finishing

Witness Lines: A New Name for an Old Problem

A woodworker asked me recently, “What the heck is a witness line?” Well, this opens up an interesting discussion. One of my pet peeves since I began teaching finishing, has been people creating new terminology when quite adequate terminology already exists. There’s no better example than “witness lines,” which is a...

Why There Are Streaks in Your Wood Stain

I’ve run into this problem often enough that I thought it worth discussion: People apply a stain and don’t have enough time to get the excess wiped off before the stain dries. The results are streaks that are difficult to remove. It used to be that all stains carried by home centers and...

Lacquer is Easy to Clean from a Spray Gun

Lacquer is such a wonderful and versatile finish. I think every professional I’ve talked to who has used lacquer and other finishes (with good exhaust, of course) loves lacquer. There are lots of reasons for this, including reduced runs and sags, relative ease of control in different weather conditions with the solvents...

Finishing in Colder Temperatures

We’re well into winter now, and you may have noticed that your finishes seem thicker. Thicker finishes are more likely to orange peel or leave brush marks. You can deal with this by adding thinner, but this will reduce the build of each coat. It’s better to be sure your finishes...

Stir the Finish – Unless it’s Gloss

I have a confession to make. No one knows I did this, at least no one who speaks English, not even my wife. But you are about to know it. In 1974 my wife (who is Danish) and I moved to Denmark to try to live there. Things were not good...

Crazing from Body Sweat

All finishes craze ­– that is, develop small cracks – as they age, especially if they are exposed to a lot of sunlight. But there’s another type of crazing, and it can happen much faster. This is crazing caused by body sweat. You commonly see crazing of this type around cabinet-door...

Get a Perfect Finish Every Time

There’s probably no phrase in finishing that irritates me more than this one: Get a perfect finish every time. It’s commonly used by editors and publishers to title articles, sub-title books, and in general to promote information they want you to look at. You rarely see this type of phrase in...

Measure twice, paint once!

I’m sure you’ve heard the admonition to measure twice before you cut once. If you haven’t, take it from me that it’s very good advice. You’ll save a lot of wood and grief by doing this. But what about “measure twice before you paint once?” The grounds crews at Montreal’s Olympic...

You Read it Here First: Pee Back Paint

In my first blog post I told you about a new smart-coating technology that causes liquids, including pee, to bounce off surfaces. In the case of pee, it bounces back onto the perpetrator, so it’s used to discourage people (men) from peeing on walls in public places. The example I used...