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Expert's Corner — wood finishing

Apollo and HVLP - A History

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Apollo and HVLP - A History

You may not realize it but Apollo Sprayers, the sponsor of this website, is more responsible for HVLP becoming today’s dominant spray technology than any other spray-gun manufacturer. This is not to say that it wouldn’t have happened anyway, but Apollo did get it started. Spraying technology has been around for over 100 years. It has been based on high-pressure air produced by a compressor. The air is stored in a tank and fed to the spray gun through a hose. The high-pressure air then turns a stream of liquid exiting the spray gun into a fine mist and propels...

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TIP: Repairing Sand-Throughs on Edges

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The easy way to repair sand- and rub-throughs on sharp edges is with a marker of a similar color to that of the stain used. These markers are widely available. If you sand through an edge between coats of finish, simply color in the sand-throughs and apply another coat of finish, to keep the marker color from being rubbed off. If you rub through an edge on already finished furniture, woodwork or cabinets, it will be more difficult to apply a protective finish after replacing the color. The easiest methods would be to wipe just the edge with wiping varnish,...

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TIP: Paint Grain First

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When coloring in lighter rub-throughs, glue splotches or wood-putty patches, it’s usually best to paint in the grain first, then add the color to each side of the grain. If you go the other way, coloring in the entire area before painting in the grain, you’ll often get the grain too dark. Trying, then, to lighten the grain by rubbing off some of the color with steel wool will lighten the entire repair, causing you to have to start over.

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TIP: Applying Stain

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The most efficient methods of applying stain are by wiping or spraying. Brushing is very slow, often too slow with water-based stains that dry rapidly. When you have wetted a given surface with the stain, quickly wipe off the excess. With water-based stains, try dividing large projects into smaller sections to give yourself enough time to get the excess wiped off before it dries. Wiping the stain on the wood is my usually preferred method because spraying then requires doing a thorough cleaning of the spray gun. Of course, spraying could be a good choice when staining large or multiple...

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TIP: How To Tell If The Finish Is Removed

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TIP: How To Tell If The Finish Is Removed

The easy way to tell if you have removed all the finish is to look at the surface in a reflected light. Remaining finish will show up as shiny areas, in contrast to the dull areas where the finish has been removed. Don’t be fooled by stain still in the wood. Rarely does stripping remove all the stain. As long as the finish has been removed, however, you can stain right over the remaining stain and get an even coloring as long as the color remaining in the wood is fairly even. The one thing you can’t do by applying...

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