Woodfinishers Weblog

Wood finishing forum for professional finishers

How to finish a wooden sink bowl

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.

Hello,

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!

Hi Tomas,

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.

Best,

  Greg Saunders

 Cell:      818-439-9297
Office:  818-344-3000
Fax:      818-344-3994

greg@annexpaint.com

www.annexpaint.com

I wonder if my boss would fly me to Lithuania?? 

 

January 11, 2012 Posted by | polyurethane, Spray techniques, Tips and Tricks, Water based Lacquers, Wood finishing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CI Centurion Acrylic lacquer in action

I have been reporting on the acrylic lacquer for the last few years yet few of the die-hard finishers have taken up the new technology, for better or worse in our industry getting up and running with a new product, water-based materials or other wise is a trying activity experimenting with you customers kitchens is a risky business and with economic conditions as they are these aren’t the times to venture away from the norm, or are they?

Having a technologically superior product that is easy to apply could be the thing that would put you ahead of the crowd could be the ticket to your survival in this cut throat market.

The Church of Scientology has been on a project to up grade and renovate their various facilities around the country. After extensive testing they decided on using the Centurion acrylic Lacquer from CIC  Coatings they needed something that was commercial grade tough and as well crystal clear which wouldn’t yellow. As well they wanted a product that was as environmentally friendly. The CIC Acrylic lacquer met all these qualities It doesn’t yellow as it is not nitro-cellulous, it’s as hard as a pre-Catalysed lacquer yet it has the moisture resistance of a urethane, it is low VOC and has a relatively low odor.

The Finishing contractor, Jody Toole, of Jody tools Finishing (http://www.jodytoole.com/) has been applying the product with an Kremlin Air assisted Airless spray rig has been over joyed at the results he has been getting.

the following are a few pictures of  one of the recent  Church of Scientology churches which have been renovated using the CIC Acrylic lacquer.

Non yellowing CIC acrylic lacquer

CIC Lacquer on all the furniture

November 8, 2011 Posted by | Acrylic Lacquer, Uncategorized, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CIC “TL” acrylic lacquer passes the water boarding test,

I have a customer who loves the CIC TL acrylic lacquer, while I was in his shop the other day he showed me the results of a scientific study he was performing with the product, I was so impressed I videoed the test.

The Finisher is Jody Toole and he operates in the LA area doing custom wood finishing if you are interested in contacting him here is a link to his blog: http://jodytoole.wordpress.com/

The Centurion Acrylic lacquer is a low VOC acrylic lacquer. Acrylics are different than nitrocellulose lacquers, a little more expensive but far superior, they are harder and don’t yellow, as well it is self sealing and they don’t smell as bad when you are spraying them out. This particular product is and advanced Hybrid of what was referred to as a “Cab Acrylic”, the old cab acrylic were very clear didn’t yellow but were relatively soft. the TL series is very hard.

As you’ll see in the short video Jody had his Starbucks cold drink plastic cups on a walnut panel he has finished 6 months ago. He has placed his cups on the panel every day for the last 6 months, as you can see there is not water damage, I love it when I get impressed with my own products. If you are interested in purchasing this product please feel free to contact me Greg Saunders Annex paint at: greg@annexpaint.com


 

thanks if you have any questions please feel free to contact me

Greg
Annex Paint
greg@annexpaint.com

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Acrylic Lacquer, Tips and Tricks, Wood finishing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Golden cabinet doors; unique finishing technique by Thomas Craven

I’m going to have to make a new category for this one as it is not something I have covered before, but the process was so unique and produced such a cool effect I decided that I had to record it.

Using gold leaf or gold power in paint and clear coats has been around for some time but what Thomas Craven has done is used the gold powder in a Pinnacle polyester resin stippled on with a natural sponge and then clear coated with  the clear polyester. The effect is a multi layered effect that gives the finish a depth that is very attractive. See for your self .


featured in the video is Thomas Craven Master and owner of Thomas Craven studios in Van Nuys California you can see more of his work at his  web site at: http://www.tcwoodfinishers.com/ or contact him at: ThomasCraven@msn.com

If you are interested in the materials used you can contact me Greg Saunders at: greg@annexpaint.com

April 26, 2011 Posted by | polyurethane, speciality finishes, Tips and Tricks, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thinning and retarding water based lacquers and coatings

There are a few tips to thinning and retarding water based materials that are common to most all of the water based materials on the market today, knowing these tips can make spraying out water base materials easy fun and most importantly give you the control over the flow of the materials so you  compensate for the varying conditions of your environment.

One of the things to be aware of with water based materials is that they are temperature and humidity sensitive, meaning that on a cold and rainy day it will take forever to dry if left wit out forced air and some heat.

The obvious and wonderful characteristic about water based materials is that you can thin them with water; water is cheap and not explosive.  No one has ever accidentally blown up their shop with a bucket of water.  That being said   you can overthin with water and that can create a mess.

Before we get into percentages and how much you should thin, one thing you should know is that the warmer the materials are, the thinner they will be. This is true of both water base and solvent materials.   Heating pads, bucket heaters and in line material heaters are all things that you can implement.  Inline materials heaters are pricey and not something that are too common here in Southern California  but can be used. More commonly and more practically you can just keep your buckets off the concrete floor or move the bucket in to the office of the shop overnight if it’s cold out. Warming up water base is easier and safer than warming up the solvent materials and in fact with some water base materials you can even warm  them up in the microwave machine, a little impractical but not impossible.  For every 10 degrees you heat the material you will reduce the Viscosity by 10% .  And that is a good thing to know because you can reduce your labor by putting on a thicker coat save our self the labor of having to put on another one of or two more sometimes

Now onto the more practical, the first thing that you should do is adjust your equipment to the material in other words if you have been spraying lacquer with an extra fine airless it’s probably going to be too small an orifice for the water base; you don’t want to overthin it so that you can get it out of  your gun but rather get a bigger tip. Generally a 1.7 mm tip in a cup gun and or something no smaller than a .014 in an airless and that would be the smallest I recommend 1.8 or a 2.0mm tip and needle for a cup or gravity gun.

When you do need to thin the materials down I start out with about 5% water and see how it’s coming out of the gun and laying down, with water based a good heavy coat is what you want if it looks a little blue you are doing good. You want it heavy enough to flow out but obviously not so heavy that  it is running.

Ok the next thing is getting it to flow out and lay down smoothly if it has any orange peel to it then you need some retarder. I generally add the retarder whether I need it or not as I like that fact that it flows out better, this might not be true of all water bases but the ones I have used it just seems to work better with the proper amount  of retarder.

Glycol ether is the solvent for retarding water based material you can also use that for retarding regular solvent lacquers   If you use too much your coating will never dry. The other thing to know is that you can add the retarder too fast and “shock” the material. Shocking information, but true. Dump the retarder directly in to your pot and it can cause itto foam up and have an adverse reaction. Some chemicals go together easily and some don’t;  then there are others that are right on the boarder, this in one of those. So the best way to add the retarder is to mix it 50/ 50 with water first and then add that into the water based lacquer while stirring it. Start out with one to two percent of the   50/50 water retarder solution and see if that doesn’t do the trick for you.  You can go as high as about 4%. If you are working with pigmented water base materials then you can go up to 7% .

White and pigmented lacquers require more and will have a tendency to “mud Crack” (Mud cracking is the phenomena whereas the material dries it begins to crack like mud drying out)   if you don’t use the retarder, what is happening is the solvents are drying out of the pigment faster than the pigment is drying and so you need to slow the process down so that they all dry and flow together.

Not all retarders are the same, some companies sell retarders that are a combination of different things, these work well for solvent lacquers but not always for water based materials.  You either want a lacquer retarder that is made and marked for Water based materials OR you have to test them. The way  you test your normal run of the mill retarder to see if it will work in your waterbased system is to mix it  with water. Simple, if it mixes in you’re good If it separates and doesn’t mix in or foams up and looks weird then its not going to work.  There are a few manufactures that have acetone in their retarder which doesn’t mix well with water If you add that to your water based lacquer its trash.

Ok I hope this information is clear and to the point. Use it and let me know what you get. Leave comments on the blog posting for others to see. I have specifically kept this report completely generic so that if you have a product that you are trying out for the first time it is generally best to contact the manufacture and ask them what they recommend, the better companies will spend the time to answer your questions others won’t

 Thanks,

 Greg Saunders
Annex Paint

February 20, 2011 Posted by | CIC Centurion, water based Conversion Varnish, Spray techniques, Water based Lacquers | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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

CIC, Centurion Water based stain and glaze system

 

I have been remiss with keeping the blog up dated regularly but it has not been for lack exciting things happening in the finishing world. There are several Blog posting on the CIC water based conversion varnish. That product has continued to perform well. If you have been following the Water base conversion varnish postings It has been perfected from the original version. With the success of the product I was persuaded to bring in the other CIC products. Having had the Renner stain system I was not particularly interested in another waterbased system however when I saw the workability of the glaze base I was duly impressed and so conceded to bring the line of water based stains and glazes in to the store.

Unlike the Renner stain and glaze system the CIC Centurion system uses a concentrate dye stain and then a base solution you add the dyes to. As well the Renner system is a 100% zero VOC system where as the CIC system is a little over 200 grams per liter VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). That being said there is no smell and no fire hazard. The Renner system is a spray only system and the CIC Centurion system is a combination wipe and spray system which is very convenient.

Ok enough of the side chair commentary, the CIC Centurion stain and glaze system is a phenomenal product it is a water base that looks and acts like and oil based stain. There is a stain base and glaze base into which you add  the CIC Centurion dye stains to make you colors and shades  there are 5 different colorants in the system Yellow, Red, Brown, black and Orange. If you need something beyond that you can add any other Water based colorant you want; Pro-line colorants or professional water base Universal Tint Colorants (better known as UTCs) IF you want to turn it into a spray on stain just add water and spray. Applying the stain once you have mixed it you’ll notice that it acts like an oil based system, It doesn’t streak and or blotch You can squeeze your stain rag out over you work wait a minute and then wipe it out with no consequences heretofore if you did that with a dye stain you would have dark splotch you wouldn’t be able to pull out. 

When the CIC rep was pitching me on this system and I was very skeptical, I have on my shelves 4 different stain systems already, including two water based systems that perform reasonably well, one of them being the Renner system which here to fore was the best of the best as far as I was concerned and I really wasn’t interested in having yet another line to deal with.  I was talked into a Demo (this is what I do all day long) and boy I was impressed. Noteworthy, is that since I have been on the road demoing this CIC stain system to the local finishers I have sold the materials to every shop I have done the demo with.

In essence this is a stain and glaze system that acts and looks like it’s oil based counterparts. It has little or no order and dries quickly, for a water based product, the biggest drawback to water based systems are that they are temperature and humidity sensitive, meaning that the cooler and damper it is outside the longer your materials are  going to take to dry.

Following will be a few short video demos where you can see the product yourself.  If you have questions about  this material or any other coating system feel free to send me a line.

Greg Saunders

Annexpaint

November 9, 2010 Posted by | CIC Centurion, water based Conversion Varnish, Conversion varnish, Stains and glazes, Water based Lacquers, Wood finishing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sucess story using the Rexcell water based conversion varnish

Walnut Kitchen Island finished with W/B Conversion Varnish

 This is a story from  a gentleman who is a retired air force officer whose hobby is cabinet and furniture building, As you’ll see he is an incredible cabinet builder.

 As his shop is in his garage with limmetted space and no spray booth Dennis was interested in water born products but needed something that was super tough. I suggested the Rexcell  Water based Conversion varnish. As you will see it turn out stunningly beautiful.

Fore note: this product is no longer manufactured by Rexcell but is now being manufactured to spec by another American manufacturing company, the product is as good or better than before, It has been referred to as three different manufactures Renner, Rexcell and now CIC. It is all the same product, a water born Conversion Varnish.

Here’s is the Story Dirrect from Dennis : 

FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH WATER BASED FINISH

 I have been building wooden furniture and cabinets as a hobbyist for over forty years. Over this period I have sprayed, brushed and wiped on all the standard finishes that hobbyist woodworkers usually use. Because I’m in my upper sixties in age, I have looked upon the new water based finishes for wood with skepticism. I recently finished a kitchen island for my daughter’s new kitchen. It’s a walnut cabinet with a maple butcher block top. It measures 50 inches long by 30 inches wide by 36 inches high. And, I sprayed a water based conversion coating (called water based lacquer) for the protective finish. This was my first experience with a water based coating and I’m extremely pleased with the way it turned out. I chose it for it’s touted durability which was demonstrated to me by Greg Saunders, a sales representative for the Annex Company of Reseda, California. Greg showed me samples, coated with the product I used, that he placed in his home shower for approximately two months and the durability was impressive. ( You can see this test in another post on the Blog)

 The material I used is made by the Rexcel Company, and is a water based conversion varnish, meaning that it is tough enough for counter tops and moisture resistant for high moisture areas)

I used a Goldenstar HVLP air spray gun (Advertised as being especially for water based finishes)

( This is an inexpensive but quality spray gun that Annex paint sells)

Fluid orifice: 1.7mm (this size is recommended for this water based product)

Pressure required: 15-50 psi (I used 30 psi)

 I was spraying in 90 degree summer weather and therefore added 3 percent of regular lacquer retarder. Greg, the sales rep, said I could thin the product with water by about 10 percent but I used it full strength and it seemed to spray very well. I am used to spraying regular nitro cellulose lacquer and I used the very same technique with this water based lacquer. It appears milky in color when it first goes on but otherwise it sprays on like regular lacquer. You have to use the same caution on vertical surfaces as with regular lacquer. A good technique is to use a big piece of brown cardboard to adjust your spray volume and pattern before tackling your project.

 I sprayed three coats and sanded lightly between coats. I probably could have gotten by with only two coats. Remember, each coat of this water based finish lies on top of the previous coat. It doesn’t melt into the previous coat as with regular lacquer. As with regular lacquer, this product dries quickly and can be sanded within 20 minutes and recoated. It was hot and dry when I sprayed so weather conditions might alter the drying times. After the third coat, it was a bit too glossy for my preference so I waxed with a steel wool pad which resulted in a soft sheen that I was looking for. I’m totally happy with the way it turned out.

 I kept a bucket of water and a rag nearby while I was spraying. A couple of times when I got runs, I immediately wiped it off, let it dry, sanded lightly, and recoated. I really enjoyed the water clean up – of the runs and the clean-up of the spray equipment. A word here about clean-up – and this attests to the durability — if you wait until this finish dries, you can’t clean up with water – it takes acetone. I sprayed the first coat with my regular glasses on (plastic lenses). I got overspray on my glasses and I still haven’t gotten it off. However, acetone on my plastic lenses would probably not be smart.

 I made a silverware tray at the last-minute for one of the cabinet drawers and I brushed on two coats of finish with a foam brush. That went on very nicely too. Will I continue to use water based finishes? — definitely yes, especially for kitchen and bathroom furniture. Will I use it for living room furniture? – the jury is out, but I’m hoping to.   

Here is another picture of Dennis’ work. For note this stunningly beautiful Kitchen Island was built by Dennis for his daughter who recently returned from active service in the Military in Iraq.

Walnut cabinet finished with Rexcell water based conversion Varnish

 For his privacy, I have left out Dennis’s contact informations, However, you are welcome to comment on his work and ask any questions on this blog. If you are intersted in contacting Denis for custom work please send me an e-mail and I’ll foreward it on to him.

 As always if you have finnishing qustions you can leave me a comment here on the Blog or write to me dirrectly at : greg@annexpaint.com

February 12, 2010 Posted by | CIC Centurion, water based Conversion Varnish, Conversion varnish, Tips and Tricks, Water based Lacquers | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Changes in the VOC limitations for Lacquer thinners in the South coast area

New rules re: lacquer thinners from the AQMD.

 Compliant solvents, AQMD Rule 1143 consumer paint thinners & multi-purpose solvents (applicable for the Los Angles and southern California area.)

 As of Jan 1, 2010 the legal amount of VOCs the South Coast Air Quality Management District  will allow  you to have in your lacquer and paint thinners has changed and has gone down from 600 grams per liter to 300 gr/lt, , in 2011 the legal VOC are going to go down to 25 grams per liter. You can see the complete ruling on the AQQMD site at: http://www.aqmd.gov/rules/reg/reg11/r1143.pdf

 What this means to the consumer here in southern California, you now have to buy the legal stuff, further more, there is wording in the new ruling stating  that you have to keep records of where you bought your materials and the retailers from whom you bought your materials  have to keep record of who they sold materials to. There is a grace period where retailers and manufactures can sell off the stock they have of the materials manufactures in 2009.  However there is language in this ruling which  targets the retailers with fines as well as the end users for supplying solvents that are no longer legal. Previously, the AQMD only targeted the end user, now however they are getting tougher on retailers who sell non compliant materials.

 I called around and ask the managers of a few other paint stores in the area and they knew nothing about the matter, while they may not get hit with this right away they are potentially subject to fines.

 ANNEX PAINT store is now stocking compliant lacquer thinner. We have two manufactures who have compliant thinners and have a lacquer thinner that is now less expensive than the old thinner was. So far the reports I have gotten back on the material are that it is working OK, the true test is going to how well it performs in the California Summer.

 Worthy of note on the subject  we now have a  new  compliant glazing liquid  to replace the naphtha which a lot of shops have been using to make there own stains with, the Naphtha now being and illegal solvent.

 This product has been a real success as it can be used in-between lacquer coats and will not lift the earlier treatments. This is a key element when you are building a multi step finish.

 If you have comments on the new compliant thinners I would like to hear from you on how well it performs.

 Best,

 Greg Saunders
ANNEX PAINT
Wood coating Rep
818-439-9297

January 18, 2010 Posted by | AQMD rules, Uncategorized, Wood finishing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the best finish for my Kitchen?

Since I have had this blog up I have had numerous calls and emails from homeowners and professionals alike asking what is the best finish for my kitchen?  Some go on to say things like my contractor wants to put Valspar luster lac on but my architect tells me that we should use polyurethane and my neighbor say use water base. What do I do?

 The simple answer is have all these people give you samples of the finish not only should you ask for a sample but have them do a sample on the same wood and materials that  you are going to have in your kitchen: alder, cherry, maple or what ever. Then have them use a door or a cabinet from your kitchen. If you have to pay a little for it you should.  A real good finishing job is expensive and worth it using multiple steps in the finishing process you can gain a depth and clarity that you don’t with the lower quality finishing.

By survey, a well painted room or a high quality cabinet finishing job will make a room “feel different” the untrained person coming into the room will feel more comfortable and will prefer the room with the higher quality finish to the room with the lesser quality finish. The technology behind this is the fact that consciously or not a person does perceive imperfections and they will make you feel to one degree or another uncomfortable. The same thing is true when you go into a room that is off square and a room that is perfectly square even when the rooms are identical in every other aspect by test, most people will “like” the square room better. Not all things are square, nor do you always want square. The point being that people can perceive the difference in quality and workmanship, when the difference is not as obvious. Ever notice the phenomena of seeing two similar looking products you pick up the more expensive one? 

 I’ve digressed; a good finish is worth the extra cost. That being said, what are the differences and the pros and cons of each.

 Nitro-cellulous lacquer– The easiest to apply; it gives a great look and feel. All regular lacquers will yellow over time, some faster than others. Valspar has been notorious for that. Regular lacquer is relatively soft and will not hold up to moisture. But feel great and therefor it is not good for kitchens and bathrooms. Lacquer finishes are easy to repair as each successive coat of lacquer melts into itself.

 Pre-Catalyzed lacqueror Pre-Cat lacquer, designed about 50 years ago as a material that would hold up to moisture environments better, the kitchen and bath rooms. Pre-cats   have an acid catalyst in the mix that makes it a lot harder and yet it is still relatively easy to work with.  Pre-Cats are what you should have in your kitchen but they have a tendency to crack if applied too heavily and they are not impervious to moisture. You have to wipe up spills and not let the dish water sit in the crevices and cracks of a cabinet door.  Give that door a year with a daily dose of water sitting on it not cleaned up and the coating is going to fail.  You do have to clean up after your spills. If you don’t like that Idea, hire a maid or go with stainless steel. The Pre-Cat lacquer brand I like the best is Gemini. It is thick and yet can be sprayed directly out of the can dries quickly and looks great. 

 Water based lacquers– they have come a long way. They have had a tendency to have a “plasticie” look as the materials lay on top of the wood rather than soaking in to the wood as a lacquer does. One person I know refers to water base materials as nothing but watered down Elmer’s glue. 20 yeas ago that was about what a water based finish looked like.

 Times have changed and the water bases of today are far superior to what they were. Old time finishers who haven’t taken the time to train themselves on how to properly apply the materials still cling to their earlier fixed Ideas on the matter. The truth is that properly applied a water based finish can look just as good as a lacquer finish and is twice as durable as lacquer when it comes to moisture. The trick is in knowing how to apply it and letting the water based materials fully cure. Cure is different than dry. The materials will dry in a few minutes and then take a week or two to fully cure. The other up-side to water based materials are that you are releasing toxins in to the atmosphere don’t however think that water based materials are with out carcinogens. There are lots of nasty chemicals in water based paints they are just not being released into the atmosphere as are the lacquer products. Personally I have a few water based materials that have proven them selves; the Gemini brand “Titanium” and more recently the Italian brand Renner. The Renner is hands down the best water based material I have found to date.  Like a Lamborghini however, it’s pricy at $210 for five gallons as apposed to the $170 a five for Gemini Water based lacquers.

 Conversion Varnish, this is tough stuff and is the product that I would recommend for table tops and high wear areas. It is tougher to work with and is rougher on both the personnel spraying it and the equipment it requires a higher skill set to use and it more difficult to repair. There are high end finishers that do all there work in Conversion Varnish as they want the toughest finish they can provide. It does have great moisture resistant qualities however it is not designed for out side use. The brand I sell and have had good results with is again the Gemini brand. (I have had others  I  stocked and had troubles with. Suffice to say I no longer carry those brands). The Conversion I sell is about $50 to $60 dollars a gallon. And comes with the catalyst you have to add

 Water based conversion coating; This is a new product to the market that I’m beginning to really like. It combines the best of both worlds.  There aren’t many companies that make it. Rexcel is the brand I have, American made and comparable to the solvent base stuff. You can see other articles in this Blog about it.  Very tough and moisture resistant (see the earlier article I wrote where I have pictures of the panels coated with the Rexcel in my shower stall getting the extreme moisture test. The panels have been in there for over two months with two or more showers happening a day and there is no signs of failure in the coating. This particular product needs no further catalysing which makes it very painter friendly.

 Polyurethanes, Water based and other wise, these are the toughest finish that you can get and the most expensive. One part polyurethanes or single stage that have not catalyst aren’t really worth the effort of buying. Most polyurethanes come with a catalyst you have to add before applying similar to epoxy glue, there is a part A and a part B. you have to get the ratios right or it either won’t dry or will dry and crack. They generally sit on top of the wood as a coating and so give it that plastic film look. It’s tough to glaze in-between coats and which is the technique that gives you that depth and quality. There are some really good finishers that can pull the off but normally for the expense that is not something you need for your house or kitchen. This is the product I recommend for commercial applications that is getting high wear and constant abuse. Additionally If you want shinny you can buff and polish polyurethane to a high gloss that is mirror smooth. 

 To give you an idea, polyurethanes are the coatings you put on your floor, that’s the toughness you get from a poly. If you want a high build thick film that you can see this would be the product to use as you can lay it on thick unlike Lacquers.  There are water based polys and solvents based, I carry both.  I wouldn’t recommend doing you kitchen cabinets in polyurethane, that being said I have some very high end finishers who have perfected the skill sets and can product incredible products with polyurethanes. These finishing procedures come with a cost. “Thomas Craven Finishing Company” are at the top of their league for high end work. 

 So what should you have your kitchen done with. Get the samples and look at them. see the look that you like and then decide what you are willing to pay for it. If you are a Hollywood celebrity, have lots of parties and don’t clean, go with the polyurethane. If you are a regular family and are looking to cover you new custom cabinets with something that will preserve them for a long time to come use a Pre Cat lacquer or the water based conversion coating or perhaps the conversion varnish depending on what looks the best for you.

 Either way get your finisher to provide you with samples so you can see the difference yourself. Finishers are usually creatures of habit and like to do what they have done and feel safe with. Often an old school finisher will tell you something is bad because he has no clue how to use it and doesn’t want to learn.

 I enjoy your comments suggestions and opinions.

 Greg Saunders

Annex Paint
greg@annexpaint.com

May 3, 2009 Posted by | polyurethane, Water based Lacquers, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments