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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a lot of trim to re-paint, and would like to build some shelves and built-ins, so I'm in the market for an undercoat. I've been experimenting with several primers, among them BM 217 Enamel Underbody Primer. I had high hopes for this product, a quart of which I had to special order, since I'd read nothing but good things about it here and elsewhere.

I've been disappointed. It advertises 'smooth leveling', but that hasn't been my experience with it. The finish it leaves isn't as uneven as Cover Stain's, but it's still far too brushy, and still requires fairly heavy sanding after it dries. I've tried diluting with paint thinner, but that doesn't seem to help. Neither do laying it on heavy, laying it on thin, working it a lot, or walking away from it. I'm no artist with a paint brush, but I've used several primers recently that level better, so I don't think it's me. It's not exactly a fast-drying product.

I know there are alternatives. I bought a quart of PPG Seal Grip alkyd, and it leveled out very smooth, with just a few very faint and widely-spaced brush marks, requiring only a few strokes of sandpaper to get it ready to paint. I would prefer to make this work and support a small, independent BM dealer rather than the PPG-Sherwin Borg, but I'm not sure how to do it and get what I want.

Primer - BM 217
Substrates - finger-joint pine, MDF, old hard alkyd
Brushes - 2.5" Wooster Pro white china bristle; 2" Purdy XL Dale
Thinner - 3% - 5%, using odorless spirits (no bueno) and PPG Provantage thinner.

Should I be thinning with something else such as acetone, xylene, MEK, or Naphtha? Or is there something else that accounts for why my experience with it differs so widely from what I've seen reported elsewhere?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, 217 sands very well, at least, if I follow manufacturer's directions. The recommended wet film thickness is only 3 mils, but the primer drags the brush, and can easily be laid on at 10 mils (which only results in deeper brush marks and a slow cure). Using my WFT gauge helps a lot here. At 3 mils, the brush marks are much easier to sand out, and the primer itself cures hard enough to sand all the way through its full film depth, so it's much more manageable. I still wish it leveled better, though.
 
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