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Newsletter #143

Happy Holiday Happenings and Our Best Wishes to You All!

For the past few months I’ve been writing to you along my travel route and addressing some common questions that are frequently asked. (You might want to look back at the past few newsletters). I am actually writing to you this month from my office in New York. I wanted to tell you about our recent experience at the SEMA Automotive Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. I know that most of our readers at are generally focused on wood finishing. However, I know that many of you do more than just woodworking and are interested in other successful applications for Apollo HVLP Turbospray Technology. 

Automotive finishers have always been the most demanding, wanting perfect finish results consistently. For the past few years Apollo has been working closely with different segments of the auto finishing market with Apollo HVLP Turbospray systems. Once the performance level was established, we worked further to enhance the technology and design nozzles, needles and air caps to meet the needs of the specialized paints used in this industry. Apollo HVLP delivered on all counts. No compromise:

  • Perfect finish results 
  • 38% paint savings – beyond high efficiency 
  • Compressor spray guns 
  • Clean dry uncontaminated air 
  • The ability to spray in alternative environments

I mention all of this so that you are aware of the versatility of Apollo HVLP Turbospray systems. (You may know we also make special HVLP Turbospray systems for the UV Sunless spray tanning market as well).

Now to deviate a bit this month, we welcome a new writer to newsletter, Carl Duguay. Carl is the media editor of Canadian Woodworking Magazine. We welcome his wide experience with many products and techniques, so clearly explained and so timely.

Because so much of our finishing focus has been on spray finishing with HVLP Turbospray Systems and HVLP spray guns, I thought it would be a nice change to discuss manual finishing – in this case brushing on a finish. Yes, many of our readers have told us that they brush on their finishes and would like to hear more about this technique so here we are this month with a feature article about brushing, written by Carl Duguay. In fact if you look at the products on you will see that we have some very fine quality brushes for you.

Having returned from my travels happily tired, and needing to catch up on the holidays, I’ve decided to postpone my continuation of frequently asked questions until next month when I can sit with a clear head and provide you with the best information that I can. Meanwhile let me suggest some holiday finishing items from and let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season and I’ll see you next Year. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!


Sr. Vice President, Sales & Marketing
Apollo Sprayers International, Inc.


Great Gift Ideas for the Finisher

December is a great time to make sure your finishing tool chest is well stocked. For the professional or semi-pro, buying tools before the end of the tax year gives you an extra deduction if you need it. If you are a person that’s normally impossible to buy for, you can offer your friends or family a subtle hint in the form of a wish list ranging from Inexpensive to Really Generous.  

Here are some items that make really appropriate gifts either from you to yourself (I shouldn’t have!) or for others to give or receive:

Nour AquaGlide Plus Nylon Fine Bristle Brush – 2 1/2 in. Angular Sash 

Nour AquaGlide Plus Nylon Fine Bristle Brush –  2 1/2 in. Angular Sash HANDMADE QUALITY BRUSHES THAT DELIVER THE BEST FINISH Each AquaGlide brush is individually handmade with detail to quality. This 100%…

ECO-3 Turbine System with E5011

ECO-LOGICAL, ECO-NOMICAL TURBINE SYSTEM Efficient 3 stage turbine with new dual filter QT™ Quiet Technology in a thoughtfully designed case to allow full ventilation and air filtration for performance and longevity…

DVD – Finishes That Pop

Finishes That Pop by Glen D. Huey MAKE YOUR FINISHES STAND OUT JUST LIKE A PRO Glen D. Huey pieces are instantly recognizable – in large part because of his signature finishes; they make…

Apollo Filter Stand

Apollo Filter Stand  SAVE HOURS IN CLEAN UP AND SPILLAGE The Apollo Filter Stand, an extremely handy and simple device that will save you hours of clean up and keep your workbench clean and free from spills whenever…

Apollo Turbine Blow Off Tool

GENUINE APOLLO TURBINE BLOW OFF TOOL DIRECTS TURBINE AIR TO BLOW YOUR WORK AREA CLEAN This handy tool can replace the air blow off tool that you use with your air compressor.  The only difference is that this Air Tool…

Micro-Mesh – 3 in. x 4 in. Soft Touch Pad Variety Pack

Micro-Mesh –  3 in. x 4 in. Soft Touch Pad Variety Pack THE HIGHEST GRIT SANDING PRODUCT All types of MICRO-MESH are manufactured utilizing Ultra-Flex technology. Each type is long lasting, cushioned, extremely…


Finishing Feature Article by Carl Duguay: Select the Right Brush and Use the Right Technique for the Best Possible Finish

There are two critical elements that make for a great finish – selecting the right brush, and using the right technique. Practice counts as well. You don’t expect to cut perfect dovetails the first time round, nor should you expect to achieve a perfect finish without practicing your finishing technique. I frequently choose brushing because I have a small shop and brush clean-up is fairly quick. 

Most of my finishing is done with shellac or varnish. Occasionally I’ll use a water-based finish for light-coloured woods when I want a super clear finish. However, I’ve never used lacquer, so my comments won’t apply to this type of finish. 

The most important part of a brush are its filaments (aka ‘bristles’ or ‘hairs’). It’s the filaments, along with your brushing technique, that will have the greatest impact on the quality of your finish. With proper care brushes will last for years, so save yourself a lot of frustration by using quality brushes right from the start, and keeping the brushes in top condition. Cheap brushes will invariably result in cheap looking finishes. READ MORE

Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Patina: How to Get It, How to Keep It 

Patina is primarily the mellowing and color change that occurs in wood over time due to oxidation from exposure to air and bleaching from exposure to light. Secondarily, patina is the dings, scratches, rubs, etc., that give old furniture character.

The mid-nineteenth-century cylinder roll-top desk in the accompanying picture has patina, primarily the bleaching of the mahogany and also the bleaching of the plaster-of-Paris used to fill the pores. The desk has never been refinished, but the finish has been renewed with French polishing. Adding finish on top doesn’t change the coloring of the wood underneath.

Patina is highly valued by antique dealers and collectors because it helps establish age, and it can also produce a warm, mellow appearance as with this desk.

Paint stripper based on solvent alone rarely removes patina because most of the patina is in the wood, not in the finish. But sanding will remove the top surface of the wood and destroy the patina. This is the reason old furniture shouldn’t be sanded when it is refinished.

Finishing Terms Defined by Bob Flexner: Penetrating Finish

The term “penetrating finish” is one of the most misleading in the vocabulary of finishing because all finishes penetrate. The term is generally used to describe just oil finishes, which dry slowly so they may penetrate a little deeper than faster-drying finishes. But depth of penetration doesn’t have anything to do with protection for the wood, and it’s here that the term becomes misleading because many people think it does, and some manufacturers claim it does. The common descriptive phrase is that the finish “protects the wood from the inside.”

But the quality of a finish that creates better protection for the wood—that is, protection from moisture getting into the wood—is that it dries hard so it can be built thicker on the wood. The thicker the finish, within limits, the better it resists moisture penetration, and oil finishes can’t be built up because they don’t dry hard.

The better terms to use are “film-building” to refer to finishes that dry hard so they can be built up, and “non-film-building” to refer to finishes that don’t cure hard enough to be built up. Using these terms, oil finishes, and also wax finishes, are non-film-building finishes. Varnish, lacquer, shellac and water-based finishes are all film-building finishes.


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Temperature and Drying Rate

As winter approaches, it’s important to remember that all finishes dry slower in lower temperatures. Runs, sags and pressmarks are all more likely to occur.

To avoid runs and sags, watch the finish in a reflected light as you’re applying it. The reflection allows you to see if either of these problems is developing and you can brush them out to remove them. If you’re spraying you’ll also learn to spray thinner coats. If you’re brushing you’ll learn to brush the finish out thinner.

Pressmarks occur when something is pressed up against a finish that hasn’t fully hardened. The accompanying picture shows an example. The only thing you can do if you get a pressmark is sand out the damage (after the finish has hardened enough to sand) and apply more finish.

To prevent more pressmarking warm your finishing area or give the finish more time to harden, or both.