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Old 02-10-2008, 11:44 PM
pinkorange pinkorange is offline
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Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

Hello,
I've spent the last couple of hours reading posts regarding hardboard (masonite) preparation. I've learned a lot, but still have some questions.

Initial preparation and sealing of the board.
I've decided that I would like to go with water-based polyurethane (I have a toddler and do not want fumes around her -- even though I will be doing this in the garage after she is asleep, I'd like to keep them to a minimum.)

So what brands do you all use and recommend? I see something like this by Behr -- and wonder if it's the same sort of polyurethane that is mentioned? or is the type of polyurethane sold at Lowes or Home Depot not a good archival sealer?

After the art is completed -- and a varnish is to be applied to protect the piece. I read that there are many good UV varnishes out there such as this one by Golden. Any other favorite brands? places that you buy them? Can something like this be purchased at Lowes?

I know there is some debate on these boards as to "artist quality supplies" versus the materials available at your local hardware store. I guess I just don't really know if I believe if they are that different.

Mainly what I would appreciate is real examples of the supplies that people use in their hardboard preparation. It's one thing to read that people use polyurethane, but when I go to sites like dickblick, or do a google search, I'm a little overwhelmed by just how many variations and brands of primer/polyurethane/varnish there are out there. Some names of brands and suppliers would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-11-2008, 07:24 AM
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idylbrush idylbrush is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

Welcome to wet canvas and the acrylics forum. Glad to have you here.

Please be sure to take a moment and go through the information kiosk, there is a link in my signature line to make it easier to find.

I guess it may depend on many elements. Are you selling your work? Are you just a hobbyist? Do you have intentions to sell your work?

Golden makes a sealer. I have been using it for about a year now and find it quite good. A little seems to go a long way. It is the Golden Paints GAC 700.

I know this is like spitting in the wind, but, I feel that if you are selling your work, or intend to sell your work, you owe the consumer/customer a great product. Note, I didn't say fair, good, or passable, I said great. For me this means it starts with the substrate and every layer after that. If you get a chance, you may want to read some of the articles of Mark Golden in the news letter just paint from Golden Paints. It is a worthy read.

I know, I know, there is always that "need" in artists to do things on the cheap, and there are ways to do that. In sketching use newsprint, it isn't going to be sold, preliminary sketches can certainly be done on cardboard or box board as these won't be sold either. In my book when it comes to the final product, especially if it is intended to be sold, be sure to put your best foot forward. It only costs a nickel more.

OK, I'll get off my soapbox now and tell you to do what you need to do.
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Old 02-11-2008, 06:02 PM
pinkorange pinkorange is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

I took quite a long break between making art and making a family -- but now that I'm ready to get back into it I want to at least be prepared for the possibility of selling what I make. To that end, I do want the "product" to have the longevity any buyer would reasonably expect.

I've read over and over again in the past few days about Golden products and how much people seem to love them. They are definitely on the list to acquire.

I always love reading the cons and well as the pros -- anybody out there have any negatives on Golden?
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:49 PM
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Linee Linee is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

Welcome!

I use Liquitex's Matte varnish, but it is more of a semi-gloss with just a bit of sheen. I like it.

Btw, I took a long break for family, too.
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:54 AM
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edtree edtree is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

Surface prep: I've never artistically painted on board before, but I have finished/refinished a lot of wood. I always use oil based polyurethane, three separate coats, letting each coat dry and then sanding with very fine sandpaper to knock off any roughness. Gently stir the can of poly often during application(stirring too vigorously or shaking the can will make bubbles). The board must be coated/sealed on all sides including the edges-if completely coated, the board will never warp. I've never used Behr, but I do know they make quality paint and have no doubt their polys are of the same standards.

I believe the same method above would work with water-based polyurethane and since you will be using acrylics, this would probably be the way to go. When choosing a sheen, I would pick a satin finish which is about the same an egg-shell finish. Gloss, in my opinion would not make a good painting surface.

Might be best to pick up a small can at a hardware or one of the Big Box stores and do a sample board to try.

Hope this helps, and welcome!

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Old 02-12-2008, 08:20 AM
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

One of the biggest issue with polyurethane varnishes that all have overlooked it that in time they yellow. Yes, they yellow. My dad was a boat builder and you can see it when he applied the varnishes, and they get more yellow in time.
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:29 AM
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Question Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

New here, still getting lost. Thought I'd post my procedure for working with Masonite/hardboard. The paintings have stood up well over the years. The board method comes in handy if you have an odd size frame, as well as fitting in stock sizes. I start with 1/4 " board, untempered, meaning no oil in it. In some areas it is called "floor underlayment". After cutting to size I sand the edges and seal the board on both sides and edges with shellac thinned with alcohol, approx. 50/50. Then I prime with acrylic gesso, again, both sides. The number of coats of gesso depends on individual taste. but always do both sides. I don't understand the use of polyurethane either as a sealer or as a final varnish in fine art. Maybe someone can clue me in?
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Old 02-12-2008, 12:41 PM
pinkorange pinkorange is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

Thanks everyone for chiming in!

Back to my orginal post -- my understanding of using the polyurethane would be ONLY on the bare board to seal it. THEN put on acrylic gesso on top of that as the primer for the painting. Then do your painting. And then use a DIFFERENT varnish or sealer (NOT polyurethane) for the top protective coat on the painting -- one of these by Golden perhaps. That way the actual painting is sandwiched between a protective underlayer and overlayer -- to be admired for centuries!
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:25 AM
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Einion Einion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idylbrush
One of the biggest issue with polyurethane varnishes that all have overlooked it that in time they yellow. Yes, they yellow. My dad was a boat builder and you can see it when he applied the varnishes, and they get more yellow in time.
Without exposure to light things age very differently. And true urethane varnishes (not spar varnishes) have great resistance to yellowing anyway - check out your local bowling alley


Quote:
Originally Posted by cagg
I don't understand the use of polyurethane either as a sealer or as a final varnish in fine art. Maybe someone can clue me in?
As a sealer? Same deal as using shellac (only better ).

As a final varnish for acrylic paintings Very bad idea.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkorange
Back to my orginal post -- my understanding of using the polyurethane would be ONLY on the bare board to seal it. THEN put on acrylic gesso on top of that as the primer for the painting. Then do your painting. And then use a DIFFERENT varnish or sealer (NOT polyurethane) for the top protective coat on the painting -- one of these by Golden perhaps. That way the actual painting is sandwiched between a protective underlayer and overlayer -- to be admired for centuries!
Except for the varnish part, spot on. Ideally final picture varnishes should be removable; in the case of acrylic paintings that means using a spirit-soluble varnish, as most acrylic paintmakers now provide. In the US the two most common types are MSA from Golden and Soluvar from Liquitex.

...

The thing about board prep is this: if you buy into the idea of using something to seal off the board (to prevent SID) and the 'gesso' is not considered sufficient, then that thing should be as impermeable as possible. In a thin layer polyurethane varnish appears to provide just that; a couple of commercial panel makers use it for this reason.

I should mention that not everyone agrees - Ampersand's products are all sealed using a water-borne acrylic.

Einion
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Old 02-13-2008, 03:05 PM
pinkorange pinkorange is offline
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Zinssner?

Anyone use Zinssner to seal hardboard? I see this odorless one at Home Depot -- it's oil-based, but they have a water-based one as well -- which looks really good -- soap and water clean up and it says virtually no odor as well.

Hmmm..... it looks like a trip to Home Depot is in order!



Scrap that. I pulled the Canadian Home Depot site. The US Home Depot isn't even giving me any Zinnser products.

Going to the Zinnser site is more helpful on finding a local retailer. They say that Home Depot carries them in the US -- I guess I will have to just go or call since the Home Depot site is not being helpful.

Last edited by pinkorange : 02-13-2008 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:29 PM
pinkorange pinkorange is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

This was an incredibly helpful link from a past discussion.
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Old 02-27-2009, 04:38 PM
daisylind daisylind is offline
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Re: Polyurethane brands? Varnish brands?

I found this thread doing a search for varnish and using polyurethane; I'm not interested in the varnish as a prep /sealant coat so much, but to varnish and seal my art. I got advice from some fellow artists that one could use hardware store brand polyurethane varnish (either the clear or slightly golden one) to use on art finished on hardwood panels, which is what I've started doing.

But reading this, it seems I should using high end art store quality varnish instead of hardware store varnish? I sometimes collage on sketches (using matte medium to attatch sketches to hardwood panels) then sealing it with varnish for a thick glossy look.

Is the difference mainly archival/removable aspects of the artist quality varnish? it looks great- I'm happy with the results, but I'm trying to figure out the difference... should I not be as worried since I'm working on wood? (instead of canvas, masonite, etc)

THanks so much in advance!

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