Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Has anyone used General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat?

  1. #1

    Has anyone used General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat?

    Still looking for a finish which will have an easy, wipe on application, and provide sufficient protection for my walnut coffee table. General Finishes products have been suggested, I'm leaning towards Arm-R-Seal Urethane Topcoat, which comes in semi-gloss. Has anyone used this product, particularly on walnut?

    http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=10928

  2. #2
    I just used it to finish a bed made from wenge. it deepens the color slightly and goes on easily with an old t shirt. It doesnt seem to offer alot of protection as the wood got a few scuff marks afterward from light contact. I know very little about finishing and went on the advice of the guy in the store who said he finished alot of tables with ArmRSeal. It does have a satin finish.

    Next time I may try rock hard table top, I've heard you can knock it down to a satin finish with steel wool.

    here are a few pictures
    http://sawmillcreek.org/showpost.php...03&postcount=8

  3. #3
    Dan, I used Arm-R-Seal on this walnut piece. It goes on well, is easy to work with, and I like the color.

    I have also used Minwax wipe on poly on walnut, and it has held up very well over the years. It probably applies as easily or easier than the Arm-R-Seal, but not as deep in color.

  4. #4
    Hi, Used Seal-A-Cell with Arm-R-Seal semi-gloss combo on a walnut Moser-ish coffee table. Agree that it leaves a nice color and view of the wood and would use it again. The mistake I made was handling the piece too early after it was finished and smudged it a little. You could always finish up a piece of scrap and see if you like the look.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Southport, NC
    Posts
    2,943
    GF's Arm R Seal is a pretty standard oil based, polyurethane thinned wiping varnish. It's not much different from others like Minwax Wiping Poly or Watco Wiping Poly.

    You can save money and get a more durable finish by making your own wiping varnish. Merely mix your favorite varnish or poly varnish 50/50 with mineral spirits.

    The key to wiping varnish is using the correct wiping technique. Forget everything you know about brushing.

    Here is something that should help. A friend of mine put it together years ago and it has worked well for many.

    QUOTE

    There are a number of suggested application regimens that are totally subjective. The number of coats in a given day, the % of cut on various coats, which coat to sand after, when to use the blade and a whole host of other practices are all minor differences between finishers. There are some things that I consider sacred when applying a wipe-on finish.

    First, you can use any full strength oil based clear finish. Polyurethane varnish or non-poly varnish is fine.

    If you are making your own wipe-on the mix is scientific - thin. I suggest 50/50 with mineral spirits because it is easier to type than any other ratio and easy to remember. Some finish formulators have jumped on the bandwagon and you can now get "wipe on" finish pre-mixed. If you use a pre-mixed, thinning is generally not necessary. But making your own is cheaper and you know what's in it.

    The number of coats in a given day is not important. Important is to apply a wet coat with an applicator and merely get it on. Think of a 16 year old kid working as a busboy at Denny's you have sent over to wipe off a table. Sort of rub/swirl the the material on like you would if you were applying a paste wax. Don't attempt any straight strokes. The applicator should be wet but not soaked. The applicator can be a non-embossed paper towel shop towel, half a T-shirt sleeve or that one sock left after a load of washing. Once applied,leave it alone. The surface should not be glossy or wet looking and, if applied correctly, there should be no "brush stroke" type marks. If you have missed a spot, ignore it - you will get it on the next coat. If you try and fix a missed spot you will leave a mark in the finish.

    Timing for a second coat involves the pinkie test. Touch the surface with your pinkie. If nothing comes off you are ready for another coat. If was tacky 5 minutes ago but not now, apply your next coat just as you applied the previous coat. Remember, you are wet wiping, not flooding. After applying the second coat, let it fully dry for 48 hours. Using 320 paper and a sanding block lightly sand the surface flat. Now, begin applying more coats. Do not sand between coats unless you have allowed more than 24 hours to elapse since the prior coat. The number of coats is not critical - there is no critical or right number to apply. For those who need a rule, four more coats on non-critical surfaces or six more coats on surfaces that will get abraded seems to work.

    After your last coat has dried at least over night you will have boogers in the surface. You should not have marks in the surface because you ignored application flaws. You may have dust, lint and, if you live in Texas, bug legs. Use a utility knife blade at this point. Hold it between your thumb and forefinger, near the vertical, and gently scrape the surface. Gentle is the important word - no harder than you would scrape your face. If you start scraping aggressively you will leave small cut marks in the surface. After you have scraped to the baby butt stage gently abrade the surface with 320 dry paper or a gray ScotchBrite. Clean off the surface. Now, leave the area for two hours and change your clothes. Apply your last coat with a bit more care than the previous coats and walk away.

    An anal person is going to have a tough time with this process. Missed spots have to be ignored. Wet wipe, don't flood. Scraping to babies butt smooth means scraping no harder than scraping a babies butt. Ignoring any of these will leave marks that are tough to get out. Getting these marks out requires some aggressive sanding to flatten out the surface and starting over.

    Jim Kull

    END QUOTE

    Finally, It works better to use a gloss varnish for all coats except the last. The flatteners in semi-gloss and satin tend to rapidly fall out of suspension when the finish is highly thinned. If you want a non-gloss finish, use it only on the final coat or two and be sure to stir the material frequently or you will end up with cloudy streaks.
    Howie.........

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    Dan, I used Arm-R-Seal on this walnut piece. It goes on well, is easy to work with, and I like the color.

    I have also used Minwax wipe on poly on walnut, and it has held up very well over the years. It probably applies as easily or easier than the Arm-R-Seal, but not as deep in color.
    Really beautiful piece, John. Did yoou use anything other than the Arm-R-Seal? Does it seem reasonably durable to you?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  7. #7
    Howie - Thanks for all the great info. I see what you mean about mixing your own, only trouble is I'm such a beginner with this, I think I'd prefer something "tested" until I have more experience. The application tips are terrific in any case though, thanks for posting them.

    Dan

  8. #8
    Thanks, Dan. That piece has a multitude of different finishes, but the top "hutch" portion is Arm-R-Seal with about 20% BLO added to better match the varnish blend I used on the bottom part. Then, the interior drawer unit and dividers, which show in this pic actually are finished with BLO, shellac, and Arm-R-Seal straight. One would think that all of this would end up looking like a mess, but no one can seem to tell any difference in the color or look of the finish?!?!

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by John Keeton View Post
    "hutch" portion is Arm-R-Seal with about 20% BLO added to better match the varnish blend
    Would you say the BLO "warmed up" the Arm-R-Seal? Did you add it to each coat, or only the 1st one(s)?

  10. #10
    Dan, I actually added the BLO to warm up the color a little, as the lower portion of the piece was done with a blend of varnish, BLO, and MS. I kept the mixture the same with each coat. As I recall, I used 3 coats.

  11. #11
    John - And you wiped on the finish? What with? Sorry for such beginner questions, but that's what I am

  12. #12
    Dan, I used cheesecloth, but I suspect just about any lint free cotton would work - old tee shirt, etc. I have also used cloth diapers - hard to find anymore!!

  13. #13
    I used Arm-R-Seal on a fiddleback maple sitting bench and was very impressed with it. It flowed better than any other top coat I've used in the past and the coloring was sweet. I've found it VERY durable but I guess other's mileage might very?! ...I'd be surprised though, I think General Finishes products are nothing, if their not consistent.

    Jim in Idaho

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim W. White View Post
    I used Arm-R-Seal on a fiddleback maple sitting bench and was very impressed with it. It flowed better than any other top coat I've used in the past and the coloring was sweet. I've found it VERY durable but I guess other's mileage might very?! ...I'd be surprised though, I think General Finishes products are nothing, if their not consistent.

    Jim in Idaho
    Thanks John + Jim, I think I'm going to pick up some at Rockler tomorrow. Seems like it's worth a shot. Maybe Bill's experience is an anomaly.

    I'll definitely post some pics of the outcome. I wiped the thing down earlier with mineral spirits to get rid of the dust, it really popped nicely. Got to get something on it before I begin to wear the grain off staring at it

    BTW Jim, nice fish!

    Dan

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •