Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
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Aqua Coat water based wood finish on my utility cabinet

The next project after my bathroom vanity is a small utility sink cabinet made out of hard maple. Serendipitously I got a message from Aqua Coat asking to review their water based coating right when I had just finished putting the cabinet together. I am a big fan of water based coatings because they are eco-friendly. When you spray traditional coatings they emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which are bad for the environment and highly volatile. Water based coatings like Aqua Coat won’t combust, and are generally safer for the person who has to work with them. Aqua Coat sent me a quart of their Clear Lacquer in Satin — my favorite sheen of choice, and just enough product to finish this small cabinet:

 IMG 5613


Right off the bat they sold me on the container: it has a screw on re-closable lid!  This is so much easier to deal with than paint can style containers. 

I had to warm up my garage from the mid 50s to about 63-65F to ensure it was warm enough for spraying (60F minimum is required). I then stirred the container and poured some into the gun for my HVLP (A Fuji Mini Mate). I adjusted the spray and put on a coat. It seemed to flow really well, and leveled out quickly.  It also felt easier to spray; it didn’t seem to want to drip as easily as some other products. Although, I did get it to drip a bit when I put on one coat a bit too heavy. I find it easy to touch up with a small brush if you catch it early enough. 

The Aqua Coat also dries very fast. After about 45-60 minutes it was more than dry enough to sand and smooth out minor imperfections. I probably should have shot a first coat with some of their sanding sealer, but instead I just went straight for the lacquer. I put on four coats total, and the finished cabinet looks great! The finish is super smooth and has a nice satin sheen. Here’s a shot of my maple door:

IMG 5620


There’s not much more to say. Water based finishes also mean easy water based cleanup!

The container alone is a reason for me to switch from some other water based coatings, and I’ll definitely be using their products on some of my future projects. I recommend others to give them a try!


(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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