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Tips for Spraying out the CIC Centurion Conversion Varnish

I have been using the CIC conversion varnish now for over a year and have been very impressed with both the product and the manufacture. There are a few things to know about this product that I have come to learn over the course of the last year of handling the material that I wanted to pass along. One of the values of this Blog is that I can document the things I have to tell people over and over, I’m sure that I’ll continue to go into shops and explain the same thing to people but it helps that I can refer people to an article on the matter.

 The Centurion Water based conversion varnish is a water based product that can be thinned with water (imagine that!). As with any coating product you can over thin the material. There are essentially 4 things in a coating: resins, binders, solvents, and pigment (color). The resin is the paint itself; the binders are the chemicals that hold all the various parts together, the glue if you will. The solvents are the chemicals that keep the paint liquid until you apply it. Once you have applied the paint, the solvents evaporate leaving a hard coat of paint. Colorants do just that add the color, different paints require different colorants or pigments,

 So now, all these things work together, the various components of a coating have different chemical properties and different tolerances. You can only put so much pigment in a clear lacquer before you have gone too far and your final product will be chalky and flat or might not stick because there is too much of the dye powder and not enough of the binder to hold it all together. The same goes with solvents you can thin down a lacquer with lacquer thinner to a point where there is not enough binder and the chemicals no longer work together. Think of a bag of concrete add a little water and you have a drive way, too much water and you have a mud pit.

 Ok the basic theory now being covered, you thin the CIC Centurion water based conversion coating with water, no more than 20 % and that is pushing the limits. Generally you thin a coating so that it will spray or roll out well if you have to thin it further than that you are using the wrong equipment and most likely need to get a larger tip size for you spay gun. (see the article form Thomas Craven on spray techniques elsewhere in this Blog)

 Here is a picture of what can occur when you over thin the water based Conversion varnish (or any water based product for that matter)

An orange peel so bad you don’t know what you are looking at. What has happened here is that there is too much water and so the binders can hold it all together. This project had to be stripped down and re-done.

FYI, sometimes the material comes to you in the can and it is very thick and has to be thinned down.  Ok that’s is something that you would expect to have to do and here is how you do it:

1.   The first thing you have to do is have the right equipment, if you are trying to spray a water based product with a small tip size then you will be forced to over thin the material to get it out of the gun. Your regular lacquer and automotive gun is usually a 1.4mm which is too small.  I have use a 1.7 mm tip in an HVLP cup gun with success but prefer to use a 2.0 mm. The Centurion works great out of an airless or better yet the air assisted airless, don’t use the extra fine tip as you might “Sheer” the material (a term use to describe what happens when the material is subjected to too much pressure) your finish will come out grainy as if you had fine sand al through your material. 

 2. The next thing to do is make sure that you material is not cold, the warmer the material is the more fluid or less viscous it will be factually for every 10 degrees warmer your lacquer (water based or solvent ) will be 10% thinner.

That mean that if you leave a bucket on the concrete floor of your shop and overnight it cools the material down to 50 degrees, you can make it 20% thinner by warming it up to 70 degrees.  Now you can reduce your labor by warming your materials as you won’t over thin the stuff and have to put on more coats to make up for all the thinner that is going to evaporate on you. you would also be saving money on thinners as well. if you are using water based materials, water is cheap Labor however is not.  

With water based materials you can actually put them in the micro wave and warm them up this is not a practical thing. Keeping the buckets off the concrete is one step. Pulling your cans in to the office overnight is another, generally the office is climate controlled. Grainger’s sells bucket heaters that belt around a 5 gallon pail, others have wrapped a heating blanket around a pail. Warm it up, no hotter than about 90 degrees. ( if you have decided to apply this principle to a solvent base material don’t blow yourself up with a jury rigged heater)

3. Sill a little lumpy with your gun spitting material instead of laying on and even coating… thin it another 5%.

4. If it  is still lumpy and or not flowing out at this point it to add a small amount of retarder. Here is an example of that scenario this is a Centurion Conversion varnish that has been tinted Brown, with the all the Pigment the materials are not flowing out.

 

Looks pretty crappy: what solved this was adding lacquer retarder. A mixture of 50/50 water and glycol either EB: Lacquer retarder.

I use to say that you could use any ol’ lacquer retarder, that however is not the case. Lacquer retarders like Margaritas are not all made the same. The Valspar Lacquer retarder when mixed with water foams up and turn into a clear solution, there are chemicals possibly acetone in there mix that do not mix well with water, that’s not to say that it is a poor retarder for lacquer.  Some companies make water based lacquer retarders

If you get the MSDS and it say the primary ingredient is glycol either EB then you are set. A.G. Layne, Sunny side, CIC and other manufactures have retarders that are primarily Glycol EB, Any retarder when mixed 50/50 with water and goes into solution will work.  

5. You mix the lacquer retarder 50/50 with water and then add no more than 5% of that to your centurion conversion varnish. The more you add the longer its is going to take to dry. When you mix this up make sure that it has gone into solution before you add it to your material, and when you do add it stir the conversion varnish while adding it slowly. Dump it in too quickly and you can “Shock” the material. Meaning that the two materials will react against each other and separate  

 In the first picture above, the walnut the job. The containers of conversion varnish that has been over thinned were allowed to thicken up by letting some of the excess water evaporate off and then they were retarded with the above mentioned 50/50 mix of water and retarder and the job came out fine.  

If done correctly you’ll have a rock hard finish that is as smooth as a good nitrocellulose lacquer finish.     

Ok, That’s my story and I’m sticking to it of you have questions feel free to send me a line.

Greg Saunders

Annex Paint

http://www.annexpaint.com

December 23, 2010 - Posted by | CIC Centurion, water based Conversion Varnish, Conversion varnish | , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. The above is good stuff, thanks! Just got me a 4 stage turbine system and I’m excited to start spraying. I do have 17 years of spraying experience as a Painting Contractor I had just got my first HVLP back in late 90s but then left contracting. I assume after all my research on turbine systems that I should not have any issues with not enough power in my unit to spray CV. I start a kitchen island build for a customer in a few days the top will be dark knotty hickory with the base being oak both will be cleared with the CV. I also think this is the correct product to use based on what I’ve read of the CIC product line, very much looking forward to water cleanup.

    Comment by Rob Willeford | June 2, 2019

  2. HI Rob,
    The 4 stage turbine should do just fine, spray finishing as you know, is a moving target; air pressure, viscosity, needle and tip size temperature and humidity etc. and these things can change on you with in the day. So spend some time playing around with it all and get it dialed In to your personal preferences. when you are ready to get some materials give me a call or send me and email. Greg 818-439-9297 greg@annexpaint.com

    Comment by Greg Saunders | June 3, 2019


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