of project, and IN YOUR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT. It is hard to put a value on the potential education you can receive working with local distributor.
When I moved from Midwest to Arizona, had to re-learn how to spray coatings; thanks to much low humidity and higher temperatures. I had general knowledge, but my local distributor database of what works for others, made the transition as simple as asking a few questions. :)

Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, Doom, despair, agony on me… - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

3279 posts in 1690 days


#10 posted 04-20-2021 12:33 AM

The Sherwin Williams dealer here sells Target. They might in your area too.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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