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JayKnoll 07-14-2009 03:51 AM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
I am going to display my total ignorance about this topic, but if you've got a pancake compressor, why would you buy the Rocker product -- just buy the gun?


mckenziedrums 07-14-2009 03:18 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
The compressor will work... buying a turbine system is a great way to go if you don't already have the compressor.

It's like going out and buying a vacuum pump when you have an air compressor. Sure, you could go out and buy a several hundred dollar piece of equipment... or you can buy a $50 Venturi valve and generate the same vacuum with the motor you already have. ;)

I'm not sure what the output of the smaller compressor is but just make sure you can keep at least 30-40psi to the gun at all times. You'll have to figure out where you're comfortable with as far as setting it up.

I need to borrow someones turbine setup and try it sometime... just to experience something different. It's all about finding what works for you though.

RONWEN 07-14-2009 04:28 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
I'm not an expert on the subject either.
My question is how well the Rockler turbine HVLP system works. With true turbine HVLP systems the material transfer efficiency can approach 80% That results in less over spray and less wasted material. The conversion type HVLP's are in the 40%-60% transfer range. Probably not a significant difference unless a lot of material is sprayed often. Some of the finishes are pretty pricey so the turbine unit could pay for itself in a short time.

mckenziedrums 07-14-2009 04:36 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
Hrm... do the WoodCraft finishing classes provide the turbine setups? If so I might have to sign up for one so I can give it a good testing. You're right on the effeciency though... It takes some serious practice to keep the waste down with a traditional HVLP gun. I've gotten to where I can make quick close passes and keep most of the material on the piece without it being too heavy of pass. The Emtech stuff from Target is only $65/gallon (I say only because I'm used to spending $100+ on automotive finishes) so it's not too pricey and goes quite a long way. I've still gotta try Crystalac though.

mckenziedrums 07-18-2009 07:43 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
Lesson learned... finishing small flat pieces is different than round things... :D Going to have to touch up the edges a bit on the lid after realizing the buffer I have is a bit much for such a small piece. Next time I'll use a small buffing bob or my benchtop buffer.

In any case... I'm going to do a future full tutorial based on what I know and I'm comfortable with. I just received 2 drum shells that I'm in charge of doing the finishing on so I'll document that as I go.

In the mean time.... here's what I did with the lid for the jewelry box quickly this morning.

If anyone is counting it's been a week since I sprayed the finish on. Truthfully I like to wait 2 weeks when I'm spraying Target coatings stuff just to make sure it's cured. Got a little impatient this time but it was hard enough to do the job. Plus I wasn't setting out to make this the absolute perfect finish.

Step one. Wet sanding. (We love sanding right?) I've tried orbital after orbital for wet sanding and I still can't get the results I get by hand. So I just go back to holding the paper and doing it the old fashioned way. For my high gloss finishes I typically start with 600 grit to make sure I've got everything flat.

I grabbed a glass of water... some wet sanding paper... and went to work:

Here you can see how the slurry is nice and smooth showing that the surface is good and flat:

A ha! Found a trouble spot here:

Dips in the finish will appear as glossy spots while sanding. In my case it's due to me not originally planning on going so glossy and I didn't fill the grain on the Wenge. A little planning ahead and busting out the grain filler would have solved this problem. I'm OK with some grain showing so I'm moving forward. After the 600 grit I'll typically move up with 800, 1000, 1500, and 2000... Since I'm playing shortcuts today I went from 600 to 1000 to 2000. Big jumps to be sure but I planned on using some heavy compound which would take out any of the scratches left behind by me being a bit lazy.

Typically I buff using 3M compunds and pads as seen here:

For drums my hand held buffer does the job nicely. I've discovered quickly this guy is probably not the best tool for the job when you're talking small delicate pieces. I won't be using it on the main body of the jewelry box that's for darn sure.

Since I'm a glutton for punishment and already had the buffer out I figured I'd use it for the lid since it's a nice flat surface and nothing fancy. It is however pretty small so I needed to secure it before taking a big old spinning disc to it. As you can tell by these poor beatup clamps they've seen a few buffing compounds in their days.

Over all it worked pretty well but I did manage to burn through a couple spots at the edges. Once the finish cures up a bit after being wet down and heated up I'll touch them up. For this particular project I used the heavy cut compound to knock out any scratches from the sandpaper and followed up with the fine cut to polish it up. After that it's time for the finishing touch.

A little cheesecloth full of finishing wax is just the ticket. I used to use automotive waxes on my drums but realized this is better since it's a hardening wax and offers just a little more protection for the finish. I buffed this off by hand rather than break out the buffer again. Though it would be easy enough to just buff in and you'd probably get a little better gloss that way.

After it's all said and done here's what the lid looks like:

Not a mirror finish by any means and a crappy photo but I figured I'd show that it's at least decently reflective. I'll put the drum shell in the photo tent when I do the tutorial to give a better idea of the finish that can be achieved by taking a little more time.

Poto 07-18-2009 08:05 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
Whoa! Amazing finish! Thanks for the step-by-step on that.

Looks like you need an MFT and the clamping elements to hold those small pieces...

mckenziedrums 07-24-2009 06:15 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
Here's a rather pretty walnut drum shell that has a couple coats of clear on it:

This will get a few more coats and then sanded and buffed as described above. I'll toss this one in the nice photo tent to get a proper photo of it. Thanks to the new light fixture in the "shop" i was able to at least get a passable photo.

MichaelKellough 07-24-2009 08:58 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
That looks great! Is it veneered? If so, how did you glue it up?

mckenziedrums 07-24-2009 09:16 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
Nope... that's a steambent shell from these folks: Vaughncraft Percussion John Rose is about the nicest fella you'll ever meet and they build steambent drum shells for some of the biggest names in the drum building industry. The nice part is that they sell off extra inventory to us hobbyists at GREAT prices.

(I do have a vacuum bag for veneering...)

Poto 07-25-2009 07:25 PM

Re: "Popping" the grain with water based finishes...
So how do you get the slurry off your piece after you've wet sanded it, Tim? It must make a pretty stiff mess...

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