Looking for those super silky paint finishes

Sourwould

Taylor
User
So, I'm currently trying to flesh out a few projects that I want a really clean paint finish on. I've done a few slick paint jobs in the past with rollers and oil paint, but had a garage to work in. At my current place, my choices of workspace are outside or a spare bedroom. The long dry times on the oil paint don't work well for me outside (dust/pollen) and the fumes are too harsh for inside. I've been trying out a few different water based/urethane paints and am still not really getting the kind of smooth finish I'm after. A lot of my research is pointing me toward pigmented lacquers, which look like they're all spray only. I'm guessing this is the kind of factory finish I see on cabinets.

Getting into spraying seems pretty daunting. Would need sprayer, bigger compressor, skill, a place to do it etc etc.

Where would y'all farm something like this out to? Autobody shop? Cabinet shop? Suggestions for the Durham area?
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Rather than a compressor, a HPLV blower set-up. The way I got a super slick "piano" finish on speaker cabinets is the same way we do it on cars. Spray 5 or 6 coats, wet sand and buff. If you have a few million bucks to set up a factory perfect environment and can adjust everything to perfection, then you can actually spray a smooth finish. Of course, go look at a new car and you see even that does not work. Nothing wrong with outside. A portable screen tent is not very expensive and will keep the bugs off.

I doubt most auto body shops would want to mess with woodworking. They have no experience in it, don't have the materials, and would assume the customer would never be satisfied. Now if you had a hundred cabinets, then one may be interested is setting up.
 

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
even without spray eqiupent. start with a good paint. I dont use anything but Sherwin Williams Pro Classic. Its perfect for wood working as it is 100% Acrylic which gets much harder than paint. Im in Clayton if you want to see for yourself. Could also show you a budget friendly sprayer if your interested.
 

Sourwould

Taylor
User
I got a quart of Emerald Urethane. The paint store clerk said it dries harder than Pro classic and is supposed to have a faster cure time (something like a week instead of 3).

I'm starting to think my issue is really with my primer. I'm been using cover stain, which sands nicely but goes on like elmer's glue. I got a can of Bin to try out.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
You can add hardener to alkyd paint which wil make it buff out even better. No water based paint will be as hard as oil based. Even the junk they use on cars now.
I used Dupont Centari for my loudspeakers. ( MDF, sealed with thinned epoxy resin, sealer, high build primer, 5 coats of 2-stage, wet sand, and buff. )

So, for a ''piano" finish, how is it done?
 

UncleJoe

Joe
Senior User
If you are limited to brush and roller then I would second the recombination of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic. However, I will save you a bunch of effort and time, Sherwin Williams Pro Classic does not work like other paints you may have used. I strongly advise that you get a few small pieces of scrap material from the project you are building and experiment. Pro Classic lays down different. I have had great success with 2 coats of primer, I prefer zinsser Bin shellac based primer. Lightly sand between coats. Bin Shellac can be a pain to clean up unless you know the secret. Use ammonia. It states on the label to use denatured alcohol or ammonia and most folks just try the denatured alcohol and leave it at that. The Ammonia is cheaper and works great. For those spraying Bin Primer Ammonia cleans spray gear super fast.

Sand the primer lightly and you will have a very smooth surface. Now when you apply the Pro Classic, DO NOT OVERWORK the paint. This is why you need test pieces, you have to train yourself not to try to get out the brush strokes. You lay the paint on heavier than you think you need and let it flow. This paint has tremendous flow. It is really different than the paint you are used to. Put it on thick, don't overwork, allow it to flow. In 15 minutes your brush strokes begin to vanish and in an hour it looks perfect.

Many people have purchased this paint and complain but they applied it like a normal paint and overworked it. Let the paint do its thing. They designed this paint to flow.

IF you want to spray It also sprays beautifully if you thin it right. I have had great success using this formula:
Earlex HV 5500 spray gun 1.5 tip
32 oz paint
4 oz distilled water
2 oz Flotrol
1 teaspoon 90% alcohol.
It is important that you mix this with a paddle mixer attached to a drill. Mix for a full 2 minutes. Sherwin Williams tech claims this mixing breaks down the molecules for better spraying.

I am not a pro painter but I have learned all this from pro painters. I hope this helps.
 

Sourwould

Taylor
User
Thanks for the advice!

I am currently just doing test pieces. I want to get my finish how I want it before I put it on the pieces.

TVR, what kind of high build primer are you using? I am also working with MDF. I was considering trying out rusto filler primer and sanding it smooth before top coating.
 

ste6168

Mike
Senior User
I recently started spraying, as well. Have only sprayed one real project (getting ready to do number 2), but I think the results came out pretty good. I purchased a Fuji SemiPro2 HVLP setup and sprayed Target Coatings EMTECH EM6500 WB product. The nice part about that product, since it is a pigmented lacquer, no thinning was required using the 1.8mm cap set. I setup a temporary "spray booth" with some 3/4" PVC pipe and 3.5mil plastic in the garage/shop to spray. I originally planned to spray outside, but living on the coast, the wind never wanted to let up! I would think spraying outside would be fine, possibly even better, under a 10x10 pop-up tent or similar. While it may not be as good as someone with a $10k spray booth and years of experience, I was really happy with the results. I can only assume that as I spray more often, then results will get better.

White was sprayed, clear was rubbed on.


"Spray Booth"
 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
Dont know if this is an option. Saw stuff like this at Klingspor.

 

zapdafish

Steve
Senior User
Got anything recipes like this for water based urethane? I have the Earlex and ordered the 1.5 tip on Monday, lol.

IF you want to spray It also sprays beautifully if you thin it right. I have had great success using this formula:
Earlex HV 5500 spray gun 1.5 tip
32 oz paint
4 oz distilled water
2 oz Flotrol
1 teaspoon 90% alcohol.
It is important that you mix this with a paddle mixer attached to a drill. Mix for a full 2 minutes. Sherwin Williams tech claims this mixing breaks down the molecules for better spraying.

I am not a pro painter but I have learned all this from pro painters. I hope this helps.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Thanks for the advice!

I am currently just doing test pieces. I want to get my finish how I want it before I put it on the pieces.

TVR, what kind of high build primer are you using? I am also working with MDF. I was considering trying out rusto filler primer and sanding it smooth before top coating.
It was a house labeled product I got from the jobber in Maryland. I would go to your local auto paint jobber and see what they have. It was 2-part. When I painted my TVR, I used lacquer primer as it is so easy to sand, but not that tough.

Biggest thing is with MDF, don't use PVA glue. It will continue to shrink for years. The glue lines did not show up in a set I still have for a couple of years! I switched to West System epoxy, but I bet Gorilla would do fine. THat set is finished with Dupont Centari.
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
TVR, what kind of high build primer are you using?
FWIW - This is what I use. Sprays great (I've even brushed it on and it came out fine) and sands easily. At a pretty reasonable price.
 

Sourwould

Taylor
User
It was a house labeled product I got from the jobber in Maryland. I would go to your local auto paint jobber and see what they have. It was 2-part. When I painted my TVR, I used lacquer primer as it is so easy to sand, but not that tough.

Biggest thing is with MDF, don't use PVA glue. It will continue to shrink for years. The glue lines did not show up in a set I still have for a couple of years! I switched to West System epoxy, but I bet Gorilla would do fine. THat set is finished with Dupont Centari.
For any of the glue joints or as a filler? I hate gorilla glue, I always get it all over my hands. I use the minwax stuff for filler. I think it's just bondo in a yellow can.
 

tvrgeek

tvrgeek
User
Any glue that will be a seam in the surface. PVA shrinks so after time, a faint line shows up. Bondo is flexible and will sink into the seam as the PVA pulls down. Maybe if yo cut a groove and filled it, but I did OK just using epoxy.
 

AllanD

Allan
Senior User
Just got through renovating and spraying an armoire. For cabinets and indoor pieces I use Kem Aqua Plus from Sherwin Williams. It is generally not listed on their website but most of their stores will either have it or will get it. Use their Kem Aqua surfacer first if raw wood. It comes in different sheens but low gloss will show less defects. It is water based, dries extremely quickly, and makes a very hard surface. Regular latex paints, even the most expensive ones, tend to be sticky after drying.
It is for spray only supposedly but after spraying the piece I needed to paint a bunch of shelves and didn't want to hassle with the sprayer so painted them with a foam brush. Worked fine since they were lying horizontally. One disadvantage is it, as far as I know, only comes in white or clear. A few years ago I had the SW guy try to tint some blue but it was a failure.
 

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