I Saw Something On the Internet…

Waterlox products have been around for over 110 years and they have been used by thousands of wood enthusiasts on thousands of different projects throughout those years. While most enthusiasts have been very pleased with their results and have happily shared their experiences on forums and in videos, they can sometimes create confusion for other Waterlox users. This guide will address some of the more common “misunderstandings” and help you to complete your project.

“I used Waterlox” or “I used Waterlox Original”

Waterlox makes a variety of different products for wood. When someone says they’ve used Waterlox on their project, it does not identify any one particular product. If something doesn’t seem right with how they’ve used or applied it, consider that they may be using a different product. The same can be said of Waterlox ORIGINAL. While this does narrow it down to our resin-modified tung oil finishes, there are still three different products in that product line. This doesn’t cause as much confusion, however it may change the way that you repair or maintain surfaces (ORIGINAL Satin is a little more difficult than Semi-Gloss to touch up for instance).

If you are asking questions or comparing what you saw in a video/forum to what you read at Waterlox.com, be sure that you are comparing the same products.

There’s more than one way to peel a potato

As with most things, there is usually more than one correct answer. There are a variety of ways to apply Waterlox products that will yield excellent results and there are probably just as many ways to apply them that will yield less than ideal results. The application methods and guides at Waterlox.com tend to provide the simplest and most straight forward methods.

If you come across a guide, video, forum or other post that uses Waterlox products in a different manner, it does not necessarily mean it is wrong. Many woodworkers and professionals have developed their own tricks and methods that work best for them on their projects and with their tools/workshop. The most important thing is to ask why they did something differently and how that may affect the end result. For instance, most guides recommend brushing on liberal coats of our finishes and stopping at 2-3 coats, but you may see someone wiping on/wiping off 10-20 thin coats on a particular project. Obviously these are very different techniques and they apply different amounts of Waterlox product to the surface. This affects how much film has been applied to the surface (a continuous film is needed to be waterproof) and how quickly those coats dry (thin coats means less tung oil needs to dry, so less time).

Pay close attention to which products are being discussed and how they are being applied. They may differ from the guides at Waterlox.com, but with a good understanding of how and why they are being used differently, you can develop your own techniques to achieve your desired results.

If it’s on the internet, it must be true!

The internet puts endless knowledge right at your fingertips but that doesn’t mean that everything that you read is true or accurate. While some information may be intentionally placed to deceive users, others may be unintentional misunderstandings. Although, it may be slightly cynical, it is wise to take most new information with a grain of salt and pursue further information or sources for confirmation. Look for sources that explain the what, why and how around their topics as opposed to those just telling you the correct answer.

The information at Waterlox.com is not intended to deceive anyone about our products. If it is in conflict with something posted somewhere else, the information on our website is more than likely the correct answer. Again, look closely and make sure that both sources are discussing the same product/topic.

Woodworking and finish jargon

One of the biggest sources of confusion comes from some of the terms that are used regularly in woodworking and finishing communities. There may be many names for the same thing just as there may be one term that applies to a wide variety of different topics or products. Much of this has to do with marketing and branding, as well as search engine key words or phrases. Words like Tung Oil, Varnish, and Urethane can actually have a variety of different meanings.

For instance, tung oil and urethane are usually ingredients in a finish and do not accurately describe the coating as a whole. Tung oil can be used in its raw state, polymerized and cut in solvent, reacted with urethane (not Waterlox) or reacted with other resins. Tung oil is used in every finishing product that Waterlox makes, except the urethanes, and a range of different looks can be achieved by using tung oil in different ways. So just because a product says tung oil on the label, does not mean that they are all the same. In fact, some products may not contain any tung oil at all, but they simply produce a finish that looks similar to a tung oil finish. Similarly, Waterlox ORIGINAL products contain tung oil (>50% of the actual coating), but they are not just tung oil.

Urethanes are similar in that the urethane really only describes the chemical linkage in the polymer. Those polymers and coatings can be modified in hundreds of different ways to achieve different results. Urethanes are very widely used in adhesives, coatings, plastics, rigid foams, wheels, fabrics and even hoses. All urethanes are not created equal, so subtle differences can affect durability, flexibility, clarity, color, application method, coating thickness and appearance. Urethane does not need to be a bad word in the wood coatings industry.

It is important to focus on all of the information and not just key buzz words. Reading the application instructions of a particular product will help to get a better understanding of the actual coating without having to know exactly what is in it.

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