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Newsletter #187


Greetings from Bill Boxer

All of us at Apollo Sprayers are so proud. We’ve returned from the AWFS exhibition in Las Vegas with the coveted Visionary Award for our new PRECISION-6 HVLP TurboSpray™ System in the Power Tool Category.

The award recognized Apollo’s commitment to enhancing and growing HVLP TurboSpray™ technology, innovation and environmental commitment. 

To our Apollo team not only do we value the award but also the importance and recognition we bring to the HVLP spray finishing marketplace.

Over the years Apollo’s sales and production team monitors rapidly growing changes in the world of coatings and finishes, striving to provide not only good information on how to relate modern finishes and coatings to HVLP TurboSpray™ technology.  Apollo continues to research ways to improve product performance relative to the coatings our customers apply.

I share all of this with you as I think it is important for our readers to know what’s happening in the marketplace as well Apollo’s commitment to providing the most up to date spray finishing products.

I’m proud of the hard work the Apollo team continues to show in developing new HVLP products and look forward to the next Apollo first.




ApolloSpray® PRECISION-6 TWIN TURBO HVLP Spray System won the prestigious Visionary Award at AWFS 2017 for Product Innovation in the Power Tools category!

Here’s why the judges were so impressed by the PRECISION-6.

Pressure Control System (PCS™) – Controls motor speed, voltage and amperage at
any altitude.

Reduced Pollution and Coatings Costs – Documented 80+% transfer efficiency and
38% savings on coatings when compared to compressed air guns

Throttle Back Control (TBC™)– Permits highest available flow pressure & increased motor longevity

LCD Message Center– Accurate Pressure Display, Motor Idle and Hour Use Meter.

TWIN TURBO Technology – Produces 30% more power than a 5-stage to spray high solids, high production coatings with ease.

For more information on the PRECISION-6 TWIN TURBO HVLP System (CLICK HERE)


Compressed Air HVLP Spray Guns

ApolloSpray® compressed air HVLP spray guns provide superb atomization along with high HVLP efficiency. Combine ultra-fast application speed with the highest transfer efficiency.

  • Balanced, Lightweight Design – Reduces operator fatigue
  • MicroTech™ Atomization Technology – Better atomization of coatings
  • Xpansive™ Fan Control Ring – Precise fan control (7500C & 8200)
  • Dual Air Source – Use with compressed air or TurboSpray™ systems (7500C)
  • Durability and Reliability – Internal parts precisely engineered from stainless steel
  • Cup Flexibility – Use with bottom or top cup and any size production pot
  • Warranty – 2-Year Limited Warranty covering parts and labor


             Model – 7500C                         Model – 8400                              Model – 8200

For more information on the Compressed Air Conversion

CLICK HERE for the 7500C compressed air spray gun

CLICK HERE for the 8200 compressed air spray gun

CLICK HERE for the 8400 compressed air spray gun


This comprehensive article will appear in two parts.


Part 2 will appear in September.

We finish wood to enhance or modify its look and feel, to bring out characteristics that we want to emphasize, or to “play down” less desirable characteristics.  We do it to preserve and protect it from environmental factors, and to increase its utility by making it more durable.

What is a finish?  Briefly, a finish is a decorative and/or protective coating applied to a substrate. The term “finish” may include all of the products that are applied into or above the surface of the object to be finished, such as color, fillers, sealers, size coats and topcoats. The color could be in the form of a stain, glaze, filler, toner, or color in the topcoat itself.

What are the general types of finishes used on wood? What we often think of as a finish could be a wax, soap, a non-drying oil, or a drying oil.   It could be lacquer, varnish, or any number of modern formulations such as catalyzed, moisture, UV, or radiation cure plastics, or other polymers that don’t fit neatly into any of the older categories.

There are several ways of categorizing the finishes:  By the resin type, by the method of application, by the way that they dry or cure, and the solvents and other components of the material.  The finish can also be described in terms of the various materials used to produce the end results and the sequence, number, and type of the operations performed. Here’s a simple example of a finish description of a multi-step finish applied by many fine furniture manufacturers. 

This called a finishing schedule, and can be much more complex and detailed, or just a listing of the operation to be performed with no further directions to the finisher.  The photo shows a step panel that shows the effect of each applied component or step of the process. 

The finishing schedule and step panel together are powerful tools enabling the finisher to (1) predict the outcome of a finishing schedule or step, (2) maintain consistency between one piece and another, and (3) address problems before committing to the entire piece.


  1.  Sand to 280 grit garnet sandpaper
  2. Apply wet “Yellow Solar-Lux Dye Stain”
  3. Allow to dry, apply wet “Golden Oak Aerosol Stain”
  4. Allow to flash off, wipe off excess
  5. Allow to dry 30 minutes
  6. Spray apply wet coat of Lacquer Sanding Sealer Aerosol
  7. Allow to dry, scuff sand with 280 grit stearated sandpaper
  8. Spray as desired with Master Toner “Dark Red Walnut”
  9. Spray apply wet coat of Clear Gloss Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer
  10. Allow to dry, scuff sand with 230 grit stearated sandpaper
  11. Spray apply wet coat of Clear Gloss Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer
  12. Allow to dry thoroughly
  13. Rub out with 4/0 Steel Wool lubricated with Wool Lube



  A few terms you will hear, and some quick and dirty working definitions:

Lacquer:  Generally an air dry film former, containing one or more resins such as nitrocellulose, acrylic, butyrate, acetate, urethane, alkyd, melamine and others. Easy and economical to use, lacquers provide a durable, beautiful finish that is easy to repair and maintain for interior woodwork and furniture. It is almost always applied by spraying and dries rapidly by evaporation of the volatile solvents.

Shellac:  Actually a lacquer by the old definition, since it dries by evaporation of solvents only.  Traditionally a good sealer to prevent bleeding of knots, stains, it is easily applied and repaired, somewhat expensive, fragile (not very scratch, mar, or solvent resistant), but versatile.

Varnish:  Traditionally a resin cooked in drying or semi-drying oil, a varnish dries first by evaporation of solvents, and then undergoes a chemical change, usually in reaction with oxygen, becoming a film which will not then dissolve in its original solvent.

Enamel: Originally a varnish with color in it to make the film opaque.  Now the term is loosely applied to any colored coating.

Catalyzed Lacquer:  Is also called “Post catalyzed Lacquer to distinguish it from Pre-catalyzed lacquer. This just means that the catalyst is added after purchasing it.  It has a stronger catalyst, or uses a higher percentage of catalyst to cross link the resin faster and more effectively than the pre-catalyzed finish.  It has a shorter pot life, and is catalyzed just before use.  

Precatalyzed Lacquer:  This is a catalyzed lacquer which supplied to the buyer with the catalyst already incorporated into the coating.   Precatalyzed lacquer is the most popular coating for most experienced finishers.  Its performance exceeds that of a straight nitrocellulose lacquer and is as easy to use.  It is often supplied in a ready to use form.

Conversion Varnish: Similar to catalyzed lacquer, more durable, more difficult and expensive to apply, conversion varnish uses more durable resins and is cross linked after air drying by a catalyst added to the liquid coating.

Polyurethane: Actually, a resin used in many finishes, it usually refers to a varnish with polyurethane resin as the primary film former.  One of many more modern “plastic” finishes. 

Oil finish:  This could refer to linseed oil, Tung oil, or really, any non-drying, semi-drying, or drying oil, with or without additional resins.  Some commercial oil finishes are more like thinned down varnishes than true oils. Generally not used to build up finish on the surface, they tend to penetrate the wood and harden in the wood fiber itself.  They are usually easy to apply, but limited in the variety of looks and performance.

Waterbased finishes:   A better term for us to use might be water reducible, or water-borne.  These are lacquer like film formers that use a fairly large percentage of water in their formulation.  They also contain a co-solvent which is not water.  When both the water and the co-solvent have evaporated, the finish cannot be dissolved by water alone.  Waterborne finishes can use acrylic, polyurethane or other resins, and are becoming more acceptable to formerly quite resistant finishers. While there is a learning curve involved in adapting to waterborne products, more and more finishers and manufacturers are finding that the payoff in terms of health and safety, environmental compliance, material costs, reduced waste and property insurance is worth the investment.

Wax Finish:  Single waxes or combinations of waxes, solvents, and pigments provide little protection to the wood, but are simple to apply, and have an appealing luster on some pieces.  They don’t wear well and must be renewed often.  Waxes are sometimes applied over another finish as topdressing.

Q&A from Our Readers

Our reader asked how to fill the grain on a table that had been finished previously finished.

The question is answered by Darren J. O’Hare, Professor at Palomar College.

Darren includes a video.

You finished a library table a few years ago with a stain and a wipe-on poly. Now you are wishing to go back and fill the grain of this piece. Without seeing the piece, I am guessing it is an oak table. I am also going under the assumption you followed the directions of the wipe-on ploy, which means you would have applied about 3-4 coats of wipe-on poly.

Fortunately for you this is not a difficult task.

There are a few options you can go about doing this. This will take a little bit of elbow grease to get this done.

The 1st option is to grain fill the table using your wipe-on poly.
You can sand back your wipe-on poly to just before you hit the stain. If you notice the stain in your sanding dust, then you have sanded down too far. Go ahead and reapply about 3 coats of wipe-on poly, then again sand back down. You will need to do this about 8 times (if this is an oak table) to fill the grain to the surface of the wood.

The 2nd option is a bit easier.
This will require you to sand down the entire table top to the bare wood. Once you have sanded the table back to the original wood, reapply the stain. I recommend an oil based stain. Allow the stain to dry 24 hours. Once the stain is dry you can start the grain filling process. I would recommend a water-based grain filler. This will allow you to get multiple coats on in a brief time period. An oil based grain filler will require roughly 8 hours between each coat. Your table top will require a minimum of 8 coats grain filler (again provided it is an oak table).

Here is a link to Aqua Coat, a water based, non shrinking grain filler.

Here is Darren’s video for the application process of grain filling.

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.

Apollo Won the Visionary Award