Choosing a Brushable Cabinet Finish to Match Floor Finish

A finisher needs a finish he can apply to cabinetry on site that will match the floor finish planned for the job. February 17, 2014

On this job the designers have specified Bona Traffic (2 part clear waterborne) floor finish on the quartersawn white oak floor and the same on the matching casework that I am making. A sample revealed the floor finish flows so well it cannot be brushed on vertical surfaces. Some of the casework cannot be sprayed because of size constraints, some will be. I am looking for a single part clear that will look the same as the Bona and can be brushed or sprayed. I don't see any need for 2 part floor finish durability on the casework, just a similar look.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor N:
My all time favorite brush-able water-based clear is Daley's Crystal-Fin. It may be a Pac NW regional product and it could be that's why it works so good for me, because that's where I am. But the stuff levels great, sands well and dries fast. I use it to finish the edge banding on Euros, two coats over 1 coat of Seal Coat does a passable imitation of 3 coats of solvent CV and three coats does a great job of passing for 3 coats of water-borne CV. On edge-banding a coat an hour works fine, more complex or larger surfaces would probably take more dry time.

From contributor C:
Try General Finishes Enduro-Var. It is an oil/water hybrid finish that brushes well and gives an oil varnish look with great durability.

From contributor A:
Your Bona is meant for floors. It will be a bombproof waterborne poly. Not a good thing for cabinetry. You are looking for an acrylic/poly mix. Oxford and General make many good products. I've had much success brushing MLC Agualente.

From the original questioner:
Thank you for the replies. Contributor A, I'm surprised you don't find the Aqualente too thin to brush as it's packaged ready to spray. Can you give me any more details? I am planning on using MLC Aqualente for the primer and paint elsewhere on the job, so it would be a plus if I could use the clear.

From contributor M:
While I'm not saying it's your best choice, we have used Bona Traffic and Traffic HD on numerous stair cases and have had no problem on risers, skirts, and other vertical surfaces. It is thin for sure, as it's designed to be flooded, but it works and it's bulletproof.

Another alternative to those already mentioned may be a product we are using from SW, Sayerlack AF72. It's listed as brush-able on Sayerlack's sheets. I have not brushed it, but it's plenty thick out of the pail. Your only consideration may be quantity. It comes to us in 6.6 gallon pails.

From contributor H:
The gang at General Finishes recommends the following. For the floor: Use either our new Pro Shield Floor Finish (a two step floor waterbase finish that will dry clear) or use Bona Traffic - they are very similar. General Finishes also has a one step Pro Image Floor finish.

For the casework: If you want to continue with water white products to match the outcome of the floor finish, don't use General Finishes Endurovar - this finish will amber over time. We recommend GF's Clear Poly if you are spraying, but poly, as with the rest of our professional finishes, is not very good for brushing - they are designed for spraying. If you really want to brush, use the High Performance or Poly Acrylic depending on your durability requirements - the High Performance has more urethane in it. If you need more moisture and chemical resistance, Crosslinker can be added to the High Performance for table tops or kitchen and bathroom applications.