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Newsletter #128

Exploring IWF and Hanging with Tommy Mac

I just came home from the International Woodworking Fair 2012 in Atlanta Georgia. This enormous show is in Atlanta in even numbered years and Las Vegas in odd numbered years. I have attended almost every year since 1984. Attendance at the show had lately decreased slightly, with 2010 being the low point. This year there was a significant increase. The excitement was back.
As usual I had a great time, but it’s a new world out there since I began in 1984. As I’ve said here many times, people are buying in new ways. So much information is available via advertisements, videos, magazine articles, forums and websites. Our customers know much more about HVLP, but they still need to talk about which features are necessary for their particular needs now and in the future. We need to talk about coatings, work space, and for some the basics of spray finishing. At IWF 2012 we were able to show and amaze woodworkers with our Apollo products.

As our customers buy more and more via the internet, we start to lose some of the face to face, enjoyable contact with our customers and the hands on demos. The Show is personally very satisfying. I get input from our customers, both positive and once in a while negative, which we take very seriously. We get ideas of what customers want and what is trending.

My first job at the show is to meet our customers, both old and new. My next task is to walk the show and see the new coatings, meet the manufacturers, get samples and relate the newest coatings to our machines. I need to see the equipment for tasks other than finishing so when I talk to woodworkers I understand their issues. I had a great video interview with Chris Marshall of Woodworker’s Journal – you can see it for yourself at: IWF Bill Boxer Interview

A few months ago I visited with Tommy MacDonald of Rough Cut in his shop. We met up again at IWF2012. Yesterday I visited Tommy’s shop again, which as you know is also the set for Rough Cut. I got a sneak preview of some upcoming projects for the show.WOW!


You will be blown away when you watch the shows. In the top photo you can see Don Vargo, our national sales manager, Tommy Mac, and me at IWF2012 and below we are at his shop in front of a magnificent king sized bedframe just waiting for the final coats of finish.

So, if there is a woodworking show near you, please go. It’s a good hands on experience.


Sr. Vice President and COO

Apollo Sprayers International, Inc.


Product of the Month: EZ Pro Dual Pack Sanders

None of us love to sand, and most of us spend an awful lot of time doing it. So when you find something that makes it easier – especially to get into those annoying hard to reach places, you want everyone to know about it.

That’s how we feel about these EZ Pro Sanders. First, they really are easy. Second, they save you time, letting you finish any job or project fast. Best of all, they are designed to reach the places other sanders cannot reach. Here’s what you get in a single package:

EZ-Pro TriSander

  • Patented triangular design
  • Perfect for hard‐to‐reach places
  • Comfort grip handle for maximum gripping power
  • Built for aggressive sanding, yet smooth movement

EZ-Pro Flat Head

  • Industry-standard flat head design
  • Great for tight, awkward spaces
  • Streamlined, 45° handle allows for better grip and more comfort

Uniquely designed so that the working part of of the tool is out front, not under your palm, to allow for easy reach and access and no awkwardness. Try them for yourself and you’ll enjoy a better overall sanding experience with EZ Pro!

Finishing Feature Article by William Perry: Spraying Right, Spraying Safe, Where to Use Your HVLP Sprayer.

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…READ MORE.


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Solvents, Shelf Life and Spontaneous Combustion

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.


Finishing Trick by Bob Flexner: Sand Oil Finish When It’s 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.

sanding-wet-oil-finishopt.jpgThe reason this trick works so well is that the oil acts as a lubricant for the sandpaper. You could also sand the finish dry, just before applying the next coat, and still get excellent results. But you wouldn’t benefit from the oil lubricant.

When you’re finished sanding, wipe off all the excess finish. If you have ground off any wood dust, you’ll remove this with the wiping.

You could also get a similar result by sanding the wood through the grits up to 600-grit before beginning to apply the finish. But this is a lot of work and is unnecessary if you sand between coats.


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: 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.

fixing-a-worn-finish-1opt.jpgWet your finger and wipe the liquid over a small part of the surface, as I’m doing in the accompanying picture. If the color comes back, as it does here, all you need to fix the problem is more finish.

The surface should be completely clean before you start. All finishes will work, but be careful of lacquer because the lacquer-thinner solvent is strong enough to blister and lift many finishes, including an original lacquer finish. If you are using lacquer, apply very thin, quick-drying coats, or apply a washcoat of shellac first.