General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Todd Stock » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:18 am

There is a bit of settling over fish, but I have not seen it over hide or Titebond lines, but I've only done Enduro-Var and Pro topcoats in WB. In 12 years using Mohawk, I've seen changes to the formulation such that today's lacquer appears to be more prone to checking and separation with sealers than even the stuff I was getting 6 years ago. I have three guitars that were finished in 2013 and 2016 respectively that are showing either separation from the vinyl sealer at points of contact or checking of the .004" film unrelated to wood movement or structural loading. Martin's problems with lacquer checking and stress cracks suggests to me that the EPA requirements that have driven lower VOC formulations have also affected what other manufacturers are shipping.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:58 pm

Todd Stock wrote:There is a bit of settling over fish...

When you say "settling," does that mean the glue line swells and stays visible, or does it swell then settle back down and disappear?
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Todd Stock » Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:01 am

Noticeable settling of first coat, less noticeable on second, and pretty much gone after 3-4 coats.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:34 am

Is it going to make the glue push color aside and leave a lighter line? I dyed straight to bare maple.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:19 am

Any thoughts or comments on the dampening qualities of EnduroVar or the lack there of? Versus nitro or shellac?
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Todd Stock » Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:46 am

Thickness is the issue - keep it under 5 mil and it's going to be a challenge to find any differences...FP is preferred in some communities because it's a couple mil, despite issues with durability, application labor, etc.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Peter Wilcox » Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:52 pm

I've not had much satisfaction with the water based finishes. I couldn't brush on the General Finishes Top Coat smoothly and it took a lot of coats and sanding to get it flat, and then I couldn't polish it to a good gloss - my fault, I'm sure. I decided to use a waterborne polyurethane again, sprayed on a guitar that needed to be built and finished in less than a month, so found one I could get locally, Aqua Zar. When I was testing on scrap I was more concerned with dye color, and didn't really notice the low contrast of the maple's figure until I had it on the guitar and saw how bland it looked. So I put it, the General Finishes, and nitro lacquer on the wood for comparison. Yechh!

maple-figure.jpg


Back to nitro for me, even if it kills me, unless someone can suggest how this problem might be overcome. :(
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Jason Rodgers » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:43 am

Doesn't the epoxy pore fill, aside from filling pores, "wet" the wood and pop the grain? I've not done this. On my recent projects, I chickened out and went with tung oil over shellac, and the shellac does wet the grain and give that lustrous depth.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Bryan Bear » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:27 am

Peter, that picture is very telling! My first thought was the same as Jason's to "pop" the figure with epoxy (assuming your poly would stick to it). But, Like Jason, I've not tried it myself.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby David King » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:13 am

Peter,
I'm interested to hear that you had issues getting the GF Topcoat to lay down well with a brush. What sort of humidity were you working in?
My experience is exclusively with the GF Endurovar which has an amber tint to it to try to help out with the depth and I think it does help a bit.
As for brushing it it does want a wet brush and I use a Purdy 2-1/2" sash brush and get it on quickly with the minimum of over-brushing.
I recently bought a can of the top-rated and widely distributed Minwax gloss spar polyurethane varnish and was astounded at how beautiful it looked and how well behaved it was out of the can. It has amazing self-leveling capability. I used it on the exterior of my front door and it stank for a full month in spite of all that air moving past it. It'd be a real challenge to live with it in a guitar case.
I'm also curious about the price point of the Aqua-Zar and how hard it was and how well it buffed out. If someone were looking for a water-clear, non-darkening finish then this might be it.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:09 pm

When I use Endurovar (or most anything else), I grain fill the b/s & neck with epoxy and then shellac over all including the top. The Endurovar looks good to me over this regime. I get a very high polish after a five day cure using a 14" wheel with dry Menzerna compound. As others have mentioned, don't wait too long, it gets hard to buff after 5 days.

The only problem I've been having with EnduroVar is small pinholes and fisheye when spraying EV. The pinholes are not related to pinholes in the substrate, they are forming in the coating. The fisheyes seem to just appear randomly. I sand it all out effectively, but it would be nice if it would not do it to start with.

Someone mentioned EV has a green tint to it and I had not noticed this, but recently shot some over mother of pearl and it was noticeable, mild, but noticeable.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Peter Wilcox » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:59 pm

My problem brushing the Top Coat probably had to do with low humidity and temperature (60 degrees) that didn't let it level well. I used a foam brush and thought I was keeping it wet and no overbrushing. Maybe it's a summertime finish. I also applied it over shellac, which let the figure come through.

The Aqua Zar states specifically not to apply over shellac or lacquer, so I'm hesitant to do so. Maybe epoxy is the answer, but it's another step to go through.

I've also gotten fish eyes with the Aqua Zar, but it's my own fault for initially not using an air filter. I haven't tried to polish it yet as I'm still in the process of coating and sanding.

The cheapest I could find the General Finishes was $27/quart plus shipping (no one carries it within 75 miles), whereas locally the AZ is $18 plus CA tax = $20 total.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Craig Bumgarner » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:53 pm

I've been applying EnduroVar over dewaxed shellac, the kind you mix yourself from flake and have had no problem. I recently got a pick guard on crooked and pull a bit of finish off right to the wood in removal (damn! but it touched up okay). This tells me the bond between EV and the shellac is just fine.

My experience with brushed EV and other water born PU is it does not level that well, but it sands well after 30-60 minutes of dry time, so I just sand between coats and by the time I get to the third or fourth coats, I have sanded out both the brush strokes and any minor imperfections due to grain, etc. I sand the last coat to level with 600 grit before putting the guitar away for the finish to cure for 5 days. Then, resand with 1000, 1500 and 2000, then it is off to the buffer. Spraying just gets it done a bit faster.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:36 pm

Bryan Bear wrote:Peter, that picture is very telling! My first thought was the same as Jason's to "pop" the figure with epoxy (assuming your poly would stick to it). But, Like Jason, I've not tried it myself.

Bryan - can't find it now, but SOMEWHERE in this thread, someone reported having success with either the EV or the GF High Performance over epoxy. If I find it, I'll update this post to point to it.

FWIW I'm getting close to the finishing of my first build. I found a nice big hunk of leftover alder that I'm going to saw up into some test tiles, and will be testing my intended finishing schedule on those before doing the guitar. I'll post my results in this thread to continue to add to the knowledge-base on these products.

Edit: Found it. Looks like Todd Stock has been using WB over epoxy successfully:

http://www.mimf.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4092&hilit=epoxy

http://www.mimf.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4092&p=47214&hilit=epoxy#p47214
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby David King » Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:12 pm

Think of finishes in terms of their optical properties i.e. their indexes of refraction (the angle at which light bends as it passes through the layer). My thinking is that you may lose visual info when you add layers that have very different indexes of refraction. It would be handy if an optical physicist could weigh in here <g>.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Pete Dyke » Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:10 pm

I've been keenly interested in this thread. I'm a novice builder with little finishing experience and am looking for my best shot at success in a non NC finish. I was planning to use KTM9 waterbourne on my next guitar, but I picked up a small can of EnduroVar to try out on some scrap.

I am trying both out on a very white scrap top. The Endurovar seems to be much harder initially than the KTM9, but a bit harder to apply evenly by comparison. (using foam brushes...don't have a spray rig yet). I've got 6 coats on it and am applying it pretty liberally.

But my biggest concern is that it seems to have a pinkish hue to it. I know it is pink in the can and I'm pretty sure that this is not a matter of my subconscious playing tricks on me. Has anyone else noticed this? Does it darken down after it dries for a few weeks? The top I will be finishing is a darker top. I was thinking about doing a base in Royal lac garnet which will darken the top a touch more. This might negate the pink hue a bit.

That said, it looks awesome on a cedar scrap piece. Very rich looking by comparison to the KTM9. And I put a coat on a cedar neck and it looks even better than the top IMHO.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Mike Conner » Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:30 am

Pete, I use Englemann spruce for front plates, which can be pretty light or white in color, and curly red maple for necks and bodies, which can have a pink or gray look unfinished. I use a very light wash of Transtint Honey Amber dye on most of my builds so far and that warms up the look.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby David King » Mon May 01, 2017 2:15 pm

Pete,
It's strange stuff (the Endurovar), it looks pink in the can but it dries amber thought more of the yellow side of amber. The garnet shellac might be just what you want. I'd try it both ways on identical wood and see what looks better to you. I don't see how anyone gets by with a foam brush. Spend $15 and get a real brush. Wet the heel before you start so you can get it clean later.
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Pete Dyke » Sat May 06, 2017 10:32 pm

For those that have used this much, can one lay down a couple of coats, wait 4-5 days, and then finish up with a few more coats? I'm on a timetable to deliver a guitar for my son's birthday and I have to be out of town for a few days. Hoping I an get the finishing started now and then finish it up next weekend. Do you think there would be any issues with the cross-linking?
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Re: General Finishes Waterbase Topcoat - SM is pushing this - anyone tried it?

Postby Chuck Tweedy » Sun May 07, 2017 5:04 pm

yes - you will get witness lines if you sand back into the new coats.
I gave a finishing schedule about a hundred post back. You need to get coats on every day or 2 to make them blend.
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