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Water based finishes


We specialize in high end conference tables that require thick and very durable finishes. We also spray some polyester build coats for high gloss tables. We currently spray 2k polyurethane. It works very well. What water based finishes would yield the same results? If reps want to visit we are located outside of Philadelphia

2/27/15       #2: Water based finishes ...

I cannot imagine a waterborne finish that mimics any polyester coating....even a 2K poly. I would like to find one too!! Waiting for someone to reply.

3/1/15       #3: Water based finishes ...

ICA makes a GREAT waterborne. I have tested it, along with many others side by side. Target, Eagle and MLC are all lame. The ICA sprays great, lays down good, is durable and polishable. Polishing gives it a killer gloss. It is mono component as well as bi component, meaning that you can use it with or without the catalyst. Using it with cat simply means it gets harder, however you up the VOC's a little by the addition of the catalyst. The ICA distributer in your area is Manhattan Laminates,(800) 762-2929 . I think they are in Long Island.

Using waterborne does present some challenges,such as extended dry/cure times, and depending on the equipment that you currently have, you may need to invest in a good quality pump dedicated to only the waterborne, and possibly an oven in the winter, although you can do it without the oven as long as your shop has decent heat. In my opinion however, I think the switch to water is better all the way around. Easier clean up, disposal, less odor, etc. I have heard that Sayerlack also makes good quality waterborne. Sayerlack is owned by Sherwin Williams now, so that makes it a little easier to get. SW in my area has good tech help, so I am going to test the Sayerlack in the near future. But I think you can not go wrong if you try the ICA. Wish that I could remember the product numbers, but if you ask for the mono/bi component waterborne poly, you will get the right stuff.

I wish my shop would allow us to use the waterborne, but it is hard to convince someone of the improved new technologies coming out now, when they have used some waterbornes in the past and not had good success. Good luck.

3/2/15       #4: Water based finishes ...

There are many Brands to choose from as mentioned, ICA,ILVA,Sayerkack ect; I dont see you creating the look that a Polyester Sealer (thick) Polyurethane Top Coat gives. Two completely different animals! although there are several that are very durable they are not designed to build a thick system..

3/2/15       #5: Water based finishes ...
JT Member


I agree with the the other posters, WB products are not going to get you the build of a Polyester. However, as mentioned their are some excellent WB European technologies that provide very durable and polishable WB sytems for your application. Milesi Wood Coatings is another.

3/2/15       #6: Water based finishes ...
arthur grudko

Pianolac might be a game changer when it comes to high build wb finishes. It is a self-crosslinking coating that can be applied as thick as required.

3/3/15       #7: Water based finishes ...

Well I don't mind still spraying the polyester solvent based. Would there be any issue using the WB topcoats over the polyester sealer? The main finish that we spray is 2K polyurethane. Used to use Milesi. The whole idea is to reduce VOC emissions.

3/3/15       #8: Water based finishes ...
JT  Member


Hi Kyle,

Yes you can use a WB finish over the top of a polyester in the Milesi system with no issue. The key is proper sanding of the polyester. Milesi is available through a new distributor in NYC. See the link.

3/3/15       #9: Water based finishes ...
Daniel Shafner  Member

Arthur, does PianoLac shrink? I was looking at a piano, today. It was shot in traditional nc lacquer. The wood pores are already presenting themselves. For furniture thqat's ok. For pianos, only a mirror-smooth surface is acceptable.

And how long is a full cure?

3/3/15       #10: Water based finishes ...
arthur grudko

The key to making a smooth, closed pore piano finish is closing the pores before the first coat of topcoat is sprayed.

This usually done with the laborious application of solvent borne pore filler. The Pianolac system has a waterborne filler that is sprayed on, troweled off, and sanded. Takes about 1.5 hours to do a piano. Under a black topcoat, enough black primer is sprayed to complete the closeout of the pores. The clear is self sealing.

Pianolac cures ready to rub in 2 to 3 weeks. If the pores are properly filled and sealed, there will be no shrinkage.
Problem is, too many finishers lose patience with the filling (mahogany substrates take 3 coats of filler). They start spraying too soon, only to discover shrinkage after rubbing out.

3/3/15       #11: Water based finishes ...
Daniel Shafner  Member

Where can I find PianoLac or at least read more about it, including costs and such?

3/3/15       #12: Water based finishes ...
arthur grudko

I'm putting the finishing touches on the final formulation. It will be advertised on this forum.

3/4/15       #13: Water based finishes ...

I think we are getting of course with the original post....Kyle's not using grain fillers and spraying Black Pianos. He's looking for a durable (thick) system for Conferences tables I would assume clear along with depth and clarity. When I think of Piano I envision a vase of roses on top. When I think of a Conference table I envision a brief case being slid across the surface.....

3/4/15       #14: Water based finishes ...
Mark B Member

I sprayed Sayerlack AF72 for over a year. Only catalyzed occasionally. Its very attractively priced but at the time SWs distribution sucked. Prior to that I was spraying MLC and have since gone back. I dont see much difference at all in all honesty but the MLC (being pre-cat) is much harder.

3/8/15       #15: Water based finishes ...

I've buffed MLC Aquabarnice catalyzed waterborne after 2 days. I sprayed about 8 coats in one day on a quarter sawn white oak counter top. I had previously tinted it with Sealcoat shellac with Transtint dye. No grain filler. Hence the 8 coats(I am not exaggerating). I buffed it with a random orbit sander and a Surbuff head.

Aquabarnice is a great product.

4/10/15       #16: Water based finishes ...

8 coats of Aguabarnice? We had been using that product lately for some dark stained railings and I find I get a cloudy looking finish after around 5 mils dry. Looking for an alternate product now as the Aguabarnice has been discontinued and our supplier is now out-of-stock. It also looks like the Aguatana (which was to replace Aguabarnice) is also discontinued.

Doesn't seem to be a lot of choice out there when it comes to waterbased clears - at least not in my location. Looking into ICA....sounds promising.

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