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Painting with System Three Water-Based Linear Polyurethane Paint


I am painting the Bristol with System Three's relatively new water-based linear polyurethane paint. It is wonderful paint, with the durability, shine and color retention of Awlgrip, but without deadly fumes and much simpler mixing and cleanup. I won't repeat what is on their website about the product, but I will tell you my experience with it, good and bad. You can see examples of what I am painting:

System Three WR-LPU Color Card, Painting Instructions



It is very hard paint. As hard and durable as any other LPU paint.

It is very hard paint, and grows harder after curing for about a week, so like any other LPU system, it is difficult to sand. Paint that you have added the crosslinker to for the finished coats, is a finish that is extremely difficult to sand.

It is not latex house paint. I have read on several boat building discussion boards of various opinions that it is. That is total nonsense. Water-based enamels and LPU's have been in use in this country and around the world for the past dozen or so years. Every car that comes off an assembly line now uses water-based paint. The strict VOC emission laws demand it. The most expensive German luxury cars are painted with water-based LPU. The only industries that still cling to solvent based LPU paints seem to be marine and aviation, and those will soon enough fall under the scrutiny of the EPA and regulated VOC emissions.  So understand that this is not bleeding-edge technology and believe me when I say that the product is as good as Awlgrip, or any other LPU paint system. Try it and see for yourself...

It is cold weather paint, making it difficult to use in Florida. Now that being said, solvent based LPU is probably as difficult to work with in temps above 75 degrees. The advantage that SystemThree has is that it is thinned with water which doesn't evaporate the way reducers do in solvent based LPU paints (so once you have the right dilution it remains consistent and doesn't require continuous adjustment of the chemistry).

It dries very quickly.

It dries very quickly.

It has no odor so bugs are not attracted to wet paint.

Bugs travel for miles if I even open a can of Awlgrip.

It is a base coat, clear coat system, like automotive paint. What this means to the boat owner is that repairs of small areas are very simple and can be invisible if done carefully. Unlike Awlgrip that is impossible to feather a patch into the surrounding paint, with SystemThree, just sand the area, repaint with the base coat and feather the clear coat finish.

The clear coat provides the same level of brilliance as sprayed Awlgrip, but adds additional UV filters to what is already in the base coat. It works well as a clear protected, super hard finish over epoxy encapsulated brightwork, and goes over any kind of paint or varnish that I have experimented with. I am using the satin clear on all the interior wood in the cabin. You can see examples here.

If you want a satin finish, you can apply a satin clear coat. If you want a flat finish, just use the color without the clear coat.

It is expensive, about the same as Awlgrip or the other solvent-based LPU's.

The equipment set up I use for painting includes a Wagner HVLP 2600 3-Stage system, an extra 12-ft length of hose that I run thru an ice chest of ice water, and the standard gun that comes with the Wagner system.


Copyright 2005 - 2014 by David Browne, all rights reserved, hosted in USA