GF Arm r Seal Problems


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I am finishing a large kitchen counter, new construction, and applying Arm r Seal. Due to the size, I typically spray my finishes. After the first coat was applied, then sanded before second coat, bubbles started appearing within about 1 minute of completion. I’ve lightly sanded subsequent coats and tried different methods, including foam application and canny get rid of the bubbles that dry, leaving a horrible looking finish. I have followed the manufacturers specs, and no luck. I have thinned with mineral spirits and brushed on, no luck. This is all in a dedicated spray room with 74F and 50%RH.

I am at a loss on what to do and welcome ideas and feedback. My next step was to wipe on a Gel Top Coat but uncertain of any negative chemical reaction.

Any ideas?

Thank you!

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Arm R Seal (ARS) isn't a good product to spray. Mixing well and wiping on with a folded cotton rag is how i apply it and have zero issues over 5-6 gallons. If you getting bubbles my thought is your applying it in far to thick of a layer. Brushes might work for a first coat to get soak thirsty wood but after that it'll leave to much.

Secondly ARS is not what i'd consider for a counter top. It's a thin delicate finish that is more suited to furniture like coffee tables and side tables. If you want to spray a water born finish like endurovar would be the finish i'd choose. It'll give some amber effect and is a fairly durable finish. I know that Waterlox is also a commonly used counter top finish i believe someone on here used it in the last couple years.

Thirdly most of the polyurthanes aka ARS cure and become more or less innert. Not much will react with them chemically after they cure, the only think i know off the top of my head is acetone. So if Gel Top Coat isn't acetone based you'r probably good, chemically. Not much likes to stick to poly so mechanically the finishes might not stick well to eachother.

With finishes TEST TEST TEST. Can't beat beat the "test the finish on a piece of scrap" horse enough.

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Thank you! 

I tested and tested on smaller boards and had no problems thus thinking it would be fine. I also did the Waterlox sample and it was a toss up on what looked best. I wanted a durable finish and thought the ARS would do the trick. I’ve sprayed a lot of product and have never come across this....live and learn and not much of a chance I’ll use ARS again. I’ll try the wipe on and see what happens. I’ve tried everything else so we’ll see. I’ll also test the gel top coat on one of my test samples with the ARS and see how it does.

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I have had good luck with using a sponge brush to appliy ARS (thicker coats than wiping) Works very well. Used it on my dinette table.  However if your counter edge is not a round over the ARS will tend to dry with a ridge along the edge due to the surface tension of the ARS.  If you have a rounded edge - no problem.

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Andre, on the application instructions it doesn’t say not to spray but it does say that it’s a wipe on finish. I, like others above, have had great success with ARS so don’t give up on it. Save it later for smaller projects. Good luck on how this works out and welcome to the forum. 

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Arm-R-Seal is a very tough finish so no worries for a countertop. The Gel topcoat on the other hand is not a thick film building finish, thus won't offer countertop protection.

If you spray the Arm-R-Seal it's recommend you apply thin coats. Did you clean the surface well of all sanded finish? Were you applying the Arm-R-Seal too heavy handed? My suggestion, put the spray gun down and hand apply. Spraying an oil is nasty dealing with that sticky overspray and runs.

Or simply sand back and apply a good thinned coat of Arm-R-Seal. Let dry a good 7 days then go over that with a good water based topcoat like General Finish - High Performance. It sprays really nice. 

 

-Ace-  

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Thanks, Ace!

I've taken a few other steps and regardless of application, wipe on and or using foam brush, same problems. It bubbles even with a thin/moderate wipe on. I now believe that the product may have a chemical unrest that is causing this. I've been spraying and applying oil top coats for years, using all proper methods and procedures, and have never seen this. Before I saw your post, I've decided to leave alone and give time to dry and then come back with a Enduro Water based urethane. It's always done well for me and I should have no problems with it adhering to the ARS. 

I'll send an update to the group on the results by end of week.

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What type of wood are you coating? Is a stain over the wood? How long did you let it dry before a second coat or sand the first coat?   

Since your first coat went down without a problem, I thinking the surface or finish may of become contaminated? You seeing fisheye or air bubbles in finish?

-Ace-

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New construction, hard maple. Stained with water base product and dried for 3 days before top coat. After 1st coat, waited slightly over 24 hrs to add second coat. Sanded lightly after each coat. Cleaned surface properly. Saw the bubbles and thought perhaps not dry enough. Waited 72 hrs, applied again and same result. Tiny bubbles appear about 1 minute after application. They dry and are very pronounced. Tried wiping, same result. Used foam brush as well and same result. Plenty of time allowed between coats. Also tried thinning as recommended by others and then foam brush, same result. At this point...you know the definition for insanity....time to try the enduro. 

ARS was poured fresh each time and left over product was never poured back into original container. Can’t help but feel it’s the product itself. I tested it on another piece of lumber that had no stain, same bubbling affect.

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55 minutes ago, Andre Thome said:

Yep. Never shake any of my stains or top coats....been doing this for a while -:)

Sorry, no offense. Just making sure

 

49 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

It's no help but I'm confused. Wish i could see in person. I shake my to coat.... Never had issues either

I watched a Cremona demo with this stuff and he shook his too. Perhaps I’m wrong? 

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2 hours ago, K Cooper said:

Sorry, no offense. Just making sure

 

I watched a Cremona demo with this stuff and he shook his too. Perhaps I’m wrong? 

If you buy the gallon container it says shake well right on it.  I've had bubbles in ARS when I didn't know what I was doing and didn't wipe it off, but if you are putting it on and wiping it off then I don't know how you could have something thick enough to bubble.  

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No offense taken. I appreciate all the feedback you all have given and I agree with many of the comments. I am totally confused why it’s doing this. I tested it on another piece that was naked and had the same problems. I think that the batch I have is bad and/ or contaminated. I’m reluctant to use it any further as it’s been very costly and I keep getting the same result. My next step will be to spray on some enduro and see how it does. 

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I'd call General Finishes and let them know. There may have been an issue with the batch, or they may have another idea of what is causing the bubbling. It's definitely not normal, ARS is generally an easy and foolproof product to use.

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  • 2 weeks later...

More than likely, they tell you to shake the gallon of Arm-R-Seal because you can't stir the flatteners through the little cap opening :P You must mix the flatteners with the product before you pour.

That's my story and stick'en to it!!!  :D

 

-Ace- 

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The only issues I've had with ARS is a tendency to cure in the can before I finish it. I've had it happen twice now where I use the can on one project, and when I return to use it again a couple months later, it shows signs of thickening in the can. Anyone else had this? Is it normal and I'm just expecting too much? 

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5 hours ago, treeslayer said:

I’ve been using the Stop Loss bags from Woodcraft for about 10 months now and I’m very pleased with the results. No loss of finish and it does not get thick like it does in the can. 

I was wondering if those worked. Rockler sells a spray can that has nitrogen that you spray on top of the remaing ARS to displace the oxygen. Expensive as hell for an aluminum can that weighs the same when empty as when you bought it. As I have access to CO2, I use that with great results. But Dave’s idea sounds a whole bunch betta!! 

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1 hour ago, K Cooper said:

Rockler sells a spray can that has nitrogen

I heard on one of the wood talk shows, not Marc's, that the canned air that you use on electronics is the same stuff but way cheaper.

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