My name is Greg Saunders and I am the field Rep for Annex Paint and Lacquer in Reseda California.
The California Wood finisher is a unique and rare creature whose technology, materials and operating climate are changing on him all the time ( as if running a business isn’t hard enough) I have started this blog to log the various changes and developments in the wood finishing industry and to document all of the tips and tricks I have come to learn over the years. Your input is welcome, Ask a question and I will get you an answer. If I don’t know the answer I have the names and numbers of chemists, the AQMD reps and Manufactures in my phone book I’ll get the information and publish it for all to have.
Specifically I service the wood finishing industry, cabinet and furniture shops, large and small in the LA area from Long beach to Oxnard. We sell and deliver several different brands of Lacquer, Pre catalyzed lacquer, Conversion varnishes, polyurethanes, polyesters, and stains in both water base materials as well as nitrocellulose based materials. We carry Gemini, Simpson, Renner, Old masters stains and a host of others. If we don’t have a product you are looking for it we can often get it for you. We custom match and tint stains and Lacquers as well we provide Free delivery and on site assistance to our customers.
Wood working and finishing is a passion of mine and I enjoy what I do. for this reason I have gotten this blog going to share tips tricks and useful information to my customers and all those that are wood workers whether professional or Hobbyists.
Visit our new on line catalog, we are building it as we go you are welcome to place orders and leave comments : www.annexpaint.com
California is a unique region for the wood finisher, we have the strictest regulations in the union such that most of the major national manufactures don’t have much reality on how to apply their own Low VOC materials that are specifically manufactured for this region.
Going green is becoming a reality as the quality of water-based products comes around to the lacquer standards. While the various authorities a talking about tightening even further the regulations on the allowable standards for VOC compliance. Spraying Water based materials is a different kettle of fish requiring a certain amount of education and the proper equipment. I will be featuring information on how to use these new materials as well as what I am finding when these newer materials are applied in the fields
Add all of the above factors together with the current economy and we find our selves in challenging times. In future posts I’ll be discussing the various products I come across and how they perform. I welcome your comments, suggestions and questions.
Just when you think you know it all, you learn something new. Truthfully, once you get over the notion that you know it all the learning really begins.
Experience is a great thing and is something you gain after putting in your time, But true wisdom is always keeping and eye out for what more there is to know about something and how might things be done better. With that bit of wisdom I’ll tell you about having clean air in your wood finishing shop, something that I have recently gotten a greater appreciation of.
Clean Air does several things for your finishing, all of them good, dirty air is a combination of three things.
3. Water or moisture.
Oil can come from your compressor or from oils in the air the compressor suck in, Likewise, Dirt comes in to the compressor or can be from the compressor, little metal flake from the inside of the tank or little rubber from the hoses that need to be replaced. all of these things can land in your finish and screw it up making you have to wait for it to dry sand it down and then reshoot it. Added time and lost money. Lastly water and moisture, comes from the condensation of the air when it is compressed and
un-compressed and is something that you will always have a degree of, more in the colder humid months.
In the automotive industry and when spraying urethanes and high-end finishes this is vital as the tiniest amount of moisture will ruin a finish. In the wood finishing industry the importance of clean air is often not stressed enough. but that being said when you start getting over 15% humidity in your air you clear coats won’t dry as quickly and wont be as hard or as clear. If you look at a clear coat that is cloudy under a microscope you’ll thousands of tinny bubbles that are quite often water drops that were trapped inside the finish, With water based products you can get away with more humidity but despite that all of your coatings water base or otherwise will dry faster and harder when you have decreased the humidity below 15% for the high end automotives you want to be blow 5%
There is another benefit to having dry air and that is your air tools will last longer.
We installed the RTI PERF 50 system in Thomas Craven’s wood finishing studio and here is a video of him telling you what the system does and how much it has improved his finishing.
The Perf 50 system is great unit designed to handle the air flow of a two booth shop. there is a smaller unit for a single booth application and you can go with less expensive systems than these. minimally you want to have a three stage system that removes oil, water moisture and dirt. the oil and dirt filters are sometimes combined.
I ‘m now certified by RTI to do air quality testing and have the tools to come out to a shop and test the air to see how much moisture and dirt are coming out of your hoses.
If you have any questions about the matter please feel free to send me an email or leave a comment. In the coming months I start having RTI parts and equipment on the annexpaint.com web site for sale.
This is a video of the application of Permashield 2000 by Monopole Inc. IT is a fast dry polyuria clear coat. The video says most every thing to say, this is a phenomenally tough coating that can be applied and then walked on in a matter if hours. This product dries in about 10 to 15 minutes so you really have to move quickly. Best application is to have a few people, one mixing with one or two people applying the coating. This product had been used on baseball stadium concourses as well as on heliport decks, it is very tough.
The reason that I was using it was that it is also fairly thick and so coated over the flecks that I had broad cast into the previous coating. If I were to add another coat of the permashield 2000 we would have a very slick surface
Contact me you are interested in knowing more about this or other Monopole Products.Greg Saunders
While this is a wood finishing blog I recently had to do a remodeling job for a new office and had a concrete floor to cover and make look good. Having been a supplier for the monopole line of water based concrete coatings I decided to use my own products and make a training video out of the event.
The Product I’m using is a 2 component water based epoxy that will stick to anything and as well is inexpensive and USDA approved for food service areas. While I had shot blasted the floor to really clean it that was some what unnecessary with this product as it will adhere to any clean surface including porcelain tile. That is good, really good if you need to put a coating down on a floor that you can’t shot blast.
The down side to this product is that it has a 20-30 minute pot life, that means that you have that amount of time before it starts hardening up on you in the can, yup, that’s right 20-30 minutes. Mix this up and go to lunch and when you return you’ll have a door stop in your bucket. factually it won’t solidify that quickly but you will have wasted that material as it will be beyond use.
While the video, videography, production of this is about as good as terrible I’m posting it any way as there is a lot of instructional data that you should have if you are going to use this product. My goal being to give you and my customers a fighting chance at getting it right the first time.
So once again please excuse the videography there are spots where the camera person zoomed in and left it out of focus. If you can over look these things I hope that you find the posting useful.
Further note on this product: epoxies are great primers and are very hard and this one is one of the best, that being said, epoxies will “chalk” up in the sun light so you don’t what to have and epoxy in the direct Sun light, if you need to use and epoxy primer to get your top coat to stick then top coat the epoxy with another product, in the industry urethanes are generally used over the epoxies heavy equipment painting, tractors oil rigs, farm equipment and things of that nature are generally primed with and epoxy and then top coated with a polyurethane. the polyurethane is UV stable and will not fade in the sun light and the epoxy is the hard tough protective coating. The “Chalking” doesn’t effect the integrity of the coating just the look. So this application is in side a garage and will have little to no sunlight.
The real trick with this product is getting it mixed and applied quickly. For my application we also applied a color sprinkle to give the floor a little depth and quality. so for this we would coat a section of the floor and then sprinkle in the colored flakes and then move on to do another section.
In the next video we applied the top coat of permashield 2000 and that is another fast dry product that cures very fast.
You are welcome to contact me with questions on this product and others.
In the next video we’ll do the top coat.
Lately in the los Angeles area there have been a number of new lacquer and pre-catalyzed lacquers hitting the market, some good some not so good, some inexpensive and others not. Being the “Prove-it-to-me” kinda guy that I am, We decided to test them all out and see how they stood up to a few the industry standard tests.
The first thing we did was a spray out of 5 different Pre-Catalyzed lacquers over both a stain and raw wood. How well did they go on? how fast did they dry? How good do they look in the end and most importantly how tough are they,were the questions we wanted to know the answers to.
Inexpensive is good but if the customer calls you in 6 months and you have to go re do the work saving 5 dollars a gallon just cost you two hundred in time and labor not to mention damaged reputation. The place to save it is not on the coating.
Pre-catalyzed lacquers were designed to hold up better in water and wet areas like the kitchen and bathroom. PRe-Catalyzed lacquers are self sealing, but work best with a vinyl sealer. For out little test we didn’t use a sealer, but for a kitchen or bathroom I wouldn’t skimp on that.
We took four other brands and our own brand and tested them all. We videoed the test so that you can see what we did. The CIC Pre-Cat Lacquer turned out to be the best, it isn’t the cheapest but it looked the best and was the toughest, this is the product I sell ( surprise, surprise :) ) . that being said. two of our competitors turned out more favorably than I expected , the other two didn’t do well at all,
All of the panels were sprayed the same. there was no effort to throw the results one way or the other.
It is my effort and propose of the this blog to properly and accurately educate finishers on the subject of finishing.
My self and my fellow sales associate, Martin Gonzales, are train finishers and are more they willing to come out to your shop to demonstrate our products and train your staff on proper techniques for getting the products efficiently and effectively for your customers. feel free to call the store and ask for a demonstration.
Here is our test capture forever on digital video:
The subject of how to get that full grain filled high gloss / high polished look without over building a lacquer to the point that it cracks has come up from time to time. I recently had a customer who builds and finishes custom walnut tables to a mirror finish that are gorgeous beyond belief have a serious fracturing issue. He had been building up pre-catalyzed lacquer beyond what the manufacture recommended. While this had worked well in the short term, cracks and fracturing of the finish began showing up after a few months.
The best solution I have found for this problem is the use of polyester sanding sealer. This is a great system however it is not something that should be attempted by someone new to the business of furniture finishing as there are three components to mix and if not done right will never dry. Eight to twelve mils of this material may be applied in one application to fill wood grain and or pores and it won’t crack and fracture like lacquers and conversion varnishes do. This is the finish used on pianos. Once you have applied enough polyester sanding sealer to fill the wood grain and pores you can then block sand it smooth and flat. You can then go straight to final sanding and polish if you wish. This would provide the hardest most durable finish. However, polyester does turn yellow over time. An alternative is to top coat the polyester with non yellowing lacquer or high grade two part polyurethane like the Pinnacle brand we have sold for years now. This polyurethane has UV inhibitors added to it to slow the effects of yellowing that are typical of polyurethanes.
Thomas Craven has been a finisher in the valley for many years and has consistently produced excellent products. He and his team have mastered the Polyester/ Polyurethane finish as you can see in this video. You can reach Thomas Craven through his web site at: http://www.TCWoodFinishers.com
If you are interested in purchasing these products you can contact me through the Annex Paint Store web site at: http://www.annexpaint.com
I apologize for having been remiss in my blogging duties it has been a busy year. I have a new camera and as well some new things to share.
I went back to a job that a customer did a year ago to see how the CIC acrylic coatings were holding up. In general the CIC 3022 Acrylic lacquer was doing great, on verticals and in bookshelves it looked great. however on counter tops after a year of being in side of a well attended church there were some signs of wear. Jody Toole of Jody Tool’s finishing started to do some tests to see what he could apply that would be harder yet easy to apply and yet not change the color or appearance.
the following video is the test that he did. for reference in the test he used the CIC acrylic lacquer, a 550 VOC pre-cat from mohawk and the CIC coatings water based clear Conversion Varnish. all of the panels were sealed with a vinyl sealer first. He them wiped them down with an lacquer thinner on a rag to see how fast the coating would degrade.
Additional note: although it is not shown here Jody did a separate test where he applied the water based conversion varnish directly over the acrylic lacquer and it looked great and stuck well.
If you are interested in knowing more about these products give me a call.
For years I have been asking for a clear grain filler and for the years I have been looking the only true Clear grain filler I found was an Ultra Violet cured product, while a great product it was out of realm of the regular cabinet guy. Then CIC came up with this product that is all the things I was looking for. It is water based and dries quickly, ( all water based products are temperature and humidity sensitive) This is a product that I have wanted to get a demo video up on for some time.
My wife wanted a simple black box that she was going to put in a closet, it wasn’t going to be seen that much and so didn’t have to be fancy, I had some salvaged oak ply in the shed and so decided to make it out of that. then I had the idea to use the water based grain filler on it to spruce it up and have something for the blog, Long story short I spent way more time doing the finishing on something that is going into the Closet than I should have. that being said I home video is of some value to any one interested in the product.
About the Product:
It is water based and comes in a can it is thick and has the consistency of seriously thick ketchup or bril-cream hair gel (that dates me). You apply it with a spreader or wide putty knife. you don’t want a build you want to spread it around and fill grain any extra you have on the surface, you’ll have to sand off and it gets hard. Lay it on, let it dry and sand all the excess off. This is not a top coat it is not a coating it is a filler so you have to sand down to the wood, depending on the dept of the grain yo may have to do the process again and sand again. once you have filled the grain you can apply your sealer and top coat. SO far I have only used this with water based top coats I have not tried it under a solvent lacquer. should work fine I just haven’t tried that one. the one thing that I would say about that would be that you would want to be very dry first other wise any water/moisture off gassing is going to blush your clear coat.
The other question is at what point do you stain, That the tricky part IF you stain first and you are then sanding down to the wood you are inevitably going to be sanding into your stain. IF you sand afterword you stain in not going to penetrate well. The Trick is when you have filled the grain then sand down deep enough so that you are sanding wood. In other words, if the wood was the land and mountains and the valleys and gorges were the depth of the grain then you would want to sand down to the point that you were cutting the tops of the mountains off. And then apply your stain. If you haven’t sanded that down evenly then your stain coating is going to be uneven.
following this I’ll have a few other video demos of spraying the Black CIC water based Conversion coating on where you see the difference that the grain fill makes.
Ok and here is the video of the application:
I thought I had said more on this subject of heating your coatings for better results and perhaps I have, but now time has gone by and the data has been buried somewhere over the years in some article somewhere in my Blog making it not all that useful.
Let me get to the point; when you raise th temperature of your coating, be it water based or solvent you are reducing the viscosity or thickness of the materials. With in a certain range of temperature for every 10 degrees warmer you make your lacquer (be it water based solvent or urethane) you will make your product 10% thinner. The great aspect about that is that you are not reducing the volume of solids.
If you thin a coating 50% you’ll have to put on twice the number of coats to achieve the same build. Here in America the labor is your most expensive commodity. Now if you can raise the temperature of the materials 50 degrees you achieve that same amount if thinning but you would do it with out adding the solvents that will evaporate out and leaving your coating behind.
But that’s not all! In addition to the above the coatings you lay out will flow out better and dry faster. And you can do it with out the expence of Lacquer thinners which are getting expensive.
There are several things you can do to use this data, the easiest is to take your pails off the concrete floor and put them up on wood blocks if nothing else. I have had contractors wrap a heating blankets around their pails and warm their lacquer up that way. I have even seen finishers put water based lacquers in the Micro wave and warm it up.
Intelligence needs to be used, especially when dealing with flammable materials. Making your materials warmer is the key but I wouldn’t go past the point of heating materials beyond warm to the touch. you can stick your finger in and its warm to the touch Body temperature is 98 degrees so I would say no more than about 104 degrees. Obviously if your boil your materials you are going to be changing chemical properties. Again, some intelligence please.
With duel component materials you are going to be shortening the pot life. Gradients and testing are key here. I’m a big fan of pushing something to see where their fail point is but not on a customers cabinets, when you are at that point you should have all your procedures all figured out.
Ok, the basics covered, here are two Video demo’s of Jody Toole using the Kremlin Air-assisted airless spray rig with the new Excite spray gun and the Kremlin materials heater. Jody is a professional finisher in the Southern California area, if you are interested in contacting him you can reach him through his blog at: http://jodytoole.wordpress.com/
In the first clip he is using the rig and in the second he is telling some of the benefits of the whole system.
And here is the second video Jody describing some of the attributes of the Rig and his review :
For note: the Lacquer that we are applying here is the CIC Coatings Acrylic lacquer I have said so much about int he past.
Annex Paint sells the Kremlin air assisted airless and all of its sundries including the heater. If you are in the southern california area and would like a Demo please feel free to contact me.
This is an interesting one that I thought I would share. A furniture designer from Lithuania wrote to me asking for help with a wooden sink bowl. I have no pictures to share on this one but after I composed the reply I thought there were a few things in the reply that wood finishers would appreciate.
I have changed the original message from the designed only slightly to protect his identity.
My name is Tomas, I am an independent furniture designer.
Currently I have an order to produce a wooden bathroom sink and it seems that you have some products that could assist me in doing this.
Could you recommend a varnish for such a job (the only requirement is that the varnish needs to be glossy)? From what I understand, the varnish, that would be suitable for a wooden sink, must be hot water-resistant, it also needs to seal the pores of wood well.
If you have a suitable project, how much water does it let through? Are there any special varnishing techniques?
Do you have a sales representative in Lithuania?
Thank you in advance!
Thanks for your inquire; There are two routes to go with a project like this. the first is to use a “food-grade” oil for the proposed sink and instruct the customer that they will have to oil it regularly. This is the sort of coating you have on wooden salid bowls.
For something like that you would have to design it in such a way that it was completely sealed on the bottom and in the drain hole as anywhere you have a penetration or where water is going to collect it is eventually going to make its way into the wood and begin to rot the wood. As a note, I would design the bowl in such away so as to be sure that it doesn’t ever sit in water. For example have it on a metal or plastic pedestal so that any water on the sink counter drains off of it. Standing water will be the enemy you’ll have to overcome.
The next problem that you’ll have to overcome is getting a coating that is hard enough to withstand the abuse that a sink will get and yet soft enough to expand and contract with temperature changes.
For note: I would never warrantee something like that as the moment someone drops something sharp in the bowl and penetrates the coating you are going to have a place where water is going to eventually seep in and then lift you coating.
The next thing to consider is the wood you are going to use. Ideally I would use the hardest wood you can find; epay or iron wood.
All of the above being said I would then suggest the CIC two component water based urethane. Or the Permashield 200 from monopole both of these products are good the Permashield 200 is a product that is approved for food servicing areas by the US department of Agriculture (USDA). Both of these you can find on my web site at : www.annexpaint.com
In terms of special application procedures for this application. I would do several things; once the bowl was ready for finishing I would wet it with warm water just making it slightly damp. As you are using a water based product this will not react badly with the coating and in fact what it will do is lower the surface tension of the wood which will allow the coating to soak into all the grain pores. Next I would put down several light coats of the polyurethane that are thinned down as much as recommended and as well heated to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This will further reduce the viscosity and allow it to soak in as much as possible. Repeat the coating with a light but thorough sanding in-between coats as many time necessary to achieve the build you want but with a minimum of 4 of 5 coats. Only the first or second coat need the additional reduction, the purpose of this is to achieve maximum penetration into the wood. Lastly I would let it cure for three weeks to ensure that it has reached its maximum hardness before giving it to the customer.
I’m sorry I don’t have a rep in Lithuania but if you would like to fly me over I would love to come. I haven’t shipped material overseas as it is rather coast prohibitive for customers.
The two companies who might have a suitable product are Renner and Icsam they are both Italian and have very good materials.
I wonder if my boss would fly me to Lithuania??
- Anti Graffiti coatings
- AQMD rules
- CIC Centurion, water based Conversion Varnish
- Conversion varnish
- Finishing failures and the fix
- From the Chemist
- Funiture stripping
- Gemini coatings
- Pre-Catalyzed lacquer
- speciality finishes
- Spray techniques
- Stains and glazes
- Tips and Tricks
- Ultra Wood Coatings
- Wood finishing