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

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

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

A great article I found in wood finishing magizine you should see

Hi,
 Below is a link to  an article that I have the permission to post from the wood finishing magazine. It is well written piece and so I thought it was some thing to pass a long.
Last year Annex Paint  ( www.annexpaint.com ) brought in the Renner Line of Italian lacquers and they have been a real success We have as well the Renner polyurethane but   to be honest I haven’t worked with  that much.
Having read this article I’ll be more inclined to take the time to experiment with it. Check out the article. If you have had some experience with the mater  send me a line ans share your knowledge wit the reat of the Crew here.
thanks,
Greg Saunders
Italian polyurethane use growing in America from Finishing Magazine

February 26, 2009 Posted by | polyurethane | , | Leave a comment