Know the science and make smarter choices
Synopsis: Water-based finishes have long promised fast drying time, low odor, easy cleanup, and nonflammability. But they have a checkered past. Early versions were hard to apply and gave many woods a cold, dead look. However, today’s formulations match the clarity, hardness, and durability of most, if not all, of the solvent-based clear-coat cousins that they are increasingly replacing. In this article, Jeff Weiss, founder of a company that makes water-based finishes, sheds some light on their history, describes the increasingly sophisticated science behind them, and gives some tips on how to apply them.
No finishing topic creates more controversy, head scratching, and general mayhem than water-based finishes. much of the misunderstanding stems from the rather checkered history of these finishes. They’ve always promised fast drying time, low odor, easy cleanup, and nonflammability, but early versions were hard to apply and gave many woods a cold, dead look.