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Newsletter #137


Giving Back 

I marvel at my good fortune in being able to represent a product that helps finishers while protecting the environment. I get to see our products in action, meet woodworkers, auto finishers, paint contractors, and see interesting and sometimes beautiful applications of HVLP technology. Many of the people I meet get great satisfaction in being able to give back. Perhaps you recall Charles Neil’s beautiful Bombe Box which he auctioned off with the proceeds going to Wounded Warriors.

Our good friend Russ Filbeck is a retired finishing instructor from Palomar College russ-filbeck-boys-ranch.jpgin Escondido, CA. Over the years he has donated his time and skill to help the boys at the Good Samaritan Boys Ranch near Springfield, Missouri. He teaches woodworking and more to the boys there and Apollo is proud to have donated an Apollo 835 HVLP turbine system with a 4500 2 quart system and a 7500 spray gun to the Boys Ranch. Russ has now driven back to Missouri with many other donated tools and set up the fully outfitted shop. With the shop completed, Russ will be able to return to the ranch any time – most often during the summer – and teach without having to haul tools and equipment with him like he has been up to now. As you can see from this picture, he’s got it set up and is ready to share his passion for woodworking with kids who need a break.

Last week, Apollo Sprayers International, Inc. was doubly involved in the San Diego Design in Wood Exhibition. We donated gift certificates to the first, second, and third place winners. Our president, John Darroch, was the judge for Excellence in Finishing, as you’ll see in the article that follows.

Apollo Sprayers recently donated a 1050VR Precision 5-stage system to Burn Design Lab. Burnburn-design-labsbetter.jpg Design Labs are saving lives and forests in the developing world through the design and local manufacture of clean-burning cookstoves. Burn Design Lab’s efforts help combat nearly 2 million premature deaths every year, one every 16 seconds, caused by exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves and open fires. The Lab’s efforts are also targeted to reduce epidemic deforestation trends and improve air quality by designing stoves with marked reductions in black carbon and methane emissions.

Let us know if you have used any of your work in a generous way and we will feature your project on our newsletter.

Sr. Vice President
Apollo Sprayers International, Inc.


Product of the Month: ECO-3 ASI-HVLP Turbine System

Apollo Sprayers’ new ASI-HVLP ECO-Series is ECO-nomical and ECO-logical. The ECO-3, is the ONLY USA-made 3-stage turbine available for under $600!  The quality manufacturing and remarkable value offered by the ECO-3 puts a USA-made HVLP Turbine system in the hands of DIY, small workshop and semi-pro finishers for under $600. The 80-90% transfer efficiency will reduce the cost of coatings, booth filters, clean up solvents, haz-mat fees, and permits the finisher to achieve a finer finish for less.


Finishing Feature Article by John Darroch:  Apollo Sprayers Gives an Award and I Get to Be a Judge

Every year, Apollo Sprayers, International, Inc. offers a gift certificate to the three winners in the Excellence in Finishing Division of the Design in Wood
 Exposition at the San Diego County Fair. I am honored to be asked to judge the extraordinary entries submitted. Submissions are made by professionals, custom woodworkers, and amateurs. Projects can be sold at the Fair or are “not for sale.”  This year judging was as difficult as can be. Although I am judging finishing, other aspects of the piece naturally come into play.

I do have some guidelines as follows:

  • Do I like the look of the piece?
  • Is the piece well constructed?
  • Are the details, such as joints well done or do they detract from the quality?
  • If there are drawers, do they work well?
  • And the finish:
    • Is the sanding well done, or are there marks?
    • Is the piece sanded to an appropriate level?
    • Is the coating appropriate to the piece?
    • Are there unseen places left unfinished?

This year’s first place winner is Pam Goldman. She made this beautiful media center shown behind us. READ MORE


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Dealing with Bubbles in a Finish

Bubbles in a finish are more likely to result from brushing than from spraying, though it’s possible to getbubbles-in-a-brushed-varnish.jpg bubbles in a sprayed finish if you have the air pressure turned up really high. Bubbles are caused by the turbulence created by the brush gliding over the surface much more than from shaking or stirring the finish. The problem is worse if your shop is hot or if the finish and wood are at different temperatures.

It’s difficult to avoid bubbles if you’re brushing, but you can keep them from drying in the finish. Lightly brush back over the finish to break the bubbles (called “tipping off”), or slow the drying of the finish so the bubbles have more time to pop out on their own before the finish skins over. Do this by adding thinner or a retarder or flow additive. Use mineral spirits (paint thinner) in oil-based varnish and polyurethane. Use a retarder for lacquer, and use a flow additive for water-based finish.

Because some formulations bubble less than others, especially with varnishes and water-based finishes, you can also switch to another brand, which may reduce the problem. To remove bubbles that have dried in the finish, sand them out and apply another coat.


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: How to Make Cherry Look Old

One of the great unknowns commonly pursued by woodworkers is how to make new cherry look oldbeautiful-rust-red-of-old-cherry.jpg without any blotching. Here’s a discussion. 

The rust-red coloring in old cherry develops over many decades from oxidation accelerated by UV light­­—and possibly also by an original application of linseed oil that has darkened. You can get part way to this coloring by exposing cherry to sunlight, but only part way. You can also get part way by applying boiled linseed oil, and the wood will darken more as it ages.

But to get all the way, you have to use a dye stain or chemical such as lye, and these colorants cause much more blotching than linseed oil or any other clear finish. Moreover, the dyed cherry will continue to darken, probably leaving you with a color darker than you wanted.

You may have noticed that factory-finished cherry furniture is darker than old cherry and also not as vibrant. Factories avoid the blotching problem by using toners and glazes to create the coloring in the finish rather than in the wood and this muddies the appearance of the wood. If there were a way to recreate the color of old cherry without blotching, you can be sure factories would use it because of the beauty and popularity of this wood. 

So you have a choice. You can give new cherry the coloring of old cherry, but you may have to live with blotching—depending on the specific boards you’re using. Or you can color cherry and avoid much of the blotching by using any combination of UV light, linseed oil, washcoat and stain, toner or glaze. But the cherry won’t have both the color and vibrancy of old cherry.

Or you can let the cherry age naturally.


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Understanding and Preventing “Washboarding”

The accompanying picture shows a very bad case of “washboarding,” the compressions left by jointers and planers, especially when they arewashboarding.jpg not adjusted well, as is the case here.

Washboarding is highlighted by a stain; it isn’t disguised or hidden. So it has to be totally sanded out before staining if you don’t want it to show.

To remove washboarding, begin sanding with a coarse-enough grit sandpaper to sand through the problem efficiently, without creating larger than necessary scratches that then need to be sanded out. In this particularly bad case, you might actually begin with 60 grit, which is very coarse.

Remove the problem entirely before switching to a finer grit. Sand up through the grits until you reach 150 or 180 grit. For the finest grit you’re using, sand by hand with the grain to remove “squigglies” left by random-orbit sanders.