View Full Version : Spraying WB finish

07-04-2008, 06:31 PM
Just trying to get a 'leg up' since even my wife approves of the Wagner Conversion gun I have coming.

Been reading the posts in the thread that Rich started and I'm hoping to be able to disagree with you on this or I'll have tossed out the better part of $200. I DO hate it when that happens.

But it seems that some of you who have sprayed WB finishes like it. Here's my question, what's your take on the differences between the LOOK of WB poly and WB lacquer?


07-04-2008, 07:08 PM

Come on EVERYBODY with experience please jump in!

07-04-2008, 07:45 PM
Without going into a boring chemistry oration, WB poly is waterbased, and lacquer is lacquer thinner based (acetone). Manufacturers can call it whatever they want.

As for finish appearance and durability, I find it equal to lacquer.

07-04-2008, 09:46 PM
RED -- nice thread.

I also am quite interested in "spraying" finishes.

Water based finish would be a lot easier on the cleanup.

In my experience, with brush on paints, the water based paints dry faster, but require a different technique to apply. Oil based paints are easier to work, and lay out better. Water based baints don't lay out as well.

Also oil based paints seem to dry to a "harder" finish that water based paints.

However, for the water based paints I have used, they are quite durable, to the point that high pressure power washing does not destroy the finish.

OK - maybe all that means nothing, but I would like to know the pros and cons of water based products as related to spray on clear coats.

Autobodyman does a lot of clearcoat -- what does he use?? Mike are you there? What do you use?

Cody Colston
07-04-2008, 11:05 PM
But it seems that some of you who have sprayed WB finishes
like it. Here's my question, what's your take on the differences between the LOOK of WB poly and WB lacquer?

First of all, water-based finish is usually made with either an acrylic resin (sold as water-based lacquer) or an acrylic urethane mixture (sold as water-based polyurethane). There is a difference and it's not simply what the mfg chooses to call it.

While there is not a lot of difference in the appearance, the WB Poly finish (Polycrylic in my case) looks a bit more plasticy than the WB Lacquer finish (USL in my case).

I also nearly always use BLO to pop the grain followed by Zinnser seal coat shellac before applying the top coat of WB poly or Lacquer. The BLO also imparts a "warmer" tone to the finished look.

I also think that it's just a matter of time before more and eventually all states ban the use of finishes containing VOC's. So, one might as well embrace the WB finishes and find one that satisfies their needs.

Tyler, TX

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.


07-05-2008, 05:03 AM
Is there a difference in the bases of Polycrilic (waterbased polyurethane) and a product called waterbased lacquer (J.E.Moser Premium Spray Lacquer, or Target Coatings - Ultima Spray Lacquer (USL) - 1000 Series)?

They are both a waterbased coating that is basically a water based polyurethane. Their bases are Dipropylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether and Propylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether which also make up the bases for most water based polyurethanes. They are not many notches away from ethylene glycol...known as antifreeze.

What is lacquer? From Wikipedia: The term lacquer originates from the Portuguese word for lac, a type of resin excreted from certain insects. Regardless, in modern usage, lac-based varnishes are referred to as shellac, while lacquer refers to other polymers dissolved in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as nitrocellulose and later acrylic compounds dissolved in a solvent generally referred to as lacquer thinner.

From the FWW site, Jeff Jewitt:
Lacquers -- Most professionals still regard lacquer as the best all-around finish for wood because it dries fast, imparts an incredible depth and richness to the wood, exhibits moderate to excellent durability (depending on the type used) and rubs out well. There are several different types of lacquer, and they exhibit different performance characteristics.

Nitrocellulose lacquer is the most common. If the label on the can says lacquer, it's most likely nitrocellulose, which is made from an alkyd and nitrocellulose resin dissolved and then mixed with solvents that evaporate quickly. This type of lacquer has moderate water resistance, but it's sensitive to heat and certain solvents. The biggest drawback is the finish's tendency to yellow as it ages, which shows clearly on light-colored woods.

Acrylic-modified lacquer is made from a mixture of a nonyellowing cellulose resin (called cellulose acetate butyrate, or CAB) and acrylic. This lacquer possesses the same general properties of nitrocellulose lacquer, except it is absolutely water-white, meaning it will not show as an amber color when applied over light-colored woods. Also, the finish won't turn yellow over time.

Catalyzed lacquer bridges the gap between the application traits of nitrocellulose lacquer and the durability of varnish. Catalyzed lacquer is a complex finish composed of urea formaldehyde or urea melamine and an alkyd that has some nitrocellulose resin added to make it handle like normal lacquer. The addition of an acid catalyst initiates a chemical reaction that forms a very tough, durable finish. Catalyzed lacquer comes in two versions: precatalyzed and post-catalyzed. Precatalyzed lacquer has the components premixed, either by the manufacturer or at the store when you buy it; post-catalyzed lacquer is a two-part system that you must mix in your shop, following precise ratios. Once the catalyst has been added, these lacquers have a fairly short pot life (the time in which they can be used).

Water-based finishes -- Water-based finish contains some of the same ingredients as varnish and lacquer -- notably urethane, alkyd and acrylic -- but many flammable and polluting ingredients have been replaced with water. The chemistry in this product is complex. Because the resins don't have a natural affinity for water, they must be chemically modified or forced to combine with water.

Water-based finish is usually made with either an acrylic resin (sold as water-based lacquer) or an acrylic urethane mixture (sold as water-based polyurethane). As with varnish, the addition of the urethane makes the resin tougher and more scratch resistant, but water-based urethane does not have the same solvent and heat resistance as its oil-based counterpart.

We can split hairs all day about what a material can be called. I consider it a marketing hype. Adding different resins and running out of names seems to be part of the problem. I just make sure that I check the can to see if I thin with water or lacquer thinner.

07-05-2008, 07:51 AM
The reason I asked is I finished a fiber glass entrance door with WB poly as it's required for the warranty. Dumb as that is, a warranty for a door, but it came in the finishing kit.

The door looks great to me from 10' away UNTIL I get close and put on my reading glasses. Then it "Looks" like a plastic coating.
I've read ( NOT around here ) that it's nonsense that WB poly leaves a plastic looking coating and I guess it's up to the viewer but I think it does.

Thank you for the info. I guess I'll try 'em both and see what happens but it seems that WB lacquer is favored so I'll try that first.


07-05-2008, 08:15 AM

I know exactly what you mean. Normally I stain and poly anything that's wood before I put it up. But I have 2 multi paneled wood doors together on a wall that I wasn't looking to draw attention to so I brushed them with WB semi gloss paint.

The paint never self leveled and I have been able to "trick" them into looking good because I NEVER put my glasses on when I'm close to them.

My intent with this spraying thing is more for poly and lacquer but if it allows a professional looking paint job on a door then maybe it'll be an added benefit.


07-05-2008, 09:38 AM
Could be just me & my eyes... but any OB or WB polyurethane finish (not including PU glue, of course) seems to have a more "plastic" appearance than other finishes. I like the overall look of conventional lacquer better than that of polyurethane.

I s'pose I'll make up some pens all of the same material & coat each with with each of the currently-available "clear" wood film finishes. That'll be a good solid test for my mind (provided I remember to mark the pens so I can tell for SURE which is which), because my pens take a hard beating. They're also subjected to a lot of abrasion, which accounts for the 24K plating on the findings wearing off very quickly. This far, nothing's beaten nitrocellulose lacquer as my pen finish.

-- Tim --

Member of the
Robert "Limey" Bolton Memorial
Volunteer Mentorship and Assistance

07-05-2008, 10:51 AM
Seems to be preference as to what a finish "looks" like.

I have heard some say that oil based poly looks plasticy, I dont think so myself.

I guess like Cody say's wee all are going to have to deal with it at some point. Should try some of the stuf now. I'm not looking forward to it.

It's hard to find an oil based paint at Borg, or Wallyworld, but I can go to a paint store and get oil based paint. I wonder if that will be the case in the future with oil based poly.

Cody Colston
07-05-2008, 07:59 PM

FWIW, I sprayed 8 coats of USL on a Mesquite table I built and it absolutely does not look plasticy. It looks like a lacquer finish to me, no matter what is in the recipe.

As an added bonus, I cleaned the gun up with soap and water and there was no chance of explosion while spraying. I do wear a respirator while spraying, VOC,s or not.

Tyler, TX

He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose.


07-05-2008, 09:41 PM
Now THAT sounds good to me.

As I start to get into spraying - I am not thrilled about cleanup with oil based stuff. However, I was concerned about the "look" of the WB finishes.

I hope to be able to past a few household projects, so I can get back to some honest to goodness woodworking. I ain't done nutin woodworking like in a month now.

07-05-2008, 10:59 PM
You have a lot of experience with finishing products. You also seem to have rather good results using the WB products. You also mentioned a WB lacquer that is non yellowing. Knowing the brand name would be a big help.

Could you specify brand names that most of us would have access to? Some of the names that you have mentioned I've not heard much about in the consumer market.

Here I have two BORGS (Orange and blue) plus ICI, Sherwin, Moore, Vista, Behr, Dunn-Edwards...

07-05-2008, 11:51 PM
The only water base clear I've used has been Minwax Polycrylic.

I loved the way it...

quick drying
stupid easy clean up
smooth finish
In a nutshell, It was all one would want when spraying on a finish...

except for one.
It left a "plastic" look. It looked like a laminate "fake wood"

"you needn't troll the experts ..just come straight to the source" - Limey aka:Robert Bolton

[link:www.mgsawmill.com|M&G Sawmill]. Makers of the finest sawdust in Texas.
Oh, did I mention we have hardwood as well?

http://www.mgsawmill.com/images/flag.gif http://www.mgsawmill.com/images/texas.gif

07-06-2008, 04:48 AM
What I refer to are WB products...I don't call 'em lacquer because they have water not lacquer thinner for a base...big difference. I might be a little thick, but I don't care what is printed on the label for what they want to call it.

From the box stores, you can use [link:www.minwax.com/products/water_based_clear_protective_finishes/polycrylic_protective_finish.cfm|Minwac Polycrilic], or [link:www.minwax.com/products/water_based_clear_protective_finishes/water_based_polyurethane.cfm|Minwax Polyurethane], or [link:www.behr.com/behrx/act/view/products_detail?prodGroupId=21&catName=Faux%2FDecorative+Finishes&catId=18|Behr WB Polyurethane], or [link://www.newparks.com/PDF/TDB/TDB-Water_Base_Poly.pdf|Parks Pro Finisher].

For the water based finishes, they may be urethanes or polyurethanes. I haven't used a WB poly yet that had a yellowing effect either initially or over time.

07-06-2008, 09:40 AM

That's EXACTLY what I was hoping to get outta this thread.

How does this stuff look after it's sprayed.

I've seen that WB poly brushed on looks like a plastic finish ( to me, anyway ) and you've confirmed the same for spraying.

Mike thinks they're all the same BC they are WB, that's his opinion and that is what this is about. But Mike, do you see any diff in the finished look between WB poly and WB lacquer?

Cody. You said you use mostly WB lacquer. Is it BC it LOOKS better to you then WB poly?


07-06-2008, 02:26 PM
I don't see a difference in appearance between WB polyurethane and what they call WB lacquer, because IMO, there is no visible difference. Just like I don't see a difference in real lacquers between nitrocellulose and CAB.

Spray the two for yourself and see what you think.

07-06-2008, 03:08 PM
Thanks Mike,

That's what I wanted to hear, you opinion on these finishes.

TY again.