Woodfinishers Weblog

Wood finishing forum for professional finishers

Painting speaker cabinets Flat Black with pinnacle polyprimer and CIC conversion varnish

Thomas Craven of Thomas Craven studios, ( http://www.tcwoodfinishers.com/index.html) has done a phenomenal short video series on refinishing a pair of Vandersteen speakers.

He has 6 short videos in all which are very concise and to the point, clearly covering the points of proper prep and application for doing a professional paint Job.

After proper preparation they applied 4 coats of pinnacle polyprimer from Ellis paint. applied in two applications, sanding in-between coats. This gave him and exceptionally hard finish that was very smooth,

Probably one of the most common mistakes of beginning finishers and professionals alike is applying too much paint too quickly, for the sake of speed they whammer on two heavy coats and walk away only to have it bubble or crack on them later. When the first coat doesn’t have a chance to dry properly and then is covered over by successive coats the later layers will dry quicker and harden, then when the earliest layer finally dries a week or two later it will shrink, the later coats already dry and unable to contract will be pulled together and will crack.

The best practice is sneak up on a high build by successive light to medium coats

The videos are all linked together, there are two introductory videos which go over the project and the prep following that you have two more short videos of the spray applications

After that they applied the polyprimer they applied a flat Clear Conversion Varnish. Conversion varnish is a catalyzed coating which is very hard and durable. CIC coatings is the brand of Conversion varnish being used, I’m very fond of this this particular product as it has been specially formulated to be applied right out of the can with out thinning or retarding, it lays out incredibly smooth and dries quickly.

These products can be obtained through my store Annex Paint in Reseda California If you have any questions about these products feel free to contact me.

Greg Saunders 818-439-9297

If you are interested in having a specialty coating on your furniture contact Thomas Craven at the above web site.

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June 14, 2014 Posted by | Conversion varnish, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Full Grain Fill Finish produced with Pinnacle Polyester and Pinnacle Polyurethane

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

Greg Saunders
Annex Paint
greg@annexpaint.com

December 7, 2012 Posted by | polyurethane, speciality finishes, Tips and Tricks, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , | 1 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

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

Renner Acrylic lacquer -Tips for scuccess

 

This is a brief write-up from a finisher who has been successfuly using the Renner Low VOC Acrylic Lacquer

Dear Greg,

 As you requested I’m giving you a little write up on the Renner Low VOC Acrylic lacquer from that you have been supplying to me.

 I have been using the Renner Lacquer and really like this product.

 I wanted to detail some of the basic procedural points I employ when using this product that may help other people who use it:

  

  • I generally only need 2-3 coats of the Renner to get a beautiful finish. 2 coats are most common if you don’t thin the product. The product does not need to be thinned. I have thinned the Renner Acrylic lacquer but only on the final coat if you don’t wish to have any further build up than what I already have on the piece I am spraying. You shouldn’t this this any  more than about 5% per manufacture’s specs any way.

 

  • The key to spraying a good finish is having your gun set properly based on your spraying conditions ( mainly temperature and size and shape of the item you are spraying .) I generally have the PSI on my gun set between 20-40 no more than 40 psi. Then watch your spray in reflected light as you are spraying to ensure you have a wet coat over your whole job.

 

  • I have found that the Flattening agent in the Renner Lacquer tends to settle rapidly to the bottom of the can or spray gun. I have picked up a gun that I had sitting with the renner Acrylic lacquer in it for a few hours and sprayed it and the first thing that comes out is the white flattening past that has settled to the bottom of the cup. A light sand and then re-spray with the same product handled that for me. I have also had spots of white spit out of the gun these are just the flattening past that settled. You have to let the lacquer dry and then sand then off and re- shoot it. The over all handling is to stir and strain the materials well and then don’t let your gun sit for too long. If you use a pot system then stir the pot regularly. Shaking the materials well before you use them is also a good Idea. The flattening past goes back into solution very easily.  

 

  • I always test spray something before I lay on a coat and especially the final coat; I want toknow that the gun and materials are all dialed in before lay the materials on the final coat.

 

Hope this is helpful.

Tia D

 Tia has worked in a custom mill that produces a wide Varity of custom mill work that has been shipped and installed around the world. She has been applying high end finishes for about 4 years and is one of the best and most detail oriented people in the trade. I asked here for this little write up to help other customers with this product.  

  In addition to Tia’s Tips I wanted to add a few other characteristics about this material that I have found about it.

  •  This is an acrylic lacquer, the qualities of it are that it doesn’t yellow and it is nearly as hard as a Catalyzed lacquer, however, you can’t mix it with regular nitrocellulose lacquers. You have to keep these materials separate and do not mix them.
  •  You also don’t want to use this material over another lacquer it is self sealing and is used with it’s self spray in a light coat and lat that flash off and then your following coats to the desired build. You can glaze between coats.

 

If you have questions or comments send me a line I’m always interested in hearing what people are running in to.

 Best,

 Greg Saunders

Annex Sales Rep

greg@annexpaint.com

July 1, 2009 Posted by | Acrylic Lacquer, Finishing failures and the fix, Spray techniques, Tips and Tricks | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Spray Finishing Basics

 Thomas Craven is one of the Best finishers in the La area that I have come across, I have worked with him for several years now and his finishes are High quality and consistently above manufacturing specification. Over the years we have put on several different wood finisihing seminars. For the classes he has delivered we have used the following expertise he wrote for the class. I liked it so much, I asked for and got Thomas’s  permission to publish it on our BLog — 

 

I welcome your comments and suggestions and I would like any feed back as to how this information was of use to you. as well I welcome your questions  on the matter.

 

 If you would like to contact Thomas Craven directly you will find His shop address at the bottom of the article along with his web site address and Email information.

 

Enjoy,

 Greg

 

Spray Finishing Basics

by

Thomas Craven

 

All spray systems attempt to achieve one thing, that is atomization. Atomization from the dictionary is to, “reduce to minute particles or to a fine spray”. Whether you chose conventional, HVLP, or airless spray equipment, they all achieve the same thing; that is atomization. A satisfactory finish is produced when the spray material is atomized to the point that the material will flow onto the surface and become a uniform and even coating.

 

Viscosity and pressurization are the two main factors that effect proper atomization. 

 

I looked up the definition of viscosity in the dictionary and found it to be just as hard to understand as the name itself. So I will tell you my definition of viscosity as it relates to spray finishing. Are you ready for it; it’s how thin the material is! Correct atomization occurs when the material being sprayed is just viscous or thin enough that the pressurization provided by the spray equipment in use can break up or vaporize the particles to produce a satisfactory coating. You only thin the material down enough so that your spray equipment will atomize the material while producing a coating that flows out onto the surface. Thinning the material too much will leave a coating that is spotty and runs down vertical surfaces. A coating too thick that is drying to fast will give you dry, rough areas and orange peel.

 

Now that we have our material correctly thinned how do we then atomize it? By pressurization. It is the air under pressure coming out of the front of an air gun that breaks up

 the material. Or in the case of airless spray equipment, it is the pressurization of the material itself in the spray line that is then forced out the front of the gun through a very small orifice or spray tip that causes atomization at the front of the gun.  

 

Spray Equipment

 

Conventional– High-Pressure, Low-Volume air spraying is out dated technology. Rarely in use in California any more. Produces a lot of overspray and hence wasted material. Material is presented at the front of the gun where air ports in the air cap at the front of the gun introduce a low volume but high pressure, (40 – 60 psi.), stream of air into the material to break it up and create a variable fan pattern.

  

HVLP– High-Volume, Low-Pressure, is the standard equipment in use today in California. It atomizes the material in the same manner as the conventional gun, by introducing a stream of air into the material that is presented to the front of the gun. However HVLP guns use a larger volume of air at a lower pressure typically 10-20 psi. Reversing the relationship between pressure and volume. This system decreases voluminous overspray and saves materials.

 

Compressors and Filters. Both of these spray systems need compressed air to operate. This air should be filtered as the action of compressing the air heats it up. While in the tank and hose, this air cools down. The moisture in the air then condenses in the tank and lines. In addition compressors will inject oil and other contaminants into the air supply. An oil and water separator / filter mounted close to the end of the airline is recommended. The compressor should be installed outside the building whenever possible. Remember it will be drawing air from the surrounding area you install it in and blowing it on your work. 

 

Spray cups / guns and spray pots.

 

A siphon cup gun has a one-quart cup attached to the bottom of the gun. When you pull the trigger on the gun, air is released out of the air ports in the cap at the front of the gun. This air stream siphons / pulls material out of the cup. The vent hole at the top of the cup must remain free and clear to allow air to enter the cup so that the siphoning action can take place.

 

A gravity feed cup gun is a new innovation in cup / gun design. The cup is mounted above the gun so that the force of gravity is used to bring the material down and present it at the front of the gun. You must keep the vent hole at the top of the cup free and clear to allow the material to drain into the gun. It is superior to the siphon feed cup gun design. Both siphon and gravity feed cup guns are best used for small amounts of material. Sample work, shading and toning procedures, etc.

 

A spray pot is a two-gallon or sometimes five-gallon pot or bucket that has a pressure regulator attached to the top of it. The regulator allows air to free flow through to the gun to atomize the material, but it also pressurizes the material in the pot. Instead of passively siphoning or allowing gravity to feed the material to the front of the gun, the spray pot will deliver material under pressure to the front of the gun for atomization to take place. This will allow greater production as less air is needed to atomize more material. In addition greater capacity is provided by the two or five gallon quantity of material in the pot.

 

Airless spray machines use a hydraulic pump to pressurize the material that is sucked up in a pick up tube from a five-gallon bucket. The material travels in a ½” diameter spray line that are available in fifty foot lengths. The material is forced out the front of the gun through a very small orifice or spray tip. This spray tip atomizes the material and shapes it into a spray fan of preset widths 3 to 21 inches wide.

 

 

The big advantages to airless spraying are,1. Dispensing with the need for compressed air to atomize the material. You get straight material coming out of the gun without the cold, damp, dirty air that is delivered by most compressors. 2. A uniform spray pattern delivering a consistent amount of material all the time. This spray pattern does not require constant adjustment like the conventional and HVLP guns do. 3. It is a closed airtight system so that you may leave material in the spray rig and bucket for extended periods of time. 4. Only one material line too the gun allowing for more mobility. Excellent choice for high production shops.

 

Spray Techniques

 

Spray finishing skills take a lot of raw gun time to be proficient at. You can speed this process up with proper training and coaching. A very simple concept I express to my spray man trainees is; Spray until the surface just gets wet, no more and no less. If you spray too dry, the material won’t flow and will be rough. If you spray too wet, it will and run and fall down vertical surfaces or pool and puddle. Your goal is to get the material to flow and become one even uniform coating with no orange peel, dry spots, runs etc.

 

Always start from the up wind end of the work and spray away from you towards the face of the booth. You don’t want to spray into the airflow of the spray booth as this will leave overspray on previously finished parts and the spray man too. Shoot all edges first and try to shoot your best surfaces last. Cabinet boxes should be shot from top down, working from inside out and horizontal bottoms last.

 

Lapping the material. The general rule of thumb is to overlap your spray pattern by 50 %. This is not set in stone. It can vary depending on the speed you are moving your spray hand. Just remember the basic principal. Spray until the surface just gets wet, no more and no less. Be sure to overlap the leading and trailing edge of a panel to apply a uniform coating to the edge.

 

Six to eight inches away? Again this is a rule of thumb that is not written in stone. Hold the gun the distance from the surface that produces a coating that is just wet.

 

Watch the material coming out the front of the gun. Don’t watch the gun or the surface you are spraying. Keep your eye focused on the material flowing out the front of the gun. This technique gives you a better perspective on how much material is being deposited on the surface.

 

Samples

 

To live or die by your sample? Variations between samples and finished product are to be expected in natural materials that are assembled and finished by hand. This is a concept that your clients need to understand. It should presented in an educational manner so as not to offend or lead the client to believe you will not try your hardest to achieve the look represented by the approved sample. Variations in color and sheen of finish occur do to variations in natural wood colors, variations in porosity of different wood species, changing lighting conditions, etc. You should express to your customer that every effort will be made to achieve the overall effect depicted by the approved sample. This effort is what differentiates between custom finishing and factory produced assembly line finishes.

 

Stain Finishes

 

Surface Prep – Filling nail holes and minor defects with solvent-based filler is the first surface prep step. You want to leave as little putty on the surface as possible as the filler is hard to sand. The entire surface should now be sanded with 180 grit sandpaper to remove residual putty, dirt, pencil marks, fingerprints etc. I recommend no fill paper as opposed to garnet. If your milling department is leaving too many saw and milling marks in the material, it should be improved. The milling department should be providing the finish shop with stain ready material.

 

Stain Types and Their Uses. The two types of stain we will discuss today are oil based and water based stains. The basic difference between the two will be in appearance and safety. Water based stains and their related finishes are generally milkier or waxy looking compared to oil based stains. However the water-based stains are safer to handle and are more environmentally friendly, as they have no harsh solvents or oil in them. Oil based stains and their related solvent borne finishing systems will produce very transparent and clear stain finishes. Stain rags should be soaked in water in a closed container and disposed of according local regulations.

 

Out Of the Can or Custom Mixed? Use out of the can stains provided by your supplier when ever possible to save time and maintain uniformity between samples and finished product. Mixing stains between stock out of the can stains to achieve a specific color is the next step in providing a custom color for your client. If you desire to take the next step in providing your clients with truly custom colors, you can dive into the world of custom mixing concentrated pigments into the appropriate stain bases. This process requires an understanding of color theory and how the basic ingredients relate to each other.

 

To stain or to glaze? That is the question. Stain open grained woods like oak, birch and ash to achieve a more natural and transparent look. Glaze closed grained woods such as maple, cherry, pine and fir to prevent blotching and promote color consistency.

 

Water based stains on raw wood tend to be blotchy and raise the grain. It is recommended to either glaze the stain over the sealed surface or spray shade the stain on the raw surface with the spray gun and leave it alone; that is no wiping.

 

Glaze is stain medium that is hand applied, “glazed”, (with brushes or rags), over and in between finish coats. This is what differentiates the glazed, finish from a stain that is applied to the raw wood. This finish is typically applied to softwoods or closed grained woods such as, pine, fir, maple and cherry wood. “Glazing the wood”, provides maximum color control and prevents blotching. In addition glazing naturally highlights all details and distressing and creates that warmly aged patina exhibited by fine old furnishings and cabinetry.

 

Sealing – A sanding sealer is usually the same material as the finish with the addition of a sanding paste added to it. It is a slippery soap like substance that allows for easy sanding of the surface in preparation for the topcoat. Some finish coatings like polyurethane will seal themselves with a thin first application. (Demonstrations)

 

Prep for Top coating– Sand with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper. Rub with red scotch brite.  

 

 

 

Top Coating – We will discuss three types of finish today. Lacquer, conversion varnish and water borne lacquer.

 

Solvent based lacquershave been the standard of the furniture and cabinet finishing industry for years due to their excellent clarity, ease of use and versatility. In California they are slowly being phased out as the SCAQMD has deemed them to have too many polluting compounds in them, (volatile organic compound or voc). In addition as they have decreased the voc’s in these products they have become harder to use and not as durable.

 

Conversion varnishis the finish that I am most excited about recently. It is essentially a catalyzed varnish that offers the ease of use of lacquer while eliminating the number of coats applied to achieve the same film depth and appearance of lacquer. My standard eight-coat lacquer finishing process has been reduced to four coats of conversion varnish. In addition as this is a catalyzed finish it offers superior wear and tear and durability. This product sprays and dries almost like a lacquer but has the build and full-finished look of varnish. It is voc compliant.

 

Water borne lacquer is the finish that we will be demonstrating today as it is the material that is used on a daily basis here at the Closet Factory. The paint industry has been continuously improving this product since the late eighties when the SQACMD pronounced that they would be slowly phasing out heavily voc laden finishes i.e. solvent borne lacquer. Many furniture manufactures and other heavy users of solvent based finishes relocated to Mexico and other U.S. states with less regulation during that time. Today some shops are returning and new shops are opening due to improvements made to these waterborne finishing systems. This is a superior product compared to what was available ten years ago and will continue to improve. The advantages of this product are, its very low voc content allowing shops in California to use this material virtually on an unlimited basis. The use of synthetic acrylic resins in this material yield a very durable non-yellowing finish product. In addition due to the minimal evaporative solvents in this material you need less applied coats to achieve an acceptable finish as compared to solvent borne lacquer. The primary disadvantage to this material is the drying time that is still slow compared to faster solvent borne finishing systems. The higher the humidity the slower the drying time. This slow drying time can be improved with warmer, dryer air ventilated through the shop. Heat lamps can be used for work that needs to be finished very quickly. Another disadvantage is the slightly milky or waxy appearance of the final finish detracting from finish clarity.

 

Paint Finishes

 

Essentially all of the information provided pertaining to stain finishes as far as surface prep, priming, (which is basically the same step as sealing), prep for top coating and top coating are the same for painting. The materials are essentially the same with the addition of titanium dioxide and pigments to provide the color and hue.

 

 

Touchup

 

For holes, scratches and minor defects, I use colored wax sticks and putties that are available from furniture finishing suppliers. For larger repairs it may be less expensive to simply replace the part instead of spending hours on repair and touchup that may never be acceptable to the client anyway.

 

Minor color touchups can be performed with colored dye stain markers available from furniture finishing suppliers and art stores. My most often-used touchup marker is a black Sharpie pen. Dab the pen onto the area to be touched up and quickly rub it out with your finger to blend into the surrounding surface before it dries. For touchups that require more than what a marking pen can provide; I use straight concentrated Universal Tint Colorants, (UTC). The dry powder touchup kits that are available are great but they are expensive. I use the UTC stain pigments because I stock them any way for the custom mixing I do. In addition they are ready to apply straight out of the can, thinned with a little paint thinner or naphtha if necessary. 

 

Feather outthe area to be touched up with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper. If you leave a sharp, distinct line between the raw wood area and the adjacent stain it will be very difficult to blend that new touchup into the existing stain color. To feather the area you must sand the affected area until the underlying raw wood color graduates slowly from the raw wood color into the fully stained surrounding area.

 

Start applying colorthat is lighter than the surrounding color. Pad or stipple the color onto the effected area. Simply brushing color evenly onto the surface is usually ineffective as it appears like a paint smear. Padding and stippling the color on diffuses the color onto the surface. You want a slightly busy application that will blend the touchup into the surrounding area. Allow to dry for a little while then apply a couple of coats of finish. Apply your final color to blend in with the surrounding area again padding and stippling as necessary for texture. Apply finish. Rub out and polish to remove overspray and blend finish.

 

Standard rub out materialsare 0000 steel wool with a good quality furniture cream or polish. A lot of polish and light rubbing is usually enough. If the 0000 steel wool produces a sheen that is to shinny try 00 wool; be careful not to rub too hard or you may remove your touchup. Buff with a clean rag. 

 

Reference Materials / Trade Magazines

 

Professional Refinishing is a new free trade magazine. I have been impressed with the quality of the articles. (818) 715-9776 / www.prorefinishing.com

 

PWC / Painting and Wallcovering Contractor is another free trade magazine that has good articles once in awhile. (314) 961-6644 / www.paintstore.com

 

Finishes and Finishing Techniques and More Finishes and Finishing Techniques are two books that are compilations of articles published in Fine Woodworking, another trade magazine with some great articles in it. ©

 

Thomas Cravens Shop address

15746 Arminta Street · Van Nuys, CA 91406

Cell # (805) 341-7713 · Fax # (818) 908-8061

Email: ThomasCraven@msn.com

Web Site: TCWoodFinishers.com

© November 2008 by Thomas Craven ©

 

 

this materil is copy write protected, please feel free to print  and use the data contained here in If you intened to re publish this material please contact Mr. Craven and gain his specific permission.

September 28, 2008 Posted by | Conversion varnish, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment