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  1. #1
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    Default Stain/varnish/sealer/interior/exterior/water-based/oil-based/penetrating/film-forming

    I'm really struggling with all this, despite doing a ton of googling and asking shop staff - either there are simply no good explanations to be found, or I have some mental blockage that is impervious to them! It doesn't help that 'stains' no longer actually stain, 'varnish' doesn't really exist any more and apparently water based is the new Messiah and oil based is just for people that haven't figured that out yet (Bunnings actually told me this). After a lot of confusing back and forth yesterday with the guy in the apron, he sent me home with a Cabots stain and Intergrain ultraclear finish, both water based and both marked 'interior'. More googling this morning and I'm not feeling confident they are the right products.

    The project is an old 'reclaimed' door, possibly Kauri. It was stripped of its paint years ago and stuck in a shed, so it is old and dry and full of history. I plan to give it a light clean with Reviva (oxalic/citric) to get rid of some black water staining and general shed grime, followed by a light sanding to deal with the raised fibres and splinters etc, then whatever treatment is appropriate to darken it a bit, even it out and protect it. It will become a 'rustic' front door, facing west, under a verandah, in a dry climate - so little to no moisture to deal with, but some late afternoon sun. I'd like to use the same finish on interior and exterior face for aesthetic / practical / financial reasons

    I have used combined 'stain and varnish in one' products before, but didn't like them - I thought the finish looked a bit fake and 'superficial' and seemed to show more brush marks than wood grain. Perhaps this was bad application, or bad prep, or bad products, but it has made me wary of anything that claims to do both jobs, especially over a nice old door. It seems better to get the colour right first, then seal it?

    So oil or water, and interior or exterior?!

  2. #2
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    Hey Creeky...

    Hard to go past marine grade satin OIL BASED varnish for what you want to do... this will deepen the colour and with most timbers make the grain "POP" a bit...

    Some don't like it as they say it goes yellow with time... I have not noticed this, not saying it doesn't happen, it's just not ever been an issue for me...

    If you want to stain use OIL based stain, and if you can find a gel-based even better..gives you some leeway with getting an even coverage/colour without streaks.

    Washing with water and acid? I don't like water anywhere near my woods...however I can appreciate the need to clean the water stains...
    And.....your point is.....what exactly?

  3. #3
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    Good luck. this did my head in too on the timber doors and windows. wound up with Ultra Clear Intergrain UltraClear Exterior. it is pinky/yellow out of the tin. The pink disappeared but it yellows the light couloured Vic Ash. Looks great on the Merbau window sill though. not completely happy as i was hoping for an actual clear but it seems that if the coating is clear it offers no UV protection. Also, it is like a plastic wrap on the wood if you get a drip. Meh.

  4. #4
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    Creeky,
    When you use a transparent finish (clear or pigmented stains vs paint) on exposed timber this means regular maintenance,usually 1 to 2 year re-coat.
    For what you are doing I would suggest Sikkens HLSe in a colour to suit you...this gives a fairly natural look to timber and is easy to re-apply as time goes by.
    Most water based coatings will last a bit longer,but can be a bit artificial in appearance,and if not re-coated regularly can cause you a bit of extra work to restore.
    Also,dry sand the door rather than wash,as moisture residue can be a problem when exposed to western heat buildup.
    Regards,
    Blocker.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm not too fussed about yellowing, it'll do whatever it'll do, and it's all about age and patina anyway. I think I'll stay away from water based finishes and go with an oil based stain and a good varnish. If it needs touching up every couple of years I can do that.

    I have already washed the door - no way around it, it was filthy and needed it. It's come up surprisingly well, but there is still some black streaking here and there and it looks like water may have pooled in the outside panels at some stage as they all have matching black stains. I suspect after a couple of reviva treatments and a light oil stain I'll be happy with it.

    Point taken about moisture though, I'll make sure I give it plenty of time to dry out before I try to seal it

  6. #6
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Go with marine varnish (as David mentioned, oil based). I did my door so long ago and still no significant deterioration.

    This is the one I used:
    https://www.productreview.com.au/p/b...r-varnish.html

  7. #7
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    Agee about the combined stain and varnish, looks fake like it's just a dirty varnish hiding the timber.
    Cabots crystal clear is clear though I don't know how long it lasts. I know what you mean about hard to choose one,
    Too many choices on the shelf and no clear winners.

  8. #8
    Community Moderator phild01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudbrick View Post
    Agee about the combined stain and varnish, looks fake like it's just a dirty varnish hiding the timber.
    Cabots crystal clear is clear though I don't know how long it lasts. I know what you mean about hard to choose one,
    Too many choices on the shelf and no clear winners.
    I think they stopped making Crystal Clear long ago and replaced it with different naming. I don't recall that it was suitable for exterior use.

  9. #9
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    Creeky, hope you dont mind if I jump in here with a similar question for Blocker if he's around...

    Would you also recommend the Sikkens Cetol HLSe for a brand new (exterior, north facing) tas oak door (with full frame glass insert)? I wont go near a water based product. Happy to re-apply every year or so when I do the deck and other outdoor timber. I'd might even go the "Light Oak" colour to give some UV protection and give the task oak a bit of a darker colour. Everything else is Cutek Extreme clear but this might be to sticky/oily for a door.

    cheers.

  10. #10
    Paint Dealer Blocker's Avatar
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    Choc Dog,
    Sorry for the delay,been away for a few days...HLSe would be ideal for your job.
    Regards,
    Blocker.

  11. #11
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    Thanks Blocker - you're a champion!

  12. #12
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    Well. bit of an update - it hasn't turned out as I'd hoped at all. I knew it was always going to have 'character', but after doing all the prep I was prepared to do on it, I gave it a light stain (with a weak solution of Wattyl 'Walnut' and turps) and it's really highlighted the imperfections - and not in a good way!

    I'm just not prepared to completely disassemble / strip / rebuild this thing from scratch, so it will get painted after all that.

    So - given that it is basically bare wood with a wipe of turps and a small amount of oil based stain, can I use a water based paint? How long will I need to leave it before painting? I already have aquanamel here, and if I can avoid a special purchase of oil based paint that would be handy!

  13. #13
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    I'd give it a week then prime it and paint it if you r sure you want to hide the wood.

  14. #14
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    Oil based primer + water based paint. Don't use water based primer on your stain.
    And don't ask questions to the desk jockey. They get their "knowledge" from the paint reps.
    Water based is better than oil based is a bold face lie on many fronts. Water based paint can be as toxic or more toxic than oil based due to the emulsifiers needed to use water to disperse oil and resins. VOC, volatile organic compounds are not all the same and are not all bad. There is a lot the paint company don't tell you starting by hiding behind "industrial secret" of their formulation.
    It's another big green CON. As most of the green push are.

    Here is an article by our local Livos lady. Well worth reading.
    http://www.theswitchreport.com.au/op...ints-coatings/

  15. #15
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    Thanks guys, sounds like good experienced advice there.

    Quote Originally Posted by mudbrick View Post
    if you r sure you want to hide the wood.
    The worst problems are in the panels, which are badly stained and split. Trying to match the panels would be more trouble than it's worth, but I could conceivably replace them with frosted glass to match the window in the top of the door. The downside is that this panel glass would extend wider than the window glass (as the window has a 3" timber frame). Not sure how awkward that would look, but it would save the timber.

  16. #16
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    Is it maple or some unknown import?

  17. #17
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    i agree with marc that greenies are screwing everone by making false statements about the apparent new technologies that make water based better, but it is true that water based technologies are now at least comparable in durability to oil based coatings.
    in some ways, better, but in MOST ways, worse.
    plus.
    oil based technologies have improved more fold than waterbased.
    u can instantly resolve ur issue wuth paibt by using a solvent based 3 in one primer. or solvent based PSU.
    followed by the aquanamel.

  18. #18
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    The Zin Bin 1,2,3 seems to stick to anything.
    If there was an Aussie equivalent I would suggest that instead but try this from the big green shed...

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