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Old 12-26-2009, 02:12 AM   #1
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


A head's up to anyone looking for a good interior alkyd primer.

I was looking to prime some raw wood doors and trim and also some older doors and trim that had layers of old paint, both oil and latex together. I needed a primer to bond to raw wood and also to the older paints and provide a surface for new acrylic/latex paints to be top coated onto.

I had gotten a lot of recommendations for Zinsser's Coverstain, an alkyd primer. It seemed to be the consensus. People were singing it's praises left and right. So I innocently bought some. It was one of the most frustrating painting experiences I have had in my lifetime. Now, I will not say I am a professional house painter by any means, but I have painted my share of walls and I am into my third decade as a fine artist in oil paints, where there's lots of priming going on and a lot of feel and sensitivity for paints.

The Coverstain is a very 'ropey' product. In my opinion, it is not made for fine interior work when applied by a brush. I used high quality Purdy white bristle brushes and could not get this paint to level and lay down smooth no matter what I tried. It was a head scratcher for sure. I thinned it with most known common petroleum base thinners and also Penetrol, and in conbination....but to no avail. NOTHING made this paint remotely manageable. I got bristle marks from the brush, prominent grooves no matter what I added to it and these were hell to sand out. The closest I got was thinning it down so much with mineral spirits that it was applied in an anemic film that barely functioned as a primer should. I can only assume this product is best applied sprayed. I struggled with this more than I have ever struggled with a paint in my lifetime, cursing it endlessly. It stinks to high heaven as well, I mean has an other worldy stench...it REALLY stinks for an oil based product. I'm sure it has a purpose, but Coverstain and I locked horns. I gave it every opportunity but in the end I could not get this to apply smoothly buy brush...and believe me, I tried based on all the glowing recommendations.

Thoroughly fed up, and hungry for advice, I spoke with the Benjamin Moore Paints technical support line and also spoke with the head technician for a chain of NYC paint stores called Janovich Plaza: a gent named Simon. Benjamin Moore #217 Underbody Primer was mentioned by both these sources and Simon really gave me the lowdown on not only these primers, but Coverstain.

I bought the Ben Moore Underbody #217 and I have not looked back. It is as if I have woken from a bad dream. It flows and levels very good, it is ductile and forgiving with a variety of thinners. I use Penetrol and some Mineral Spirits or Naptha to thin it down a bit and help it level. It dries rapidly enough, it has the smell one expects from oil paint (but by no means does it smell like it was concocted in Hades by the devil himself, like Coverstain). Brushing it on is a pleasure. It sands wonderfully and powders up easily resolving itself into a very smooth surface with little fuss. It is in no way finicky. It accepts topcoats from acrylic/latex paints superbly. In a nutshell, it does what it is supposed to do. One does not need to over-think this product or fight with it. It is compliant with those ancient tools...sticks with hair. It is a little pricey at about $40/gallon with tax, but it is well worth it. I'm planning to prime some bookcases with it shortly as well.

To those looking for an interior alkyd base primer, do yourself a favor and try the Ben Moore #217.

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Old 12-26-2009, 06:52 AM   #2
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


Didn't I suggest this originally instead of the cover stain?

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Old 12-27-2009, 03:42 PM   #3
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


Chris, I thought you had suggested the BM #202, Stain Blocking Primer (if not I stand corrected)? I didn't have an opportunity to try that product.

The gent at the Ben Moore technical service line recommended two primers for the sort of work I was doing for raw wood and old paint: the #024 and #217. I can't comment on the #202 or the #024 as I didn't have an opportunity to see them perform.

There's been a lot of time pressure on this project which isn't how I prefer to do things. Once the #217 was in hand it did precisely what I needed so I looked no further. That's not to say there's not other primers on the market that would perform as well or better than the #217, but I didn't have the luxury of sampling them.

I did prime some raw wood trim with the Zinsser Bin 123, it applied well for what it is (waterbase): I did TWO prime coats with scuff sand in between (I haven't top coated this primer yet). But the #217 is on another plane: it sands like a dream, is ductile with various thinners, levels reliably, brushes wonderfully, covers well, and doesn't REEK, yet the one negative is it's a little pricey at roughly $40/gallon out the door. I got what I paid for in this instance and I would gladly dish over triple the $15 or so premium paid over the Coverstain to regain the time and sanity Coverstain extracted from me!
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:17 AM   #4
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


[quote=Lovegasoline;372638]Chris, I thought you had suggested the BM #202, Stain Blocking Primer (if not I stand corrected)? I didn't have an opportunity to try that product.

Yea, that was probably right

The gent at the Ben Moore technical service line recommended two primers for the sort of work I was doing for raw wood and old paint: the #024 and #217. I can't comment on the #202 or the #024 as I didn't have an opportunity to see them perform.

There's been a lot of time pressure on this project which isn't how I prefer to do things. Once the #217 was in hand it did precisely what I needed so I looked no further. That's not to say there's not other primers on the market that would perform as well or better than the #217, but I didn't have the luxury of sampling them.

I did prime some raw wood trim with the Zinsser Bin 123, it applied well for what it is (waterbase): I did TWO prime coats with scuff sand in between (I haven't top coated this primer yet). But the #217 is on another plane: it sands like a dream, is ductile with various thinners, levels reliably, brushes wonderfully, covers well, and doesn't REEK, yet the one negative is it's a little pricey at roughly $40/gallon out the door. I got what I paid for in this instance and I would gladly dish over triple the $15 or so premium paid over the Coverstain to regain the time and sanity Coverstain extracted from me![/quote]


I certainly wold not argue that
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Old 09-01-2013, 02:10 AM   #5
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


Reliving some memories of painting projects past, and thought to give this thread a bump so as to expose perplexed priming gentlemen and ladies to this dreamy smile creating nectar of life.

The venerable number 217!
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Old 09-01-2013, 06:55 AM   #6
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


Please don't bump old threads. Thank you.
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:17 AM   #7
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


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Please don't bump old threads. Thank you.
Yea, we've beenthere already.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:37 PM   #8
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


I don't mind this one coming up again---I have an ugly priming job coming up and need this kind of help--
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:40 PM   #9
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


Old relevant informative threads are better than writing it all over again...
We do want to encourage the use of the search function...

BM alkyd underbody is the s!!t. But with less tolerant noses I have turned to other primers- but this is the ultimate standard- paired with old Oil Satin Impervo it was bulletproof!
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:25 PM   #10
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


I will say this, Cover Stain is one pain in the butt to work with without thining it some.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:06 AM   #11
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


If you want to prime raw int wood with oil- the BM underbody is TONS better than CS can dream of. Period. Opacity- don't count on it- sands to a babys bottom though.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:24 AM   #12
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


BM alkyd underbody is the s!!t. But with less tolerant noses I have turned to other primers- but this is the ultimate standard- paired with old Oil Satin Impervo it was bulletproof!

absolutely
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:40 PM   #13
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


FYI, here's a thread I started which preceded this one and that details my efforts to tame Zinsser's Cover Stain. I do not present it as gospel but rather a chronicle of one do-it-yourselfer's experience. YMMV (but mine never did):

Zinsser Cover Stain Sucks

I didn't intend this as a slam on the manufacturer and add that I've had great performance and value from other Zinsser products.

Last edited by Lovegasoline; 09-04-2013 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:11 PM   #14
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
FYI, here's a thread I started which preceded this one and that details my efforts to tame Zinsser's Cover Stain. I do not present it as gospel but rather a chronicle of one do-it-yourselfer's experience. YMMV (but mine never did):

Zinsser Cover Stain Sucks

I didn't intend this as a slam on the manufacturer as add that I've had great performance and value from other Zinsser products.
Their bathroom paint sucks. Last summer we had some provided to do 6 bathrooms per floor of a 7 story building. 2 coats of white over existing white and it still doesn't look right. The cut and rolls with that stuff never match up.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:52 AM   #15
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In Praise Of Benjamin Moore Underbody Alkyd Primer #217


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Their bathroom paint sucks. Last summer we had some provided to do 6 bathrooms per floor of a 7 story building. 2 coats of white over existing white and it still doesn't look right. The cut and rolls with that stuff never match up.

Did you do a scientific comparison with ,say, BM bathroom paint before generally saying it sucks

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