Woodfinishers Weblog

Wood finishing forum for professional finishers

Heating your Lacquer for phenominal results (kremlin in-line lacquer heater)

I thought I had said more on this subject of heating your coatings for better results and perhaps I have, but now time has gone by and the data has been buried somewhere over the years in some article somewhere in my Blog making it not all that useful.

Let me get to the point; when you raise th temperature of your coating, be it water based or solvent you are reducing the viscosity or thickness of the materials. With in a certain range of temperature for every 10 degrees warmer you make your lacquer (be it water based solvent or urethane)  you will make your product 10% thinner. The great aspect about that is that you are not reducing the volume of solids. 

If you thin a coating  50% you’ll have to put on twice the number of coats to achieve the same build. Here in America the labor is your most expensive commodity.  Now if you can raise the temperature of the materials 50 degrees you achieve that same amount if thinning but you would do it with out adding the solvents that will evaporate out and leaving your coating behind.

But that’s not all! In addition to the above the coatings you lay out will flow out better and dry faster. And you can do it with out the expence of Lacquer thinners which are getting expensive.

There are several things you can do to use this data, the easiest is to take your pails off the concrete floor and put them up on wood blocks if nothing else. I have had contractors wrap a heating blankets around their pails and warm their lacquer up that way.  I have even seen finishers put water based lacquers in the Micro wave and warm it up.

Intelligence needs to be used, especially when dealing with flammable materials. Making your materials warmer is the key but I wouldn’t go past the point of heating materials beyond warm to the touch. you can stick your finger in and its warm to the touch Body temperature is 98 degrees so I would say no more than about 104 degrees.  Obviously if your boil your materials you are going to be changing chemical properties. Again, some intelligence please.

With duel component materials you are going to be shortening the pot life. Gradients and testing are key here. I’m a big fan of pushing something to see where their fail point is but not on a customers cabinets, when you are at that point you should have all your procedures all figured out.

Ok, the basics covered,  here are two Video demo’s of Jody Toole using the Kremlin Air-assisted airless spray rig with the new Excite spray gun and the Kremlin materials heater. Jody is a professional finisher in the Southern California area, if you are interested in contacting him you can reach him through his blog at: http://jodytoole.wordpress.com/

In the first clip he is using the rig and in the second he is telling some of the benefits of the whole system. 

And here is the second video Jody describing some of the attributes of the Rig and his review :

For note: the Lacquer that we are applying here is the CIC Coatings Acrylic lacquer I have said so much about int he past.

 Annex Paint sells the Kremlin air assisted airless and all of  its sundries including the heater. If you are in the southern california area and would like a Demo please feel free to contact me.

Greg Saunders
Annex Paint
greg@annexpaint.com
www.annexpaint.com
818-439-9297

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February 17, 2012 Posted by | Acrylic Lacquer, Spray techniques, Tips and Tricks, Water based Lacquers, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The Kremlin Air Assisted Airless Spray gun video demonstration

This  is a phenomenal spray gun that I have previously not paid enough attention to.  The great benefit of this tool is the increased transfer efficiency or percentage of materials which are making it to the target. With conventional airless you have about a 60% efficiency meaning that you have lost as much as 40% of your paint to the atmosphere and or your spray booth filters. With the Air-assisted airless the transfer efficiency is about 85 % so you are wasting  25% less of your paint.  This  would mean that for every 100 dollar pail of lacquer you are buying  you are saving  about 20 to 25 dollars. That is a savings that can quickly add up and pay for the rig.

In-essence it is pumping the paint out with an airless pump but it uses two opposing  streams of air to atomize the paint  much like a cup or gravity feed spray gun. With the combination of the air,  less pressure is needed to get the paint out and so more of your paint goes on the thing you are painting and less of your paint bounces off the surface and into the air.

The other benefit is that is applies the materials with less force and so give you a smoother finish, in the following video Jody Toole has been using an airless sprayer but was having some troubles with bubbling on the first coat, this was being caused by too much pressure resulting in the materials foaming when they impacted with the surface of the panel. he solved this by backing down the pressure and holding his gun further away, while that solved the bubbling it gave and even lower transfer efficiency and the material did not flow out as well. With the Kremlin all these issues were resolved.

The cost of the whole rig is about 2700 bucks and that is a little pricy but depending on how muc you spray you’ll have paid for it in savings on materials, which by the way are getting  more expensive by the day with rising gas prices.

For note: Jody is spraying the CIC low VOC acrylic lacquer which is, in essence a cab acrylic on steroids  for those of you that may have used such a thing in the past,  it is 160 gr/lt. VOC,  it is low odor and it won’t yellow.  This is the same product featured elsewhere on the blog that the Church of Scientology’s new Los Angeles and Pasadena church furniture are coated in.

 

I sell the Kremlin so if you are in my neighborhood call me and we can get together for a demo if not you can look them up on-line and find the nearest dealer. There are other companies that have air assisted air less equipment as well.

Since this article Jody has gone off and done a few more video demos and so I though I would add them to this posting  so that you could see some other demonstrations of the rig.


 

I welcome your comments.

best,

Greg Saunders
Annex Paint

April 12, 2011 Posted by | Acrylic Lacquer, Spray techniques, Tips and Tricks | , , , , , , | 12 Comments

A do it yourselfer does well- here’s the story

Some months ago, Greg, a local homeowner, came in to the store looking to buy some lacquer to re-finish his kitchen, He was going to undertake this project as an anniversary present for his lovely wife.

Armed with very little knowledge and a lot of willingness he went forward with several gallons of Gemini’s water based titanium lacquer. Hector and I gave him several tips while he was at the store. As he was leaving I gave him my card and said call me if you have any trouble.

Two days later on the following Saturday I got the call, ” It wasn’t working the gun was spitting and the finish wasn’t working, what do I do?”  As luck would have it I didn’t have that much going on that weekend and so offered to go out and see what was going on.

Greg  had all the doors hanging in his garage and was set up pretty well to do the job but the binks cup gun he had was not the right tool. the water-base material was too thick and wasn’t coming out of  the gun well.

 This is probably the key thing in dealing with waterbased materials and that is having ther right gun with a wide enough opening on it to allow the  materials to come out and then atomize in to small enough particles to then actually lay down smoothly ( this is covered in full detail in the article on this blog titled “spray finishing basics”  by Thomas Craven) 

Once again as luck would have it I had my spray guns in the back of my truck and wasn’t going to be using then for the weekend and so offered to lend these to Greg. The project was off and running again. here is a picture of the garage spray booth,

The garage spray booth

The garage spray booth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 All things were off and sailing once again! here is a picture of Greg doing the kitchen faces, note that he has the place properly masked off so that all the over spray is captured and not covering the rest of the finish work. ( for an never having done a finishing job, Greg had a few things going for him. I was impressed )

Greg going to town fully out fitted

Greg going to town fully out fitted

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see here  Greg is now using the new gravity spray gun he  later bought from Annex for under $100

He also has a the 3m reusable cup system  you can see here on the top of his gun, this allows him to refill the gun easily and spray in all directions including up.

You would think all was well and the family would live happily ever after in there new kitchen but not yet, the next previously unmentioned aspect was yet to be discovered.

So after sanding his fingers to the bone and getting the finish just right, Greg’s wife has a little spot  of something on a cabinet and proceeds to break out the 409 and clean it off , the day after the final coating and it went down to the bare wood!

The Wife was in despair and Greg was ready to shoot me for selling him a low quality product! the paint was soft and with his little kids was doomed!

Water base coating are actually tougher and more durable then there solvent based counter parts BUT ! you have to let them cure ! the Kitchen cabinet Manufacturer’s Aassociation let’s their test panels cure for 30 days before subjecting then to all the things they do i.e. mustered, vinegar, jelly, alcohol and all the other house hold product they test.

With reluctance, Greg was willing to let the finish cure until after the holiday before shooting me to see if in fact I was on the up and up with him.

As my luck would have it the finish cured hard and has resisted all that  could be throw at it. Here is the final shot after the holidays and all was said and done.

a stunning piece of work

a stunning piece of work

Greg called me up after the holidays to thank me for seeing the project through to a done.

As you can see it turned out great in the end.

Thanks to  Home Owner Greg, for sharing the pictures with me and the permission to post the story on our Blog.

If you have a project you would like to have some help with send me a line, if you are interested in doing it you self  I’ll set you up and turn you looSe, If you want a professional finisher to do the work I have the names and numbers of nearly every cabinet shop in the surrounding area and would be happy to refer you to the people i have seen consistently do good work.

Greg Saunders
818-439-9297

Annex Paint
7450 Reseda Blvd.
Reseda California
91335

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Water based Lacquers, Wood finishing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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