Local or Mail Order
#11
  
I am a hobby woodworker and, as such, I do not do a lot of wood finishing; just projects I do for family and friends. I don't do it professionally. I am new to spraying and last year I did some projects using my spray equipment with shellac, Varathane WB poly, and Minwax Polycrylic. I am happy with the results in so far as look and feel are concerned. I have no idea how they will hold up to use over time. I prefer to purchase products locally if I can. Products like General Finishes, and Target Coatings are highly recommended, but they are not available locally. My searching has not been exhaustive, but it appears that locally I am limited to Minwax, Varathane, Benjamin Moore Lenmar products, Sherwin Williams Single Component WB Poly, and a local company selling mostly industrial products. I have never used the "professional" products sold by Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, or the local industrial products company. My question: Are the Varathane and Polycrylic products so low on the quality scale that I should go to the more expensive "professional" products or forgo my "buy local" preference in favor of General Finishes, Target Coatings or other mail order products?
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#12
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
You will get opinions on both sides of your question, but here's mine: I consider Min-Wax the HF of finishing so I avoid everything they have as often as I can (one exception, the MinWax Fast Drying Oil Varnish seems to be the old SW fast dry oil varnish relabeled, in any case it's a very nice product.) I haven't tried any of the Varathane p[products, I just order my stuff over the internet. That would be the Target Coatings products and the GF stuff. We do have a GF distributor in town, but it's a "upcycle" shop, and most of what they carry is the stains.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#13
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
Thanks for the comments. Is this the Minwax Oil poly you refer to? It's oil modified (whatever that means), but water cleanup.

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#14
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
No that's not it, I was referring to this stuff.As far as I know it's only sold at SW stores. There are a few "oil modified" finishes available (GF's Enduro Var is another) and I also have no idea what that means. I did spend some time a year or so ago trying to find out with no success.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#15
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
I'm not a chemist. So, the data sheet is almost meaningless (skimmed through it). It says thin with MS. So, it's not considered water based, I assume. I haven't totally abandoned solvent based products, but for spraying I prefer WB (or shellac).
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#16
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
That water based oil modified finish is actually a really durable finish and easy to apply.  I used it on wood steps a d table tops  and it has held up perfectly.   As a comparison, I have used more expensive professional finishes and they have not held up as well as that Minwax product.
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#17
  Re: RE: Local or Mail Order by Scoony (That water based oil...)
(04-04-2021, 05:26 PM)Scoony Wrote: That water based oil modified finish is actually a really durable finish and easy to apply.  I used it on wood steps a d table tops  and it has held up perfectly.   As a comparison, I have used more expensive professional finishes and they have not held up as well as that Minwax product.
Thanks. That's good to know. When you say "easy to apply", do you mean by brush, spray, or either? If spray, did you have to thin in any?
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#18
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
I used to be a wedding photographer.  I used a very pricy Hasselblad camera (when it went out of production it was over $3,000.00).

Almost all of the wedding photos get blown up to 8" x 10", which is not very large, and an advanced hobby-grade Nikon, Canon or Minolta would do fine for that.  But Uncle Joe, (or Aunt Sarah, etc.) had that type of camera and her pictures always looked crappy.  So to elevate our product over the sub-standard photos that relatives took, we needed to have "superior" equipment.

I see some of that with product finishes. The mindset that to get professional results you need to use products that amateurs do not use.  The magazine tests and my experience show that Minwax's oil-based poly, applies well, looks good and when fully cured is right up there in quality with the less accessible finishes. 

I think some of the "Uncle Joe uses Minwax" or "Aunt Sarah uses Minwax" is going on because Minwax is available everywhere. 

I think their oil-based poly will never disappoint.  I only use the Polycrylic for cabinet interiors and it seems to hold up well. 

I have two tests I use for a finish. 

The first is a thumbnail test.  This is a minimum hardness that I find acceptable.  I try to scratch the finish with my thumbnail and if any damage occurs, it is not satisfactory.  Allowing one week for cure both Minwaxes finish pass this test as does the Triple-thick Varathane.  Triple thick does not spray, so I don't use it much.

The second test is the same except I try to damage the finish with the edge of a penny.  It is copper plating over zinc--softer than other coins.  Month old oil-based
easily passes this test.  The water-based product does fairly well, but hard pressure on the coin will damage the finish. 

So, establish your own test for acceptable performance and make your own determination.  The reviews help you narrow down the candidates, but your experience should dictate your selection.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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#19
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
(04-05-2021, 08:15 AM)Cooler Wrote: So, establish your own test for acceptable performance and make your own determination.  The reviews help you narrow down the candidates, but your experience should dictate your selection.

That's kinda what I have been doing. I would like to find some testing that is more objective. I have found some pretty good ones from about 10 years or so ago. I assume there have been some advances since then.
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#20
  Re: Local or Mail Order by Willyou (I am a hobby woodwor...)
My other test was field testing. 

I refinished the tables at a local Starbucks.  Less than one year after their remodel the factory finish was failing. 

I sanded down to bare wood and applied four coats of Minwax oil-based (over Baltic birch). 

Nine years later the tops were still in excellent condition.  They clean with a sanitizing cleaner many times per day. 

The key element was to allow 7 days (200 hours) before I returned the tops for use.  That way it was fully (or nearly fully) cured before putting into service. 

That is a pretty harsh test, and it passed with flying colors. 

I would note that the 9-year-old finish was objectively harder than the 2-week old finish.  Enough proof for me to conclude that 200 hours is not quite a 100% cure time.  But probably 80% - 90%, and "hard enough" for service.
No animals were injured or killed in the production of this post.
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