Enduro-Var vs. Arm-R-Seal – 9 months later

Almost 9 months ago I posted a finishing test that I’d done comparing General Finishes new Enduro-Var waterborne urethane and their oil-based Arm-R-Seal urethane. According to the formulator at General Finishes that I spoke to, these products both use the same resin, but one is suspended in oil and the other in water. As you know, the color of Cherry continues to darken and intensify as it ages. I also noticed that the Enduro-Var finish that had been left in the rim of the can had turned a deep amber-brown over time. Therefor I though it would be appropriate to revisit this test piece to see what changes have occurred over the last 9 months. The test piece has been hanging on my shop wall and has not been exposed to direct sunlight. I look the second picture with the same camera and lighting conditions as the first photo (at night with my shop lights on) in order to control the color variation between the two images.

Left 1/3: 3 coats of EV

             Bottom half w/ SealCoat

                                Middle 1/3: 1 coat of ARS then 3 coats of EV

                                              Bottom half w/ SealCoat

                                                                    Right 1/3: 3 coats of ARS

                                                                     Bottom half w/ SealCoat

As you can see, the Arm-R-Seal (ARS) really turned quite orange over time. The Enduro-Var definitely warmed up but is not nearly as orange. Let me know in the comments what you think of the changes and which one you like best.

2 thoughts on “Enduro-Var vs. Arm-R-Seal – 9 months later

  1. Hey Mark. Nice clean lookin blog! I've had a lot of trouble accepting the new water based finishes. They just feel like they're getting rammed down our throats. I had to twist arms to get oil based paint at Sherwin-Williams a while back. That flabbergasted me. If I look at the sample board several months out I find myself liking the right hand side a whole lot more. It seems to have a clarity to it that the lady half lacks. Of course this is trying to judge from a picture. Maybe I would feel different in person or in different lighting. Personally I'm going to stick to my oil bases until I have no other choice. Stubborn? Maybe. But I know how to get the results I want with what I use and that's important to me. Which side did you prefer?D


  2. Hi Derek,I too like the warmth of the oil-based finish, but I don't like the drying time nor the cleanup. That's why I like the middle part of the board best. One coat of oil-based left to cure and then the water based stuff over the top. All this talk of not putting water based finish over oil based finish is rubbish as long as it's a short oil varnish. Putting the the water based finish over the top gives me a much shorter drying time which means a lot less opportunity for dust to make it's way into the finish. You also eliminated any grain-raising. If you're really paranoid you can put a thin coat of SealCoat in between but I have not needed to. On this sample I took a razor blade and cut a 1" x 1" grid of squares 1/16" apart, then I took duct tape and a commercial tape and rubbed both on it and pulled them off and none of the finish came up. There are no finish adhesion issues here.


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