When, and When Not to Use EMTECH CL100 Crosslinker Additive

When, and When Not to Use EMTECH CL100 Crosslinker Additive

EMTECH CL100 CrossLinker is a water-soluble chemical additive used to elevate the durability and appearance of waterborne coatings by coupling the resin molecules of the film-forming finish into tighter, harder bonds when fully cured. The purpose of our CL100 Crosslinker additive is to give a performance boost to the physical characteristics of the finish it is being blended into. What are the physical characteristics of a film-forming water-based coating? — The top four characteristics are water and chemical resistance (these two are often grouped under reagent resistance), film hardness (see abrasion and scratch resistance), adhesion performance and gloss development. Water-based coatings that are cross-linked with CL100 demonstrate:

  • Improved water and chemical resistance.
  • Improved abrasion and scratch resistance.
  • Improved adhesion to difficult substrates.
  • Improved gloss and response to polishing.

Because we get a number of questions about how to use CL100 Crosslinker additive, I put together a short demonstration video that will explain the procedure:

Using CL100 Crosslinker in Emtech Waterborne Top Coats from Jeff Weiss on Vimeo.

Although rarely necessary in most wood finishing applications, sometimes a specific finishing scenario requires extra alcohol or detergent resistance, which calls for the use of CL100. For instance, commercial bar tops and restaurant tables receive a lot of chemical abuse from both the patrons and the cleaning staff. The addition of 5% CL100 Crosslinker additive into the waterborne finish of choice will boost the coatings resistance to alcohols and high pH cleaners to levels that will allow the cured finish to withstand a longer exposure to corrosive chemicals. The improved chemical/reagent resistance is sometimes required for kitchen cabinet surfaces that are near sinks, back-splashes and dishwasher units. Again, I want to stress that the use of CL100 is not always required, and we have more material being used without it then with – but as stated there are times when it is required.

Unlike acid catalysts, which have a very short pot-life, waterborne crosslinkers are reactive to oxygen only when the coating it is added to is allowed to form a film and air-dry. Therefore, the pot-life of finishes fortified with CL100 Crosslinker additive will remain functional for upwards of 100+ hours when stored in a sealed container—eliminating the expensive loss and waste of unused material. Any crosslinked material that is unused after the 100+ hour mark can be reactivated with 2% more CL100, or it can be used as a base/sealer coat.

Feel free to give us a call to discuss the use of CL100 for your next wood finishing project.


2018-07-02T09:20:21+00:00June 14th, 2018|EMTECH Finishes, Water-Based Finish Tips|4 Comments


  1. Dave Dolak June 18, 2018 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Has your water based lacquer with or without the catalyst been used successfully as a finish on acoustic musical instruments such as guitars?

    • Jeff Weiss June 23, 2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Yes. EM6000 and EM7000HBL are excellent options for acoustic guitars, both with and without the use of CL100.

  2. jeff Anderson February 3, 2019 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    A water base poly was used on cabinets, I will sand them but will be unable to get 100 percent off, can I spray the EMTECH EM6000 over that?

    • Jeff Weiss February 4, 2019 at 8:13 am - Reply

      Jeff – Yes, as long as you clean with denatured alcohol and water mixed 1:1, and fine sand the existing finish with 400-grit aluminum oxide paper you will be OK with applying the EM6000 directly over the old finish.

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