Let’s Be Perfectly Clear About This…

Let’s Be Perfectly Clear About This…

Waterborne Wood Coatings Match Traditional Solvent-Based Coatings

Target Coatings EMTECH Waterborne line of finishes today

Waterborne wood coatings have now been on the market, in pigmented and clear formats, since 1980, give or take a year or two—that’s forty years already! The early formulations were far from perfect in terms of longevity, work-ability and in their actual final finish—they just didn’t perform well. Many of the first-generation urethane and acrylic resins were originally intended for fabric treatment and for tile floor applications, with both vectoring into the wood floor coatings industry.

The early days at Target Coatings

These early blends offered very good adhesion but lacked the clarity and depth that their solvent-based counterparts exhibited. However, as resin manufacturers continued to fine-tune their bases, the clarity and durability of a well-engineered waterborne coating presented itself with continued improvements. So now, forty-plus years down the line we have a wide array of waterborne wood coatings, available from an equally wide range of coatings manufacturers, that offer the depth, clarity and warmth fine woodworking applications require.

So then why is there the ongoing perception that waterborne wood coatings are not up to speed? Perhaps it is the notion of “the first impression is a lasting impression” — but after 40 years of improvements that is one long grudge to hold! However, upon hearing our customers feedback, it really comes down to the old saying of “Try it once and you’re hooked”.

Here are a few comments we’d like to share from customers who tried EMTECH waterborne finish for the first time:

Flawless finish with EMTECH EM8000cv Conversion Varnish

“Wanted to let you know I recently used both products I think are about 8 years old.  Worked perfectly.  Flawless finish.   First time I have ever used a spray gun.  Your products are awesome.” -Rob

“…The EM8000 conversion varnish has worked wonderfully. Even as a total amateur it was easy and I think the result was great.” –Southwood

“I recommend Target Coatings  to everybody who asks about the finish ! Thanks again” -Larry
“Well, your EM6000 makes me look good again. I love this finish!” -Steve

In other words—our customers, and those of other major brands have found (and are finding!) that today’s waterborne clear coats are high-performing, and they’re here to stay. Still, out-dated perceptions, experiences and formulations continue to haunt the waterborne coatings marketplace.

To learn more about Target Coatings line of EMTECH Waterborne wood coatings, or to place an order, visit our online store.

2019-02-24T09:22:29+00:00February 14th, 2019|EMTECH Finishes, Reviews, Target Coatings Customer|4 Comments


  1. Ed March 1, 2019 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Thanks for the interesting article. I like WB finishes a great deal. If I could wish for one thing, though, it would be to push the acceptable application temperature down. Through much of the year, it is hard to get my finishing area above 60F and, if spraying, above 55F to 50F.

    • Jeff Weiss March 3, 2019 at 10:32 am - Reply

      Ed, Thank you for your inquiry – and for waiting on my reply.
      Most of our Emtech WB finishes can be applied at temperatures as low as 40F (surface and ambient). Keep in mind that this is pretty much the lowest end of the temperature range that we wish these products to be used in. At 40F you will have to wait several hours for each coat to full off-gas and shrink into the substrate and underlying coat(s). If you do work at this temperature range ensure that you keep your wet film thickness at 2mils wet, maximum. You can also get some warm air moving over the finished parts to help speed-up the off-gassing process once the film is dry-to-touch.

  2. ELLEN BENKIN March 16, 2019 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    In the past I have used a solution of wax free shellac 50% with 50% denatured alcohol under oil based finishes. Is this similar to your USH 3000 product? Will it work with water based finishes? I want the wood to keep its color but most “sealers” yellow the wood somewhat.

    • Jeff Weiss March 20, 2019 at 8:34 am - Reply

      Ellen — Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, you can use your 50/50 shellac/alcohol blend under any of our Emtech finishes.

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