Pot Life Troubles with Catalyzed Finishes

Harsh lesson learned from yesterday's batch gone bad today: Read the labels, or reap the wrinkles. May 27, 2008

I just painted a vanity - 4 doors and 4 drawer fronts - yesterday, and they came out awesome. I used Resistant satin mixed 10 to one catalyst and 10 to one thinner, like I usually do. Today I was putting the final coat on my door backs. I used the stuff I mixed yesterday. Argh! What a wrinkled mess. Did I mess up by using the stuff I mixed yesterday? Should I have mixed a new batch today?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
Gee, what do you think? You are big enough to be playing with guns and acid catalysts, do you even bother to read your technical data sheets on the products you use? What are your recoat times and pot life? You should know the answer to this and if you really don't, then perhaps you need to do your homework before you pull the trigger.

From contributor W:
That was harsh. You were a novice once too, remember?

You missed the recoat window or the pot life of the material was done. Most catalyzed finishes have a pot life of about 8 hours. Talk to your manufacturer's rep or call the 1-800 help number from the manufacturer for help. They will get you pointed in the right direction.

From contributor D:
Harsh but true. I am not taking this position to be mean. I am taking it because contributor M has apparently skipped a step and it is not an acceptable step to skip. When I was a novice I never cracked the seal on a chemical until I understood what I was dealing with first. MSDS and technical data sheets first. I don't even buy "new to me" chemistry without studying its properties first. The chemistry we work with is dangerous and explosive and should not be taken lightly or handled naively. One droplet of acid catalyst in the eye can cause permanent blindness. If someone doesn't know that, they better not play with it until they learn the right way, which is before they pour. On top of that, some materials have a pot life of 12 hours, some 8, some 4, and some 14 minutes before you better get it out of your gun and lines. How do you know what you are dealing with until you do your homework? No one who is a novice should jeopardize themselves until they know what they are dealing with and protect themselves and those around them.

From contributor B:
Just curious as to what the recoat window is for properly mixed Clawlock, Resistant and Krystal as a topcoat. This is what I typically do for opaque jobs. Ordinarily not a problem, but... once in a while, sh*t happens. I have a job coming up with about 50 - 60 doors and there's no way they will all get coated and sanded back on primer. Three steps and in a 24 hour period, maybe not even 48 hours. Any input?

From contributor C:
Contributor B, are you not asking for Technical Data Sheets (TDS) when you start using your materials? All of the recoat info is on these sheets. If your coatings supplier is not giving you this most basic info, find out why. And then if they don't, switch coatings suppliers. There is no reason you as the applier should not know this. You can ask for the TDS! This is not some secret info that coatings people keep from their users - call them and get it! As to your question, I'll have to let someone who has the TDS for those products answer.

From contributor T:
Let be known to your reps that they are not to deliver any materials to you without information sheets. They might even be prone to read one themselves from time to time. The information on these data sheets covers everything from pressure to wet mill and even the chemical makeup. Suppliers re-formulate their products often, so it's a good idea to compare old and new tech sheets to see what chemical changes they have made. This is information they really don't want you to know for reasons I'm not going to get into. Set these guys straight. Not only are you giving them your hard earned money, but your reputation is on the line.

From contributor B:
Thanks for the responses. Still no one has anything remotely close to an answer regarding Resistant recoat windows. I have been doing cabinet work for about 30 years and finishing my own for about 25 of those. Never actually had time to relearn the data on the same finishes. Am definitely not a rookie here, just usually too busy to overanalyze a chemical coating. I probably shoot about 100 gallons a year of this stuff as well as toners, stains, some waterbase and a lot of primer, all with no issues. Just thought some of you real finishers out there would care to enlighten some of us Neanderthals.

From the original questioner:
With Resistant there is no recoat window. Mix 10 to 1 cat or one gallon to 12.8. Only thin after catalyzing. Never more than two coats.

From contributor P:
ML Campbell has all the data sheets for their products online.

From contributor B:
As stated, my experience has been that I don't like the final result of Resistant by itself. Does not seem scuff-resistant enough for the fronts. Anything metal (aluminum especially) seems to leave a mark and especially on white or light colors, so I got in the habit of sealing all fronts with a shot of Krystal. Also on a glaze job there is really no alternative but to seal with Krystal. That means 1 coat primer, sanded back, 1 coat color, hopefully no issues or sanding. Glaze coat, either Amazing Glaze or an old school oil/naphtha base. 1 coat of Krystal. This probably exceeds the recommended mils in final film thickness, but what other way then? There is usually no issue, until you really need it to go right and right now.

From contributor E:
Just went through the same problem today. I had a big kitchen that had to be glazed. I normally use Resistant, but because I was afraid of the recoat window issue, I switched to Magnamax. I primed with Bin shellac, tinted Magnamax, no vinyl glaze, Magnamax clear. Perfect job, no crinkling! Also you have to be careful to use the correct thinner with Resistant. If you use the cheap stuff, it's too hot and will cause crinkling.

From the original questioner:
Was it really cold when this happened?

From contributor B:
Are you comfortable using Magna Max for a kitchen or bath application? I have typically used Resistant believing it was a better job.

From contributor E:
Resistant is my first choice but I, like the questioner, had a crinkling problem. I just needed to get in there and get the job done with no problems. With the job so large I was afraid I would go beyond the recoat window. I started at 8 am and finished at 6 pm. I talked to the Campbell rep and he said Mag is okay in the kitchen. I told him of the problem with the Resistant and he suggested the better thinner. I think it's # is C160. I'll give it a try.

From contributor R:
I've found using Resistant with no thinner or retarders eliminates the crinkle problem.