I recently had a special request to explain the difference in top coats. I will explain the most popular top coats, what they are typically used on, what they look like and why they are used.
I am going to start with the most popular. I would guess 90% of furniture today is finished with lacquer top coat. Lacquer comes in all sheens from flat to gloss. It is very popular with manufactures because of how easy it is to spray and the quick dry time. Lacquer is also the easiest to repair or touch up.
Is one of the oldest finishes. It can be worked to different sheens. For example French polish which is a high gloss finish is done with a technique of hand rubbing shellac with a rag soaked in linseed oil. Shellac has a very distinct look and patina to it. Shellac can be sprayed but is very easily brushed on as well. It is also popular on musical instruments.
Waterbase is one of the up and coming popular finishes. It is also the go to finish for the UpCycle Girls (when we are not restoring a genuine antique). It too comes in all sheens from the manufacture, from flat to gloss. Waterbase is enviormently friendly it can be sprayed and brushed on easily. It has a very soft feel and covers nicely when done correctly. One downfall to water base is when scratched or damaged it cannot be easily touched up like lacquer can.
Waxes can be very popular and can also be added to the top of some top coats to get a desired look or feel. I have waxed furniture after water base finish was applied to get a specific look. Wax sheen is flat to a stain if rubbed repeatedly. I have only used a few different types of Waxes I personally like Johnsons Paste Wax.
Oil finishes such as teak oil is applied to such things like teak wood patio furniture. It is easily applied with a brush. It soaks in to the wood and helps protect against the elements.
Now that you know all about finishes you will know just what to use on your next project. The UpCycle Girls are always here to help if you have any questions.
Happy Junking and Upcycling!
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