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Thread: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

  1. #1
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    Default Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    I am refinishing an exterior wooden restaurant sign that I made in 2014 (used S3 gloss varnish then with no issues). Process has been sanding down the old varnish to clean wood, did 2 coats thinned with mineral spirits, 3 coats now full strength. Every coat that goes on is NOT glossy. The surface goes to a dull sheen as it dries. I've used S3 varnish for the last 4 years with no issues on signs and benches. I'm stumped.

    The can does say glossy on it. The liquid varnish is perfectly clear amber.
    I've used different natural bristle brushes to make sure it wasn't a brush issue.
    I have always removed small amounts of varnish from the can with fresh medicine cups, just the amount I need each coat. Never poured back in.
    I've tried different cups that hold the varnish during brushing.
    I've traced back to find the can was purchased in Aug 2015 and I know from whom.
    This was the first use of this can.
    I have stirred the can with a wooden stick even though gloss really doesn't need it since nothing settles. The stir stick is glossy once dry. But the coats on the sign are not.
    Shop temp is about 65*F.

    The coats have taken so much longer to dry than any previous project ever.

    I can only assume that this can is bad somehow. Any thoughts?
    Last edited by bnaboatbuilder; 03-05-2018 at 01:39 PM.
    - John

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Call S3.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Yep, did but "all reps are busy, please leave a message"

    Just thought I would ask the community as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Call S3.
    - John

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Since you have done nothing that is, obviously wrong, I would suspect brush contamination.
    Jay

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Quote Originally Posted by bnaboatbuilder View Post
    Yep, did but "all reps are busy, please leave a message"

    Just thought I would ask the community as well.

    If I had to take a stab in the dark
    , I'd say cheap recycled thinner.

    But, really, diagnosing finishing issues is not easy. If you have a live conversation with the experts, they can walk you thru your experience, and potentially pinpoint the trouble. To do so by typing back and forth would take days/weeks.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Spoke with S3. The can I bought new in Aug 2015 was in fact already 6 years old by their batch number, so now it's 9 yrs old. It came from an online retailer. Won't make that mistake again. Time for some fresh cans.
    - John

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Because the finish is drying glossy on the stir stick makes me think that you didn't prep the surface well or it has a contaminant. I suggest that you try applying the finish to a test panel that is not your sign. Use clean wood, well sanded, clean the dust off well. If after a three coats you have gloss, then my first guess is right. If no gloss, then it's probably the finish itself.

    Jeff

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Quote Originally Posted by bnaboatbuilder View Post
    Spoke with S3. The can I bought new in Aug 2015 was in fact already 6 years old by their batch number, so now it's 9 yrs old. It came from an online retailer. Won't make that mistake again. Time for some fresh cans.
    Glad you got it sorted!
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Can the poster please change the title of the thread so it does not sound like S3's fault. Thanks
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Well, not sure why since it was an issue with the varnish. Perhaps if they would put a date that humans would understand and also say when the product might no longer be usable then that would be helpful. So what exactly is wrong with the title in your view?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton B Chase View Post
    Can the poster please change the title of the thread so it does not sound like S3's fault. Thanks
    - John

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    The retailer should not have such old varnish on their shelf! i.e., it is not a flaw in the manufacturing of the varnish.
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    At no point did I say it was a flaw. I began the thread to find if anyone else had an idea of what might be the cause of the issue, but no one had the right answer in this one case. So now what we all know is that S3 varnish does have a shelf life, we know that it's possible to purchase a can new and it actually be no where near new, it's possible to open a "new" can less than 3 years from buying and it look perfectly fine and it not be fine. Again, the fault can easily be placed on both the retailer and S3. It would be smart of S3 to put dates of manufacture that WE CAN UNDERSTAND and also state an approximate acceptable life of use. None of those things are unreasonable. How is a purchaser ever to know that a new can is already 6 years old?

    I have already ordered more S3 varnish so I can complete the project. At no point have I disparaged S3 and have no intention to. Suggesting that cans be marked for us to know proper information is perfectly acceptable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton B Chase View Post
    The retailer should not have such old varnish on their shelf! i.e., it is not a flaw in the manufacturing of the varnish.
    - John

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    It would be really nice if a consumer could pick up a bottle of glue or a can of varnish and easily see if it is out of date, kind of like milk and meat at the market.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    But...... if the stir stick ends up with hard, glossy varnish on it, then I would suspect that the problem is somewhere else in your system (like maybe the thinner used). I've never noticed any serious changes in old paint or varnish in unopened cans. What exactly did S3 say would normally happen to old stock?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    If you can simply rename the thread to "Issue with System Three Varnish: solved" or "issue found" I think it would be good.

    I know if one of my products that I worked very hard on to get right was put out there on a Forum like this with the title "Issue with System Three..." people would read right past it and become ill informed.
    Clinton B. Chase
    Portland, Maine

    http://tinyurl.com/myboats

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Ditto to what Todd said. I've never known a can of varnish to go bad from old age. Gelling in the can due to thinner contamination or skinning over due to air in the can, yes, but a never-opened can, no. I've got "new old stock" varnish that I've had squirreled away for years and years with no ill effects. If it dries glossy on a popsicle stick, it ought to do the same on your sign. Your problem isn't in the can, it's somewhere between the can and the sign.

    Of course, if we can get the varnish manufacturers to put "use by" dates on their varnish like the grocers put on a can of peas, we could then score our varnish from the dumpsters out back of WasteMarine for free.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Ditto Todd and Bob's comments.

    I've not used this particular product. I did not realize system3 sold any products to be adulterated with mineral spirits.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Issue with System Three Gloss Varnish

    Not sure what else to say other than it's written on the can:



    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    Ditto Todd and Bob's comments.

    I've not used this particular product. I did not realize system3 sold any products to be adulterated with mineral spirits.
    - John

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