Has anyone compared "wood focused" ceramic coatings vs coatings used for autos, etc?


Tristan Juricek

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There's starting to become more interest in ceramic coatings for wood finishes, which has some interesting properties. Like, I'm wondering if it would help me avoid coffee stains on my desk top I want to build soon.

But where this gets super unclear is if the products from N3, Carbon Method, or Black Forest actually can back up the claim they work better on top of common wood finishes than, say, a ceramic coating you'd use on a car. All I've seen is that people put them on a table top, throw some liquid on it and watch it bead. And then say "man, it works but is sure is pricey!"

Are there any resources from, say, someone who can read the SDS sheet and see if these woodworking-focused products are actually truly different and where they're safe, i.e., won't accelerate your finish going kaput and won't kill you slowly if you use them on a desk or a table? 

I realize I'm asking more internet randos about chemistry, but this seems like the right place :D 

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I have several brands for cars and boats, but none for wood finishes.  I'd be surprised if there is much, if any, difference.  Wood finishes are a lot softer than automotive, but the ceramic coating is so thin that I doubt it matters. 

Even with a coating on cars, I still use the Meguiars hybrid spray on before drying after washing a car.  It's so easy to use and seems worth the little bit of extra effort.  It has to be put on wet though, so wouldn't work on a piece of furniture.

https://www.amazon.com/MEGUIARS-G190532SP-Hybrid-Ceramic-Fluid_Ounces/dp/B07R5QH6H6/ref=sxin_15_pa_sp_search_thematic_sspa?content-id=amzn1.sym.d17ca69f-1a39-4f7d-a62f-e5dff4cfd6d8%3Aamzn1.sym.d17ca69f-1a39-4f7d-a62f-e5dff4cfd6d8&crid=11822KSIY5NMN&cv_ct_cx=meguiars%2Bhybrid%2Bceramic%2Bwax&keywords=meguiars%2Bhybrid%2Bceramic%2Bwax&pd_rd_i=B07R5QH6H6&pd_rd_r=2139374a-042a-4df6-8a38-d0a439eeac2a&pd_rd_w=Hee5H&pd_rd_wg=OfYVD&pf_rd_p=d17ca69f-1a39-4f7d-a62f-e5dff4cfd6d8&pf_rd_r=VKWVFXD3YMPGPFQC3MY7&qid=1702646130&sbo=RZvfv%2F%2FHxDF%2BO5021pAnSA%3D%3D&sprefix=meguiars%2Bhyb%2Caps%2C121&sr=1-4-364cf978-ce2a-480a-9bb0-bdb96faa0f61-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9zZWFyY2hfdGhlbWF0aWM&th=1

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Just to be clear, I'm mostly curious about any kind of independent review, that might actually help understand how the interaction between the ceramic coating and the wood finish. I do like what Blacktail Studios is doing, but they aren't exactly independent, since they produce a coating themselves.

All I've seen are people just throwing wine or liquid on top, e.g., like this guy: 

So, I'm mostly seeing reviews where the review just sees the change to the surface, and doesn't exactly test how it interacts with common wood finishes. Like, Black Forest claims they're water-based not solvent based and that should not interact with oil-based wood finishes. I can't tell if that's actually true yet.

I do think most of the ceramic coatings for wood are coming from a "good faith" perspective and trying to make a product that should be easy to use for woodworkers, but it sure would be nice to have someone with a little more knowledge of testing the chemistry do the evaluation. 

Ah well, that's just life on the bleeding edge of new tech. :D 

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What’s wrong with the common wood finishes? I don’t have any coffee stains on my coffee table, dining table, desks, or wood coasters and I drink coffee all day every day. Putting another coating on top of the finish seems like solving a problem that doesn’t exist. If you want to put another coating on top to satisfy the feeling that you are giving it extra protection, slap on a coat of paste wax afterward and keep your money. 
 

And +1 to all of what Chestnut said. 

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Thanks @Chestnut - this is basically the kind of insight I was looking for.

I just didn't see anyone do much analysis of the application process what what happens after, and if it just "made sense" as a finish option in general. The high cost and fact you had to wait for the underlying coat to fully cure triggered my spider sense that more information/research is needed, and it might just not be a great idea to be a guinea pig 

Totally agree with the other current options being valuable, but with new tech, it's always good to see a deep evaluation and see if there's something interesting to learn

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I'll offer one more observation, having studied these coatings a bit after seeing this question. Every product description touts hardness & scratch resistance as the leading feature of these "ceramic" coatings, supposedly making them more durable. However, wood is a natural material that constantly moves with changes to its environment. It seems to me that a very hard coating would tend to crack when the surface it was applied to expanded or shrank beneath it.

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On 12/15/2023 at 7:22 PM, wtnhighlander said:

Every product description touts hardness & scratch resistance as the leading feature of these "ceramic" coatings, supposedly making them more durable. However, wood is a natural material that constantly moves with changes to its environment. It seems to me that a very hard coating would tend to crack when the surface it was applied to expanded or shrank beneath it.

From my limited understanding there are 2 ways to prevent scratches. The first is for the material to be harder, and that I'd agree with you on the brittle and not moving with wood. The other is to be lubricated. When i read about ceramic coatings i read words like "cross link" and "long chains of polymers". It makes me ask are they more akin to plastic than a true ceramic? Regardless of the answer to that, I think they operate more on the 2nd principal, lubricating the surface. Also they won't prevent scratches, they will just help reduce swirl marks. The most often associated term is hydrophobic, so I'd bet they are excellent at repelling water away from wood, but that's what the finish should be doing any way?

I dove deep on ceramic coatings in the car world to see if they were worth it to have applied to my "collector" car. It's not really a collector car but it's a car that I don't see myself selling ever so what else would I call it.

Circling back to shellac, I'm starting to be REALLY sold on it as a finish. My toddlers kitchen tower is coated with 5 coats of Zinnnser Seal Coat. It's endured 6 months of toddler abuse and still looks like the day I finished it. That includes multiple milk and water spills and TONS of peanut butter. Luckily she hasn't started drinking coffee or red wine yet.... :D. Oh additional context we don't use sippy cups only open cups so there are a LOT of spills.

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The main thing I see about the ceramic coatings on cars is that it makes it easier to clean next time.  It sure is shiny too.  I see no need for anything fancier than the Meguiars Hybrid ceramic spray that I linked earlier.   

We're enjoying the foam cannon too.  Having that little electric power washer ready to go all the time makes it the easiest way to wash a vehicle.  If I had to dig out and hook up a power washer every time I wanted to use it, the foam cannon wouldn't be worth it.

More work for nothing on wood finish I expect though.

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On 12/16/2023 at 8:51 PM, Tom King said:

The main thing I see about the ceramic coatings on cars is that it makes it easier to clean next time.  It sure is shiny too.  I see no need for anything fancier than the Meguiars Hybrid ceramic spray that I linked earlier.   

We're enjoying the foam cannon too.  Having that little electric power washer ready to go all the time makes it the easiest way to wash a vehicle.  If I had to dig out and hook up a power washer every time I wanted to use it, the foam cannon wouldn't be worth it.

More work for nothing on wood finish I expect though.

Agreed on cars it makes total sense and I have seen the value all of ours are ceramic coated. I also love my foam cannon its another way to not scratch the paint. I use Adams polishes for most of my car care and its the only ceramic product I have experience with. They have 20-25% sales about every other week so I just wait if I need product.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have any info/opinions/experience on using "The Carbon Method" as treatment for cast iron tool tables? I think that's it's intended purpose but could be wrong. 

I've got a new machine coming in a few weeks. I've heard ppl say favorable things about it, but i don't know how credible they are. 

. Thanks

Doug 

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On 12/28/2023 at 10:35 PM, wtnhighlander said:

I use the 'oxide method'.

Wait for light rust to form, scrub away anything loose, and wax the crap out of it. Repeated treatments will 'brown' the cast iron, just like old firearms used to be treated. The iron oxide + wax layer has proved to be an effective barrier against pitting rust in my mostly uncontrolled environment (West Tennessee).

If you are impatient, the process can be accelerated with a fine mist of saly water....

I've done the same and it's always worked out well. Probably no need to change things up but I'm just curious about new products. 

When i saw the price tag to do 2-3 machines was over $100... Let's just say that my can of wax started looking very attractive. 

.i can think of many other things i would rather spend 100$ on

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@MarkJ, When I had both at hand, it was obvious that the Johnsons had a higher oil content. The Minwax is more solid, maybe a different blend of waxes as well.

I grew up in a 1969 vintage home with hardwood floors. For several years, waxing & buffing was a Saturday morning ritual. Can't say I miss it ...

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