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Base Coat vs Top Coat

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Thread transfer from Previous Forum - Original Post by Coop

Original Post:

I’m sure this is elementary to most of you but I’m just curious. My finishes are limited to ARS, shellac and GF, HP Top Coat. I don’t venture too far from the dock without a life vest. As discussed here and others, it has been said to apply multiple coats of ARS (as that’s my choice) glossy and then a coat of satin. Can the satin coat of ARS be eliminated if my top coat is satin? I.e., will the satin top coat prevent the finish from being glossy? 

Follow Up Posts:

1) Do you mean "can the GLOSSY coat of ARS be eliminated is my top coat is satin"?

If so then, I would answer "yes".  I typically only run satin on my projects.

2) I have never tried it but it should. It is the amount of flatteners that makes any finishes gloss factor semi-gloss, satin, matte or flat, depending on how much flattener is added. Gloss doesn't have any. So I would think that it wouldn't matter what your final coat is product wise, if it is satin It should give you a satin finish.

Of course it would be a good idea to back up my theory with a test scrap of your own. ::)   

I used to do the same as you Ken, but I haven't in about seven years and I think I am better at the finishing process then back then and certainly more picky about how my finishes look and I can't tell the difference between using gloss base coats and not. 

3)  Yeah, that was the question. It’s been said that the first few coats be glossy to allow for more grain exposure, then satin to allow for the desired sheen. Thanks.

4)  So you’re using satin, start to finish, like Kev just said?

5)  Yep. Never more then three coats though. On things like a Media cabinet, table top, sideboard, any flat surface that will have things put on it, when I use ARS, I do do a fourth coat that is about 65 percent ARS and 35 percent what ever is the thiner for ARS, I think it is mineral spirits, can't recall at this moment, and apply it in light strokes the full length of the top. The thinner causes the finish to dry real fast and so less chance of dust nips getting in the finish.

When I spray High Perfornmance or EnduroVar it drys fast enough so this step isn't needed.

6)  I've often started with glossy and finished with satin. I'm not a fan of glossy finishes though they do have their place. My final coat is usually 50% satin and 50% mineral spirits. It dries faster and with fewer dust nibs. I think I learned this process from Marc the Spag.


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