Oil Based Topcoats

4 Oil Based Topcoat Video Lessons

10 Oil Based Topcoat FAQs

Why did my remaining Arm-R-seal thicken in the can?

Oil-based topcoats are "oxidizing" products which means that the moment it is introduced to oxygen, a chemical reaction will cause the finish to begin to harden. As topcoat is used, the empty space in the can is filled with air, furthering the curing process. 

Tips to ensure your Arm-R-Seal remains in great working condition:

  1. Decant the amount of Arm-R-Seal you will need into a foil covered bowl or paper cup and reseal the can right away. Every minute the can is open, the stain is curing.
  2. Be sure to thoroughly clean the chime and the lid of the can to assure a tight seal.
  3. Add Bloxygen to remove excess oxygen from your can of finish before sealing. 
  4. Store your sealed cans upside down.
  5. Transfer any unused finish to a smaller container once finished with your project.

Add plastic wrap before sealing? 
We have not tried it, but you get the idea. Anything to prevent contact with air is the key.

Can Arm-R-Seal Be Thinned?

Arm-R-Seal can be thinned with up to 10% mineral spirits. Thinned Arm-R-Seal will be diluted but can be stored without risk of separation.

How Important is the "Hardness" of a Wood Finish?

The hardness properties of a wood finish are formulated around the objectives of use. A hard finish is desirable on projects that get heavy wear such as kitchen cabinets or table tops. 

But in other situations, such as an outdoor topcoat, a desired property of the finish is elongation, which allows the topcoat to expand and contract through different extremes of temperature. 

A flooring finish is another example where hardness is not the major objective of the formulation. Just like outdoor furniture, wood floors expand and contract through the seasons of the year, responding to heat, air conditioning and changes in humidity. The floor finish needs to elongate or flex as the wood moves.

This can be problematic for floors which are often subject to heavy use, including dogs nails. Pet nails will not scratch a good floor finish all the way through the wood, but the nails will indent or imprint the surface of the floor.

It is impossible to combine equal properties of flexibility and hardness in a floor finish, so you have to accept some limitations at the outset. You can improve the life of your wood floor finish by selecting a denser wood for your floors, hickory, maple or white oak instead of pine for instance.

Or just live with the indentations. This is another instance where dogs rule.

Heavy sunlight will also affect harder finishes applied in sun-saturated areas such as window sills, causing finishes to become brittle and crack.

You can keep costs down and have a better result if you match the properties of the finish to the needs of the project.

One of General Finishes hardest water based topcoats is General Finishes Enduro Conversion Varnish, which requires a catalyst and is recommend for use by professionals. It cures in half the time of most topcoats, allowing the finisher to pack and ship sooner, but the price point would make it overkill for other uses. Other factoids:

It is impossible to combine equal properties of flexibility, hardness and chemical resistance in a finish, so be sure to select the correct product for your finishing project.

How Can I Reduce the Sheen of an Oil-Based Topcoat? I Used Semi-Gloss and It's Too Shiny.

You can rub down the finish with 0000 steel wool and General Finishes Orange Oil to lower the sheen.

Pro Tip: GF does not recommend using steel wool with water-based finishes because the particles can become embedded and rust.

How Do I Reduce the Sheen of an Oil Based Topcoat?

Rub down the finish with 0000 steel wool and General Finishes Orange Oil to lower the sheen.

Liberon 0000 Steel Wool is a good choice for steel wool, as it does not shred as easily as the hardware store brands.

Never use steel wool with water-based finishes. The steel wool particles can become embedded into your project and rust.

Why Isn't the Salad Bowl Oil I Applied to Walnut Serving Boards Drying After Two Coats?

Some pieces of wood contain a lot of oil and walnut can be finicky.

The oil in the walnut wood may be causing the problem you've described - a longer dry time might have been needed over an oily wood. If the wood does not dry over the next few days then it may be necessary to sand down and start over.

Unfortunately, if the first coat does not dry, the second will never dry.

What Topcoat Should I Use on Padauk Wood?

We recommend an oil-based finish such as General Finishes Arm-R-Seal.

Oily woods can be tricky with any topcoat. The high oil content affects the drying process of the finish coats and Padauk has a very high oil content. Sometimes oily woods dry fine and sometimes they take weeks.

Try wiping the wood with alcohol or acetone to dry the oils before coating. This technique may help but does not work all of the time - each piece of wood is different.

To be safe, always plan on a long dry time.

Can I Change the Sheen of the Topcoat? The One I Applied Is Too Shiny.

If you want to change the sheen, you can re-coat with a different sheen over top. The second layer of topcoat will replace the appearance of the first.

Sand lightly with a used 220 sanding PAD to knock down the original finish before re-coating. It may take two or 3 coats to get complete coverage.

Can I Spray Arm-R-Seal?

Arm-R-Seal can be sprayed successfully, but we prefer hand application methods because it is very easy to spray too much in one area. If you choose to spray, use very thin coats and watch for runs (large drips that run down the side of your project).

If you notice a run, immediately wipe or brush it out. If you correct a run promptly, you will not see a mark. However, dried runs can be difficult to remove.

Wear a mask and work in a well-ventilated spray booth.

Size: Small Needle Nozzle (1mm)