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Expert's Corner — wood

TIP: Dealing with Grain Raising

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TIP: Dealing with Grain Raising

Whenever water or any stain or finish that contains water comes in contact with wood, it causes the wood fibers to swell, which is called “grain raising” or “raised grain.” After the water has dried the wood feels rough to the touch, and thinly applied finishes also feel rough. Raised grain occurs no matter how fine you sand the wood before wetting it. Because you can’t prevent raised grain if you use a water-based product, you need to deal with it so the final finish comes out smooth. There are two methods: The first is to raise the grain and...

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The Twist of Variables

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The Twist of Variables

If you engage in the act of finishing at any kind of level, even if just a few meaningful times a year, then you definitely understand that the proof is in the pudding when it comes to creating good finishes. When you get really good at finishing, it almost doesn’t matter whether you are spraying, rolling, brushing, or any combination thereof, the application method is just the medium – the thing standing between you and the result you are after in the finish. The goal is to be able to use whatever means at hand to get the desired result....

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Secret of Sheen – the Second Coat Is Most Important

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Secret of Sheen – the Second Coat Is Most Important

Secret of Sheen – the Second Coat Is Most Important Most important in this instruction is that you have to sand the first coat smooth to obtain the full effect. If you don’t sand this coat smooth, the roughness will telegraph through the second coat and reduce the depth and lower the sheen.The second coat of finish you apply to a project, after you have sanded the first coat smooth, is the most important coat because it provides the depth and sheen. Sometimes you can improve the depth with additional coats, but nothing equals the difference obtained from the first...

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Finishing the Deckrail

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Finishing the Deckrail

For those with decks that have spindle rail systems…you would probably rather have root canal than brush those spindles out with stain. (See the above before photo.) Here is another case where a quick scuff and vac gets your ready to roll out the HVLP and save yourself a weekend or two. Deck stain products are low viscosity (thin) and spray very easily through a good turbine system. They are also available in waterborne formulations these days. Even if you are committed to oil stain, the cleanup will take a few more minutes, but think of the pile of hours...

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Waterborne Finishes - Pro and Con

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My beginning was in automotive finishing and it remained my career for the next twenty years, then I switched to woodworking and finishing. As with most finishers, I began with the old nitrocellulose lacquers and while they were very friendly to use, they were less than a long-term hard use finish. Then came the pre-catalyzed and post-catalyzed lacquers, a big improvement and they remained relatively user friendly. With the introduction of urethanes and other manmade resins, durability improved even more, but they also had their issues. Even with modern day post-catalyzed conversion varnishes and so forth there are environmental issues....

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