Hot New Tools Issue 71: Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint

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This article is from Issue 71 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Furniture Paint

15 colors to choose from
Pint $19.99
Quart $32.99

Guard Dog Topcoat (matte & satin)

Pint $19.99
Quart $32.99

A paint that doesn’t require standard surface-prep steps like stripping off old finish, sanding, or priming might sound too good to be true, but it isn’t. Labelled under different monikers depending on the manufacturer, these hassle-free “furniture paints” are specially formulated to adhere to finished wood, metal, and plastic; provide single-coat coverage; and dry to a smooth, dead-flat finish. Woodcraft has teamed up with the finishing pros at Black Dog Salvage to develop their own low-prep, water-based paint to compete in this popular finishing category. Always looking for a product that promises less prep work and faster finishing, I was willing to crack open a few cans and share my first impressions.

I found that the paint’s thickness required time to get used to. Most latex paints have a cream-like consistency, but the high-solid content of the Black Dog paint makes this finish more akin to a thick sauce or gravy. The paint was too thick for my entry-level sprayer, but I was able to achieve a satisfyingly smooth finish with a brush by laying on the paint and allowing it to level itself out. While the paint lived up to its one-coat promises, I was also pleased to discover how well it filled and hid scratches. New projects may not need this help, but second-hand furniture often does.

To test the adhesion claims, I pitted Black Dog against my favorite latex paints and traditional milk paint on samples of bare wood, finished wood, laminate, plastic, and glass. While all the paints worked well on bare wood, the furniture paint led the pack on the slipperiest substrates. Where the latex yielded to fingernail scratches, and milk paint fell off in flakes, the Black Dog paint held fast. It’s worth noting that excellent adhesion doesn’t correlate with stain resistance. Like other flat paints, the furniture paint should be top-coated, in this case with the Black Dog’s compatible acrylic poly, for protection.

Future plans for Black Dog Paints extend beyond one-color paint jobs. The paints are designed to lend themselves to a variety of decorative painting techniques, including distressing and color washing. In addition, the “true” color palette makes it easy to blend the paints to create any custom color or hue.

If you’ve missed this advancement in wood finishing, now’s a good time to treat yourself to a can. To learn more about what these paints can do, stay tuned.

—Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk

Established in 1999, Black Dog Salvage is a major architectural salvage company based in Roanoke, Virginia, and is home of the television show, Salvage Dawgs. Black Dog’s wood and metal shop specializes in saving pieces of history from landfills by transforming them into custom furniture, design accents, and other upcycling projects


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