Waterbase Finishing Schedule

A step-by-step flow chart of water based finishing.


Special waterbase application tip

Waterbase finish doesn't look wet and glossy as you're spraying, unlike nitrocellulose lacquer. Be careful not to lay it on too thick, looking for that glossy wetness. Good lighting is very important. Spray light coats, carefully overlap your spray pattern by 1/3-1/2 for coverage with uniform thickness.

This newly-sprayed coat is wet, but looks dry and pebbly (like orange peel).

Moments later, it turns wet and glossy.

When finally dry, it turns satin-smooth.
Wood preparation
Clean surface of dust and oils.
Sand to 220-grit.

Stain (optional)
ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stain
Dissolved in water or alcohol.

Porous wood
Rosewood, Mahogany,
Ash, Koa, Walnut, etc.
Non-porous wood
Maple, Spruce, Alder,
Ebony, Basswood, etc.

Washcoat (optional)
1-2 coats • 2 hours apart
Thin down sanding sealer for a wash coat by mixing it 50:50 with water.
ColorTone Waterbase Sanding Sealer

Grain filler
Fill wood. Sand with 320-grit before next coat.
ColorTone Grain Filler

Sanding sealer
3-4 coats • 2 hours apart
Sanding between coats is not required, except to remove surface defects. Level-sand last coat of sealer with 600-grit sandpaper to prepare surface for top coats. Allow final sealer coats to dry 12 hours prior to topcoats.
ColorTone Waterbase Sanding Sealer

Color coats (optional)
ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stain
or ColorTone Liquid Pigment for Waterbase Lacquer
can be added to sanding sealer or lacquer steps.
1-3 coats • 2 hours apart

Clear topcoats
4-6 coats • 2 hours apart
The total number of top coats is subjective to the final finish required by the builder. Sand with 600-grit sandpaper to remove surface defects.
Allow to cure for one week prior to sanding and buffing.
ColorTone Waterbase Lacquer

Wet-sand and buff
Allow finish to cure for one week
Wet sand with 1200-grit and finer sanding papers.
Buff to a high gloss.

Tips on buffing