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Wood finish that keeps wood as natural looking as possible

Jason Yeager Member

Hi all,

I have a job in rift sawn white oak in which the client is looking for a finish that leaves the wood looking as if its unfinished - as natural as possible. They have selected a wood floor finish - Bona Naturale - and are asking that I match it. I have tried various flat and super flat conversion coatings, and nothing I am working with is getting me there (specifically ML campbell magnamax in super flat, and ML campbell magnaklear in a 4 degree sheen). Anyone have any ideas? How about using the Bona Naturale on the cabinets?

12/1/15       #2: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

i was going to suggest using the bona naturale.. i have done a couple very large commercial projects that spec'd it and found it to be pretty simple stuff. even sprayed it.

12/1/15       #3: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Jason Yeager Member

Thanks Kevin,

Spraying worked well, what did you use to spray it? How many coats did you use?

Did you have any problems with the edges wanting to sag?

12/1/15       #4: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

was over a year ago. sprayed wit with a graco compliant cup gun with a 1.8 nozzle set. sprayed light coats to prevent any sags and maintain the low build/natural look. 2 coats was all it took.

12/1/15       #5: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

Find an ICA Coatings dealer. Try one of their waterbornes....they are top notch and from Italy. End of Story.

12/1/15       #6: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Jason Yeager Member


Can you recommend a specific finish based on your experience?

12/1/15       #7: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Jason Yeager Member


I am leaning towards using the Bona just because I know it will match perfectly - Do you think the finish would hold up in a kitchen environment? I would think so since its used on floors, but curious anyway.

What about the feel - was the finish smooth enough when you were done that it wasn't a liability / sticking point?


12/2/15       #8: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

I second RobertJ's recomendation of ICA. I currently use their OAC360IPZ dead flat poly. Looks like nothing is on the wood.

12/2/15       #9: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

I agree with Graig, ICA 2k comes out aroud 2 degree gloss with multiple coats. Acrylic

12/2/15       #10: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Jason Yeager Member

Thanks guys,

I will call ICA and check it out

12/2/15       #12: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

Hi Jason,

Milesi Wood Coatings The market share leader in wood coatings in Europe stocks two Natural finish products in the US specifically for your need. The solventborne finish is LUA118 Natural finish a 2K acrylic self sealing finish and the waterbase is HGA19 a 2K waterborne natural finish. They are readily available and will meet your project needs. Let us know how else we can help.


12/2/15       #13: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

Hi Jason,

You can also check out the Milesi Wood coatings product on facebook or Finishing IQ by clicking on the following link. I think you'll find far more information on the Milesi product than anywhere else.

12/3/15       #14: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Jason Yeager Member

Well - I have been trying to get in touch with ICA distributor - 2 days no call. Rep was great, helped with selection, but apparently distributor doesn't want to sell.

I am hearing the Acrylic coating are best for this as they don't change the look of the wood at all or bring out any of the woods color - which is really important, as the Bona that I need to match doesn't enhance the woods color at all. Do you guys agree that the Acrylic is the way to go?

12/3/15       #16: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...

Hi Jason,

To answer your question yes the 2K acrylic is exactly what you need and want for this project. The Milesi LUA118 Natural look finish is a 2K acrylic coating that catalyzes at 25%. Let me know what state you are in and we will get you the product.

12/3/15       #17: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
JT  Member



Also, I am a wood web member and sponsor.

12/3/15       #18: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Paul Snyder  Member


For a fast and easy solution I'd use the Bona finish Jason. It's a catalyzed waterborne polyurethane and will provide the durability you need as well as a guaranteed match. It's also formulated to have a warm, soft feel to the touch.

The ICA and Milesi finishes are top notch and worth getting a gallon of their various products for testing. That way you will be ready to choose and use one of them if you need it in the future.

Though acrylics are clear and non-yellowing, the key to achieving a good match in your case is to use a waterborne finish. Any solvent base finish, acrylic or not, will give the wood a different look and won't match.

Do some test spraying on large scrap before starting the actual project. Sometimes it helps to apply the first coat very thin to reduce raised grain.

12/3/15       #19: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
JT  Member


Hi Paul,
I'm sure the Bona product is a superior product for floors which it designed for. The Milesi product is specifically designed to be sprayed for exactly projects like the one dictated. The Milesi solvent version LUA118 will not change the appearance of the natural wood. However, if this is a concern Milesi also provides HGA19 2K WB Natural finish designed to be sprayed for this specific application. Regardless, I totally agree with Paul that whatever coating chosen should be tested.

12/4/15       #20: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Paul Snyder  Member


Hi JT,

You were able to post twice while I was typing so I didn't see your responses before I hit send. Sounds like you're able to get some product into Jason's hands quickly so he can do some comparison testing and get the client to sign off. Just curious - are there any concerns with shipping the waterborne product when the temperatures are below freezing?

I just read the product info sheet on the Milesi solvent based natural finish which says it contains pigments and extenders that prevent it from wetting the wood fibers like other solvent based finishes (which changes the color of the wood). I'd be interested to do some side by side testing with the waterborne version to see how closely the appearance matches. I wonder if the reduced surface wetting has any effect on adhesion?

Do you know the marketing plan behind Milesi formulating a solvent based finish to look like a waterborne finish? Is it intended to be step towards greater market acceptance of waterborne finishes?

Wood floor finishes and wood cabinet finishes are nearly identical. And the Bona finish is in the same family as the ICA and Milesi finishes so it's performance will be comparable. The main difference between them is that floor finishes contain additional additives (e.g., an anti-slip for safety and aluminum oxide for better wear). I would not use a floor finish as matter of routine for wood furniture, cabinetry, and mill work, but for a one-off project I'd be comfortable using it.

There's more than one way to get the job done.... What's important is that the client is happy and the check clears.

12/4/15       #21: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
JT  Member


Hi Paul,

Agree with your statements. We would be more than happy to send you some product for testing.

Please send me an e-mail with your contact information and we will get you a sample of the solvent base natural finish for testing. it is a very unique product. adhesion is not a concern. This product was actually submitted for an AWFS award this year and was developed specifically for the Italian furniture industry. It has an excellent track record.

Yes there is a major concern with freezing on WB products but we do have a distributor close to Jason's location.

I can have our Technical sales manager Ron Bryze provide you some additional insights regarding both the solvent and WB versions of this product.

Best Regards,,


12/4/15       #22: Wood finish that keeps wood as natu ...
Jason Yeager Member

Thanks JT and Paul,

Interesting to hear how the finishes for the cabinetry and floors aren't that different. The sample of the floor finish provided by the flooring contractor definitely feels a little rough - which makes sense for a floor.
Nice to hear that there isn't any problems with using it if that is what I need to do to get
a perfect match.

Thanks everyone for your help and insights, really appreciated!

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