Varnish of my dreams--found!

Page 1 of 2  
After much arduous searching, I've found it, my Xanadu, my Shangri-la, the sine qua non of varnish. And all the time it was available right at my little local Ace Hardware store.
Some background: My preference for finishing and refinishing wood, when appropriate, is regular old oil-based varnish. Hate polyurethane; don't have spray equipment for lacquer (which I used when I worked on guitars). I've been nursing a quart can of McCloskey varnish for about 10 years now, and it's getting depleted. So I started looking around for something to replace it with.
I knew what I wanted. McCloskey no longer exists as a brand; they were bought by Cabot (part of the Valpar "family"), and I found what looked like the equivalent product, their gloss varnish:
http://www.cabotstain.com/products/product/Varnish.html?productTypeName=Protective%20Top%20Coat
What I wanted was the "old school" product, their #8000. Unfortunately, after much calling around, I discovered that I cannot buy that product here in California; all I can get is the "modified" version, their #18000. And even finding this was a gigantic pain in the ass.
I called every single local paint store here in the East Bay. The best I could get was an offer to order the stuff, and even that turned out to be impractical (their distributor couldn't get it, or I'd have to order 10 cans of it, etc., etc.)
Finally found a store in San Francisco that had the stuff, and even then I had to convince the store staff that they *did* have it, and then they expressed surprise, and had only one can. So I bought it, something like $20.
The stuff turned out to be pure shit.
I used it the other day on a desktop I'm making for a client, stained birch plywood. I put on the first coat in the morning. It looked OK, so I went out to work and left it to dry. When I came back and checked it about 8 hours later, the stuff was still tacky, and it had glopped and coagulated and orange-peeled like crazy.
A little while ago while exploring what has to be the greatest Ace Hardware store of them all around here (Pagano's in Alameda), I found a little 1/2 pint can of some varnish under Ace's brand, simply called "solvent-based varnish". They had nothing larger, so I bought it. Used it on my latest refinishing project (a 100-year-old wooden view camera, my Rochester Optical Co. "Universal"). It worked beautifully. But since I had so little of it, I was guarding it jealously. There certainly wasn't enough for my 26x64" desktop.
So I took the little can over to my little local Ace, Ellis Ace here in Oakland, and asked them if they could order me a quart can. Well, they actually had several of them in stock! (The quart was only $9, less than half what I paid for that Cabot crap.) So I took one, and used it yesterday on my desktop. (It's item # 276A111, Ace 16385.)
Beautiful results. Just beautiful.
This stuff does exactly what one wants it to do. It brushes on smoothly, builds up quickly, stays open and liquid long enough to move it around and correct any drips, thick or thin spots (you can easily pick out hairs or other foreign objects with your bare fingers, then brush over the spot). And best of all, after applying, it lays down as flat as an Illinois cornfield. Blessedly, shimmeringly flat. It's an absolute joy to work with. The exact opposite of something like "brushing lacquer" (now there's a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one!), which drives me nuts trying to work to get it flat without brushstrokes in the alotted 50-millisecond time period. Or polyurethane, with its inauthentic, plasticky-looking surface.
For those who are searching for a good wood finishing solution where a high-gloss surface is appropriate, I highly recommend this stuff.
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks a bunch for sharing a positive result. There.s a good Ace Hardware in our area , so I plan to checkout their stock put away some for future projects.

Anybody flying to LA from O'Hare can confirm that. Very impressive this time of ear with 7' cornstalks and budding tassels. Soybean fields are prettier green , though.
Joe
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David Nebenzahl wrote:
Thanks for varnish info, I like varnish too. ____________

Don't work it...flow on a generous amount L I G H T L Y and S L O W L Y, drag out edges a bit to feather them. By "lightly" I mean the weight of the brush and not much more. By "slowly" I mean around 4-6 seconds per foot. A good bristle brush, BTW.
Brush on another brush load a bit away from the previous then L I G H T L Y and S L O W L Y blend with previous edge(s) and feather edges. Then leave it alone. It will flow together fairly well but will still look awful until it is totally dry. Once dry, it will look fine as the amount left after drying is a small fraction of the wet volume. IME and I've used gallons and gallons of the stuff.
If you're getting brush strokes you are either not putting on enough or you are pushing too hard with the brush or you are brushing too fast. Or any combination.
--

dadiOH
____________________________
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
dadiOH wrote: ...

The other "or" I'd add is the brush isn't up to the task...
--


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You nursed a lousy quart of varnish 10 years! Thats a laugh and a half, I bet it was full of crap 7 years ago, A normal year for me was 20-40 gallons. I guess in 50 years or so you might just go through enough quarts to find the real good stuff, and its not at Ace.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Care to let the rest of us know what you think the good stuff is? Art
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
ransley wrote:

I guess ransley is not going to tell us the secret brand varnish he considers superior to all others. Unless it was just an attempt to tear down someone else' preference.
Scott.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David Nebenzahl wrote:

[...]
Better stock up. The Ace website has no knowledge of * 276A111 * 16385 * ACE 16385 * "Varnish" (other than varnish removers) * "Solvent-based varnish"
So I called Ace. They couldn't find it on their web site either.
Probably the situation is: a) Ace can't ship hazardous materials, so they don't list it on their web site, or b) It's a discontinued item.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

<snip>
See:
http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5856.html?keywords e%2016385
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nova wrote:

http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5856.html?keywords e%2016385
That's a 1/2 pint container.
The gallon is 16391, the quart is 16389.
Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
on 7/23/2009 6:14 PM (ET) Nova wrote the following:

http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5856.html?keywords e%2016385

$32.50 for a half pint?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
willshak wrote:

A case of 6 - 1/2 pints.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
on 7/23/2009 6:44 PM (ET) Nova wrote the following:

I guess I skipped over that part.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Four qts for $38.87 at
http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5857.html
2 gals for $47.54 at
http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5858.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
on 7/23/2009 7:36 PM (ET) Scott Lurndal wrote the following:

http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5857.html
http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5858.html
Even better, A 55 gallon drum for $98.95 Nah. Just kidding. :-)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Nova wrote:

http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ace-great-finishes-interior-all-purpose-varnish-p-5856.html?keywords e%2016385
Ha! Thanks. But it looks like the 'droid who spoke to me would know the difference...
I was looking on this site: http://www.acehardware.com/home/index.jsp?cid=PPC:76293361
Notice the different URLs: "acehardwaresuperstore" vs. "acehardware"
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

I'd think any of the Ace employees should be able to look up the UPC code when it's manufactured by their corporation. If you want it they should be able to order it.
On second thought, you might have to ask for the manager...
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
HeyBub wrote:

BTW:
http://www.acehardware.com/paintHub/product.jsp?c e&p=stain&productId0
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Acehardware is the "official" online store for the Ace hardware chain. Acehardwaresuperstore is the online site of an individual franchisee. If I remember correctly, they pre-existed the launch of the chain's official store and were granfathered in. While Ace franchisees are relatively independent, I don't believe that new ones are allowed to open their own online storefronts using the Ace name.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Or if it is a franchise store, that particular store orders it from a different source.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.