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Discussion Starter #1
New forum member here; CA resident. I have read with interest (and appreciation) the informed discussions of the virtues of Waterlox as a finish. I planned to use that on my project. But it turns out Waterlox is not available for purchase by CA residents. (Rockler and other suppliers will not ship Waterlox to CA.) Something about air quality I presume...

So, I would appreciate any suggestions from members for an alternative tung oil/varnish finish. I have built 12' of interior cabinets with walnut veneer ply and solid stock pieces. I am no expert finisher, a rank amateur, in fact.

I am after a tung oil/varnish finish in a satin or low sheen. What I read of the Minwax tung oil/varnish finish product makes me disinclined to use it. Thank you. Greg
 

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Unfortunately, Waterlox Original was the only phenolic resin/tung oil varnish being produced. However, Behlen Rockhard is a somewhat similar varnish. It's made with phenolic and urethane resin and linseed oil and produces a comparable finish.
 

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Might be time for a road trip to a close state. :)

Mark
 

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You might as well bite the bullet and go with the water based finishes until the public wakes up and reverses some of these silly laws.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the replies. Since Waterlox seems out of the question, I've been reading about the Sam Maloof oil/varnish finish followed by the Maloof oil/wax product. they sound relatively fool proof (speaking for myself) with a very nice ending finish. any thoughts? Thanks for the input.
 

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Maloof finishes produce a nice looking surface but they and not very durable. The Maloof finishes are a mixture of a small amount of varnish and tung oil. This does not make for finish that is very durable. It's is a nice finish for items that will not get much abuse but tend to require frequent refinishing.
 

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Alternative to Waterlox

If you are looking at waterborne. You might want to try Target Coatings. The product I would recommend is EM2000. It is a waterborne alkyd varnish. It has the warm tone of an alkyd varnish with the great properties of waterborne coatings. The link is www.targetcoatings.com . They also have a forum to ask questions if you are unsure about the performance of the coating.
 

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Can you get regular varnish? If so, here's the recipe I used to use before I discovered Waterlox, I used my this recipe to produce the look that I later realized came out just like Waterlox.

First coat: 50/50 mix of tung oil and mineral spirits. Add japan drier if you want it to dry more quickly. Slop it on, let it soak in, re-coating any dry spots that appear. Keep doing that until no dry spots reappear, then wipe off all the excess. Check back occasionally after that and wipe of any that wicks back up to the surface. This tends to happen mostly on open pored woods.

Second coat: 33/33/33 mix of tung oil, mineral spirits and heirloom varnish. Apply pretty much the same as the first coat, but it won't take as long to get absorbed in. Wipe off the excess.

Third coat: 50/50 mix of heirloom varnish and mineral spirits. Brush on and wipe off, or just wipe on.

Final coats: Continue with the same 50/50 mix if you want to build the surface coating slowly, or apply the varnish full strength if you want to build quicker.


Remember: Those oil soaked rags can spontaneously combust, so be sure not to store them and dispose of them properly.
 

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Quickstep said:
Can you get regular varnish? If so, here's the recipe I used to use before I discovered Waterlox, I used my this recipe to produce the look that I later realized came out just like Waterlox.

First coat: 50/50 mix of tung oil and mineral spirits. Add japan drier if you want it to dry more quickly. Slop it on, let it soak in, re-coating any dry spots that appear. Keep doing that until no dry spots reappear, then wipe off all the excess. Check back occasionally after that and wipe of any that wicks back up to the surface. This tends to happen mostly on open pored woods.

Second coat: 33/33/33 mix of tung oil, mineral spirits and heirloom varnish. Apply pretty much the same as the first coat, but it won't take as long to get absorbed in. Wipe off the excess.

Third coat: 50/50 mix of heirloom varnish and mineral spirits. Brush on and wipe off, or just wipe on.

Final coats: Continue with the same 50/50 mix if you want to build the surface coating slowly, or apply the varnish full strength if you want to build quicker.

Remember: Those oil soaked rags can spontaneously combust, so be sure not to store them and dispose of them properly.
I would agree with your mix and method of application. Produces a beautiful durable finish. Easy too. Although I do use turpentine now due to all the benefits it comes with. The smell goes away in no time.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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I would agree with your mix and method of application. Produces a beautiful durable finish. Easy too. Although I do use turpentine now due to all the benefits it comes with. The smell goes away in no time.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.

I've used both turpentine and mineral spirits, leaning toward mineral spirits because it's more readily available. Do you see certain advantages to turpentine?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
thanks all for your replies. I called rockler when I was unable to check out buying waterlox (when I entered my zip code, the process was aborted) and was told no waterlox is sold to CA residents. But apparently not so in San Diego. Go figure.

I am considering the Maloof finish since the self-mix method sounds a bit beyond me and my project is low wear TV cabinets. The Maloof reviews suggest it is pretty fool proof and a nice finish.

Next time I will definitely try making my own finish. How hard can that be?
 

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runner4fun said:
thanks all for your replies. I called rockler when I was unable to check out buying waterlox (when I entered my zip code, the process was aborted) and was told no waterlox is sold to CA residents. But apparently not so in San Diego. Go figure.

I am considering the Maloof finish since the self-mix method sounds a bit beyond me and my project is low wear TV cabinets. The Maloof reviews suggest it is pretty fool proof and a nice finish.

Next time I will definitely try making my own finish. How hard can that be?
While I recognize Ca to be one of the most beautiful states in the union and there are many reasons to live there. It must be getting tougher to do so with all the regulations and all. I don't live in an area where government feels the need to regulate what We use to finish a piece of furniture with and hope it stays that way. Water base finishes don't work as well or look as good. But that's not the only reason I don't use them. I also don't feel the need to support them for fear of what has happened to you, will happen to the rest of us.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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Quickstep said:
I've used both turpentine and mineral spirits, leaning toward mineral spirits because it's more readily available. Do you see certain advantages to turpentine?
Yes. Turp leaves solids behind that help the finish. They make the finish flow and level better. I learned about it from my grandmother first. It's an artists best friend.

Al

Nails only hold themselves.
 

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I cannot get the product shipped to California but I drive to the store and go pick it up. All the finishers I know of in riverside county drive to San Diego to get oil base finishing products. Also I believe you can get oil base in areas at a higher altitude. Waterlox is an awesome finish and I have used it many times, however it is quite annoying that it is getting harder and harder to acquire.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Again, thanks to those who have responded. Quick update: Rockler, Lowes, Amazon.com etc etc etc will not sell Waterlox to CA residents. The Rockler on-line check out system stops the checkout process for Waterlox once a CA zip code is entered. So, I thought, what the hell, I will try the source. I just called Waterlox directly and placed a phone order for 2 quarts of the original formula (no shipping gallons). The Waterlox woman who took my order was very nice and asked me to confirm the CA county I live in (not LA, thank god) and she processed my order. No problem. I just received the fed ex tracking confirmation. Where there's a will, there's a way. This will be my first use of Waterlox but I'm optimistic based on the product reviews and reading I've done about it.
 

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Waterlox has a lov VOC product - maybe they would ship that to CA? I'm sure you've finished this project already... its been a few years! just FYI
 
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