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Expert's Corner — woodfinishing

What Went Wrong? Predicting Performance

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What Went Wrong?  Predicting Performance

Greg Williams has been involved in the furniture industry since 1971, and has been intimately involved in the larger wood finishing world for more than 35 years.  He is retired from the RPM Finishes Group where he formerly served as Senior Instructor and Manager of Education for Mohawk Finishing Products and H. Behlen Brothers.  He has taught finishing and touch- up and repair to students around the world, and is currently an independent consultant to individuals, companies, and organizations.   He can be contacted atgregalwil@yahoo.com. What Went Wrong?  Predicting Performance When I first began finishing, on an old gunstock, I read...

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TIP: Avoiding Orange Peel

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Orange peel is an irregular or bumpy surface in a sprayed finish caused by spraying a liquid that is too viscous, or thick, with too little air pressure, or by moving the spray gun too fast or holding it too far from the surface. When defined in this manner, the methods for avoiding orange peel are obvious. To reduce or eliminate orange peel, thin the finish or increase air pressure (or both). If you’re using a turbine rather than compressor, you can’t increase air pressure. So thin the finish. Also, arrange lights so you can see how the spray wets...

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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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Wood Prep and the Look of a Finish

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Wood Prep and the Look of a Finish

The way you prepare the wood for finishing, whether by sanding as most do, or by scraping or planing as some do, has no affect on the way the wood will look with the finish applied. Different finishes add more or less color to the wood, but if you aren’t staining the wood, the way you prepare it has no impact on the appearance under any single finish. Nor does the grit to which you sand the wood make any difference for the appearance with the finish applied. You can sand to 120 grit or to 600 grit and 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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