Every year Apollo Sprayers, International, Inc., offers a gift certificate to the four winners in the Excellence in Finishing Division of the Design in Wood Exposition at the San Diego County Fair. John Darroch, our President and CEO is always honored to be asked to judge the extraordinary entries. Submissions are made by professionals, custom woodworkers and amateurs.
This year instead of giving a 1-3rd place award we broke it down into four categories. We gave a $250 gift certificate to each of the winners for their respective entries:
First prize winner in Contemporary Furniture William Bardick and John Darroch.
William Bardick’s prize winning chest.
Who or what inspires you most?
I could name all the great woodworkers that inspire me, I have many. They all have their particular style and I highly respect that about them all. The most important thing I've taken away from their work is to have a style or a groove, stay true to it and develop it and most importantly, have fun doing it, it will show. Nature and natural things really get my mind working, looking for unusual patterns, shapes and weird ideas, believe me, they are everywhere, you just have to slow down and look.
What is a common thread throughout your work?
I very much enjoy using texture in my work, a carved edge or a dimpled surface, something to get the light in the room to bounce off or play with it. I offer plenty of smooth and refined surfaces in a piece so a textured surface works well and can accentuate the piece overall. Another common thread my work shares would be plenty of gentle curves and radius, many of my pieces feature sliding tamboured doors and a curve is the perfect mechanical environment for a tamboured door.
What kind of work brings you the most satisfaction?
I love commissioned work, it really pays the bills, however, the most satisfaction I get is fabricating speculation pieces or a furniture design that has been floating around in my head for a period of time. This is the kind of furniture where you can really let it rip, pull out all the stops because there is no restraint on time. I recently spoke with a woodworking friend of mine and he mentioned he had been working on a fabulous Sushi Table on and off for about 7 years, how about that!
The image on the tambour doors came from a crazed pattern
at the bottom of Bill’s favorite coffee cup.
How do you start a piece?
A commissioned piece starts with a casual meeting with the client and we start batting ideas around, this may take some time. I prefer doing spec. pieces because all of that process never occurs, I've already almost figured out the entire piece well before any wood touches the saw. Actually, there is a fair amount of sawdust created before I start, in the way of prototypes of certain elements of the piece, or the entire piece. This is very helpful for me in determining proper proportions and functionality. I'm a big fan of preparation and planing in the form of sketches, leading to detailed shop drawings and even full scale drawings on full 4X8 sheets of MDF.
What are your favorite woods?
I seem to have gotten into a rut with wood materials; Mahogany, Walnut, Cocobolo, Maple, these seem to be my "go to" woods. These woods are accessible, reasonably priced and very friendly to work with as opposed to something like Wenge which can be a little frustrating and stubborn at times.
It's a limited edition of the award winning 7500 Atomizer HVLP Turbospray gun.
There are only 500 of these beautiful GOLD Color Spray Guns being produced.
While supplies last, all POWER, PRECISION and PRODUCTION Series systems will ship
with the GOLD Anniversary Spray Gun or you can purchase the gun alone.
At my shop, in Virginia, I teach finishing classes. The objective is to teach folks how to get a great finish on their woodworking projects and the primary focus is spraying.
Simply put, spraying solves a lot of finishing issues. In addition to applying top coats, we can apply dyes and stain, paint, etc. We can shade color, do tone coats and so on, the list is endless when you can use a spray system.
It seems that I always get the same question, oil finishes – getting a satin or semi-gloss sheen even, with no streaks.
The issue, as I see it, is getting the flattener to lay out evenly. No matter what you do, it can be a bit temperamental and when applying with a brush, folks do not apply enough oil to flow it out evenly. You must keep the oil well stirred while applying to keep the flatteners suspended evenly.
Many folks love an oil finish, one of my favorites too. I am not a fan of the slow drying, pure oils, like boiled linseed oil though. They are weak finishes and so slow to dry is one issue, another is that they tend to yellow.
I like varnish oils, they dry faster and are far more durable, but getting a nice even sheen is the issue. This is where I pull out a spray gun with a .8 or 1.0 needle/nozzle, cut the fluid down and up the pressure. My goal is a light mist that I can spray a little dry – almost wet – but not like a typical sprayed finish ‘wet’.
Remember, an oil dries much slower than a lacquer or water base finish, so apply light coats and let it flow out is the answer. This definitely solves the sheen issue and works great.
Now, if you are one who likes to wipe it on and wipe it off, using very thin oil, the sheen issue isn’t quite as bad. It is when you are trying to get a little build on the surface where a problem exists.
I usually use a gloss as my initial wiped or brushed on coat, then I spray on a coat of satin or semi-gloss to finish off.
Another question during the classes is about spray guns that they can use with a turbine or compressed air. I have a lot of contractors attend my class who are looking to speed their finishing process up but yet be able to do on-site work. Spraying is always the answer. My go to is my Apollo 7500 QT, atomizer and all the needle/nozzles and show them how they can spray about anything, anywhere.
In my opinion, it’s a gun that is hard to beat because of its versatility. There are a lot of contractors who are finding a new means of ‘re-facing’ or upstaging kitchen and bathroom cabinets outside of the normal veneer applied products. With water base finishes and good HVLP Spray Equipment they are painting and tone-coating them on site. They go in, clean, light sand and lots of masking off; open windows, set up ambient air cleaners and with minimal pressure (thanks to HVLP) they spray either a pigmented water base finish (paint) or they use some dyes or stains mixed in a water base finish and tone coat, then a good clear top coat and everything looks new.
I know several guys who started doing it as sort of a side to their construction business and pretty soon it started becoming a major part of their business.
Learning to spray and using good equipment opens up a whole new world. Give it a go.
I am looking at various HVLP systems. What does 2 stage, 3 stage, 4 stage, 5 stage mean?
Turbospray motors are impeller or fan driven. Each motor stage refers to how many fan blades are producing the air volume. For example, a 2 stage turbine or impeller motor has two fan blades. 3 stage, three fan blades, etc. all the way to 5 stage and five fan blades.
As the motors increase in stages, power output or maximum atomizing pressure increases. What you are purchasing is a power or maximum pressure level.
I will use my Turbospray system infrequently or on small projects, so what is the smallest or least expensive system I can purchase?
You cannot look at Turbospray Technology based on frequency of use or the size of the project but rather the question to ask is: What coatings or finishes do you intend to use with your Turbospray system?
If your coating choice is limited to very thin or low viscosity finishes and nothing more, then a lower powered system will probably satisfy your needs.
If you are spraying pigmented coatings or other coatings that need to be applied at higher viscosities, harder to atomize coatings, or coatings that limit how much you can thin or lower viscosity, then a higher output turbine is necessary to produce the desired results.
Most important, trying to apply a coating at a recommended viscosity with an underpowered turbine for that product will simply produce frustration and disappointing results. It boils down to “the right tool for the right job.”
See how many words you can find. Look for words horizontally and vertically. You can print this page, including the puzzle, work offline and then highlight words as you find them.