Bench GATSBY – Part 3 – Water Based Clear Lacquer versus Oil Based Polyurethane Varnish

Hi, that was the day when I progressed to the decoration of my bench. I had purchased a set of furniture paints ‘GoodHome‘ from B&Q. I wasn’t quite convinced before I picked those but the fact which finally tipped the scales was the notes on the tins saying that the paints were made in Germany, the paints are self-priming and also the small tin sizes (125ml) that were available to buy. I thought it would be better to start with the lighter mauve finish therefore I masked all areas to be later painted black with masking tape. I applied three coats of the mauve GoodHome Magome Flat Matt paint initially and my first impression was that the opacity of the paint was very bad, however, the final finish turned out to be satisfactory, nice velvety matt effect.

The next step was to apply the sealing clear lacquer coat so I used GoodHome Durable Laquer Matt. Here was a nasty surprise, the mauve surfaces got pale and the finish got uneven, some spots were darker, some lighter.

I browsed the internet to read about best varnishing solutions and learned that a polyurethane varnish is something preferred by DIYers. I quickly sourced a Ronseal Polyurethane Clear Varnish at Home Base and drove to buy. I had to recoat the mauve elements and then applied the new polyurethane oil varnish. It was a pure pleasure to see how the colour gets saturated under the oily uniformed coat.

In preparation to the next step, application of the black paint, I decided to make some tests to see which varnish is actually more hard-wearing. You can see the three samples below.

Number 1 – two coats of GoodHome Liberty Flat Matt black paint and two coats of water based GoodHome Durable Lacquer Matt.

Number 2 – two coats of GoodHome Liberty Flat Matt black paint and two coats of oil based Ronseal Polyurethane Clear Varnish.

Number 3 – one coat of black then one coat of water based lacquer than again one coat of black and two coats of oil based polyurethane varnish.

I gave the samples three days to cure. You can see below the results, its’ a subtle difference but the water based clear lacquer (sample 1) gave the palest finish, then the oil based polyurethane varnish (sample 2) came in second place. The best result brought the polyurethane oil based varnish applied onto the black paint applied onto the water based clear lacquer.

I scratched each sample with a screwdriver to test the hardness but here the results were pretty similar, all three samples received sharp white scratches. Then I tried to rub the samples with a wad of steel wool and here the results were different, the weakest came the polyurethane varnish (sample 2) and the hardest turned out to be sample 3, with the mix of layers. I decided number 3 was the way to go forward with my black finish.

6 thoughts on “Bench GATSBY – Part 3 – Water Based Clear Lacquer versus Oil Based Polyurethane Varnish

    1. Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. Yes, I have just started to build something entirely from scratch and I see I will have to learn more and more. Best Regards. Pawel

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