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Expert's Corner — air

TIP: Durable Finish for Enclosed Spaces

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TIP: Durable Finish for Enclosed Spaces

A key factor in choosing a finish for an enclosed space such as a drawer, cabinet interior, humidor or a small room such as a wine or liquor cellar is residual odor. All types of varnishes and lacquers outgas smelly solvents for many days or weeks depending on the thickness applied, the temperature, and the air movement. If you can’t allow that much time, you need to choose another finish. The two that will leave the least residual odor are shellac and water-based finish. Both contain solvents that evaporate fairly slowly (alcohol in shellac and glycol ether in water-based finish),...

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Step Up to Spray Finishing

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Step Up to Spray Finishing

The vast majority of hobbyist woodworkers, and quite a few professional woodworkers - who might only complete a project or two a month - do their finishing with brush or rag. However, as you begin to undertake more projects, or you move to larger carcass work, it's natural to start thinking about spray finishing. There are at least three good reasons for considering a switch to spray finishing. First, it's surprisingly easy to achieve a near perfect finish with spraying. With practice, you'll be able to apply the finish evenly and uniformly in a lot less time than you would...

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Finishing in Hot or Humid Weather

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It seems that one of the topics I get a tremendous amount of emails about is when folks are having issues due to the heat and humidity. A huge number of woodworkers spray their finishes outside and in doing so, are at the mercy of uncontrolled temperatures. Spraying in these conditions can be risky business. Most finishes simply do not like to be force dried. When spraying in direct sunlight the surface of the finish will skim over leaving the underlying finish still soft. The finish can then blister; this is most predominant in solvent base finishes. The surface dries...

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TIP: Tack Cloths and their Use

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TIP: Tack Cloths and their Use

Inexpensive tack cloths (tack rags) are available from most suppliers of paints and finishes. They are sticky rags meant for picking up dust, often sanding dust, from a surface just before applying a coat of finish. Here are some tips for using them. Limit their use to solvent finishes. They can cause fish-eye and bonding problems with water-based finishes because they leave an oily residue on the surface. Instead of a tack cloth, use a slightly water-dampened cloth to remove the dust when working with water-based finishes. Before using a tack cloth on sanded wood, remove the majority of the...

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Using a Viscosity Cup

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Using a Viscosity Cup

Finishes vary in viscosity (thickness in liquid form) depending on their type and formulation, and especially in temperature differences. The viscosity is thicker when the finish is cold and thinner when the finish is warm. To measure viscosity dip a viscosity cup into a finish so the cup is full. Then lift the cup out of the finish and begin timing the drainage with a stopwatch. When the stream breaks, indicating that the cup is empty, stop the timer. The number of seconds is the measure of the viscosity. There are many types of viscosity cups. Some are quite expensive....

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