Topcoats: Water Based

Visit for full product info and detailed step by step prep and application instructions. 

I fell in love with this 1950s Beautility brand cocktail sideboard as soon as I saw it and marvelled at the hideaway drinks compartment that cleverly folded out of a seemingly much too small hole! However, even though I loved it on sight and it clearly had good grain going for it, it would only become a lot clearer what a beauty it was once it was fully stripped back using paint/varnish stripper and lots of elbow grease / wire wool too! 

The fronts of the doors are a Walnut Burl...

Cherry work table from Chicago Forestry sprayed with GF Enduro-Var Topcoat in flat.

Loving the natural beauty! Belle Maison sanded it down to bare wood and sealed with GF High Performance Topcoat in satin.  
Loving this Spalted Silver Maple stool finished with General Finished Enduro-Var Water Based Urethane Topcoat by Second Life Design    

"We had the opportunity to finish this gorgeous custom build cedar table for a client. They had this table built from cedar trees that were on their property. The trees were locally milled and taken to a carpenter in the Gilbert area to be built. It was then brought to us for the finish. We used General Finishes Enduro-Var over the raw cedar to bring out the natural color of the wood. Simply stunning!" - Painted Paradise, by Duke Interiors and Restoration

Totally awesome beer caddy finished with GF Enduro-Var and Lamp Black Milk Paint by Vetere Custom Woodworks.        

Check out this nifty modern dining table project by Johnny Brooke of Crafted Workshop at! Completed with General Finishes Enduro-Var Urethane topcoat in Satin.

"This solid oak table set was refinished using General Finishes Espresso Water Based Wood Stain on the top and Antique White Milk Paint on the base and chairs. It was then distressed to highlight all of the edges and really give it that farmhouse look! We sealed the whole thing with GF High Performance Satin." - Painted Paradise - Antiques, Vintage, and Repurposed Furniture

Painted Paradise auctioned this set to raise money for their local church's efforts in Honduras - such a noble...

Jeremy Harnish Designer Finishes used his Craftsman Finishes technique and finished this AMAZING Black Walnut staircase built by Horst Architects with General Finishes Enduro-Var Flat.   Learn more about GF's Enduro-Var water based topcoat here:    
"Top coat is so important!! It of course protects your piece from wear and tear but for stained wood it really makes it shine! My go-to topcoat is High Performance by General Finishes. It's water based so make sure your oil based stain is completely dry! Comes in many different sheens from flat to gloss. (One coat of gloss shown here). Sand lightly between coats for that super smooth finish." - Indigo Lane Furniture   When using a water based product over an oil based product, such as...
Loving this modern beach house look by Craftsman Finishes. The doors, jambs and baseboards are gorgeous Honduran Mahogany that have been stained with GF RTM (Ready to Match) Water Based Stain System and sealed with flat Enduro-Var topcoat. The stair treads have been sealed with General Finishes Pro-Image Flooring Topcoat as well.    

"This Dixie 5-Drawer Dresser has been given my new specialty finish I’m calling 'Brick Beauty.' Started with a base coat of General Finishes Lamp Black, and a top coat of Brick Red Milk Paint with some distressing here and there to show the black through and give a rustic look. Above that I added Glaze Effects, Red Sienna, to add just a lil' something extra, adding to the overall 'Brick Beauty' look. The pulls and knobs have been given a rich black look to finish off this piece and tie it...

"General Finishes Milk Paint in Driftwood with High Performance Top Coat in Flat. As always, General Finishes has not let me down." - Kim G. Designs    
"Wanted to share a picture of this set of double doors. They are about 7 ft. tall by 6ft. wide, and feature mahogany, walnut, cherry, maple, and white oak. No dyes or stains used in this piece! It was GF Exterior 450 Topcoat only. These are actually the natural colors of the wood! Since I discovered your Exterior 450, it is all I use to finish my pieces now! Check out more cool stuff like this at " -...
"Finished a reclaimed table for a client. Used High Performance Topcoat flat and Dye Stain. Mixed dye stain in with the topcoat and applied until I got the darkness I needed then finished without the dye mixed in to add a couple more layers." - Rick Fazio Woodworking    
"Enduro Var Satin finish on natural maple burl, no final sanding or buffing it." - Bucks County Drum Co.  

"I find it Nearly Impossible to Find Words or Pictures that will do Justice to the Design and Elements Involved in the Invoke Table.  It must be Seen and Touched in Person to get the Full Experience.

A Powder Coated Welded Steel Frame is Inlaid with a Amazing Black Walnut Surface that has Undergone a sort of Natural Grain Enhancement thru Meticulous Grinding and Sanding which Creates a Virtual Wood Grain Topography.  The Walnut is then Waterfall Jointed over the Edge of the Piece and...

"California West Bow Arm Chair, Using cherry from Tennessee and quarter sawn red oak from the Indiana area we have designed a contemporary rendition of our award winning Bow Arm Chair, The back has a 5 position adjustment. Construction is all mortise and tenon to assure many lifetimes of use. Chair is covered in fabric but is also available in leather. The tapered cherry legs and through mortise's in the arms adds stunning character to the design.  This chair is a National Award Winner in...

"This is a handmade parlor guitar built for my son for his 9th birthday. The guitar components are:

Built from Parlor Guitar plan made by Scott Antes. Back and sides are Padauk. Top is Bearclaw Sitka. Ebony and Maple binding and purfling scheme. Honduran Mahogany neck. Gotoh GNS1 Tuners. Standard Parlor case w/ custom plate from a local trophy shop.

I am a relatively new builder and build guitars as a hobby. This was a special build for me because it was for my son who was...

"Live edge-pine dining set with lodgepole pine logs The top surface was finished with clear epoxy coating. All other areas are coated with General Finishes Endur-Var Semi-Gloss." - Michael Klingenmeyer

Michael entered this set into the Woodworking category of the 2016 GF Design Challenge Contest

"This hall table top is made from 3/4" solid walnut and the legs are 2" solid maple. The side aprons are maple and the front and back aprons are walnut with a band of maple. The beefy legs were rough cut with a bandsaw then shaped by hand. All wood is natural with a clear finish of GF High Performance Satin Top Coat." - Ann of Annie's Impressions

Ann entered this piece into the Woodworking category of the 2016 GF Design Challenge Contest

"The Compass Rose Coffee Table is made primarily of Macassar ebony, with an inlaid compass rose of holly and etimoe.  The compass rose is encircled by a 16-sector pie-matched grain pattern, with a waterfall edge.  The outer edge is beveled to reveal a jet black gaboon ebony detail.  The legs are ebonized poplar.

Macassar ebony is a stunning wood that is most impressive when displayed with a high-clarity mirror-like finish.  The 1920's Art Deco masterpieces by Jacques Ruhlmann are the...

We are LOVING this kitchen island countertop! Cask Woodworking custom-designed and finished this lovely in High Performance Topcoat Satin.

To learn more about this project, go to Cask's blog at

See more amazing custom-designed projects at our Design Center at

Trillium Park Designs thrill us with this charming dresser! They painted the shell of this piece in Antique White Milk Paint and High Performance Topcoat Satin.

They explain, "The top pic shows this American of Martinsville dresser in her "as found" state surrounded by the usual estate sale chotskies. The frame and drawer back panels were painted and the rest left as is. That little bit of white on the drawer fronts and frame edge make that diamond veneer pattern pop!"


Andrew Bishop of River Bottom Restoration Furniture shocked us with this astounding custom-designed island! He used HIgh Performance Topcoat Semi-Gloss to give it that natural sheen!

Andrew explains about the project, "It was incredible to have been a part of this amazing project by Tana Hergenraeder, Realtor, Century 21 Hometown Brokers. I can't believe how good my Russian Olive Waterfall...

"I'm just stopping by to say thanks for your great products: Java Gel, and High Performance Top Coats in Satin and Flat to help restore this striking sideboard! It was imported from England and designed by a respected designer of mid century pieces...Peter Hayward. It's ready for another 60 years of love and life! :) " ~ Robin of RPK Interiors   Find your favorite GF products at Rockler, Wood Essence, Klingspor, Amazon, or Lee Valley in Canada. NOTE: Woodcraft stores carry all of GF’s...

Gorgeous custom made stools finished with General Finishes Enduro-Var Varnish.

"The birdseye maple veneer was in great shape, not perfect, but pretty enough that I couldn't paint over it all. The frame and top were painted in General Finishes Lamp Black and then sealed with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in flat. A classically pretty piece of furniture." - Modern Day Vintage  
This MCM Sideboard by Phoenix Restoration of Seattle, WA was refinished with General Finishes Antique Walnut Gel Stain and satin High Performance Topcoat. Get all the details of this project at   Find your favorite GF products at Rockler, Wood Essence, Klingspor, Amazon, or Lee Valley in...
"I am so happy with how this gorgeous antique dressing table/vanity/dresser turned out! The General Finishes Nutmeg Gel Stain was exactly what was needed to bring this Eastlake style piece back to her glory. The wood was protected with their High Performance Polyurethane in a soft satin finish. As would be expected with an antique, this piece has it's marks of time, and are part of the wonderful charm. There a few nicks in the body, and the tilting mirror has a few shadowed areas, all of which...

This beautiful hand-crafted console was built by Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking and sealed with General Finishes Enduro-Var Top Coat.

This magnificent skeleton chair was built by Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking and sealed with General Finishes water based Enduro-Var Top Coat!

Enduro-Var Top Coat ambers increasingly with time and should never be used with oil based products.

Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking is a true master of his craft! Jason built this beautiful desk and sealed it with General Finishes water based Enduro-Var Top Coat.

Jason Bedre built this beautiful end table out of poplar and sealed it with General Finishes Enduro-Var Top Coat! 

Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking is a true master of his craft! Jason built this beautiful desk and sealed it with General Finishes water based Enduro-Var Top Coat.

Everything Jason Bedre touches is a work of art!

This solid cherry craftsman style vanity was built by Jason and sealed with General Finishes PreCat Urethane. 

MFG Note:
Pre Cat Urethane has been discontinued.

We recommend using High Performance as a water based sealant that dries clear, or Enduro-var as a water based sealant that ambers.

Let oil based finishes dry for 72 hours before adding High Performance. We do not...

This outstanding hand-crafted perfume maker's desk was made by Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking and sealed with General Finishes water based Enduro-Var Top Coat.

This beautiful piece was built by Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking and sealed with General Finishes water based Enduro-Var top coat. 

GF's Enduro-Var ambers increasingly with time and it should not be combined with oil based products.

This stunning hand-crafted bed by Jason of Bedre Woodworking was sealed in General Finishes Enduro-Var Top Coat.

This beautiful dresser was refinished by Evolution of Style using General Finishes Walnut Water Based Wood Stain and High Performance Satin.

"Heres a tip when painting stripes  I used a bit of the General Finishes top coat to seal the tape down so that paint doesnt bleed through. Even though Im a big fan of my Edgelock Delicate Surface Tape, I didnt want to take any chances, given the amount of work I put into this piece."

For more design tips and pictures of this project,...

"The frame of this beautiful Henredon Campaign dresser was sanded, primed, and painted in Antique White Milk Paint and sealed with several coats of High Performance Top Coat in satin. The drawer fronts were sanded and stained in Antique Walnut (Gel Stain) and finished with multiple coats of Arm-R-Seal. This classic dresser went from a heavy, dark 70s look - with quite a few dings and scratches - to a much lighter, modern feel." - Trillium Park Designs   Watch this video to learn more...

"Hey GF! Antique Walnut and HPTC in Gloss was used to restore this midcentury beauty. Thanks again for creating such an great and easy to use product."

Jason Bedre installed this custom-made bathroom counter and used Enduro-Var Waterbased Varnish as the finish.

Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking used Enduro-Var Varnish as the topcoat for this custom made entertainment center.

Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking created this custom chair and used Enduro-Var Varnish as the topcoat.

David MacIver of MacIver Carpentry and Remodeling located in Russell, MA hand crafted these built in shelves from locally sourced American Black Walnut. No stain was used! Just GF Flat Out Flat Topcoat. That natural color is amazing! David says, "Your water based products are easy on odor, dry fast and really highlight the depth and beauty of natural wood. I've only recently discovered your products, and so far love them."   Check out this video from GF to learn more about how to apply...

This magazine-worthy bed was hand-crafted by Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking and sealed with General Finishes water based Enduro-Var Top Coat.

MFG Note:
We do not recommend mixing Enduro-Var satin top coat with oil based products. 

This magazine-worthy table was crafted by Jason of Bedre Woodworking and sealed with GF Enduro-Var Top Coat.

Enduro-Var water based top coat ambers increasingly with time. We do not recommend using Enduro-Var over an oil based product. 

Jason Bedre of Bedre Woodworking sealed this beautiful hand-crafted box with GF Enduro-Var Top Coat.

We do not recommend using Enduro-Var on the same project as oil based finishes.

This fantastic solid maple entertainment center was transformed by Adam Nowicki of Empire Woodworks using GF products.

Adam's Approach:
1) Applied a trans tin and water mixture for an initial layer of color.

2) Sprayed a toner created by combining GF's Enduro-Var Top Coat diluted by 20% and mixed with trans tint.

3) Applied GF's Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects over the entire piece and wiped away with a paper towel.

4) Sprayed Enduro-Var...