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Looking for a Smooth as Glass Finish on Wood? February 10 2017

When we say that using our grain filler produces "a smooth, glass-like finish" we aren't kidding. Case in point, see the photos below from our friend George Vondriska at Vondriska Woodworks. Our Clear Wood Grain Filler helps to fill the pores in woods, such as oaks, ash, and other hard-to-fill woods. It can be used on raw wood or after staining, sealers, or topcoats.             ...

Getting That Smooth Wood Finish: Expert Advice January 20 2017

Back in July 2016 I listed several tips for a beautiful brushed finish (click here for the blog post). In this recent article from the Woodworking Network, Scott Wunder gives you more helpful tips: 1. Apply thin coats 2. Pay attention to your brush strokes 3. Keep a wet edge 4. Do finishing work horizontally 5. Choose the right brush Click here for his complete article.

Sanding Sealer Key to a Fine Wood Finish January 04 2017

The difference between a project with a professional-looking finish or one that just looks okay, is attention to detail and patience. Attention to detail means taking the time to prepare the wood properly and patience means you need to take extra time to finish the project. One of those extra steps is to use a sanding sealer. Why? Wood is not a smooth surface and any stain or topcoat you use...

Custom Cabinetry for Aquariums December 14 2016

Here at Aqua Coat we highlight the way our customers use our wood finishing products, either on our blog, or elsewhere on our site and on our social media pages. Recently, we received photos from Custom Aquariums where they build, yes, custom aquariums, using quality wood construction and cabinetry. We considered that to be an interesting use of cabinetry and thought you might want to take a look. This cabinet is...

Aqua Coat Clear Grain Filler Gets Rave Reviews November 30 2016

Aqua Coat Clear Grain Filler gets rave reviews as the best pore filler to enhance the beauty of wood. Paul Levine of Levine Handcrafted Guitars says that he had used clear epoxy before, however, our Grain Filler dries much faster than epoxy. He hasn't had any problems with shrink back and it is much easier to sand. Paul says saving time and less work has made Aqua Coat his go-to...

Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing: New Video Shows How November 16 2016

If you are curious about using our Grain Filler and how it improves the look of a painted kitchen cabinet, watch this video from Sam the Finishing Man. He shows you how to get that professional finish on a DIY cabinet renovation project. Click the link here: Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinetry Benefits From Aqua Coat Finishes November 11 2016

Larry Belongia at FOAK Cabinets (see more of his work here) designed and built this custom island cabinet with raised panels and cross detail. He used Aqua Coat's Sanding Sealer and also Tabletop Commercial Finish [Self-Crosslinking], in a Satin finish, to get that professional quality wood look. The finish process for this cabinet consisted of two coats of stain and two coats of sanding sealer, followed by a light sanding. Then, two coats...

Understanding VOCs November 03 2016

What are VOCs, anyway? And should we be concerned? News stories about chemical dangers in food, in health products, and in our homes appear almost daily, so we worry.Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are carbon-containing compounds that, as the product dries, get released into the air where they react with other elements to produce ozone, which in turn causes air pollution and health issues. It makes sense, then, to limit those VOCs...

Toys for Christmas Giving October 25 2016

Christmas toys and decorations are already in stores, like it or not. For the woodworking enthusiast, there is still time to finish a wooden toy for the child on your Christmas list. But you might want to start now; get your plans, your tools, and your wood finishing products ready. Click here  to view eco-friendly Aqua Coat stains, sanding sealers, grain filler, and topcoats. For plans, here are some places to...

Joinery Techniques-Videos on YouTube October 13 2016

One of the most basic processes in woodworking is to join one piece of wood to another. Whether you do it by hand or by machine, joinery is a skill you need to practice. You could take classes, but if you don't have your own personal master woodworker at your side, watching a video or two on YouTube is a pretty good option. Check out these three popular videos on...

Pagoda Style Jewelry Box September 27 2016

Here's another jewelry box designed and built by our customer Bob Dickey, which is currently for sale along with others on his Etsy site. This box goes great with many contemporary and oriental themed furnishings and is based on his own "pagoda" design. This box has 4 drawers of Birdseye Maple, plus a hinged lid under which is a 6th storage area. The dark wood is American Cherry which has been dyed...

Basic Woodworking Tools-What's in Your Woodshop? September 15 2016

Anyone new to woodworking can get overwhelmed about what tools are necessary for the well-equipped woodshop, especially when your local DIY store has aisle after aisle of cool products. Let's face it, you want all the bells and whistles, right? But before you head out to those big box home improvement stores to buy every tool in sight, give some thought to these three major considerations: 1. What are you going to be...

10% Off Coupon for Content! September 09 2016

Want to earn 10 % off your next Aqua Coat order? Just send us photographs of a project you completed using any Aqua Coat product and a paragraph or so describing the project, size, procedure, use, etc. You get full attribution. If we use your submission, we will give you a coupon for 10% off your next order. For those of you with video skills, we are looking for short...

Sites With Free Woodworking Project Plans August 31 2016

We've featured some spectacular customer projects on this blog, from building furniture and jewelry boxes to refinishing vintage and antique pieces that would make most people want to throw up their hands and walk away. Everyone has to start somewhere, though, and if you're looking to learn new techniques or to improve your current ones, you can learn them by getting out there in your workshop and building something! But what to...

Fine Cabinetry Work on this Mahogany Chest of Drawers August 24 2016

From our customer Bill Carriker comes photos of his latest project, a solid mahogany chest of drawers. The design is similar to an eighteenth-century bachelor's chest with four drawers, three of the same size and a smaller top drawer. The drawer fronts are veneered with matched mahogany. The top of the chest has a satinwood border and a centered lamp-design inlay. A pull-out shelf which may be used for writing is located...

Marquetry and Inlays, With Help From Aqua Coat August 17 2016

Made from solid maple and ebony wood and measuring just 8 inches on all sides, this jewelry box made by our customer Bob Dickey shows an intricate inlay pattern on the top and delicate spline joints at the corners. The circular maple insets on the four ebony draw pulls draw attention to masterful cabinetry skills. Bob uses Aqua Coat Grain Filler to help with inlay work. He says, "Regardless of the tightness...

"Brushable" Finishes and How to Improve Your Results July 27 2016

When the label says the product can be applied with a brush, this doesn't mean you can just slop it on and expect a professional finish. Since individual products can vary in terms of application and drying times, first read the label carefully. Listed here are a few general and basic pointers to help you get that quality finish you're looking for: 1. Type of brush used. If you use a...

Musical Instrument Makers Love Aqua Coat! July 20 2016

From the Guild of American Luthiers, (click here for their website) this article by Bob Gleason: Forty years ago I started my grain-filler life with solvent-based fillers mail-ordered from the Martin Guitar Co. We tinted the fillers darker than the wood we were filling, and hoped for a color match that looked good. From there I’ve gone through other types of solvent-based products, epoxy, epoxy with micro-balloon fillers, superglue, any...

Finessing Custom Built Furniture & Built-ins July 13 2016

One of the joys of woodworking is the ability to build yourself custom furniture to fit specific situations, as our customer David Buonanno did here in this guest bedroom.The side tables and the built-in shelves and cupboards pictured here are curly maple (no stain), with three coats of Aqua Coat Clear Lacquer (semi-gloss) buffed to a sheen. The tables are 16” x 23” by 30” high. The bedroom has alcoves resulting from...

Music Box Shows Attention to Detail June 28 2016

This music box is a real gem! The photos are from our customer David Buonanno showing his recent project. The dimensions of the music box are roughly 12” long, 6” deep and 6” high. Using a combination of different types of wood gives the piece high interest. The sides are made of Curly Maple dyed crimson red, the top is Waterfall Bubinga also dyed crimson red, and the lid trim, base trim and...

Do I Need Wood Grain Filler or Wood Putty? June 22 2016

The short answer to that question is, it depends. It depends on the type of wood you are using, its condition, and what type of finish you want to achieve. Wood Grain Filler is used to get that smooth surface you find on quality furniture and cabinetry, like an underlayment to a fine finish. Some woods have an “open grain,” like oak and ash, that may not look smooth if...

Save on Shipping! Limited Time Offer June 09 2016

For a limited time, we are offering free shipping on our Clear Wood Grain Filler (pint and quart size only). If you are looking for a professional finish on projects such as kitchen cabinets or fine furniture, this is the product to use. It is an easy-to-sand clear gel wood grain filler for filling the pores in woods (such as oaks, ash, and hard-to-fill woods). You can use it on raw...

Grain Filler Application Is Easy! June 03 2016

How easy is it to get a smooth finish on wood? Use Aqua Coat Grain Filler after cleaning, sanding, and/or staining, but before your top coat.You can apply it with a soft cloth, using a circular motion, much like applying a paste wax. Or work it generously into open wood grain pores with a small squeegee or flexible putty knife. Make sure the grain is completely filled, then scrape or squeegee to remove...

Harp Gallery Uses Aqua Coat Products to Refinish Their Antiques May 16 2016

When you are in the business of restoring antique furniture you need to use quality products. Harp Gallery uses Aqua Coat wood finishes and you can see the results on their website. Here's a taste of what you can find in their gallery:    

What An Expert Refinisher Can Do! April 28 2016

Stunning refinish of this highly-damaged table by Pete of Pete’s Furniture Repair in Delafield, Wisconsin. Expertise plus Aqua Coat products equals great furniture! How many of us would have given up on this piece? Take a look at these before and after photos:      

Life At The Aqua Coat Plant-Living Large April 25 2016

    The new plant we moved into last winter is working well for us-lots of room to store those large industrial-sized containers! If you're looking to order in bulk, please contact us for a quote.      

Inlay Drop Leaf Table Built By Our Customer Bill Carriker April 05 2016

Bill Carriker built this table from scratch, using a single board of South American Mahogany. He didn’t use plans but did incorporate traditional period concepts for building a drop-leaf table. An experienced woodworker for nearly 50 years, Bill was able to hand carve the ball and claw foot at the end of each cabriole leg. Check out the stunning starburst center inlay and the Satinwood banding around the table edges....

Customer Project: Ed Freeberg's Chippendale Table March 25 2016

    For Ed Freeberg building this Chippendale table was on his bucket list for years. He prefers to build period furniture and was attracted to this project for its complexity, style, special elements, and lines. Working about 25 hours a week, he completed the table in six weeks, using new techniques that he had not used before, such as sculpting the ball and claw feet. Much of his time...

Woodworking Show Raffle Winners March 21 2016

  Congratulations to Mike P, David G, and Cheri S, winners of our gift card raffle at The Woodworking Show in Milwaukee last weekend. Thanks to all who stopped by to visit our booth!

AC Grain Filler Tips November 06 2014

Robert O'Brien of O'Brien Guitars has been using Aqua Coat Grain Filler on his custom guitars and shows in this video how he applies it.  This video is an excellent resource for anyone using the Grain Filler, especially for first time users.          

Case Study: Ferber Cabinet Workz June 13 2014

“[Aqua Coat is] far more durable, easier to use, dries quicker, dries harder, easier to sand, non-yellowing—all the things you want in a good finish.”   Nick Ferber, owner/operator of Ferber Cabinet Workz, was introduced to Aqua Coat’s waterborne wood coatings when he moved to New Orleans in the 1980s. “There are some extraordinarily talented people here, and a couple craftsmen took me under their wings,” he said. Nick told...

Case Study: La Lune Collection June 13 2014

“The product is excellent, service is wonderful, and we can get it quickly as we need it.”    When Mario Costantini and his wife Cathy started making hand-crafted rustic furniture, they committed themselves to eco-friendly practices—“before eco-friendly was the fashionable thing to do,” Mario said. For instance, employees cut poplar and willow by hand within the state, avoiding damage to rainforests and long-distance transportation as they harvest the invasive species...

Waterborne Finishes January 07 2014

Waterborne {also known as Water-based] finishes are made with acrylic and polyurethane resins. To make waterborne finishes, the acrylic and polyurethane resins are manufactured in tiny little droplets that are dispersed in water. After the water evaporates, the tiny droplets of finish come together and harden to create a continuous film. Once cured, water has no damaging effect on waterborne finishes.     Some waterborne finishes are provided with a...

Why Use Sanding Sealer? January 07 2014

Applying sanding sealer is a vital step in finishing high-quality furniture and trim. Sanding sealer gives an added layer of protection to the wood and creates a nice smooth finish. It can be used on stained or unstained wood. Staining or leaving the wood natural is your first step in finishing. The second step of the 3-step process is a sanding sealer to create a stronger, longer-lasting finish. Aqua Coat ...

Why Finish Wood Anyway? January 07 2014

Sanitation Wood is a porous material. It contains countless holes of various sizes. These holes can collect dirt and grime from handling, atmospheric conditions, contaminants, and food. Grime in the wood pores is unattractive and can be a health hazard, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. A finish seals the porous surface to help prevent soiling and make it easier to clean. Stabilization Wood is not only porous; it's hygroscopic...

Controlling Sheen with Flatting Agent January 07 2014

Flatting agent is the solid stuff, usually silica, that settles to the bottom of the container of satin or flat finish. When stirred into the finish and applied to wood, the flatting agent reduces the gloss by creating a micro-roughness on the surface. The more flatting agent added to the finish (top coat) the lower the sheen. All film finishes, including Aqua Coat top coats and excluding shellac, are available...

What Causes Blotching? January 07 2014

Blotching is caused by stain penetrating deeper into some parts of the wood than in others. It’s common with woods that have uneven densities. Examples in soft wood are pine and fir. Tight-grain hardwoods such as cherry, birch, maple, poplar, aspen, and alder may also be prone to blotching. Aqua Coat Blotch Barrier prevents stain blotching by holding down grain raise and controlling penetration of the stain into the wood...

Spray Gun Categories January 07 2014

Conventional Spray Guns The traditional high-pressure guns are powered by compressed air (commonly 35 to 45 psi). These guns have been used for the last century. Turbine HVLP (high volume, low pressure) The technology was introduced in the 1950s, but it didn’t receive wide acceptance until the 1980s when tougher environmental laws made it make sense. Instead of compressed air, a Turbine HVLP uses a high volume of air supplied...

Finishing Spray Gun Equipment January 07 2014

A spray gun can turn a stain or top coat into a fine mist – a process called atomization which propels the mist onto a work surface. Compared to rags and brushes, spray guns transfer liquids faster and leave a more level surface. Air from a compressor or turbine enters the gun through the air inlet at the bottom of the handle. When you pull the trigger just a little,...

Advantages of Waterborne Finishes January 07 2014

Fast building The key to any finish is the resin, or solid, that dries to form the final film. The more solids a finish contains, the thicker the dry film will be. A typical waterborne finish derives 35-50% of its weight from solids, whereas most traditional lacquers have a solid content of 20-25% (or in some cases even lower). The higher solid count in waterborne products helps the finish build...

What Is Wiping Stain? January 07 2014

Wiping stain is very similar to gel stain as far as being a heavy-bodied stain that doesn’t need to penetrate into the wood in order to tone it to the desired shade. Wiping stain is more resistant to blotching than penetrating stain due to the fact that it doesn’t deeply penetrate the wood. Also, you can use wiping stain over previously finished wood to change the wood tone color without...

Alternatives to Solvent-Based Lacquers January 07 2014

Aqua Coat offers premium-quality, waterborne top coats for wood that are non-yellowing, clear acrylic, suitable for interior wood finishes. These waterborne top coats replace solvent-based lacquers. Aqua Coat top coats are ready to shoot and come in low sheen, rubbed effect, satin, gloss, and semi-gloss finishes. The Aqua-Thane Clear Top Coat is an acrylic/urethane blend for added scratch/mar resistance and protection against moisture. It can be used by itself or...

How to Apply Gel Stain January 07 2014

Gels are very easy to apply and give you good control over color and depth. ALWAYS TEST a small area or sample board before starting your project. Use a clean rag (T-shirt type material, old terry-cloth towel, cheese cloth, etc.). Gel stains can be applied much like a paste wax or shoe polish. To avoid lap marks, try applying gel to smaller sections, keeping a “wet edge”  between each section....

Advantages of Gel Stains January 07 2014

Our water-based stains come in almost every color imaginable. Some advantages to using gel stains: They won’t run on vertical surfaces such as chair legs No light or dark areas or blotches Easy to apply Good control over color and depth

How to Fill Wood Grain January 07 2014

"Open-grain" wood structures such as oak, mahogany, and ash are difficult to fill with clear finish. Aqua Coat Clear Grain Filler levels wood pores for a smoother finish. It can be applied with a small rubber squeegee, an old credit card, or a buffing pad. A popular method is to apply it much like paste wax with a circular motion, working it into the grain. Apply 1 to 2 coats...

Why Fill in Wood Grain? January 07 2014

If you prefer a glass-like finish, such as on a desk or tabletop, you have to fill in the open pores of wood with a filler. Oak, mahogany, and walnut are good examples of "open grain" wood, but a filled grain will give a very smooth finish. When the grain is unfilled it can have a semi-rough look. Filling is more a matter of preference for the look you want...
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