Ultrastar issues

I've posted over and over on this forum about my success with ML Campbell Ultrastar water based lacquer.
This week, I've been dealing with a seemingly unsolvable fisheye problem, so I've lost a lot of faith in the product. No combo of additive, barrier coat, etc... seems to work well, so the trim will be finished (hopefully FINALLY!) with Sherwin Williams Fast Dry Oil Varnish tomorrow. Tonight, I applied what I hope to be the last coat of barrier Seal Coat, under the SW.
Next stop... Quick Kleen.
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I've lost a lot of faith in >the product. No combo of additive, barrier coat, etc... >seems to work well, so the trim will be

Hmmm.... the dreaded fisheye. I will throw a few things out there, but knowing you, these are issues that have thought through, but have stung me pretty hard in the past. I am only putting this out there reflecting on my own experiences, and as for me personally, when I get really pissed off I can't think straight. I post this in the spirit of trying to help you think this through.
I assume this is a new finish since it is trim. Did you sand it to prep yourself? If others sanded it with stearated papers of lesser quality (i.e. Home Depot toilet paper), or if they sanded too vigoursly after the paper was worn out, you can easily have the stearates left behind.
Who handled the trim? Was it delivered or are you on site? I screwed off a week one time trying to figure out what happened to the cause irregular (NOT circular fisheyes) on trim that I clear coated. Seems the trim carpenter that put the hardware on the front door loves his spray lubricant, and after installing the door locks and properly luibricating the parts before intstallation had dried lubricant on his hands. He was thoughtfull enough to receive the delivery of the trim and take it in the house, then move it again later to the garage. Finger print sized fisheyes.
The garage door installers hosed the mechanism and chain with WD40 in the house we were remodeling. Of course they hosed the trim. I could smell it on the trim. I could not see it, but I sure did when I put on some finish.
I also found out the hard way that the banding boomers some of these guys use get cranky about letting go of the clips after tensioning the bands. You got it, a good spray of lubricant while the device is on the banded material will generally get the banding clip out of the device.
And if you find anyone using those teflon based lubricants around the trim, you might as well send it all back. It is 1000 X worse than the old silicone crap like WD40.
Oily hardware from manufacturers, dirty handed (including me!) installers that remove doors and drawers and get the lubricant from them on the other pieces... there is almost no end to it. I have even used rags that must have had some soap of some kind on them when I bought them that spread the soap over the wood and caused fisheyes that looked like a rash in some places.
I know you know this.... but in case someone working with you did you a favor... could anyone have cleaned or lubed your gun for you? Another mistake on my part was to put 1/3 drop of 0000 oil on my needle at the rear packing. It lasted in the gun for about 5 gallons of spray until I found out about it, happily putting out random fisheyes. I also had one of my helpers shoot me in the foot (head?) when he lubed up the fittings on the hoses like we do on the nailguns. It was the good lube and dried nicely to the touch - I never noticed.
Remember - I am a solvent based finish guy. But when I run into this, I figure a fisheye is a fisheye. I get off all the finish I can in the affected area and clean/sand the wood down to bare and then wash it with "good" quality lacquer thinner. Let it dry, change cleaning rags, and clean it again.
I have never had any luck with the fisheye reducers, I don't know why but they never seem to work for me so I am stuck fixing my problems the old fashioned way. Strip/sand/start over. I do know that MLC has a fisheye reducer for this product, FWIW.
At this late stage, it sounds like you have this project under control.
But for me, I always >>> have to know <<< about "what happened" so that it will be one less mistake in the future. No matter how long I have been doing this stuff, I am so meticulous that when a finish doesn't come out like I want it to I am surprised and pissed. Immediately.
So in the spirit of trying to help another finish slinger out, I would offer these thoughts:
Is it possible that the MLC material was not up to snuff? Could it have been old, or previously opened and improperly resealed? As a tandem thought, does your supplier handle the material properly on his end? Sitting in a really hot/cold warehouse for a length of time will change almost any of this stuff. One time I worked and worked on getting one of my finishes right until I mixed and sprayed myself out of material. I went and got more, and the problem went away immediately. The ICI guy said "duh... you musta got bad batch. I'll credit your account". I lost a whole day with that.
Could your filter on the HVLP have picked up something? Could there be some moisture in your airlines? Not likely, I know with HVLP but maybe let the unit warm up a bit before spraying.
To get to the Frankensteins's lab part of this, I would pad some of the problem product (pad it on so I could get it thin as if it were sprayed, and not let the natural cohesion of the product fool me) with no additives of any type on a piece of wood you know to be perfectly clean and lube free. This is easy, and if the finish fails you know where the culprit is.
I would coat a fairly large piece (10" X 20" maybe?) so I could be ready to keep experimenting. If it is not the finish, test the sandpaper. Put a piece of tape down the middle of the dried wood. Use a new piece of sandpaper form the batch you used to prep the trim on one half of one half, and worn piece on the other half of that same half. In other words, leave one half untouched, and on the other half use a new piece on one quarter and used piece on the other quarter. Clean off the wood as you did the trim.
Pad on more finish on both sides of the tape. If the side that wasn't sanded acts up, then it is the finish. If the side that was sanded acts up, it is probably the sandpaper. To make sure it is the sandpaper, flip your wood over to a clean, bare wood side and vigorously sand with the same sandpaper you sanded the trim with, using the new and used test areas techniques. Clean as usual and pad on some finish. You know how to read the results.
At this point if nothing is apparent, we can safely say we have eliminated the finish and the sandpaper. That leaves the gun, the hoses and the wood.
If none of that exposed the culprit, try the problem coating on a clean board, spray with no additives or thinners from the gun. You know how to read the results from what you see.
I have a buddy that I run into on occasion that only uses water borne. I remember him telling me that after a day of use with the gun he cleans it with ammonia he gets from a cleaning supply place. It isn't available in the supermarket - he uses some kind of non-sudsing stuff that will singe the hair out of your nose. He puts a little in a small pan with some water and cleans the parts down to the packings, then puts a drop or two in front of the needle before reassembly. I think he puts about a tablespoon in a quart of water to clean out the cup and the insides by spraying most of it out.
If none of this fixes the problem, then there is something on the wood.
That of course means nothing to the folks you are finishing for.
The best I could see doing at this point in time when the project has to go out is exactly what you did. Get a premium sealer, clean the wood, seal it really well and start over.
Generally for me, getting rid of the fisheyes means strip off the finish in the affected areas and clean well. I seal with a 1/2 lb spray coat of shellac put on with the 1mm aircap and start over again.
I don't know if any of this has been of any help, but I hope if nothing else it helps you think it all the way through. (I am saying this in reflection of how pissed I get sometimes and can't see the forest for the trees).
I hope you post what you find out and if the new finish is working for you.

You might think about calling them anyway. As a new cutomer they will send you a quart free as well as a book of their products. At least you could give it a whirl and see what you think. Always good to have another tool in the belt.
Staying tuned this weekend...
Robert
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On Fri, 28 Sep 2007 23:59:28 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

Yeah.
Two passes through a Performax, last sanding with a Mirka-loaded ROS, scuffed with Mirka PSA on a PC finish sander. This is all the s4s section of built-up base and door trim. At least it isn't a crazy profile or doors!

I picked it up at my usual hardwood supplier.

I have it and used it on the re-do.

That is a possibility. The can was originally cracked in July (I date my lids), but I used the same can for the first coat.

The warehouse is climate controlled and pretty much 65-70F year round. It's the basement of a busy paint store.

The weird part is that this stuff is coated as follows: stain / Seal Coat / US / US. Coat #1 of US was excellent, coat #2 went awry.

I ordered a quart each of the gloss, satin, and semi-gloss fast-dry poly, and some flow enhancer and fisheye killer to play around with.
Last night, I sanded and re-Seal Coated everything. This afternoon, I'll SW Fast-Dry, as I'm running low on time. I've never had that stuff fish-eye on anything, so maybe I can move on. I have 22 sheets of sub-floor to install this morning in a barn conversion.
The idea of grabbing a fresh supply of US is a good one. I also have some Semi-Gloss and Gloss on hand, along with the suspect Dull US. I can try the different cans on test panels, under identical troubleshooting conditions.
I really like using non-flammable, way less stinky, materials, so here's to sorting it out.
Thanks for the tips.
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SNIP of painful reading...

How strange. I wonder if it could be spray environment related, or something in the gun.
Otherwise... as the old boy says... I got nothin'. As suspected, I knew you would be all over this.

I know between that and Enduro, they are supposed to be the kings of wb finish. You know Roger Phelps NEVER used anything else once he started with it and he told me he refinished something like 300 kitchens with it. He was horrified that I still used solvent based materials.

Amen. One day in out lifetime all that will be available outside the factory environment will be water borne, and as you know I am dragging my feet to get to it. But there are a lot of times when the water borne would be a helluva lot more convenient.
I would be interested to see what you think of the KwickKleen stuff. I hope you post your thoughts.
Hope this all works out for you and you meet your deadline. Good luck.
Robert
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Don't forsake a product over fisheye Barry. Fisheye comes about for only one reason - contamination. It's not the product. Somehow, you have a contaminate at work. It can be water or oil in the gun or the lines, it can be silicone, it can be a lot of things. Some times the contaminates come up out of the surface you're painting - they are native to the material and incompatible with the finish.
To tackle fisheye, let the coat flash, and then apply a couple of very light coats just over the fish eye areas. Gently build up the areas. Once they bridge, you can go back to normal spray techniques.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 09:23:45 -0400, "Mike Marlow"

Absolutely. This product is actually relatively easy to fisheye, easier than NC, but I've cured it before. I just couldn't get it right, and I got frustrated.
On the other hand, GREAT NEWS!!! Problem Solved!
I have two identical Fuji guns, stored in different containers. One is used for solvent, the other for WB.
I was using the wrong gun... Whooops! <G>
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Alright, Barry! Glad to hear the problem is now history.
Just as a suggestion, clean out the gun you have been shooting that nasty water borne stuff out of as normal, then shoot some anhydrous alcohol through it to take out the rest of the moisture before solvent finish goes back in.
Although frustrating as hell, I am glad to see the problem was an easy fix.
Robert
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On Sat, 29 Sep 2007 17:33:13 -0700, " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

I already did, following Jewitt's published "WB to Solvent" switch procedure. Now I won't shoot myself in the foot next time I use solvent stuff. <G>

As usual, the cave-man dumbass factor was the cause.
That's what was really driving me nuts. I totally overlooked the fact that I had grabbed the wrong gun. But, as you and Mike pointed out, contamination is contamination. <G>
In the process of finding the answer, I used another sheen of on-hand US, eliminating the can of "dull" product, which was sprayed onto super-clean plate glass, which eliminated the wood. When they screwed up as well, I went into my spray gear tote for the gun cleaning tools and supplies, where I found the correct gun.
Thanks again, Robert and Mike!
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Have you switched to a new cleaner? Or has the cleaner become contaminated?
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