Varnishes are used for when looking for a clear coat finish. They are separated in groups by a prefix that indicates the adhesive.

Water-borne varnish

  • Can have  a certain level of gloss: matte, semi-matt, semi-glossy and glossy
  • Polymer as an adhesive, water as a solvent
  • Tools:  Brush, roller and spray
  • Usage: Indoors for example wooden bulding boards, floorboards and parquet floors, furniture and toys.

Oil varnish

  • Usually a pretty glossy finish.
  • Linseed oil, tung and often resin are used as an adhesive. Wood turpentine is used as a solvent.
  • Protects wood from drying too much
  • Tools: usually a brush and sometimes also spray
  • Usage: Fits well for furniture restoration and
  • Special varnish for example varnishing boats; Adhesive: tung + phenolic resin
  • Self-flammable!

Alkyd varnish

  • Can have  a certain level of gloss: matte, semi-matt, semi-glossy and glossy
  • Adhesives: Alkyd resin or urethane resin
  • Solvents: mineral turpentine or Solvo 1
  • Tools: brush, roll and spray
  • Usage: indoors, different types of wood finishes 

Epoxy varnish, catalyzed varnish, polyurethane varnish

  • one- and two component varnishes
  • Can have  a certain level of gloss: matte, semi-glossy and glossy
  • Adhesive: Alkyd resin and amino resin.
  • Solvent: isobutanol, toluene and xylene, and also acetone
  • Tools: Spray
  • Usage: Can be used as a finish for furniture and also for parquet floors.

Nitrocellulose varnish

  • Dries in 10 min – 4 h
  • Very shiny
  • Used in the 1920’s
  • Adhesive:  nitrocellulose
  • Solvent: toluene ja acetone (mixture ratio 80/20)
  • Tools: Spray. Professional painter can use a brush.
  • Usage: Mainly used for furnitures
  • Special varnishes made also for metal surfaces


  • Traditional varnish for old furniture
  • Very shiny
  • Drying time 10 min – 4 h
  • Adhesive: natural resin
  • Solvent: Alcohol  
  • Tools: Brush and a piece of wool or cotton
  • Usage: Restoring old furniture from even the late 1700’s. Works well as insulation for different types of surfaces like parts with branches. It blocks resin from dissolving from the wood.  

Antique varnish, Tung Kinas

  • Resin reinforced tung
  • Withstands salty water and rough water conditions
  • maintains its elasticity and will not flake off
  • Can be toned to a color with colorpaste
  • Usage: Different wooden surfaces, boats, docks, log structures, outdoor furnitures and wooden buildings suitable for wet conditions
  • Solvent:  pine wood turpentine
  • Tools: mineral turpentine can be used for washing