For Mark 618, and others interested in lacquer finishing

This is in response to Mark618's question to about finishing sources. It was in response to his questions about finishing with lacquer, and it got some really good responses in the thread. While replying to Mark, it occurred to me that some of this might be helpful to others here, since to some finishing is not a favorite task.
This picks up where Mark asked for additional info for books and links.
I think first, I would go to the library or Barnes & Noble and look at what they had. Then maybe to Woodcraft. Look and see what they have that interests you, then buy the book and study it.
Finishing isn't brain surgery, but good finishing is just about as painful sometimes. It isn't just the application, the actual product, the prep, the equipment, the mixing, etc. It is also technique, the weather/humidity, knowing how to compensate for different types of surfaces (original finish v. refinish, different woods, etc.) and how your applied products work with each other under different conditions.
Again, not brain surgery, but it can be tricky and here's yet another example of how: I go to my hardwoods store and pick out my own wood to make sure there aren't any oil marks from banding, cutters, or a scoot from the forklift blades. I couldn't get finish on a piece of walnut a few years ago, no matter how I tried. I really worked at it, and the finish actually withdrew from those dime sized areas. I almost gave up, but finally got it covered.
Watching the guys at my local lumberyard band lumber for another project, I saw them banding 2X4s with nylon bands. The stretcher had been left in the rain, so they hosed it with some kind of lubricant they had in the store. It got all over the wood, but since it was for framing, I didn't care. But I thought about that later when I was handling the wood.
So, over at the hardwoods store, I asked the manager about that. No way, he says. None. We got so much crap about the WD40 leaving "pecker tracks" on the wood we quit using it altogether. Now we use....... TEFLON based spray. Crap. Why not soak it in motor oil for a week or so?
The only direction for you I could think to go is to find out what kinds of materials you want to use and will be using to finish. Learn how to use those materials and your equipment. Learn products one at at time, and you will find there are a lot of crossover techniques. If you want to concentrate on lacquer, learn everything you can about it and practice your technique on old plywood or sheetrock. And don't let anyone deter you from using your HVLP/turbine setup. With the proper aircaps and correct stetup it kicks butt for finishing. I have read a lot of posts knocking this type of system, but for me, it has been the best performer. I miss the high pressure days, but believe me, clients sure don't.
Remember, high quality, expensive products will not make you a good finisher. They can certainly improve your odds, but nothing beats good technique. And that only comes with practice. You might feel a little silly buying a gallon of finish and a couple of gallons of thinner to spray on junk, buy you have to do it. It is your investment in your project just like the materials. Just like learning proper sanding, proper sawing, proper jointer technique, and anything else you want to do well in the shop. You can practice with some cheap materials, but why not practice with the stuff you will want to use on that priceless woodwork? If you can, spend the money and buy your stuff at a good paint store. Some of the time they aren't even as expensive as the big boxes.
I think too many people practice on their projects because they underestimate the task of finishing. My hard headed friends will spend $300 on wood, 3 months to build something, then do a really bad spray job on the project, expaining to all that listen how it wasn't their fault. But those tightwads won't spend a cent on spraying old plywood to check proper thinning, pressure and pattern. For them, finishing is a necessary evil that occurs after the real craftsmanship has happened.
I would spend some time with the books by the first guys that really took the time to devote a book to finishing. Look for the stuff by Jewitt, Dresdner and some of the Taunton books. None seem to be completely comprehensive, but all have good things in them, and in that case a used book store can really be your friend.
As far as the 'net goes, there is a lot of good (and some not too good) info out there. This guy has a really good discussion about lacquers, but take some of it with a grain of salt. I like the fact that is so comprehensive and accurate as well, but then Russ is that kind of guy. I have to throw out the 65% rule and the 20 degree rule because of where I live, but there is plenty of good stuff in this article to print out and save:
http://tinyurl.com/3xfd4d
Here is another good one, and although it covers application for use on musical intruments, in our case, wood is wood. The prep steps are good. This guy likes a specific lacquer, but you can of course use what you want:
http://tinyurl.com/2mdm4h
Here's a good reference, with some handy charts at the end you can print out:
http://tinyurl.com/2w8kf3
I believe this is from an old friend's finishing product site, Russ Ramirez, whom I believe has since sold it:
http://tinyurl.com/2knfrp
The last one. When you are really on your game, you can participate in the forum. Just reading it is great and it is really geared towards commercial finishes and equipment. Dumb questions will be removed (ex. I'm refinishing my back fence - should I use poly or Behr deckseal), and it isn't for someone just learning. You will hear from the moderator with a nice warning, and then you will be blocked. I haven't posted there in a while, but we had a helluva debate about dye vs. stain under different finishes awhile back. But the "knowledge base" is fantastic, and it will take a long time to run through all of it.
http://tinyurl.com/2ofg2l
Good luck, hope all this helps.
Robert
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On 1 Feb 2007 00:03:12 -0800, " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"
Thanks for compiling that.
Mark http://home.mchsi.com/~xphome /
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I like the one by Bob Flexner as well.
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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Something to try.
Years ago I used to paint cars professionally. I ended up writing a book on lacquer painting. I finished some wood occasionally for boat fixtures. There is a product that is used with most spray on lacquers and enamels called "Fish Eye Remover." I comes in a 4 ounce pump can or squeeze bottle. When silicone, or oil, is sprayed in a shop, even over 100 feet away, it is impossible to get a paint job without the fish eyes. Clean the surface with a prep cleaner, or lacquer thinner on a rag. Let dry thoroughly. Tack off with a bee's wax tack cloth, which is cheese cloth permeated with bee's wax. Spray a first lacquer coat. If there is minor fish eye add a drop of Fish Eye Remover to the paint cup. Spray a second coat and the lacquer will flow over the fish eye making it smoother with each coat. The fish eye remover makes the paint or finish flow faster so watch you don't cause a run by putting on too much finish. When you are done, throw away the rest of the product in the cup or save in a separate clean container marked as having fish eye remover in it. Clean the cup. If the flowed over fish eyes still leave a little indentation in the finish, they can be sanded over and refinished normally after drying or hardening of the finish. Just use clean sandpaper and a tack cloth before spraying.
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Dude wrote:

Just remember... Once you use it, and contaminate your equipment, you're stuck with it.
That stuff _is_ silicone. It turns your work into one huge fisheye.
I would imagine body shops would just use it as a course of action, since the typical daily driver car will most likely be silicone contaminated. I use a "Wax-as-u-dry" product on my truck that I'm sure contains LOTS of silicone. The body shop that repainted my driver's side door after the dealership scratched it didn't have problems at all.
A 2 oz. bottle of M.L. Campbell Fisheye Remover still sits unused in my garage, well away from my shop, for the day I absolutely have to use it. Sealing it in with Sealcoat is so far, so good! <G>
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

This is so ridiculously true.
Most projects even come with free practice material!
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