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Newsletter #186

Greetings from Bill Boxer


Apollo will be exhibiting at AWFS in Las Vegas July 19-22. As always many surprises and great product prices.

We were just advised that our newest, innovative has been selected as a finalist for a Visionary Award. Just being a finalist is an honor. Will let all of you know the results next month.

This month we also have another great article from Greg Williams, one of our regular contributors. I encourage you to read it. It is about lighting and finishing. Great information for those of you serious about producing the best possible visual and tactile results on the projects you create.   

Personally, I can’t impress enough how important good lighting in your work space and finishing space is. Greg’s information will not only enlighten but lead you to the best possible results.

Happy Summer months and good finishing.


Special of the Month

CLICK HERE to see the full range of 7500 spray guns.

CLICK HERE to link to the 7500T Conversion Spray Gun. 

Design In Wood

Darren O’Hare, Professor at Palomar College, was the judge at  at the 35th Annual Design in Wood Exhibition in San Diego. Darren judged the entries in Excellence in Finishing. John Darroch, CEO of Apollo Sprayers, Int’l., Inc. presented the awards.

Brian Carnett won for Excellence in Finishing Contemporary.

Photos of Brian’s work:

Brian responded to questions about his work process.

I have been practicing the craft of woodworking most of my life, even as a young kid I was always making things out of wood. Like many woodworkers, I consider myself “self taught”, however this is never quite true, because like so many others, my skills have been developed by studying the work of craftsmen that came before me and learning from the wisdom and knowledge they willingly shared.

I have been building furniture for about 35 years and have developed a design aesthetic that suites my personal taste and makes visual sense to me. I would say that my approach to design is more of an evolutionary process, in that you can trace subtle changes in design from one piece to the next.  

When I begin designing a new piece of furniture, I start with a sketchbook and draw any number of thumbnail sketches until one of them catches my attention.


I then move to creating a full size detailed drawing which includes all dimensions and joinery details. I find that working full size really helps with getting the proportions dialed in before cutting any wood. Because of limited space in my shop (500 sq. Ft.) I use a hand rubbed finish of a tung oil and spar varnish mixture for all my work.

I primarily use domestic hardwoods such as walnut, cherry, and figured maple for most of my work and try to avoid using exotic hardwoods that may be logged in environmentally sensitive areas. I build all my piece using solid wood construction using traditional joinery that allows for seasonal humidity changes.

[email protected]


By Greg Williams          

I recently upgraded my shop lighting.  I’d thought about doing it for a couple of years, and put it off because
(1) It wasn’t really that bad
(2) I had replaced two ballasts in two of the four primary 8’ fluorescent fixtures that provided area lighting
(3) I still had some new tubes
(4) replacing the fixtures was going to involve some rewiring
(5) I was determined to use LEDs and they were too expensive . . . well that’s enough excuses. 

I had been an early user of CFL’s when they came out and had replaced almost all incandescent lights in my home years ago, and have been further moving into LED for the smaller bulbs.

Upgrading the shop lighting moved closer and closer to the top of the list as the prices for bulbs and fixtures for LED kept coming down, and finally I got serious.  I did a lot of research on the internet, sifting out the wheat from the chaff, talked to an electrician friend and ordered fixture and tube combinations that I estimated would provide 30% more light than the fluorescents would have provided when new.

 It was really that bad. The tubes were getting dim, slowly so that it was not real obvious, and it was more than just accumulation of dust.  They do wear out and lose the ability to produce light.

My eyes require more light to see what I need than they did earlier in life.

The prices have dropped precipitously recently, and given the life expectancy of the LEDs vs my own, I will probably never replace these again.

Some of the rewiring was necessary for safety.

I took a week or so to decide what I need in shop lighting.  Obviously good all around, overhead light with minimum shadows, providing enough ambient light to see small objects that have rolled under shelves or cabinets where I can see the floor without getting on my knees.  Easily portable clamp lights that can be attached to work pieces, machinery, tables and benches for temporary task light.  Permanent adjustable task lights for certain work spaces, such as a paint mixing table, or a desk for small parts disassembly and repair. 

I have several lamps for that purpose, including one with magnifier.   I use a portable full spectrum task light (6500K) for critical color matching, portable ultraviolet light for analyzing paint, adhesive or wood samples and flexible small spot lights on drill press, band saw blade and cut line. 

The location of the main 8’ fluorescents tubes worked well for me, so I decided to simply replace them with the LED version, both tubes and fixture, eliminating the ballast.  I expected about 30% more light (measured in lumens) based on manufacturer’s claims, and I chose a Color Temperature of 5000K for my LED replacements to get a more neutral and natural light that is better for working with color than the warmer lights I was replacing (4100K).  The replacements appear much brighter than 30% more than the old ones, and are entirely satisfactory for my needs.  I had left open the possibility of adding several more fixtures but simply replacing the 4 eight foot fixtures gave me more than enough.

Color temperature (often abbreviated CCT for Correlated Color Temperature) is generally a description of the warmth or coolness of a light source.  We use terms like Warm White, Cool White, and Daylight as well as others or a more precise number called a Kelvin Temperature such as 3500K. We’ll be dealing with Color Temperatures from about 2700K to a bit over 6500K.  The higher numbers include the cooler colors, greenish and blueish whites, and the lower numbers include the yellow to red tints. 

Colors look different in different lighting because the colored object absorbs some of the frequencies that strike the surface from a light emitter, and reflect other frequencies to our eye.  If there is little of a particular range of frequencies in the emitted light, there will be less of those frequencies reflected to the observer in the reflected light.  In order to see the object clearly there must be sufficient strength in the reflected light, and to see the true color there must be a broad range of frequencies in the visual spectrum. 

The term “Full Spectrum” is used to indicate a lighting source that emits virtually all frequencies in the visual spectrum, and is considered the standard for viewing paints, fabrics, prints and other objects where a very close visual match or comparison is necessary. The term does not mean that the distribution of the frequencies is identical, and is more of a marketing term than a specification.  It implies that the light is more “natural” or like sunlight which do not reflect the available light in the same manner.

A typical example is when a finisher or repairman uses touch up markers or powders to perform a repair under Cool White Fluorescent light (4200K).  It looks good in the shop, but when delivered to the customer is unacceptable due to a mismatch in color under the incandescent chandelier lights (2700K).

Using a full spectrum source (5500-6500K) while making the repair will not necessarily duplicate the color of the piece under all light sources but because it has more of the frequencies in the light spectrum, has a greater likelihood of producing an acceptable match.

I also paid attention to the Color Rendering Index, or CRI, which is a rating of a light source’s ability to reproduce a daylight source. Based on a scale of 0 to 100, a rating of 92 or higher is required for critical color evaluation applications. Since I have a full spectrum lamp for critical color matching, (100 CRI) I compromised with a slightly lower CRI for lower cost. For meaningful comparison of the CRI of two different bulbs they must be of the same color temperature. This measure is also most accurate for color temperatures between 5000K and 6500K.

The color temperature, CRI, wattage used, lumens (amount of light emitted) and the wattage equivalent of the LED vs an incandescent bulb producing the same amount of light are often given on the bulb itself or the packaging of the replacement bulb.  The larger stores selling the bulbs often have displays that allow you to see and compare

An important and often overlooked factor in shop lighting is the effect on comfort and mood of the people working there.  You want sufficient light for good visibility, not a painful glare. Better light, in the right place can improve the quality of the work, save time, and reduce rework as well as improving maintenance and housekeeping.  It is essential for good finishing, not only by making color work faster and more accurate, but the application of a good consistent coating depends on the spray operator’s ability to clearly see the moving wet edge. The industry standard for spray booth lighting is 100 foot candles 3’ above the work surface.

The LED technology allows much more of the electricity consumed to be emitted as light, not heat, running much more efficiently than incandescent or fluorescent.  The heat they don’t produce reduces ventilation and air conditioning costs.  The hum and flickering that occurs with many fluorescent sources is not present with the LED.

Finally, after running out of excuses, I can see better, work more efficiently, save money, and even feel better about working in the shop.  It has already caused me to do some major clean up and reorganizing.  I can’t think of any downside to the project.  

Woodworking shows put together new state of the art equipment, talks and demos, and so many experts in all phases of woodworking. So if you can get to Las Vegas, July 19-22, you will find a ton of good information, products and companies

Q&A from

My spray pattern is heavier on one side than on the other. What shall I do?

A spray pattern, with all the controls on the spray gun wide open, is supposed to be an even, elongated oval shape. If the pattern is heavier on one end than the other, the likely cause is that one or more of the holes in the air cap is plugged up. It’s also possible that the fluid nozzle has been damaged.

To determine which, rotate the air cap one-half turn (180 degrees) and spray again. If the disrupted pattern switches sides, the problem is in the air cap. If the pattern stays the same, the problem is the fluid nozzle.

To clean the air cap, soak it in acetone or lacquer thinner to dissolve or soften the obstructing matter, then blow it out with compressed air if you have it. You can also use very small-diameter picks supplied with spray-gun cleaning kits such as the one offered by   Be very careful trying to use a toothpick, because it might break off in the hole and be difficult to remove. Above all, you don’t want to use any metal that might damage the hole.

If you determine that the fluid nozzle has been damaged, you will have to replace it. The fluid nozzle and needle are usually sold in sets.

I think my stain came out too dark. Is there a solution?

There are two broad categories of stain: dye that is dissolved in a liquid, and dye and/or pigment combined with a binder. The first are usually called “dye” stains and are sold either as powders for you to do the dissolving, or are already dissolved in a liquid solvent. The second are often called “wiping stains,” “pigment stains,” “oil stains,” “water-based stains” or “lacquer stains” and are the common stains you buy in cans at home centers and paint stores.

If a dye stain gets the wood too dark, try removing some of the dye by wiping with its solvent. The powder dyes labeled Lockwood and Moser (which are the same) are easier to lighten than the liquid dyes labeled “NGR” (non-grain-raising) or Transtint (which are also the same; Transtint is just concentrated).

If a pigment or wiping stain (those that contain a varnish, lacquer or water-based binder) gets the wood too dark, try removing some of the color by wiping with the thinner for the stain or with lacquer thinner or acetone. These stains are much more difficult to lighten than dye stains. 

In both cases, you can also scrub the surface with steel wool or a synthetic abrasive pad together with the solvent or thinner for the stain to remove more color. Try to keep the scrubbing even over the surface so you maintain a roughly even color overall.

With dye stains, you can usually bleach out most of the color using household bleach or swimming-pool bleach. It won’t be possible to remove all the color, however, without many applications, sanding between each.