Greetings from Bill Boxer, Sr. Vice President, Apollo Sprayers International, Inc
The Finishing Store Greatest Hits, from the Beginning
I have been rereading our previous newsletters and again marveling at the excellent finishing information we publish. So this month we are doing ‘greatest hits” from the earliest newsletters. These articles and tips might be a reread to our earliest subscribers, or new to woodworkers who recently subscribed.
So here is good woodworking advice from Glen Huey, Charles Neil, Bob Flexner, Bill Perry and me. Bill Perry was one of the best woodworkers and writers. Sadly, we lost him last year.
Last month’s article on “my simple items that make a big difference and once you use them you can’t believe you ever lived without them,” received so much positive response that I am leaving the links below.
These include my Blow Off Tool, Wet Mil Gauge, Filter Stand, Kleen Again, Zip Sander, Painter’s Pyramid
If you are in a part of the USA that is cold and stormy, stay warm and safe. Soon it will be Spring.
Finishing Feature Article: The Finishing Store Greatest Hits
from Early Articles & Tips
Making the Move to Waterbase, Bill Boxer
Good waterbase coatings have become the norm for many finishers. In the olden days it was easy to get a beautiful finish with nitrocellulose lacquer. The coating was very forgiving and offered a wide latitude regarding viscosity – even thinned to 50% or more you still got a terrific finish. Thin viscosities also gave the finisher the ability to use much less compressed or turbine air.
Then, as environmental laws all over the country became stricter, more companies had to get busy and manufacture coatings that looked and performed as well as lacquer. We are in a new generation of waterbase coatings. Safecoat, as well as many other companies have manufactured waterbase coatings that look beautiful and apply as easily as lacquer. The resins in these new coatings are harder to breakup, the viscosities are higher, and both HVLP Turbines and compressors require more power to generate more air pressure. The results are every bit as good as with nitrocellulose, but the air is safe to breath and you meet the strictest air control standards.
What’s Brewing for Woodworking Witches and Wizards (October Newsletter) Bob Flexner
Coatings manufacturers are our Wizards and Witches, adding and mixing and boiling and coming up with secret potions and never revealing their secrets. But there are some things we do know about the process the coatings manufacturers use and we’ll let you in on how they achieve their wizardry.
Stains are made with a binder that holds all the stain ingredients together. The binder is basically a thinned down topcoat, either water based or lacquer based. Then color is added, either aniline dyes, or very finely ground pigments, or a combination of both dyes and pigments. To make everything work properly, a blend of surfactants, that are also called surface tension modifiers or wetting agents, are added to help smooth or level the surface. Then defoamers and various other ingredients are added. The producers of the ingredients, amounts, sequence and temperatures are all part of the formulator’s skills and secrets. Most of the colors used in premium water-based stains are aniline dyes. These colors are all chemically produced to be vibrant and transparent and will enhance the natural grains and appearance of finer woods, such as walnut, mahogany, cherry, oaks, etc. Dyes are used because of their ability to penetrate into the wood fibers and enhance the natural grains and beauty of the wood.
Finishing the Finish, Charles Neil
“A finish should invite you, it should ask to be rubbed and touched and it should feel like warm butter.” (Just like Charles’ AmazingTable)
Of any single thing that has been the definitive selling point for my furniture through the years, it has been the finish.
Proper equipment, skill and environment can produce this, but often, for the average guy, it just doesn’t happen to his satisfaction. The simple solution is to rub the finish, but here again, there are many different means of doing that. Some simply are a ‘Witch’s Brew’ that are not successful. Some are very labor intensive and some are so antiquated they just don’t perform. Times have changed. Let’s understand how to effectively finish the finish.
Let’s cut to the chase, with products like pumice, rottenstone, steel wool, polishing compound and so forth, they work but the issue at least for me, has always been inconsistency in sheen.
Spraying Right, Spraying Safe, by William Perry:
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.
Glen Huey: Why Shellac Is My Go To Finish for Fine Furniture Rodney Dangerfield’s famous comedic catchphrase was, “I don’t get no respect.” In the world of furniture finishes, shellac gets no respect. That lack of respect is unwarranted. In fact, shellac is my “go to” finish on fine furniture. It shouldbe yours as well.
Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: What Is Water-White Finish?
The term “water white” when used in the context of a finish means a finish that is totally devoid of amber coloring in liquid form. The finish looks like water in the can.
In practice, the term is used to describe a type of lacquer, and sometimes a conversion varnish. But you should be aware that water-white doesn’t necessarily mean non-yellowing. It depends on the resins used in the finish. The only totally non-yellowing lacquer is CAB-acrylic. CAB is the acronym for cellulose acetate butyrate.
Water-white also doesn’t mean “white in the can.” Water-based finishes, which didn’t exist when the term was created, are white in the can (though clear on the wood), and these finishes don’t yellow as they age.
Finishing Bloopers! How I Learned to Shut the Door by Bill Boxer
I was just completing a piano top using a 60 sheen nitrocellulose coating on walnut. I was a happy guy. It was gorgeous. I walked out of my clean, well-kept spray area. Did the door close tight behind me? Apparently not. When I came back through the open door a big fat juicy fly was now part of my gorgeous piano top. More work! I certainly learned my lesson. I work hard to keep my spray area free of flying intruders, among other things.
Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Benzene and Benzine
Benzene and benzine are not the same thing. Though they are often confused or used interchangeably in books and magazines, they are very different.
Benzene is carcinogenic and was removed from the consumer market 40 years ago. Before then it was often used as a paint and varnish remover.
Benzine is another name for naphtha in the US, though the term is rarely used in this manner anymore. It’s also a common name for gasoline in England.
Naphtha (benzine) is a faster evaporating, less oily (“drier”) form of mineral spirits. It’s not dangerous if used in moderation.
Here’s an easy way to remember which is which. Benzene is spelled with an “e” as in dead. Benzine is spelled with an “i” as in alive.