Archive for October, 2007

Dialing in HVLP

October 25, 2007

Some guys struggle with the HVLP. I think if more guys felt more comfortable about how they work, more guys would use them. For the purpose of this article I will be using the ICI Sanding Sealer only because I happen to be shooting it this week.

On the HVLP (top photo) you see two dials, one is the air flow (how much air goes through the gun) and the other is material flow aka fluid knob (how much paint goes through). The arrow on the upper knob (air flow) is set at about the 7 o’clock mark. Max air flow is at 12 o’clock. The knob only works from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock mark but you can turn it either way. So if we turn the knob to the right to 5 o’clock, it is the same as turning the knob to the left at 7 o’clock. Hope that makes sense.

The second photo shows how thin the material is. You know how when you pour a thick paint in a bucket the paint sort of accumulates on the surface before it levels out? We can’t have that happen with an HVLP. The paint when poured into itself should dissipate immediately into itself. I have my sanding sealer a bit on the thin side but not by much and only because I was shooting a light dusting coat of tinted sealer.

Once the paint is mixed up and in the cup, turn the fluid knob all the way in and then back it out 2 full turns. Start by shooting with the air flow at the 6 o’clock which should be ‘OFF’. Then while squeezing the trigger, start by turning the air flow to the 9 o’clock mark. It should produce paint at least air through the gun at this point. If not, turn the fluid knob another full turn out. If still nothing, your material may be too thick. You can at this point open the air control knob all the way to 12 o’clock to confirm. If still no material, the gun is blocked up or material is too heavy.

If all goes well, you should be able to shoot materials through the gun with the material flow open slightly and air flow set at 7 or 8 o’clock. I NEVER shoot anything at 12 o’clock, that’s when I eat lunch, no seriously 12 o’clock is over kill and does nothing but cloud up the room.

Assuming you have paint through the gun, turn the air off again and very slightly turn air pressure up a hair or until the paint is coming out like a fine spray. If you cut off the air flow the gun should spit the paint out. Dial-in where the minimum air is needed to shoot a fine spray from the tip of the gun. The knob is very sensitive, use very small increments for adjustment.

Once you get the hang of that, you can adjust the fluid knob more to move materials quicker.

See also: HVLP Maintenance and HVLP Transfer Efficiency


Weight Loss

October 25, 2007

With all the TV infomercials on weight loss, how is anyone to know for sure if the program will work for them? Come on people, get off the couch, those are all scams… are they not? My proven weight loss system will eliminate the question and produce nothing but results.

Enter Jack’s workout program.

3 simple steps to fitness and weight loss guaranteed! Actually I only guarantee that when I follow the 3 steps, I lose weight.

Step 1 Buy paint (start off with 15 gallons)
Step 2 Buy roller
Step 3 Spread 15 gallons of paint in less than 2 hours and watch the pounds fall off. Do this each day for 1 week, you’ll see.

This post is for entertainment purposes only although physical workouts have proven to help losing weight. Consult with a doctor before using any weight loss program and preferably not an actor dressed up as a doctor.

Ext. SuperPaint Woes

October 25, 2007

Here are a few tips for dealing with difficult colors using Sherwin Williams Exterior SuperPaint.

For the purpose of this article I am referring to a ‘difficult color’ as any color that will not cover easily in two coats such as reds, deep greens, midnight blues, pastels etc.

General Tips: For best results with most any paint product when it comes time to paint an exterior front door, try to paint 1) early morning, 2) not in direct sunlight and 3) not in windy conditions. Keep all windows and other doors closed while you paint. This will decrease the amount of draft passing by the door. Sun and wind are the enemies. I will postpone however long I have to for optimum conditions to paint a front door. This is important, brace the door in a way that it will not move while you are painting it.

Painting front doors:
In the new home market we are required to paint front doors to match factory vinyl shutters manufactured by Norandex. You may experience a similar requirement with another manufacturer.

Some of our builders use metal factory primed steel doors and others use white shiny fiberglass entry doors. Typically most of these shutter paint colors cover fine in two coats over the dark grey factory primer except for 3 of them, Bordeux, Midnight Green and Midnight Blue (shown). Not all factory steel doors are primed the same shade of grey, some are very dark and others are pale grey.

If you were to brush Sherwin Williams Exterior Super Paint mixed in any one of the three colors shown you are likely to apply 4 or 5 coats to achieve full color depth over a pale grey or white fiberglass door. To work around this labor intensive process you can reprime the door with a dark grey flat primer (flatter the better) and apply two coats of finish. Or do like I do and mask the door off and spray it. More info here on spraying Trim and Doors.

If you decide to brush the door, another option is to get two quarts mixed up, have one quart mixed in Sherwin Williams Exterior Super Paint Flat and one in Satin or Semi-gloss. I do not recommend Exterior SuperPaint mixed in Gloss for doors. You have more working time with Satin than you do with Semi-Gloss. If the final result is semi-gloss then use satin for your first coat and semi-gloss for your 2nd and 3rd. If your final result is satin, then use flat for first coat and satin for the 2nd and maybe 3rd if needed.

Here is a TIP for applying Exterior Super Paint. Paint the edges first. If your door had defined panels such as a 6 panel style door, paint the inside of all panels completely first and use a damp rag to wipe wet paint away from any area but the panel. Take a look at the photo here for a numbered procedural method for painting a door. Then finish off the door using that method.

A TIP for painting the hinge edge is the same, paint the edge and as you move down the edge of the door, remove any paint with a wet rag that got on the face of the door.

Rolling Techniques

October 24, 2007
How to roll walls

I’ve seen many rolling techniques in my day. Home shows generally show people rolling a W pattern without an extension pole. I’ve seen the X pattern etc., also there is some silly Z pattern floating around on YouTube for people who roll without poles and want to be sore for days.

That reminds me, mental note: make post of 101 silly things homeowners do when painting.

As far as I’m concerned, there is only one way to roll. This technique is certainly not anything new but it is simple and very effective for achieving consistent finishes but there is one exception to this technique. If you are rolling a 16’ high wall, I strongly suggest you roll this pattern on the lower 8’ and then do the same pattern on the upper 8’ with your last stoke from ceiling to floor. Be sure to put plenty of stuff in your way too as seen in the photos.

The photos are pretty much straight forward. Start in the middle of the wall; roll down then up passed the middle to the ceiling and finally finish the last pass from ceiling to floor.

See also: Rolling Duration Home for more info. Head on over to and search ‘rolling walls’ for video demonstrations.

ICI Sanding Sealer

October 24, 2007
I am just going to cover briefly using ICI Dulux Wood Pride Sanding Sealer with a brush, roller and an HVLP.

We use sanding sealer as part of our wood finishing process. Once the stain is applied and dry, I apply sanding sealer to raise and lock down the grain of the wood allowing me to sand the sealer baby smooth before applying a varnish. Many guys think sanding sealers are all created equal. Here is a secret, they’re not. Sherwin Williams isn’t the same as ICI’s and neither of them are anything like MinWax Sanding Sealer or Cabots sealers. Now that Sherwin Williams has a hold on Minwax, maybe the two are the same now.

This product is pretty straight forward although you have little time to work with it. It is best to keep moving ahead and try not to back brush previously wet areas.

It is not recommended to roll sanding sealer and leave it as is. I recommend always laying off with a brush. Work in small areas and use a Mohair short nap cover.

Spraying: When using an HVLP you may find it beneficial to slightly reduce the sealer. A formula of 24 oz. sanding sealer to 8 oz. thinner is sufficient to allow fast steady flow from the gun. Reducing should allow you to dial in your gun with minimal air flow. My air flow is almost all the way to off. I use a #3 projector set for sealer.

Dealing with drips and sags:
Yep, even I get them from time to time and I highly recommend keeping an eye on your work as you go. Every so often take a look back at your work. If you can, try to remove sags with a dry oil brush by feathering the sag out. If the sag had too much time to dry but is still soft, grab your 5-in-1 and shave it off carefully. If the sag or drip has dried completely, use a single edge razor blade and shave it off very carefully, sand smooth and repair.

About the photo: The photo shows ICI sanding sealer over stained poplar.

Also look at Do it Best Sanding Sealer

Cutting 8′ vs. 16′

October 24, 2007

Painting high ceiling lines.

Have you ever figured out the time difference for cutting a 16’ high wall vs. an 8’ wall? – I have, here are the shocking results! I can comfortably cut 8’ and 9’ ceilings at the rate of 11-14 fpm. with the help from this.

Now once I hop on a 24’ extension ladder my foot rate per minute drops drastically to 3 lousy fpm. THREE FEET! So, the next time you estimate a job with a high wall, you will now know how much more to charge.

Be faster painting ceiling lines. Learn how.

Here is a video on cutting in ceiling lines using a 2 step approach.

Be faster cutting ceilings

October 24, 2007

Werner TW372-30 Ladder

There is not another more time consuming task for me besides cutting ceiling lines and we do it twice.

This small investment will shave countless hours off your day-to-day grind and you’ll do it with a smile and like it.

The wide step ladder when placed in the corner of a room allows me to reach 7′ each way. I can comfortably cut 8′ or 9′ ceilings at the rate of 11-14 fpm, that’s damn quick! and a lot less up and down a ladder. Basically, when I hop up on this step ladder, I cut 7′ one direction and 7′ the other, about 14′ in one minute. On a small room, I move this step 4 times, about 4 mins or so to cut a small room.

Be sure to check out Werner ladder for other sizes. I keep a 2 and 3 step in the truck. The 2ft works great on 8’ ceilings.

Corrective Finishes

October 23, 2007

Wood Finishing Using Toner

You may come across a homeowner who might ask you to magically blend all their wood to look exactly the same. Well, magic is exactly what you will need for that. But, if you manage to compromise with the homeowner after the 60 minute lecture on wood, you might come to the following conclusion.

Let’s make the center plywood look more like the real solid wood around it. We are going to do this by applying several, (as many as necessary) toner coats over the plywood. You will notice the fireplace is otherwise finished except for the center 3 pieces.

We will be masking off everything but the plywood and using the HVLP, we are going to mix the stain directly into the clear finish and apply dusting coats of toner until the homeowner is happy.

This TIP is also useful for adjusting blotchy stained pieces or areas such as you see in the photo. Also a toner coat adds depth to the wood.

If you have a deep red mahogany color on poplar, you can  adjust color depth utilizing toner coats. Also effective on poplar when you want more solid uniform color cast like you see on furniture and kitchen cabinets. Toner coats work great for kitchen cabinet refinishing too!

Wooster Polar Bear

October 23, 2007

Wooster Polar Bear #R236

I hear mixed reactions to Wooster’s Polar Bear covers. The white plush fabric has decent paint pick up and release. This cover may be best used on non-smooth walls but the Polar Bear leaves a unique finish on smooth drywall especially when spreading eggshell paints. There is a disadvantage to this cover and that is, touching up a smooth wall that was rolled with the Polar Bear may not blend well. It is difficult to replicate the initial finish.

There is a bit of a learning curve to using the Polar Bear. It is best to apply paint as you would and work an area wet. When your cover runs dry, slightly roll the cover down the wall with little pressure to fluff the cover up. Once the cover is fluffed up, go back to the starting point and run the cover very lightly and swiftly down the wall to finish it off. If the cover goes limp or flat, you’re not doing it right. It’s likely you may be pressing too hard or ran the cover too dry.

Added time to the job may be required to work the finish to a nice faint stipple.

Poor mans cover keeper

October 23, 2007
Simple, cheap and effective! Wrapping your roller cover in a trash bag for overnight or 30 days later will save you time and headache. I use plastic when I exceed the number of PVC keepers I have. Plastic bags keep the cover wet for at least 30 days, just keep them out of direct sunlight.
I use a low tack masking tape for easy removal. If you know you are going to be in and out of a color, after you reopen the plastic bag, fold the bag in half (wet on wet) and reuse it when you’re done.

See also: Roller Cover Care