PING: Mike Marlow - a long update


Mike:
I just wanted to give you a quick update on how much use I have gotten out of your advice on spraying finishes.
First, in the "get to know your gun" department, I have now sprayed about 4 gallons (yup, FOUR) of paint through my little Binks 115 knockoff. I have sprayed a lot of different items with it, but I am proudest of the way my doors are now coming out. I actually know enough now that I can diagnose what I am seeing on my piece of sheetmetal (my gun setup/test medium) that I use to set the pattern/flow and can now adjust and change the gun to what I need. I have been having a blast with the Japan drier, and while I haven't actually ruined a finish yet, I have made the gloss go to satin, which is a sign of too much drier. So now I know my limits on that. I am at about 1oz of Japan drier plus one oz of thinner per quart and it works great on 70-75 degree days. I will certainly be toning that down for our hot summer days.
As for flow, pattern, viscosity, and pressure, I have the most well protected piece of plywood you can imagine in my backyard by my shop. I don't know how much different materials and mixtures it has on it, but they all dried up and it is now thoroughly plasticized. I have taken some of oil base materials I had left over on one of my jobs (the industrial stuff I am using starts catalyzing the moment it is opened to air, and it not good even in a sealed container after about 10 days) and tried all kinds of mixtures and settings.... all at 6 ozs. at a time.
I have found that my 2hp compressor is the one to use to shoot finish, as the one that is just a little bit smaller is painful to use. Like when shooting latex on doors, I like long unbroken spraying to spray the entire door side without stopping. Even with the little gun, it strains it just a little. But the 2 hp is perfect.
After the last exchange here, I decided to buy some urethane and set the gun up on my piece of plywood before getting on the doors for my client. I called them and moved the date to refinish, and got busy with the urethane. I used the Deftane Satin that I got from my local paint supplier and then went onto the Deft site to get the info on thinning. It couldn't have been easier. Still mixing in the gradient marked cheap sports bottles I have, I was able to measure out and thin exactly according to their specs. I was surprised when I started my practice runs as I had to turn the pressure all the way down to about 35 lbs since I was getting fog at 45. I was thinking it would take a little more air than that.
It just wasn't needed. After I got the handspeed and gun position down, it worked great. I was glad I shot a quart up on the plywood because I was getting it too wet, and I had sags. I put the halogen lights on it where I could see the reflection when it was wet, and then adjust to about 30% coverage on the next pass (instead of the tried and true 50% for oils and spray can stuff) and it worked like a champ.
The instructions said they were looking for about 3 mil wet finish (!!!) and that it would dry to 1.5 mil. To me, that seemed really thick for one application (especially vertical application), but in the end, it is their product. So I followed you cue and sprayed one coat, then another about twenty minutes later, just when I could see the material starting to change from looking really wet. Worked like a big dog!
So out to the job. I stripped, sanded as needed, cleaned that nasty 15 panel door up and let it have it with the Defthane. I have to admit... I was a little surprised.... the doors turned out great. I mixed up a couple of different colors of gel stain for the door to match the interior trims on the house, and the match was good. And with the Defthane on it, the door turned out like a million bucks. And I was SO damn thankful I didn't have to brush that damn door. The door took about 8-9 hours to dry before hanging, but with the heavy coat on it, it looked totally sealed, and my client was thrilled. I hung it that night around 7 or so, and I was finished with the job.
I can't make enough money finishing doors to just do that when I go out for repairs and installations. But I CAN do well for my door installations, etc., if I can install and finish the doors for people since I can get them coming and going. And it is easy enough to set up and spray a door and go finish more repairs in the house while it is drying, so that make finshing a good thing. I just reinstall whatever I finished/refinished before I walk out for the day.
Since all the new construction around here has sprayed oil on the metal entry/garage/rear doors, people really want to see that on their new doors that they purchase from the lumberyard I am affliliated with since they see their new doors as new construction. And I don't care how good a brush man is, nothing looks as sleek and clean as a sprayed door. So I think there is a demand there, but I am still looking into that. And of course, I can just add this to my toolbox of things my company does when I am out on a job and someone says, "hey Robert, do you have anyone that can refinish my cabinet doors/garage door/bathroom door/bookcase?"
Next on the gun trials: lacquer. I have an amigo that swears by the "Old Masters" brand, and I will try to coax some out of him. I can't see spraying lacquer on one or two doors, though. I use Deft lacquer for interior doors and just pad it on. I use a disposable pad, and pitch it when I am through. Too easy to do it that way, and Deft lacquer is so forgiving it is almost foolproof.
BTW, here is the gun I finally settled on to be a companion to the little wannabe Binks:
http://tinyurl.com/44fd
I haven't fired it up yet, but I will soon. I was interested because of the low CFMs, especially since it is all metal and has a really smooth action. It really seems like a nice gun, and when I got it it was on sale for $11.95.
I just thought you might be interested to see how things went since you were so generous with your time and suggestions. Both were a big help to me. And for me, I always wonder what happened later when I have taken the time and made some effort to help someone out. A follow up seems like a simple courtesy to me, and certainly a sign of appreciation for the help. This is mine.
So anyway, how you doin'?
Robert
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Thanks for the update Robert - it really is good to see follow ups on things that have been discussed.

I'm feeling like a new papa. If there is one single thing that I think a person really needs to know about spray painting, this is it. Every thing else becomes so much easier afterwards. Problems can be figured out, tweeked, etc. You can start to misuse your gun a bit too, to accomplish things in different ways - narrow the pattern way down in order to get into tight places where you really don't want to try to contort yourself to reach, etc. Fog areas in that might otherwise result in runs - like the aforementioned narrow pattern, and still end up with a wet edge so that you don't have orange peel in the fog areas, etc.
I

This is the never ending experiment. Retarders, relative humidity, temperature, the cycle of some female paint goddess somewhere in the ozone, and a couple of lesser definable factors can provide countless hours of entertainment. Sometimes ya do it all right and shazam(!), it don't flow right. But that's for another time.

Hey - I have one of those too.

I use mixing sticks that are calibrated in parts versus quantity, but your "cheap sports bottles" should be just fine. If you want to check into other things, stop by a real automotive paint supplier (not the autozone type places) and look at the couple of things they typically carry. Some are sticks like I use, some are graduated containers. But they're generally graduated in parts not volume, and are cleverly done to accomodate just about any ratio of materials. Easier to say than to explain. It does take the thinking out of it and that can be important since these things are pretty sensative to mix ratios.

Isn't it cool when it comes together. I still get a gas and a half watching final paint come together. It's like magic happening before your very eyes.

I agree. I posted in another thread recently that to me a spray job has to be "big enough" (whatever that means...) to make it worth my time in prep and clean up - especially clean up.

This link wouldn't work for me. How about posting the HF model number. Is it one of the guns we talked about way back when?

Thanks again for that. It really does feel like you helped someone out when they post a follow up like this. It's sorta like that old adage - "Build a man a fire and you'll keep him warm for a while. Light a man on fire and you'll keep him warm for his whole life".
I've really gotten a lot of good information from this group and it feels good to be able to provide something of value in return.

Life is good. Started with a new band and it's a band that plays much more modern music than I'm accustomed to. Stretching me some. I am having a lot of fun with it though. Been out of work for a couple of months now so I've had some time to catch up on some small projects that have gone unfinished for a while around the house. Nothing significant enough to really talk about. Plus - I'm feeling a little guilty because some of these projects have not matured the required 12 years, so I feel like I'm letting down the male gender to some degree. I'm not a man without a conscience though - I'm dutifully putting off a touch up paint job on my daughter's Malibu in the name of waiting for "better weather".
--

-Mike-
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Kudos to you both ... I've saved most of Mike's posts on spraying, so ditto for me.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 12/13/05
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I save a lot of posts in text files, and there's an awful lot of Mike's in there.
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Mike:
If anyone should feel like a proud Papa, you should. That's how I felt when I watched the urethane drying perfectly on the 15 panel door. I know the next one (or two!) might not go as well, but this one let me know I am set. I will continue to brush doors as needed, but on bigger projects when I have a lot to spray or if I have a client that insists on it, I can now approach them with confidence.
As long as I have been doing this, working in the trades, repairs, remodels, etc., it never ceases to amaze me how much I actually don't know about the finer points of the other trades. And since I have been in the trades, I am even more baffled by how little some actually know about what they are doing. Remember, I couldn't find anyone here locally that would get me going in the right direction with spraying solvent based materials.
I still get a lot of pleasure when I learn something new, and I have been at the the point in my life where I like sharing what I know for some time. I tend to forget that most people in the trades learn how to do one thing, and that's "their line of work". For them, what they do is a job, nothing more. It is to the point around here that trim carpenters don't know how to cut in a roof or set concrete forms (or the other way around with the other guys) and as I found out, our "latex" painters feel like oil painting is specialized work. Sheesh. I remember when painters were "painters".
A couple of years ago I took my "stuff" to Houston and completely trimmed out my sister's newly remodeled house with two part crown molding, archways, new door casings, base and show molding, site made window stools, and some on site custom trim for a couple of stand alone areas. My brother in law is an engineer that writes safety manuals procedural literature for the oil industry, so he isn't some knothead. Quite the contrary, and on top of that he is a great guy. For all of us that do that kind of work all day long, it was a mildly interesting project, like most people doing their daily work. I was enjoying being Uncle Robert to my nephew a lot more than doing the work.
But for my BIL, he was stunned. He felt like he was "watching the master". I laughed my butt off when he would say things like that, because when I am on my own turf, my fellow workers are like me, they expect "good work". And my clients hire me for just that; it is what they >expect<, not what they appreciate.
I showed my BIL how to cut moldings, how to shave them with a good saw, how to mark and scribe outside corners for crown installation, how to cope the inside joints, how to measure an RCH, all the stuff we all take for granted. He had never shot a nail gun before; never used a 12" miter saw before... it was like working with a new helper. He absolutely loved it, and actually took notes! I bought him a set of leather nail bags, a speed square, and a few other necessities, and now if we are going to work on his fence he puts "his rig" on. It makes me laugh, but it also makes me feel good.
I am now doing the same thing with my nephew, who is five. He has a tiny set of leather bags, a seven oz hammer, a big orange plastic speed square, and a 12' tape. A giant carpenter's pencil and pair of goggles and he is set. I even bought him a stainless steel mug like his uncle's, mine for coffee, his for water. He feels like a pro already. His tool tote with his tools in it is actually one of the few things he actually takes care of, surprising at his age. I guess life is good around here, too.
Before I forget, the HF gun I bought was the Central Pnuematic #91011. I have the aforementioned Houston group coming in today for Mom's 77th birthday or I would be out there spraying with it today.
<<Started with a new band and it's a band that plays much more modern music than I'm accustomed to. Stretching me some. I am having a lot of fun with it though. >>
OK.. this says a lot about a person. What kind of music do you play? What do you prefer to play? And do tell, what is the modern music that is stretching you?
Can't wait to hear this one...
Robert
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Well you asked Robert... I'm an old fart of sorts. A product of the 60's - which means I should actually remember all of the 60's but dutifully, can't. I've played a bit of country over time but mostly have hung in the 70's and 80's rock era. To me that was better music and more fun to play than most of the 60's rock. Like a lot of guys my age, blues and rock of that era seemed to be what we played most.
This new band is made up of a few younger folks (from 19 to 36) and a couple of us not-so-younger-folks (another guitar player in his late 40's and me... well, over 50). We do play some stuff from yesteryear (80's-ish stuff), but most of it is late 90's to current. It's probably what kids today would consider to be on the milder side of sound - none of the screaming crap. Lots and lots of distortion and gain though. Stuff by bands like Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World (who in the hell could have ever thought up a name like that???), HIM, Collective Soul, etc. A lot of the bands I had never even heard of before getting into this.
It's surprising how much there is to learn about picking up a new sound like this. Not because it's so technically challenging, but because it intentionally violates every musical precept that most of us played by for decades. No more 1-4-5 (for those who are musicians out there). The progressions in songs are often a mode of what we have adopted as the norm over time. Rhythms are radically different too and it's not that they are hard, but habits kick in and it does take an effort of sorts to internalize the new stuff. And the part that can sometimes be the hardest... they like a lot of very fast picking or "strumming" (if one could call what is done today strumming), with a heavy attack. Well let me tell ya, you do slow down some over time. Don't let anyone over 50 tell you that they haven't slowed down. Fast takes on a whole new meaning. You find yourself asking "why didn't I ever have problems doing something like this 10 years ago?"
Earplugs are the order of the day.
--

-Mike-
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Funny you say that. Isn't everybody here an old fart of sorts, or an old fart in the making? I think it's a prerequisite to working or trying to work with wood.
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I loved working with wood when in my early 30's but it fell by the wayside with corporate busy life, etc.
Now, with gray hair past 60, I'm back and that age and then some seems to be the norm. Woodturning meetings seem more like AARP kind than AAW. Guess it's great that some folks can now do what they want to do instead of what they have to.
TomNie
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