There are so many choices in products and tools for fine finishing, and of course, the products and tools define the process to a large extent. We are frequently asked which tools continue to rise to the top in our shop and in the field.
Here is a compilation pulled from a recent cherry table strip and refinish. In many cases, there are patterns based on product type as much as manufacturer. Understanding the product or tool type, and how a series of subtle enhancements can lead to a giant gain in finished product is what we look for.
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Prep Side: Rotex Sander
If you haven't had the experience of using a Rotex sander by Festool, you may be missing out on one of the best across the board prep tools in the world.
We mostly use Rotex sanders on exterior paint removal tasks, however they are also highly competent on fine finish tasks. Rotex sanders are multi-mode tools. They have a typical random orbital mode, but they also have a very atypical gear driven (Rotex) mode, which sands in what is called an eccentric pattern. With proper technique, dust extraction and grit stepping, there are no worries about the swirls and squiggles that often plague typical sanding experiences.
In 2013, we began the transition from traditional bottom cup HVLP to the top feeding gravity cup configuration. We never looked back.
Our maiden voyage into the technology involved throwing a gravity conversion kit at our Graco Edge gun. We have since tested other versions of the technology as well. The benefits are a better balanced user experience, and no dead zones in the cup. Of course, both of these characteristics translate in the finishes produced.
On site or in the shop, when handling numerous parts and pieces on a complex fine finishing project, there is always the need for a clean and orderly way to rack items to dry.
We have been using the Erecta-Rack system for several years and it continues to impress us with a compact footprint that is able to house so many different types of sprayed items for us.
Scott Burt is a contractor and freelance writer whose column "From the Field" has appeared in American Painting Contractor magazine (www.paintmag.com) since 2008. His writing and projects also appear in other print and digital venues. This site is an extension of Scott's publication work, and he encourages readers to leave comments and questions about articles published here. Hope to hear from you!
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