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Newsletter #150


Happy 50th and Happy 4th of July!us-flag.jpg

As I write this, I realize that this is our 50th monthly eNewsletter for (we started at #100). These have been some of the busiest months of my career and in my travels around the country on behalf of Apollo, I have met many of you who are regular readers and I am always grateful for your feedback that propels my thinking and gives me new ideas. 

Equally, I appreciate the contributions from our guest writers each month who bring their unique experience and perspectives to the topic of finishing. Even in the 4 years we have being doing this newsletter, there are new products, new coatings, and new regulations to contend with. Combine that with the amazing creativity of woodworkers everywhere and you have an inexhaustible and fascinating pool of knowledge.

Recently, I mentioned that we would be having a guest writer who is also a reader. This month’s article is presented by Gary Lachmund who is not only a very good friend with whom I share a love of music, but is also someone who is a woodworker extraordinaire.   

Because I admire his work, I prevailed upon Gary to write for us this month on a topic that was dear to him and he felt comfortable sharing with all of you. I found it very interesting, as I’m sure you will as well. I know that Gary also has more to share with us in future months.

We are in the midst of preparations for IWF in August. Wherever you live, keep in mind that Apollo Sprayers will be at IWF Atlanta, August 20-23 at Booth 5343 sharing our exciting new products and finishing information with woodworkers from the US and overseas. If you’ve never attended, this is one of the biggest and most useful shows anywhere and well worth your time. 

Meanwhile, I am celebrating the 4th of July at home with family and wish you and yours a great holiday!

bill boxer signature 

Bill Boxer 
Sr. Vice President
Apollo Sprayers International, Inc.
[email protected] 


Product of the Month: Kleen-Again Brush & Spray Gun Cleaner

You’ve probably eaten soybeans in many different food dishes, but who knew that soybeans can make a really effective cleaner for brushes and sprayguns? Now you do! Here’s a one simple product that keeps your brushes and spray guns clean as new. Kleen-Again easily and safely removes wet or hardened oil and latex paints, stains, urethanes, varnishes and enamels from brushes and spray guns. Made from soybeans, Kleen-Again is biodegradable, environmentally friendly and cleans without odors associated with traditional brush and gun cleaners. Try it and see, your brushes and spray guns will be clean and green whenever you use them. 


Solving a Sticky Problem: Tools and Tricks to Deal with Glue Squeezout

Finishing Feature Article by Gary Lachmund

If you’ve never had the experience of applying the first coat of finish to a project and having some of the finish fail to “take” because glue has sealed the wood grain underneath, go read something else. What follows is intended for the vast majority of woodworkers who have encountered this problem.

Most often this glue is leftover “squeezeout” (glue squeezed out of joints when they were clamped during assembly). Unless you’re Norm Abrams (who never has squeezeout, but he never has dust in his shop either; doubtless the result of some Faustian bargain), squeezeout is an inevitable consequence of joinery. Unless it’s dealt with properly, it’s almost guaranteed to cause problems during finishing. If a squeezeout problem is first detected at the finishing stage, correcting it is complicated by the fact that fully cured wood glue is harder than the surrounding wood, making sanding, scraping, chiseling, or planing difficult, particularly on inside corners. Sanding away fully cured glue may also result in a high spot where the glue was, and even after the offending glue is removed the finish may not take uniformly.

It’s far easier to deal with squeezeout while the project is in its assembly stage, well before the glue has fully cured. The following hints assume that you’re using a water soluble aliphatic resin emulsion (aka “yellow glue”, such as Titebond II). READ MORE


Trending: Painting Pro Times Covers Apollo Sprayers

We were pleased that Painting Pro Times, a well regarded source for Painting Professionals, chose to feature a lengthy and informative article about Apollo Sprayers in their latest issue. 

Apollo Sprayers International, a family owned and operated company, makes HVLP equipment that can apply a wide variety of finishes. The units are designed for industrial and commercial applications and even a few are made to spray people. Not in the “I can’t stand you any longer” trigger pull way, but in a much more civil manner. Apollo also makes specialized machines for the sunless tanning industry. John A. Darroch has followed in his father’s footsteps and is CEO of the Vista, California business. We have selected several Apollo products to check out. According to the company’s single minded mission, each unit will “provide the perfect finish.” READ MORE

Finishinging Tip by Bob Flexner: Naphtha for Cleaning

Naphtha, commonly sold as “V M & P Naphtha,” is better than mineral spirits (paint thinner) for cleaning oily and waxy surfaces, including crayon marks.

Naphtha is a stronger solvent than mineral spirits but not so strong that it damages any finish other than wax as long as you don’t soak the surface. Naphtha also evaporates much more rapidly, which I find to be a more user-friendly quality.

The downside of naphtha, compared with mineral spirits, is that it has a stronger odor. So it’s wise to arrange some air movement to remove the smell from the room or shop.

Finishinging Tip by Bob Flexner: Refinishing and Value

Many people are confused about whether or not to refinish old furniture whose finish is in bad shape. They don’t really like living with the furniture, but they’ve heard (usually directly or indirectly from the Antiques Roadshow) that refinishing destroys value, and they surely don’t want to do that.

A finish serves two purposes. It protects the wood from contact with liquids, and it makes the wood look better, usually richer and deeper. The finish protects and decorates.

Clearly the finish in the accompanying picture does neither. In almost all cases it should be removed and replaced with a new finish that does both. It should be stripped and refinished.

Not doing so will probably mean the disappearance of the furniture. Well-built furniture outlasts people, the reason we have antique furniture. old-deteriorated-finish.jpgThough you, or whoever owns the furniture now, may be willing to live with the deteriorated finish, what happens to the furniture when it gets passed on? How many generations will treasure the deterioration, which will only become worse?

Not likely very many. This is the real shame of the message of the Antiques Roadshow, which typically runs as follows: This is a really unique piece of furniture. In its present refinished condition it’s worth about $5000. But had it not been refinished, it would be worth $60,000!

Groan. Why did someone refinish it?

Well, they refinished it because it needed to be, or it would have ceased to be useful. If they hadn’t refinished it, it probably would have disappeared into some landfill or fireplace and been worth nothing today. The current owner should be thankful someone cared enough to refinish the furniture, so they now have it to enjoy – or the $5000 if they choose to sell it.

There are exceptions, of course, but they are very rare. The appraisers on the Antiques Roadshow trade in these rare pieces, which probably accounts for their destructive message to the vast TV audience, very few of whom will ever come in contact with such rarity except in a museum.

The exceptions are usually very old, of very high quality, and were made by a craftsman who can be identified. Sometimes, an exception can be made for lower-quality furniture that was owned by an important historical figure, but you have to be wary of this sort of claim. I have had three separate pieces of furniture show up at my shop in Norman, Oklahoma that supposedly came from Paul Revere’s home, that little tiny house in Boston! He probably had only three pieces total, and all of them made it to Norman!

Of course, none of these three were anywhere near old enough to have been owned by Paul Revere.

Concerning value, unless the furniture is really unique, it will increase in value and survive with a beautiful, protective and decorative newly applied finish. It won’t lose value.

Finishinging Tip by Bob Flexner: Spraying Lacquer Over a Paint or Finish

There are risks to spraying any type of solvent lacquer over any existing, and older, paint or finish. The problem is the lacquer thinner in the lacquer. A wet application can cause many paints and finishes to wrinkle or blister, even an old coat of lacquer itself.

The two easiest ways to avoid problems are to spray several light (almost dust) coats of lacquer to get a bit of a build before applying wet coats, or to apply a coat of shellac before spraying the lacquer.

Both methods will create a barrier to keep the existing coating from being excessively wetted by the lacquer. But a fully wet coat of lacquer, especially if it has been retarded (lacquer retarder added to slow the drying), can still dissolve through and cause a problem. So observe closely what is happening.

Of course, brushing a brushing lacquer, which, by definition, has been retarded so it dries slowly enough to brush, is very risky and should probably not be tried.