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Expert's Corner — finish

Enhance the Appearance of Wood With Stains

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Enhance the Appearance of Wood With Stains

While there are some woodworkers who might cringe at the thought of staining wood, there are good reasons why you might want to do so. Some lighter colored woods, such as poplar, alder, beech, and birch do tend to look somewhat bland, and can benefit from a dash of color. Who hasn't bought a load of wood, only to find, after milling, a disappointing variation in the color - staining can even out the tone of the wood. When building new furniture or cabinetry to match existing pieces, staining might be the only way to blend the two. And, with...

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TIP: Brushing Onto a Vertical Surface

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TIP: Brushing Onto a Vertical Surface

Here’s a trick for avoiding runs when brushing a finish onto a vertical surface. Brush back over the areas where the finish is so thick that it runs to pick up some of the excess with the brush’s bristles. Then wipe off this excess onto a clean cloth you hold in your other hand, as shown in the accompanying picture. You may need to do this several times to remove enough finish so it doesn’t run anymore. Always remember that you can’t see what is happening on the brushed surface unless you look at it in a reflected light. You...

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TIP: How to Avoid Runs and Sags

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You should never have runs or sags drying in your finish whether you’re brushing or spraying. The way to achieve this level of perfection is to watch the surface you’re brushing or spraying in a reflected light. You may need to arrange some lights or move your body and your head often to see what’s happening. With a reflection you can see easily when a finish begins sagging or running. Then it’s a simple matter of using your brush (even if you’re spraying) to remove the problem. Lift the excess finish off the surface with the brush and spread it...

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TIP: Lacquer Over Glaze

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As long as you are using a spray gun for application and lacquer for your finish, you don’t have to let an oil-based glaze dry overnight before applying the finish. You can do it fairly quickly, without problems. The trick is to mist some thinned lacquer onto the glaze after the thinner in the glaze has evaporated (the glaze dulls) but before the oil or varnish binder begins oxidizing and becomes tacky. Unless the glaze is thick, in which case this trick might not work, the lacquer incorporates the uncured glaze and bonds to the coat underneath. After the mist...

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Spraying Latex Paint with HVLP Systems

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Spraying Latex Paint with HVLP Systems

HVLP systems are not designed to spray heavier bodied latex paint. However, with some understanding you can successfully do so. The viscosity (thickness) of latex paint makes it hard for spray guns to fully atomize the paint, meaning that it's difficult with a lower pressure turbine unit to break the material up into small enough particles to get an ultra smooth surface. It is essential that you use a good 4 or 5-stage turbine simply for the added pressure and power. The second thing is to use a larger needle/nozzle. A 1.8mm or larger works best. You will also want...

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