Different, but very effective and easy to use
Reviewed Aug 2016
A water-based product that's tough and long lasting? Aquacote is both, and having just spent days sanding, I can tell you it is very hard once cured. I first started using it over 15 years ago, so I do have some history here.
While it might be hard to sand off, Aquacote is easy to apply. The most difficult part is getting your head around the instructions, which are very different to most paint systems. Basically, once the surface is prepped, you just add a few drops of cross-linker to whatever quantity of paint you're using, stir and use.
Boatcraft Pacific, the suppliers, suggest using a foam brush, and this seems the best option. As the paint is initially very thin, the action is more one of gently sponging it on, rather than brushing. You don't need to be an expert to get a good finish, but do need to apply several thin coats. Too much product = runs.
Pot life is 4-6 hours, but if you don't use all the mixed paint, just return it to the original container. Yes, that's right - the cross-linker loses its effect. I have no idea of the science, but this seems extremely clever. Long pot life lets you get a couple of coats on (2-4 hours between coats), with no worries about mixing too much. No wastage. Water clean up, low fumes and dries to a tough, durable surface. Oh, and in hot weather at least, it is touch dry within half an hour so you can go on working around your new paint with no fear of dust sticking to it.
Being water based Aquacote can be sent by mail, which is handy, because there are few distributors. Having to deal with the factory isn't a hassle - the guys there are really knowledgeable, and importantly for some of us, are not patronising to beginners or women. That's refreshingly different, as is the product. Highly recommend it.