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Newsletter #181

Greeting from Bill Boxer, Sr. Vice President, Apollo Sprayers International, Inc




Research and Development is a critical and important part of keeping products up to date. Apollo continually tests new motor technology to offer the latest innovations, reliability and power/pressure options as they become available.

We also regularly test paints and coatings as they too are updated by manufacturers as well as new product offerings.

This helps us in developing new HVLP spray gun technology and to create new nozzles, needles and air caps for current spray gun models.













Our first systems. They did great with thinned solvent based coatings.

​When we talk about making changes to a turbine system or designing a new spray gun there is ​a lot involved.  Let me outline the process.

  • First comes the idea or need for a new turbine system or spray gun.
  • We brainstorm and discuss all the possibilities.
  • A sketch is made of the concept for a new design.
  • We consider the price point for this new and improved product.
  • Our engineering department creates a rough prototype to see if the concept will work.

​When we see that it can work ​we move on to formal engineering designs leading to a prototype.

  • Then we test and test again. The original design might change a few times as various modifications take place.
  • Once satisfied that the new product meets the unique needs it was intended for, then it goes into limited production.
  • The next step is a rigorous process of re-testing, obtaining various electrical certifications and producing logos, a name for the product and finally sales and marketing materials.
  • Developing a new spray gun takes a similar process.
  • In either case, spray gun or turbine, it can take a year from idea to market launch.

Once the machine goes to market we wait and see how it is received by finishers and the reviewers. We have received many awards and this month Wood Magazine reviewed the Power-3 Turbospray with excellent results. The Power-3 was the only sprayer in its class to receive straight A in all the testing categories.


The Apollo Sprayers Power-3 Turbospray is named a

2017 Top Tool by Wood Magazine.


Click here for info on the POWER-3

Featured Article by Greg Williams 



Certainly the knowledgeable finisher who has a compressor and spray guns, a turbine type HVLP, airless or air assisted airless system, can mix up and apply not only clear coats and sealers, but solvents, toners, stains, liquid glazes, and most of the other liquid products he uses.

While almost every liquid product can be dispensed from an aerosol can, the cost per unit volume or weight will be much higher in the special packaging, so what’s the advantage to using the aerosol?

Let’s look at the aerosol system. Simply put, the aerosol can allows the finisher to break up a liquid into particles, small and light enough to be propelled through the air at relatively low velocity. The can itself is a closed, usually metal, vessel, constructed with a valve that is kept closed by a spring, and containing the liquid to be dispensed, and a gas under pressure to act as a propellant. The valve is opened by depressing a button or lever, allowing the gas to force the liquid into a dip tube and through an orifice, breaking the liquid stream into many tiny droplets propelled through the air to the object to be coated.

The combined vapor pressure of the liquefied gas and the liquid (s) in the mixture provides the propulsive energy. This force is proportionate to the temperature of the can’s contents. The viscosity of the liquid is inversely proportionate to the temperature. If the temperature is higher, the viscosity of the liquid is lower, and requires less force to transport and atomize it, while the pressure of the propellant is higher, providing greater force.

The aerosol delivery system is entirely self-contained. The dip tube, valve, and actuator can be cleaned by inverting the can and spraying some of the solvent/propellant mixture out. There is no leakage or evaporation from the can, no opening up or closing a lid, and no intrusion of air or contaminants into the can.

Many of the products that are sprayed with a spray gun are also available in aerosol cans, ready for use and easy to clean and store. For small lot applications such as toning or shading, spot repair or recoating, or application of cleaners, solvents, stains or glazes, the aerosol can be a big time saver, compared to mixing up the product, loading the gun, then pouring off excess product for storage or disposal, and cleaning the application equipment. Often the preparation, use, and re-storage of the aerosol take less time and effort than using the gun, and does not increase the use of cleaners or storage containers.

Let’s compare toning with a cup gun versus using an aerosol toner. For the cup gun we’ll need either premixed toning or tinting lacquer, a mixture of low solids (thinned) lacquer, and a dye or pigment colorant. We either have this premixed, labeled, and stored, hopefully where it is easily found, or we have the bulk products and one or more containers in which to measure and mix the toner. We’ll need a clean cup, or cup and liner, or perhaps a dedicated touch up gun or air brush. If necessary we’ll adjust the air pressure, fluid feed, tip and needle to meet our needs. We may need to adjust the temperature, and insure that the mixture is thoroughly agitated.

After doing the toning, we’ll empty the left over liquid into a flammable waste receptacle or a suitable storage container, preferably labeled to meet our own needs as well as legal requirements, and safely stored.

For the aerosol application, we will simply choose the appropriate type and color of spray can, warm it if necessary for optimum spray application, agitate it thoroughly by hand, and install the desired spray tip or actuator. When we are finished with the toning application, we invert the can and spray long enough to clear the dip tube, valve, and actuator, wipe off the face of the exit orifice of the actuator, replace the cap on the can and replace it in its accustomed storage space. A couple of toners in the spray booth can make quick minor adjustments of color easy and fast.

Blush eliminators, “retarders”, in that they are slower to evaporate from the film to which they are applied than a standard lacquer reducer, can be used to dissolve a dried film of the appropriate type, causing it to reflow. This “reflowing “can eliminate scratches, dissolve overspray, remove or prevent blushing, remove water or alcohol rings, facilitate flow out of the coating, reduce solvent popping and pin holing, test an existing, cured or dried coating for coating type, and eliminate refraction line around a spot spray onto an existing coating.

Easily portable aerosols can be kept handy in the spray booth, or in a repair area, eliminating the hose or electrical cord snaking across the floor. This is especially helpful when the product is needed immediately, such as to repair a flaw in a wet film.

Some suppliers offer a variety of actuators (spray heads) for specific uses. For instance a high flow spray head may allow rapid coverage of a higher solids topcoat, and a very fine spray pattern may be more suited for touch up. A distressing head will spray a spatter pattern, a fan head will spray a fan pattern like a conventional spray gun, and a round (or conical) spray head will spray a circular pattern useful in touch up applications.

Some examples of spray tips (actuators) used on aerosols.

Here are some of the products that a finisher can find in aerosol cans.

  • Sanding sealer
  • Primer
  • Shellac
  • Topcoat lacquer
  • Wiping wood stain
  • Dye stains
  • Glaze
  • Shading lacquer or lacquer toner
  • Blush eraser
  • Cleaners
  • Polishes
  • Lubricants
  • Adhesives
  • Opaque paints
  • Spot removers
  • Solvents
  • Metallic or pearl paints
  • Textured coatings.
  • Coatings for Leather and vinyl
  • Coatings for metal
  • Coatings for plastics
  • Adhesion promotors
  • Catalysts or hardeners for adhesives and fillers
  • Coatings for musical instruments
  • Crackle coating
  • Edge filler
  • Anti-slip coatings
  • Heat resistant coatings
  • Mold release coatings
  • Rust converter
  • Webbing/veiling coating
  • Degreasers

Basic rules for use of aerosol cans.

  1. Read the label, at least the name of the product to make sure you have “Clear Gloss Lacquer”.
  2. Make sure the can is at the proper temperature for spraying. At least 70º F. and preferably 10º above ambient temperature for topcoats.
  3. Be aware of the relative humidity at the time you are spraying. Make sure the can and item or area to be sprayed is 10 or more degrees above the dew point.
  4. Have a can of blush eliminator close at hand.
  5. Establish good lighting so that you can see the film you are applying, overspray, and color (when using a colored material).
  6. Establish appropriate ventilation. You should barely smell the product as you are spraying, and floating particulate should move away from you and from the item being sprayed.
  7. Agitate the can thoroughly. Don’t neglect to swirl the can around so that the agitator ball stirs up the settled solids in the lower corners of the can.
  8. Make sure you have the desired actuator (spray tip) on the can, and that the orifice is unobstructed.
  9. Spray a quick shot into the air so that you can observe the spray pattern. There should be no spitting or dripping.
  10. Put your eye in such a position relative to the light and to the item that you can see the wet edge (when applying a wet coat) or color accumulation (when spraying toners).
  11. Make sure that your finger does not project beyond the top of the actuator (a common cause of spitting)
  12. Depress the actuator fully.
  13. When finished, turn the can upside down and depress the actuator fully until only propellant gas escapes.
  14. Wipe off the face of the actuator around the orifice.
  15. Put the cap on the can and store appropriately.

Storage of your aerosols may be dictated by state and local fire regulations. The standard is a fire resistant metal cabinet. Regardless of the regulations, this is a really good idea. Don’t store in temperatures above 120º F.

Bear in mind that the greatest cost borne by your shop is likely to be for your time, and that of your employees. It makes sense to look carefully at the costs for preparation, use, clean up and storage of your materials and equipment. If a $10.00 aerosol can saves you 5 minutes each time you use it, it doesn’t take long to recover the cost of owning it.  

Questions & Answers

  1. What makes a great finish?
  2. See if you agree with this answer.

“A finish should invite you, it should ask to be rubbed and touched and it should feel like warm butter.” Charles Neil

  • Smoothness that is both visual and tactile
  • Flat and level. No ripples or waves (orange peel)
  • Uniformity from edge to edge
  • Ends, edges and end grain are also smooth, even, and uniform
  • Special care to edges
  • Finish has depth
  1. What is Pickling?
  2. A. In wood finishing the term “pickling” is generally used to mean adding a white coloring to the wood. (“Liming” is sometimes used to mean the same thing.)

There are two broad methods of pickling. One is to wipe on and wipe off a white stain. The other involves sealing the wood with a first coat of finish, then wiping on and wiping off a stain. There is a big difference in the appearance you get.

In the sample shown, a white stain was applied directly to the lower half of the panel and wiped off. The same white stain was applied over a sealer coat on the top half of the panel and wiped off. The sealer coat prevented the stain from coloring the wood as thoroughly. The white coloring was left just in the pores when the excess stain was wiped off.

Take a Break and Have Some Fun!

See how many words you can find. Look for words horizontally and vertically. You can print this page, including the puzzle, work offline and then highlight words as you find them.

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