Scared first. $20/quart? Which state before I guess? The one I lived in for 20 years and I hope falls into the Pacific Ocean?
Nope. I'm on the other coast in a small sea side town where the local hardware store is infamous for doubling the prices on everything. I can access material from other sources, but it takes some planning and travel, so once again, it doesn't lend itself to random trial and error.
Is this cedar/redwood interior or exterior? Are you trying to prime with the intent of staining over it with either a semi-transparent or solid color stain (shouldn't need a primer)? Do you plan to paint (definitely need a primer for the paint to stick to)? Or are you just trying to seal and waterproof it to hault further discoloration?
The cedar and redwood is exterior trim that will be painted. But it is imperitive to seal the wood, particularly some pine stuff like window sash and doors, against moisture intrusion. I have serious moisture intrusion problems because as I said I live in a sea side town. Because of this I have been using alkyd primers under acrylic top coats. In the past I have tried water based primers and found them to be too pourous to moisture, but that was a few years back so advances may have been made.
You are not skimping on using a decent brush just because it is primer are you?
Nope. I started out with a top quality synthetic bristle brush that I used to favor for my old style primers and top coats. That didn't work out too well so I went to a very expensive china bristle, but that was no better. I tried a semi-cheap nylon blend bristle brush hoping because of its softness it might not leave as many brush marks, but the results of using a cheap brush are predictable enough. In desperation I tried a foam brush figuring no bristles maybe equals no brush marks.
Believe it or not the cheap foam brush works the best so far, but it takes a different technique to deliver the primer to the work surface than a regular brush. To begin with I add a little turps to the paint. I dip the foamie into the paint, and then I sort of mush it out along a short section of the work piece to sqeeze the paint out of the sponge. Next I spread the paint out using cris-cross strokes paying close attention to getting an even thinkness and no care at all to neat brush strokes or direction. Finally I tip it off with a touch so light it barely touches the paint. Doing this I get a reasonable film tickness and instead of leaving brush marks I get a kind of fine grain to the surface. I can overcoat that without sanding to build up a couple of coats.
The current alkyd primer formulations don't sem to wet out as well as the old stuff and one aspect of this is that the regular brushes I have tried won't pick up or hold the paint when you want them to, but the sponge brush will do so quite readily. Because of that you have to be careful not to pick up most of the coat you just applied as you tip off.
But it isn't a great system. It is smelly with the turps, and painting with a foam brush.... well... you know...
I have to look around for a MAB store. I don't recall ever seeing that line of paints or stains.
EDIT: I just found out they are a regional manufacturer of coatings around the Philly area. I don't think I can get it easily where I am, but I will keep looking.
I'll have to look for the Zinsser Smart Prime. If I can get a little of it I'll give it a try, but I am skeptical about a water based primer giving me the moisture sealing properties I require. What are your specific experiences with it in that regard? Have you used it in exterior applications subjected to tough wet weather conditions? How long have you been using it?
In the meantime I'd love to hear from others how they are are making out with the new low VOC alkyd primers. What problems are you having? What tips and techniques can you share? What products do you like or dislike?