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Newsletter #131

Happy Holidays and Happy Finishing to You!

Thanksgiving was extra special for me this year. I was lucky enough to have two celebrations. Our two sons were preparing Thanksgiving, one on the West coast and one on the East. So off we went to Seattle for an early sumptuous celebration followed by an equally scrumptious feast on Thanksgiving Day in Connecticut.

Now we enter the season of gift shopping. My son in Seattle is a bike builder so it’s tools for him. Our Connecticut son just bought a house that’s greatly in need of updating, so he will be stripping beautiful wood doors, and then finishing with, you guessed it, an Apollo 1050VR.

Perhaps one of our Apollo Spray Systems or products on might be an appropriate gift for you to consider.

Some gifts are intangible. Recently we received positive reviews from respected publications and happy customers. They validate all the hard work that goes into designing and manufacturing our Apollo Spray systems.  I want to share a bit of this intangible but satisfying gift. Excerpts are below.

Meanwhile, Bob Flexner has written an article tackling a controversial subject, coating over coating. I know that many of us purists would never strip or recoat certain pieces, particularly valuable ones. But in some cases it might be appropriate, so this article outlines all the possibilities and the associated pitfalls.

All of us at Apollo Sprayers and wish all of you very Happy Holidays, and a productive, prosperous, and peaceful New Year. 

bill boxer signature

Sr. Vice President and COO

Apollo Sprayers International, Inc. 

WOOD Magazine Shop-Proven Product Review: Apollo 1050VR

HVLP Unit Makes Quick Work of Finishing

In the past, compressed-air spraying finishes left me frustrated and my projects plagued with runs. As a result, I preferred to brush or wipe on finishes because it gave me better control. But spraying with Apollo’s 1050VR HVLP system has made me put away my brushes. Now I confidently spray on fast-drying finishes in about half the time it used to take.

I like three things best about the 1050VR. First, the five-stage turbine (five internal fans) provides enough power to atomize thick finishes, such as polyurethane and paint, without thinning. Second, the turbine’s variable-rate adjustment lets me dial in the perfect pressure for each finish, without having to adjust the spray gun. And third, the Atomizer gun (model A7500QT) feels like a natural extension of my hand and sprays an ideal pattern without the cloud of overspray typical of compressed-air guns.  It comes with a 1-quart suction cup, but you can also outfit it with a gravity fed cup if you prefer. I can’t say one works better than the other; it’s just a preference). 

Tested by John Olson, WOOD Magazine’s Design Editor

Customer Review: Apollo 1050VR

I tried a latex experiment with Apollo 1050VR – nearly a thousand sq ft of bead-board – impossible to roll because of grooves, and too time consuming to brush – and it’s a peaked ceiling.

Went with the 2.0 tip set-up, and VR on full air. Used Ben Moore’s 2nd tier ‘regal’ acrylic latex paint (they recommended that specifically as it was a lighter bodied paint than their high-end one board – so they felt would spray the best). I ‘thinned’ with 6 oz to a gal with the Ben Moore extender – like Floetrol stuff, but Moore’s own acrylic chemistry – and I think it actually cost less. They allow for 8 oz, but thought I’d start with less – and frankly never thought about it again.

The Apollo sprayer was great – it atomized paint well, in fact- the gun wasn’t fussy with settings at all. It basically just worked – 1.5 turn out on needle – and was consistent throughout.

I ran it at high speed through about two gallons, and it never sounded stressed, and temp of blower unit never increased beyond what I’d consider normal.

Very happy with this whole approach, sprayer, and paint. I’d hate to imagine doing this without that Apollo.

Scott Szeglwski, Buffalo, NY

EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome customer’s reviews of our products.

Finishing Feature Article by Bob Flexner: 

Coating Over an Existing Finish: A Risky Business that Sometimes Works.

Finishes deteriorate as they age. First they dull, then they begin to crack. Exposure to light in the higher ultra-violet ranges, such as sunlight and fluorescent light, accelerates the deterioration.

Finishes also get damaged from abuse, which can cause a surface to look bad.

In some cases, the only way to repair the deterioration or damage and make the furniture or woodwork look good again is to strip off the old finish and refinish.

There are many situations, however, where applying a coat or two of finish on top of what is already there can make the old deteriorated or damaged finish look new again. Coating over an old finish has the great advantages of avoiding the always-messy stripping process and greatly reducing the amount of work involved.

But applying a finish over an existing finish is one of the riskiest operations you can do in finishing READ MORE

Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner:  Removing Black Watermarks

1-before.jpgThere are two types of watermarks on furniture: white and black. White marks are in the finish and can usually be removed by rubbing with an abrasive. Black marks are stains in the wood and can usually be removed with oxalic acid, but only after the finish has been removed first.
Oxalic acid is a type of bleach. It’s not the same as household bleach or two-part bleach (sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide), which is sold in separate containers. Household bleach will remove dye stain but not black watermarks. Two-part bleach will remove black water marks but also all the natural color from the wood, which you rarely want to do.
The accompanying before-and-after photos were taken by Bob Stevenson. They show an extremely bad case, together with the power of oxalic acid.


2-after.jpgHere’s how to remove black watermarks

  1. Strip the finish.
  2. Dissolve oxalic-acid crystals to a saturated solution in hot water. (Saturated is when no more will dissolve.)
  3. Brush the solution onto the entire surface of the wood, not just over the marks. (This ensures that the color will come out even.)
  4. Let the solution dry back to crystal form.
  5. Thoroughly wash off the crystals. (Don’t brush them off because they are toxic to breathe.)
  6. Let the wood dry.
  7. If some marking still remains, repeat the process.
  8. If only a light brown (tan) coloring remains, sand it out. It doesn’t go deep.
  9. There’s no reason to neutralize the surface because oxalic acid is a relatively weak acid and the new finish you apply will keep water, which could activate any remaining acid, out of the wood. But if you decide to neutralize to be on the safe side, use baking soda or household ammonia reduced with a lot of water. Don’t use vinegar because acids don’t neutralize acids! 

Finishing Terms by Bob Flexner: The Difference Between Dyes and Pigments

The difference between a dye and a pigment is that dye dissolves in a liquid and pigment doesn’t. Therefore, dye doesn’t settle in a can or jar, but pigment does and has to be stirred back into suspension before using.

Dyes are available in powder and liquid form. If in powder form, you have to dissolve the dye in the appropriate liquid—usually water, alcohol or acetone. Instructions will tell you which. In liquid form, dyes are available concentrated (for you to thin), and already thinned with the appropriate liquid.

What makes dyes and pigments confusing is that they can be used together in a stain, and they often are in common off-the-shelf stains available in paint stores and home centers.

This doesn’t cause any problem for application, and it doesn’t make much difference for appearance. But you need to be aware that the dye part of a stain can bleach out in sunlight, leaving only the pigment part remaining. This will almost always change the appearance of the stain on the wood quite noticeably.