|Forum topic by Planeman40||posted 11-01-2011 05:47 AM||22998 views||7 times favorited||10 replies|
11-01-2011 05:47 AM
This evening I was varnishing a project and began to think of some of the painting, varnishing, and finishing tricks I had learned over the 63 years I have been building things ( I started at 8 building model airplanes). I thought I would put these on Lumberjocks. I am sure many of you experienced builders are aware of many of these, but the tyros of woodworking need to know them. I’m too lazy to organize them so they are listed as they come to mind.
How to get a glass smooth finish with varnish the quick and easy way in three coats of varnish. You will note that sandpaper isn’t used as it clogs easily and is much slower to use.
1.Prepare the wood to get as smooth a surface as is practical.
How to PROPERLY clean a paint brush. Good paint brushes are expensive. If properly cleaned after using they will last a lifetime. After you are finished painting wash the brush in the proper thinner for the paint you are using. I prefer using a brush cleaner I buy by the gallon at the usual paint sources. If you have been lazy or stupid (yes, I have been both) and have let the paint dry on the brush, soak the brush in brush cleaner for a day or two and use a stiff brush to clean away the cruddy paint on the handle and in hard to get at places. When the brush is clean, finish by washing the brush in soap (dish soap) and hot water – this is important!!! – and end up carefully pointing and shaping the bristles like they were when still new while they are wet and relaxed from the hot water. Lay the brush out to dry and carefully store away.
NEVER dip your brush more than half way up the bristles! In fact, try to dip your brush even half of that and even less. Learn to paint carefully as if you were wearing an expensive suit. Messy painting rarely goes any faster and the cleanup destroys any time you saved, not to mention the clothes you messed up.
If painting with color, use a good primer!
A paint job is no better than the surface it is applied to. Primers properly selected can seal rosin soaked pine knots, avoid show-through of mottled surfaces, reduce the number of coats of color needed, tame wood fuzz, improve paint adherence, fill wood pores, and make for a beautiful smooth paint job. My favorite two primers are Zinsser shellac-base primer and automotive primer (yes, automotive primer).
The shellac-base primer is for wood and has a LOT of white filler, dries very quickly (re-coat in 20 minutes) sands beautifully, and builds up an extremely nice almost glass-smooth surface to get a nice high gloss finish.
The automotive primer does the same as the shellac-base primer above, however what I use is called “spotting putty”. Spotting putty is automotive primer so thick it is sold in toothpaste-like tubes and is about a thick as toothpaste. It can be bought at most automotive places like Pep Boys and places that sell automotive paint. It is made to fill in small scratches and dings in automobile finishes prior to touching up the spots with color lacquer. It can be thinned if necessary with acetone to a nice creamy consistency that can be painted on with a paint brush. I use it to fill the pores in balsa for the model planes I still build. In most cases I can do this with only one coat. Of course I sand back down until the wood begins to show through, saving weight of course which is important in model planes. The stuff sands beautifully! This stuff is great for painting small items that have a rough surface that is difficult to sand out. You can build up a nice smooth base with a few coats of thinned putty that is ready to paint without any sanding if you are careful.
Always begin by painting the hardest to get to places first. This needs no explanation.
I’m sure there are more, but its midnight and I’ve put in a long day in the workshop and I’m ready to hit the sack.
-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!