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Thread: How do you calculate how much finish you going to need

  1. #1
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    How do you calculate how much finish you going to need

    I have been doing some further reading on finishing since my recent attempts and use of waterbased finish.

    One aspect that affected my finishing process and speed was quantity of finish.

    Given i had decided to tint the finish i was using and not wanting to end up with a whole can of finish tinted to that shade i did what is recommended and dosed it out to a smaller glass container.

    I used a syringe to ensure my tint was consistent in proportions but here is the catch.

    Each time i thought i had mixed enough i had to mix a further batch. Then came the fact that i usually found this out near the end of whatever batch i was on.

    Invariably this meant i had to mix another batch and i did this in a second container to ensure if something went wrong the previous left overs were not contaminated. When i saw i had it right i blended the two mixes so as to form a single batch.

    But i went through this process so many times. It slowed me down significantly.

    Part of the cause was me being frugal as all get go. Dont ask why i dunno.

    But the biggest issue was having zero clue as to how much to mix in the first place and how to calculate how much to mix.

    I am pretty sure i am not the only one that has encountered this issue so has anyone any words of wisdom to offer.

    I can understand a factor of percentage x for say overspray if one is spraying but whether spraying or painting or wiping where does one start in the first place.

    Its all good and well to say experience but I did not keep track of how many batches i mixed previously and i know for a fact i wasted a fair bit in the contstant wash up of various implements used.

    In fact i reckon i would have made my life one heck of a lot easier had i simply tinted the entire can and be done with it and if it had left over so be it. Label it call it something and store it until it comes time to throw it out.

    But this finish is not cheap stuff so it got me going.

    I dont know why we do this to ourselves but i simply hate waste of anything.

    Thoughts tips and advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    Oh and i even dont mind any jokes you can make about me or my process i like a good laugh.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    rob experience is the best teacher,, how much finish does it take to do a vanity dresser? i bet you can get real close now.. use that as a quide for the next time. the can coverage numbers are just an approximate..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
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    Rob, I run into the same situation when I'm spraying turned pieces, just in smaller increments. When I'm spraying dyes I tend to mix one or two fluid ounces at a time, but there have been times when that wasn't quite enough, so I'd mix a bit more. Then a bit more. Then a bit more...
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
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  4. #4
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    Like Vaughn, I mix dyes in small batches, keeping track of the amount of dye I'm adding. I like to tone a piece using dye mixed in DA and, in some cases, airbrush in on with a small sprayer. After getting the appearance I want in that manner, I spray clear topcoat of whatever product I've chosen.
    Bill Arnold
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  5. #5
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    When I am just using a toner, I don't worry about the the quantity of a single dye, since the technique I use is to spray multiple light coats until I get the intensity I want on the piece. That also helps hide sapwood since I can spray a little heavier in parts of the piece. If I mix more part way through the job, I may make the later batches a little less intense since I am covering spray imperfections as well, and the "thinner" color allows easier fixing. Then final coats are clear finish.

    If you are essentially "painting" so the finish isn't transparent this doesn't apply. If I have to mix the toner from multiple color sources, this doesn't apply unless you want to shift the color in the later coats.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  6. #6
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    I keep stupidly specific details on a finish formula. I have cheap little measuring spoons, cups, graduated cups and so forth on a loop of cord. Re-mixing 2 ounces or a quart is not an issue for me. Needing 2 ounces at the end of a finishing job is an issue for me.

    As mentioned, experience is a good (if sometimes expensive) teacher. I tend to make (assuredly) more than I need. I am more comfortable using the waste on shop fixtures or to kill ants (just kidding) than I am stressing during a finishing session. So, how much is the right amount? . . . Plenty more than I'll need.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
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    Thank yu all for your replies.


    There are times i could kick my own butt. Seems way to often lately.

    Thanks Chalie you just set off a spark in my head that should have been obvious to me.

    Glenn thank you too. I have bought my wife so many sets of measuring scoops of all kinds and yet never stopped to think of getting my own set.

    Couple of those would have made life so much easier that the syringe i was using. Sometimes we just get fixated on something and dont see the wood for the trees.

    I agree its way better in future to have more ready mixed than to be messing around when i am in the throws of finishing.


    Do any of you like in your case Charlie, keep jars of premixed tone for say things like toning maple. Sort of like your formula that when "that" wood comes up its your go to jar.?
    cheers

  8. #8
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    Rob, if I mix a batch of dye in a single color (red, blue, black, etc.) and have leftovers, I'll put it in a small jar or container and use it as a starting point for a later batch. (I'll sometimes also do this with mixed colors, but usually not.) With the dyes I use, even if it dries out, I can re-use it by adding alcohol or water. Of course, the color intensity from batch to batch varies using this method, but so far I've never been in a position to need to match a color I'd previously applied. I have mixed batches of dye to match an existing tinted finish, but that was a one-time mix of multiple colors, so it probably wouldn't have been a suitable 'starting point' for a new piece at a later date.

    Here again, this applies to turned pieces. If I was doing furniture, I suspect I'd be doing something similar, just in larger quantities.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Keeble View Post
    ...
    Do any of you like in your case Charlie, keep jars of premixed tone for say things like toning maple. Sort of like your formula that when "that" wood comes up its your go to jar.?
    Anything that goes in the gun never goes back into the original inventory (kept in plastic 2 quart juice containers), so there is no question of virgin finish coming out of the container. I have a collection of old jam jars with, typically, 4 ounces of each finish dumped out of the gun, that I use to start the next run of that finish ... jars of waterbase lacquer, gloss water base conversion varnish, satin water base conversion varnish, sealer, etc. etc. When I use a common dye in a finish (always in the gloss lacquer), I keep that jelly jar of leftover, too, but if I mix a custom dye (rarely) it gets dumped.

    Right now I am refinishing an oak table that had a walnut stain. Only the top needed refinishing, so I need to match (at least roughly) the legs and apron. My TransTint Medium Brown dye, #6004, has a slight orange tint, and is great for hiding sapwood in walnut. However it was way too red for the oak table. The TransTint Mission Brown, #6006, is a very plain brown, not that good on walnut, but very close to what I needed on the oak tabletop. I sprayed several coats of mission brown, gradually building the color intensity. I saw that I needed to "warm it up a bit" so I sprayed a regular coat of Medium brown (with the hint of orange) and was almost there. One more very light coat of medium brown last night, and I think I am done - I spray outdoors, so will see what the full bright daylight says in an hour or so. If I am happy with the color, I will switch to clear finish today, and be done with the table before the day is over.

    This long story leads to a jam jar of Medium brown in WB lacquer - whatever was leftover from the gun, and a separate jam jar of Mission brown in WB lacquer, again whatever was leftover from the gun. The concentration of each isn't that important, since I control the concentration with my spray technique... if it is dark, spray a thinner coat, if it is too light, I either add dye or do an extra coat or two. But I am not worried about the amount of finish that I have to mix in a color since I control the color intensity while I am spraying.

    Is this the best way? I doubt it, but it works for me.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  10. #10
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    I do much like Charley, I mix up what I think I need and have jars of toner left overs. Which get used regularly.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
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