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Expert's Corner — woodworking

Filters for an Air Compressor

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Filters for an Air Compressor

You should be aware that moisture and oil can get into the air line and spray gun from your air compressor and mess up your work. This is one of the disadvantages of using an air compressor instead of a turbine to supply air. There’s no possibility of moisture or oil being transferred from a turbine. To reduce the possibility of moisture getting into the air ine, drain the compressor’s tank on a regular basis. Oil usually enters the system through deteriorated gasket seals, so you shouldn’t have an oil problem unless the compressor is old. To deal with both...

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Spraying Right, Spraying Safe, Where to Use Your HVLP Sprayer

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Now that you’ve bought your spray system, where do you use it? Okay, you’ve made the move and have purchased an HVLP spray finishing system. But before buying did you give much thought to where you were going to use it? From talking with my students, I’ve found that the majority believe that with HVLP, they can spray anywhere. While this might be true, the spray finishing environment must still have some controls. If you do not have a formal spray booth, there are options to create a safe and controlled environment. So what to do? An easy answer is...

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TIP: Sand Oil Finish Wet

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TIP: Sand Oil Finish Wet

For the ultimate in smooth feel with an oil or oil/varnish-blend finish, sand the finish between coats while it is still wet—that is, before wiping off the excess. You can use any grit sandpaper, but the finer grit you use, the smoother the result. I like to use 600-grit, but 400-grit also works well. Sand with the grain, of course. As long as you have sanded the wood to 180-grit or finer, you don’t have to sand much to remove the coarser scratches. The reason this trick works so well is that the oil acts as a lubricant for the...

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TIP: Solvents, Shelf Life and Spontaneous Combustion

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Examples of finishing solvents include mineral spirits (paint thinner), naphtha, denatured alcohol, lacquer thinner and acetone. None of these products have a shelf life, unless they evaporate because you’ve left the can open, and none can spontaneously combust like linseed oil can. Of course, all of these solvents, with the exception of those that contain water, will feed a fire that is already going. So you should still be careful where you toss rags that are wet with solvent. But no amount of these rags, piled into a trashcan, will start a fire by themselves.

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TIP: Fixing a Worn Finish

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TIP: Fixing a Worn Finish

After a good deal of wear or abuse some areas of a finish may wear through exposing the lighter-colored wood.  As long as no stain, glaze or toner is involved, you can usually fix these problems simply by applying more finish on top. The easy test to see if this will work is to apply a little liquid to the wear-throughs with your finger. You could use mineral spirits (paint thinner) on any finish without causing damage, but the most convenient liquid is from your mouth. Wet your finger and wipe the liquid over a small part of the surface,...

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