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sjc5454

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Reply with quote  #1 
Udie, I have read many times that you have coarse and a fine brush for painting. I am using a variety of brush sizes to try and duplicate this, but still have brush marks showing. This is my first attempt at hand painting, I made a big mistake in glueing it first, then deciding to paint the toy. The paint job shows my unsteady hand in a few tight spots, but the boys are happy with it.

I am trying to decide where I messed up, the paint, not enough sanding between coats, poor brushes, or a combination of everything. I want to get this right before I try to paint toys to sell. Here's a couple of photos of this little plane I made to practice on.

CAM00276small.jpg  CAM00277small.jpg  CAM00278small.jpg  CAM00277small.jpg 

CAM00280small.jpg  CAM00281small.jpg  CAM00282small.jpg 

Please excuse the poor workmanship, it is a prototype of a picture I saw online. Anyway, any words of wisdom about how to get a smoother looking finish would be welcome. It feels great after the lacquer and Cynthia's Beeswax, but does not look as nice as I have seen in many other's finished toys.

Steve Currier

Udie

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Reply with quote  #2 
Steve (sjc5454) - No need to apologize for your workmanship - it looks great. I tried zooming in on your photos to determine if you are really experiencing brush strokes or are you seeing the grain of the wood. Most craft paints do self-level very well and with sanding in-between coats with say a 320 grit will help eliminate that.  Matte craft paints do apply a little differently with visible brush strokes.
   I prefer to seal the wood prior to painting and sometimes even repeat the sealing process up to 3 (three) applications before I apply the top coat colour. It depends on how the wood reacts and how the fiber rise. Some times you have to fill in the gaps between the hard and soft wood of the grain structure. Some craft paints require up to 4 (four) coats to give me the surface I wish to achieve. My most troublesome colours are red and yellow.
   Again, I all depends on the base wood you are using and grain direction. Pine usually takes a couple coats of sealer prior to painting as does MDF on the non-factory edges, the cut edges.
   Take a look at the forum post titled Metallic Craft Paints on the Play Pals  posted Aug 5. The attached PDF in that post discusses self-leveling, brush strokes in Pine and MDF. It has pictorial examples of the results on natural wood, Pine, sealed wood and primed wood. Hopefully you will be able to see what I am referring to and the distinction between wood grain and brush strokes.
   There are may ways to seal the wood by watering down your first coat, applying a glue/water mixture, applying various grades of gesso, wood filler, automotive touch up filler, etc. I guess the next thing for you to try is do a little experiment on some scrap Pine, MDF and plywood and try different things on them to see for yourself what works on what for the way you do it. I am working an article about sealing end grain on Pine, MDF and plywood.
   Hope some of this helps. Again, your projects look great and top coating them with lacquer and then applying Cynthia's Non-Toxic Child Safe Bee's wax does give them a great feel as you have mentioned.
sjc5454

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Reply with quote  #3 
   Thank you for your response and your help, I did not sand between every coat, just used a finishing pad to knock down the rough spots. That and I only used 2 coats of gesso as a primer/sealer. I am going to try shellac as a sealer and then the gesso as a primer. I will use 320 paper between coats and the finishing pad on the last coat before spraying with lacquer. I will post photos of the next project to show the difference.
   Also how would I see the difference between what you refer to as a "coarse" brush and a "fine" brush? Would this make a difference in the quality of the final finish?
Steve Currier
Udie

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Reply with quote  #4 
Steve (sjc5454) - Coarse Brush vs Finishing/Fine Brush
   I just went to the workshop and took a quick photo. These are the brushes I used in preparing and painting the Fat Fendered Freaky Ford.
IMG_5984 B.jpg

Look at the size of the bristle's of each brush.
   Left brush is very bristly, looks like something you would use for applying/spreading glue. Low cost and purchased at a dollar store or craft store for small children to apply thick paint.
I use this type of brush after saturating it with sealer to apply the first coat to the end grains of Pine, plywood and the non-factory edges and all sawn edges of MDF. This was demonstrated in the Fat Fendered Freaky Ford WTN and accompanying video. By applying a generous first coat I am usually providing more that enough sealer to penetrate the natural woods, raising the grain and filling in the crevices between the hard and soft growth rings of the wood. After drying, sand down the raised grain and if noticeable crevices between the growth rings are still visible another coat of sealer is merited. Usually after the second coat has been applied and dried, sanding with 320 prepared the wood sufficiently for your top coats. Just like doing automotive repair work, the prep work is very important.
   Right brush bristles are much more fine for applying an even coat of paint and varnish. Again saturate the brush and apply. Sometimes you can be lucky and find this type of fine finishing brush at the dollar store, big box stores and certainly at the craft store and art supply stores. These brushes are always going on sale, usually $5-7 dollars, but on sale are only $2-3 dollars. You do not need a $30 dollar brush. As I mentioned above, saturate the brush and apply liberally but not overly generously. You will be sanding this first coat and you may even expose some wood, not a big deal. The second coat will cover it. I think you will notice a big difference with your results. In the previous post I mentioned mixing your first coat with water, sand and then apply the top coat would be another method.
   What you have to find out, only thru experimentation is what works for you.
The varnish may be applied using the same fine bristle brush using long strokes and more than likely two (2) or more coats with sanding in-between. Do not overwork the paint or varnish. Both the craft paints and varnish have a high level of self-leveling. If you overwork the paint, meaning it is starting to dry and you brush over it when it is starting to harden you will be creating the brush strokes.
Hope some of this is helpful and some of the other members jump in and tell you/us what works for them.

sjc5454

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Reply with quote  #5 
Udie, thanks for showing me the difference, sorry about taking so long to get back to you, but grandsons had me busy for a few days. My brushes are all of the fine bristle type, so I got it covered. I think I figured it it out, I didn't sand between all the coats before putting on the next coat. I only used the finishing pad, which won't take all the high spots off and make that coat level for the next coat. I also picked up some gloss craft paint and it made some difference in seeing how the paint would turn out. Here is a photo of the last toy I painted.

CAM00284small2.jpg 

The yellow came out poorly, but I can always sand it down to wood and start over with a couple more coats of primer. You are right, it is one of the hardest to get good coverage with. I used shellac as my sealer for this toy and it seemed to do the job well.
 I checked on the craft varnish, but it was outside my price range right now, so I used the spray lacquer I had before it turned so cold. I still haven't been able to find the craft sealer locally, so will have to order online from Amazon.I plan to get some after customer picks up the last airplane I made him. He liked the first three so well, he ordered an additional one. Does that varnish have any type of VOC's I need to worry about? I will be using it in the house to finish the toys. I may have to move scrollsaw and drill press into the laundry room for the next few months until it warms up some, it costs more than I can afford, to heat the garage for the few hours I spend in there everyday.
Steve Currier

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Reply with quote  #6 
Steve (sjc5454) - Ah ha, I see a little bit of extra sanding helped in your paint finishing quality. From what I can tell from your photo, it looks like a better finish.  I found that gloss craft paint dries quicker and does not really like to be over worked but does yield an excellent finish. Some people like to mix a little white to their yellow which will make it a little more opaque for the first coat and subsequent coats can be full strength yellow. Many of my yellow projects get four (4) coats to get the results I am trying to achieve. For me it is an annoying colour. Can't get craft varnish, try using some diluted varnish. Back in the old days, it was common to apply a 17% mixture of varnish and paint thinner as the first coat. It soaks into the wood better, raises the fibers and dries quicker. Maybe you could try that, thin your varnish a little, maybe even up to 20%. I am sure the can may even suggest that when using water based varnishes also. 
Most of todays varnishes when given time to cure properly are child save, so I think your OK.
The puzzle truck looks great, it is one of those projects you might as well an extra one or two because they do not stay around the house that long. Again good job Steve.

Muskokamike

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Reply with quote  #7 
Just a tip: if you're having issues with smells etc. in the air while you're finishing your projects, you can pick up a cheap bathroom exhaust fan from Home Depot (or at a garage sale) then pickup one of those crinkly silver 4" diameter exhaust ducting and run that out the window. Place the exhaust fan right next to your work. It won't get it all but it gets most of it. I used to mig weld in my basement and it got most of that out so it does really well with paint fumes etc.

The key is to buy the biggest CFM you can afford...that's what determines how well it will remove the fumes. Just remember though: in the winter, you're venting out your heated air which you paid to heat.....so don't leave it on unnecessarily long.

If you want to go the "best" way, you can search online for green house, hydroponic exhaust fans...you get larger CFMs for very little money, they work like a charm.....
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