My regulars know I’ve been experimenting with oil this past year as part of my quest to say goodbye to topcoats, particularly over light/white surfaces. If you missed it, I wrote a detailed post about how to set up your space to paint with oil and you can read about that here:
When it comes to oil-based paints, my ultimate goal is to paint with Fine Paints of Europe … most (not all) of the time … because of the unbeatable gloss. However, I am open to other paints because not everyone loves high gloss. And, high-gloss-anything tends to be the most difficult to work with. I will never give up WB paints because they are so fast – I can turn around a WB project in one day. Oil is 1 week minimum – that assumes no mistakes or fixes.
I recently worked on a campaign style desk that I wanted to paint green. I didn’t want to go with FPOE because saturated colors are trickier and this wasn’t a piece that I felt HAD to be glossy. I just knew it HAD to be green. I probably would’ve just painted in General Finishes, but I didn’t feel like their Emerald Green was quite right – so I chose Amazon Moss by Benjamin Moore. I walked in to the store fully intending to buy Aura like I used on this piece:
And I was going to topcoat the paint with General Finishes. I SO wish that ProClassic could be mixed in colors that require a deep base because that is my favorite WB non-furniture paint that is awesome for furniture. My guess is that SW knows saturated colors are a problem and therefore doesn’t make it available in certain pigments because that would ruin the reputation this paint has. Smart move.
At Benjamin Moore, your options that can work for furniture are:
- Aura + Topcoat (WB)
- Advance (Hybrid Waterborne Alkyd)
- Satin Impervo (Alkyd).
There was no way in heck I was going to buy Advance… we all know Advance sucks. There. I said it. My unfiltered opinion about Advance. Emphasis on opinion…don’t get upset if you like Advance. If you want my filtered opinion, you can read that link in the previous sentence. But in short – when it comes to furniture, Advance is not a good choice, particularly with saturated colors. It never cures – you’d be better off painting your furniture in syrup because they are both about as sticky after a few days. To be fair, it is a decent product in light colors, but I find that it’s hard to spray without a bunch of texture issues. I have heard that the satin finish in Advance is easier to work with and cures better, but I cannot personally attest to this. Brushing Advance (thinned) seems to be the best way to apply the product. I would definitely use it on household trim….just not furniture.
Despite my plan to purchase Aura, I somehow left with Satin Impervo. It was an impulse decision. I hadn’t seen anyone in my circle of painting friends using this paint for furniture, so I hoped it wasn’t a terrible mistake – and decided to give it a go – for better or worse.
The first coat was sprayed with my Critter, thinned with LT, extended with Penetrol. Here’s a video I shared to IG showing the sprayer in action spraying Satin Impervo.
Here is the desk when I saw it at a thrift store;
Spraying that desk with the Critter took forever. Seven drawer fronts, front and back of desk and the inside “kneehole” area. I was probably spraying for close to an hour. The paint sprayed decently – it did not struggle, but after it dried, it was SO STREAKY. I didn’t want to spend another hour in the booth, so I decided to try spraying with the HVLP (1.4mm) for coat #2 and it was much easier and faster, however, the OP (orange peel) was baaaaad. I had to spray a third coat (and buy more paint) – and that coat was also sprayed with the HVLP, but I sanded down between coats 2-3 to try and eliminate some OP. I thinned the paint probably 40% for the final coat and it sprayed well. Not perfect, but it was easy. No fuss. No drips. No weird fisheye reaction. Just easy.
After the 3rd coat, I called the project done even though it doesn’t have that perfect FPOE surface. But, for a low-lustre satin sheen, perfection isn’t quite as important… and it doesn’t look bad. It’s a pretty desk!
I will definitely use the product again and highly recommend it as in introductory paint if you want to try oil. When I use it again, I will use mineral spirits as a thinner. I believe the lacquer thinner I used was too hot which was probably why the orange peel was so bad. I may try spraying with my 2.2mm needle just to see if that helps, but the combination of MS + larger needle is likely to lead to drips/sags. It’s definitely a balancing game.
Satin Impervo Oil Enamel
Available in any color
Sprays well with HVLP
Available anywhere there’s a Benjamin Moore location
Super easy to work with as far as oil goes (though I am still working on finding the right balance for thinning and spray tip size).
Seems to not go as far as other paint in the same size (I had to buy two quarts for one desk)
Limited to “Satin” sheen (they discontinued the gloss sheen)
While thinking through what I like/don’t like about this paint, I put together this chart showing the different paints I’ve tried and how they compare to each other. I used to be a total Excel dork back in the day, but I am so over anything that has to do with office work. Anyway, for what it’s worth ….. here you go:
What have you tried and what are your favs? Comment and share!
Thanks for reading!