Wood Coatings

About Wood Coatings

Typically used in the furniture, flooring, cabinet and sporting goods industry, each specific product has different uses and require different types of coatings. We stock an extensive range of wood coating products, including Stains, Nitrocellulose Lacquers & Sealers, Catalyzed Lacquers, Conversion Varnishes, Urethanes, 2K Polyurethane, Water-borne, Oil modified, Water based Clears and UV Coatings. Wood Coatings are used to enhance the natural beauty of wood grain, and improve the value. These coatings also provide greater durability and protection from the elements.

C.E. Bradley has extensive knowledge of wood coatings and a wide range of products. We can assist you in finding the correct match to suit any wood project or production you may have.


Stains come in different formulas and are applied to wood to change its color and bring out the grain. Not all stains are created equal. Each type of stain can create obvious differences in color and the way it is applied.

There are seven major types used in the wood industry today. They are oil, varnish, water-based, gel, lacquer, water-soluble dye and metal-complex dye.

Nitrocellulose Sealer & Lacquer

Nitrocellulose coating is a one-component coating which is a fast-drying alternative to wood treatments like varnishes and shellac. It is very popular because it is easy to work with and can be used both inside and outside of the home.

Very popular and widely used in the woodworking industry, it can be found with the addition of pigment as a spray-on, quick drying mixture. This makes for easy touch-ups, blends naturally with the colors of different wood grains and restores wood to a natural warm finish.

Catalyzed Lacquers

Catalyzed lacquers offer the same look and easy application that nitrocellulose lacquers offer, but they offer better resistance to water, chemicals and abrasion. The reactive finish cures chemically and not entirely through evaporation of the solvents it contains. The addition of urea resins make catalyzed lacquers more durable.

The chemical curing occurs when the acid catalyst is added to the mixture. Catalyzed lacquers come in pre-catalyzed and post-catalyzed. Both have limited shelf life according to when the catalyst gets added. 

Sales Team

John Morris – Technical Sales Engineer

Dan Laguerre – Technical Sales Engineer

Robert F. Rowinski – Technical Sales Engineer

Edward E. Rochford – Technical Sales Engineer

Conversion Varnishes

Conversion Varnish is a post-catalyzed urethane topcoat that dries clear. It provides resistance to heat and moisture. Conversion varnish is a lacquer that requires a hardening agent to be mixed in at the time of application to provide additional durability. It is chemical cured and contains a mixture of 40-60% solids.

This wood finish is best applied to high-use items that get a lot of wear, such as kitchen cupboards, bars, bathroom vanities and high moisture areas.


Urethanes, 2K Polyurethane, Water-borne, Oil modified

Urethane coatings provide a durable and water resistant finish that can enhance the look of a stained wood. It exhibits an excellent gloss and retains the color of the original stained surface it is adhered to.

Polyurethane dries clear with a transparent finish that provides a hard protective seal. It dries on the top and does not penetrate the surface as some finishes do. This creates an abrasion-resistant top coat for your wood.

There is no difference between a urethane and a polyurethane, because both are polymers that are chemical compounds made from urethane groups. Polyurethane simply has multiple urethane parts used in its mixture.

Most urethane coatings tend to bond well when applied in multiple coats. They can be applied as a spray or a brush and roll method.

Water-based Clears

Water based clear finishes were created to protect the natural beauty of wood, stained and painted surfaces. It dries quicker and clean up is easier with the use of soap and water.

A water based clear finish has a low odor and dries quicker, allowing for additional applications to be made sooner because of the dry time. Water based polyurethanes appear to be milky in color, however, they do dry clear and remain as a clear topcoat.

Water based clear finishes can be applied over water based paints. The paint must be a dead matte finish without any sheen. If there happens to be a slight sheen or gloss you must sand the surface before applying the water based clear coat to ensure adhesion will work. Water-based coatings create lower VOCs making them environmentally friendly.

UV Coatings

A UV coating is a surface treatment which is either cured by ultraviolet radiation, or one that protects the underlying material from radiation’s harmful effects. There are three options available for industrial wood finishing: 100% UV, solvent-reduced UV and water-reduced UV.

Each type can be applied by virtually any type of application. The selected method of application depends on the surface structure, the finish quality that is desired and the production rate to be achieved.

Typical Applications

The typical applications for our Wood Coatings are:

  • Fine Furniture
  • Institutional Furniture
  • Burial Caskets
  • Kitchen Cabinets
  • Hardwood Flooring
  • Turned Wood Products
  • Sporting Goods, Hockey sticks, Bowling pins, Baseball bats
  • Architectural Millworks
  • Firearms



Sporting Goods


C. E. Bradley Labs, Inc.

56 Bennett Drive
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Phone: 802-257-7971
Fax: 802-257-7070

Manufacturer of Coatings Since 1939

C.E. Bradley Laboratories, Inc. was started by the Bradley family in 1939. The Bradley family owned one of the largest woodworking / woodturning companies in New England. The laboratory was started to supply coatings for their own internal use.