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Expert's Corner — jar

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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Using Reflected Light to Advantage

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Using Reflected Light to Advantage

You should never have runs or sags in your dried finish. The trick to avoiding them is to spot them before the finish dries and remove them with a brush. The way to see runs and sags developing is to look at the surface in a reflected light, as shown in the accompanying picture. You may need to move your head, walk around, or even arrange some special lights other than the overhead lights or the light coming in through a window. Repairing Finishes Once you have spotted the problem, use a brush to brush out the excess finish even...

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TIP: Store Water-Based Brushes

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TIP: Store Water-Based Brushes

Water-based finishes dry in several hours, so it’s easy to apply two or three coats in a day. In other words, unlike with oils and varnishes, you can complete a finishing project in one day using a water-based finish. The rapid drying occurs not only on the wood but also on the brush. Instead of washing the brush between each coat, which is perfectly legitimate, it’s much more efficient to just store the brush. There are two easy ways to do this: Hang the brush in a jar of water. (Notice in this photo that I have drilled an additional...

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TIP: Strain Water-Based Finish

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TIP: Strain Water-Based Finish

It’s always a good idea to strain a finish before brushing or spraying it to remove dirt and other unwanted particles. It’s especially important to strain water-based finishes because small bits of finish often solidify in the can, and rust that forms around the lip of the can may fall into the finish. Commercial strainers are widely available wherever paints and finishes are sold. These strainers are much easier to use than any homemade cloth system you may think up. Straining always involves using a separate container, which can be the spray-gun cup itself if you’re spraying, or a jar...

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