I think this is my problem. I'm expecting the wiped surface to be
smooth and shiny when you actually have to sand and polish to get that
Where do you find felt blocks for rubbing out. I'm sure they're
available, but I don't consciously recall seeing them for sale either
in a store or catalog.
Do yourself a favor and try the Menzerna polishing stuff. I got some
from www.homesteadfinishing.com and now the pumice and rottenstone sit
on the shelf waiting to be tossed.
On Sun, 27 Feb 2005 17:24:19 -0800, Tim Douglass
Once the build is thick enough sand level with a smooth backing board.
Then pad a thin coat. Let cure then start rubbing out for sheen
wanted. Careful at edges where shellac has pulled away leaving a
On Sat, 26 Feb 2005 11:37:21 -0800, Tim Douglass
Have seen suggested lightly sand off ridges using a flat block backing
for sandpaper and when build is adequate lightly sand for uniform
dullnes with no glossy spots then apply a thin coat that will level
well, let cure then start rubbing for sheen wanted. Menzerna
polishing compounds available from www.homesteadfinishing.com are
On Tue, 22 Feb 2005 11:42:49 -0800, Tim Douglass
First off - orange peel only happens one way. Your first coat or two were
too dry. It may be because of poor atomization of your gun, or it may be
from poor technique. Bottom line - too dry. You end up with little bumps
of material on the wood with lots of spaces between them. Next thing you do
is put more coats on and it starts to fill in the spaces, but it also builds
up on the bumps. As you build up coats, it flows together a bit and you end
up with those gorgeous orange peel finishes. To prevent this, practice with
your gun (read the directions that came with it and set it up properly).
Learn to spread on a layer of finish rather than fog on coats. The delicate
balance is in laying down a nice wet coat without getting runs. Practice
makes perfect, but wet coats finish smoothly, dry coats don't.
400 is too coarse. Start with 1000 and moderate elbow grease. See how it
goes. Don't rush it, keep sanding and use a sanding block to keep the
sandpaper nice and flat to the surface. Try wrapping your sandpaper around
a paint stirrer and use it. You should be able to knock down a lot of
orange peel with 1000, but if it's not going down, then move down to maybe
800 or so. Be careful in how fast you move down in grit though or you'll
burn through your finish. No need to do that. Sand it down until it's as
flat as you want. You can get it all the way down to the low points (the
craters) of the orange peel with no risk, but once you hit the bottom of the
craters, you shouldn't push any further. Wet sanding helps keep the paper
from clogging up so bad and makes the cutting more consistent.
Maybe - I really don't know how shellac reacts. Try it with one wet coat
and see what it does. The worst that can happen is that you go the route of
Bad approach. Get your finish where you want it and then add wax.
Nope. You're just not done yet.
Dead flat huh? Well, then wrap that sandpaper around a paint stick and grab
a small bucket of water and get sanding. Flatten it out nice and then rub
it out with a rubbing compound to get it back to the level of shine you
My understanding is sand to level then spray for final coat OR start
rubbing the dull level sanded finish if the build is adequate.
Shellac is like lacquer in new coats meld with previous into one
On Mon, 21 Feb 2005 23:40:40 -0500, "Mike Marlow"
That's basically what I said in the other part of my comments that you
snipped. I realize I made it a bit confusing by posting the comment below
and then elaborating more later on, about how to deal with orange peel. My
Hey Phil - I'll preceed everything I have to say by saying that I don't
finish with shelac so my comments are strictly related to spray painting
techniques and practices. Others can augment what I have to say by bringing
shelac specific knowledge to the conversation. A lot of these things are
universal, so the discussion is meaningful.
This would be a universal question. You are right in that a good wet coat
is on the verge of wanting to sag or run. But... it won't because you
didn't put it on that heavy. Nice and even. Think of it as spreading
plastic wrap over your workpiece. You want to envision yourself doing
exactly that with your spray gun. It will take practice to develop the
ability, but the key is to be able to watch your spray going on. You can't
do this stuff by feel until you've spray painted for a good long time. Even
then, because of an infinate number of variables like humidity, temperature,
etc. you will find that you have to always watch the spray pattern going on
the workpiece. This means good lighting. Don't take a shortcut on the
lighting. No shadows, no glare, good well lit work area. Make sure each
pass just overlaps the previous pass and it creates a growing wet surface
without overlapping too much and creating an area that is too wet and sags,
or that is too far apart and creates a dry line. The edges of your spray
pattern out of your gun are dryer than the cigar shaped center of the spray
pattern. This works to your advantage. The top of your first pass will be
a little dryer than the center of it, but when you overlap slightly on the
second pass - with a slightly dryer bottom to the pattern than it's center,
the overlapped area ends up receiving essentially the same amount of paint
as the center of the spray pattern. Am I making sense? You should be able
to watch your "plastic wrap" grow as you make your passes up the workpiece.
Nice and even in wetness and texture. No dry spots and no heavy spots.
Study your owners manual for your gun. It will give you valuable
information on tip sizes for various viscosity materials. Live by that
information until you develop spraying skills.
Practice on scraps. Lay some down flat and experiment. Your owners manual
will tell you about setting up your gun. You'll need to adjust the spray
pattern for a nice cigar shaped fan and you'll need to set your needle for
proper atomization. The later is very interactive and dependent upon the
pressure setting. Hold your gun about 6" from a vertical piece of scrap and
as quickly as possible, just pull the trigger all the way and immediately
let off. You should typically have a pattern that is about 8-10" high and
maybe 3" wide. The pattern should be a vertical eliptical shape - or cigar
shaped, nicely rounded and defined - not a blob. The edges should fade out
to nothing. You should not have an evenly wet cigar. The fade is rather
abrupt - not a gentle fade. So - you have a nice wet center that is maybe
7-9" high and 2 inches wide and it fades a half inch or so on each side.
Depending on your gun you may not be able to hit those dimensions, but you
get the jist.
Practice by pulling the trigger all the way and developing the speed that is
right for making a nice wet, shiney spray pattern across the scrap. Make a
few passes - overlapping each other to achieve an nice even coverage.
That's your first focus point. Always pull full on the trigger and use
speed to regulate your coverage as you move across the piece. There are
times when you will fog with less than a full trigger pull, but this
requires a careful eye to fog and watch build up until it hits the right
level. Not for the intial practice. Concentrate on developing a body
rhythm. After you get a feel for this - and it will take you a few scraps
of wood, move on to trying the same thing on a vertical piece of wood.
You'll find - as you probably assume, that you have to speed up a bit
because the vertical piece will sag quickly with the same amount of material
as the horizontal piece accepted. Just keep thinking about stretching
plastic wrap and watch the material go on the workpiece.
It may not seem worth it all and in fact for some pieces, it probably is not
worth spraying. There's cleanup and all that stuff to contend with when you
spray. But... for other pieces, you just cannot beat a sprayed finish.
When you want it, you need to know how to do it.
I tend to use the term water when referring to wet sanding out of habit.
Others like to use mineral spirits and for woodworking I'm sure it's fine.
I would not worry about raising grain, as that becomes less of an issue as
buildup happens. Once you seal the wood well you should not have a problem
with raised grain. If you prefer mineral spirits though, it should work
just as well. Forget the stuff about mineral spirits lubricating better
than water, as I've read here. There's not a lubrication issue in wet
sanding. The liquid does help cutting as it keeps the paper from clogging,
but water will do this every bit as good as anything else. Most wet sanding
is done by hand and there just isn't going to be a friction issue in that
case, and even wet sanding with a DA or a ROS (not sure what a fan I would
be of that), if done properly - slowly, will not create friction issues if
done with just water. So - pick your poison. Either one will work.
Again - with respect to shelac, others may have some input relative to it
that I would have to defer to.
Yes - you can use the same rubbing compound that one would use on a car. I
have lots of it around here, so that's what I use. Others use compounds and
materials that I'm not familiar with and they seem to like the results.
They'd have to offer their comments on this practice - I'm just not familiar
with anything besides good old 3M rubbing compound.
Shellac and lacquer give two different finishes. Again - I'm not well
versed in the use of shellac so the other guys can chime in, but as I
understand it, shellac does not really seal - it more fills. As I
understand it you typically overcoat shellac with a sealer of some sort.
Lacquer is a sealer. It fills by build up in a way similar to what shellac
does, but it also seals. For dead flat I would probably go with just
lacquer as long as the look of lacquer is what I was after. I wouldn't
bother using anything else to fill the grain since the lacquer is fully
capable of doing that and subsequent coats will provide the buildup. I'd
lay it on as smoothly as I could and then I'd either wet sand it with 1000
or 1500 and buff it out, or if I sprayed a nice smooth coat I'd skip the wet
sanding. All that said - that's only to answer your specific question about
shellac vs. lacquer. Then there's oils, etc. We won't go there for now...
I just got done spraying a '52 Dodge over the weekend. Some of the panels
came out like glass and I'm just going to bolt them back on the car. Some
panels orange peeled a bit due to some problems I had with my gun. I'll
knock those down a bit with 1000 and then buff them out. There's just no
absolute rules. Sometimes it all just comes together and the dust gods
aren't paying attention to you and you end up with a really nice, ready to
go finish. Sometimes it just don't work that way. Other times you want the
protection of a particular finish - for example, lacquer, but you really
don't want a high gloss plastic look. So - you knock it down with steel
wool to flatten it back. There's just a ton of options.
Hope this helped.
It sure did. I had an emergency side job to do, so I didn't even touch
the blanket chest until last night. Just like you said, wet sand with
1k grit, rather vigorous rub-down with burlap (I didn't have any
compound) and 2 coats of wax. The top looks like a freakin mirror.
Admittedly, it looks a little plastic, but I'm so proud of being able
to make it look that way, I think I'll leave it.
Armed with my new spraygun knowledge, I plan to do some sprayin' on
some scrap soon to improve my technique. To quote the old adage, "How
do you get to your own show on PBS?"
Anyhow, thanks a blanket chest full, Mike.
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