Topcoat Review http://topcoatreview.com Where Product Drives the Painting Process Sat, 13 May 2017 16:38:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 https://i1.wp.com/topcoatreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/cropped-dsc1593-1.jpg?fit=32%2C32 Topcoat Review http://topcoatreview.com 32 32 28658999 Graco Ultra Handheld Airless Sprayer http://topcoatreview.com/2017/05/graco-ultra-handheld-airless-sprayer/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/05/graco-ultra-handheld-airless-sprayer/#comments Wed, 03 May 2017 15:30:40 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=13400 2017: Year of the Comeback for Handheld Sprayers? There is a new line of Graco Ultra handheld airless sprayers for 2017. If you have used handheld sprayers in the past, keep reading because the technology has changed considerably. The new offerings from Graco are no longer called “ProShots”. And they have very little in common […]

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2017: Year of the Comeback for Handheld Sprayers?

There is a new line of Graco Ultra handheld airless sprayers for 2017. If you have used handheld sprayers in the past, keep reading because the technology has changed considerably. The new offerings from Graco are no longer called “ProShots”. And they have very little in common with the previous generations, which we have been testing and abusing since 2010.

There are 3 models in the new line. One is corded, one is cordless, and then there is a cordless model that is specially designed for use with hot solvent products (called the “Max” unit). These 3 units are branded under two different names depending on where you purchase. You will see them in Sherwin Williams stores under the name “Graco Ultimate” and in other stores they will be labeled “Graco Ultra”. The 3 models under each label are identical.

Looking at the corded and cordless models, the changes start right at the front end of the tool. In the past, the handheld sprayers required special tips and housings that were unique to them and not interchangeable with other airless guns. That has been changed.

Fine Finish Low Pressure Tips

There is an already popular new tip for 2017 called Fine Finish Low Pressure (FFLP) that is RAC X in style and compatible with all airless and aaa spray guns, including the handhelds.

Graco ultra handheld FFLP tips are a redesign on the previous RAC X Fine Finish reversible tips. They allow you to work with the same results and size preferences as you always did, but at a much lower pressure. This results in a softer and tighter fan pattern, less overspray and more efficient material usage.

So, this is good news for the handhelds. The tips on the handhelds are now compatible with the rest of your airless pump fleet. What is nice about the FFLP tips on handheld units is that they help you to harness the power a little bit.

In the past, you had to move really fast to get a good result with handhelds. With the new FFLP tip style, you can now work with similar spray technique as you would use with a conventional pump and hose-based airless rig…in terms of pace and how far you need to be from what you are spraying.

The new handheld sprayers come with a 514 tip and are capable of running .008 to .016 orifice sizes across the usual range of fan sizes. The Max unit also comes with a 210.

Flex Liner

The cup style is new and more functional – allowing you to spray multi-directional, even upside down. While still a bottom cup, it is no longer solid plastic. It is an open, molded plastic housing with disposable soft plastic “flex-liners” that fit inside. The liners hold the paint and you can see through them. Additionally, they are part of the priming process to pressurize the sprayer. The corded and cordless Ultra and Ultimate units come with 4 liners, and the Max version in both the Ultra and Ultimate lines comes with 6.

At the top of the cup housing, there is a small “vacu-valve” that you open the top of and look down into. While squeezing the flex liner softly, you remove any air from inside the cup. You can see in the valve when this is complete, and simply flip the valve top shut. Flip the control knob to the “prime” position, pull the trigger for a few seconds and you are ready to spray.

This takes the guess work out of getting the handheld primed and ready to work. You can see, feel and even distinctly hear when the air is fully gone from the liner, and the machine takes the pressurization process from there. In practical terms, there is no cup with air in it, the flex liner collapses to keep fitting the shape of the fluid inside it as you draw from it.

There is no longer a down tube into the cup. There is a simple 60 mesh filter at the inlet, which is removable.

Battery

Perhaps the most critical improvement with the Graco Ultra handheld technology is the battery. The previous generations ran on batteries that were overweight, underpowered and too short lived.

Graco Ultra handheldThe Ultra and Ultimate cordless units are now powered by a slim and powerful Dewalt 20 volt battery that is well-aligned with the power draw needs of the sprayer.

The cordless unit comes with two of these batteries and a charger. Batteries from your other current generation Dewalt 20v cordless tools may be compatible as well.

This is a huge improvement in functionality, performance and user experience. You can expect to get about 4 cups (or approximately 1 gal) of spraying from one battery charge. Batteries typically recharge in about 35 minutes, making it pretty easy to keep swapping out for a fully charged one during extended sessions with the cordless handheld.

Controls

The motor speed/power control is now located at the back of the sprayer handle near the battery, making it easier to see and adjust while working. You can smoothly scroll the power band from 500-2000 psi to fit your product viscosity and finish needs. The motor control used to be on the prime/paint knob, which is now a simple two position dial on the side of the housing above the cup lid. Vertical position on the knob is prime mode, and horizontal is for spraying. There is no longer a prime lever to flip up and down.

Under the Hood

PumpOne of the biggest causes of downtime with the previous handhelds was that the small plastic check valve up inside would get stuck sometimes, which could be really inconvenient.

The new units have no check valve. There is also an automatic outlet ball knocker so there should be no sticking there either.

The pump is completely new, with a Triax triple piston version made of stainless steel and carbide. It is lightweight, powerful and also has the same ProConnect capability as the current generation of Graco airless pumps, meaning that it can be quickly swapped out right on the job. That makes for less downtime by not having to take it in for repair if the day comes that the pump has worn out.

Cleaning

The Flex Liner makes cleaning the machine simple. You can dispose of it if you choose, but they are easy to rinse. Paint does not stick to them and they retain their shape after cleaning. It is no longer necessary to clean the inside of a solid cup, which is nice. You can get many rounds of use out of each liner.

It is worth noting that cleaning handhelds after each session is critical to their consistent performance. These units are easy to rinse with a liner or two full of water, and the tip cleans just like any other RAC style by blowing it out with water, then removing and scrubbing with a toothbrush.

Final Take

One thing that has not changed about handheld sprayers, in my opinion, is that they are reasonably priced tools that are intended for convenience. The Graco Ultra handheld line moves that tradition forward. 

By reasonably priced, I mean in the $500 and under range, which all 3 units in the Ultra/Ultimate lines should roughly be (depending on where you purchase). It is hard to find a new airless style sprayer in that price range that can solve a lot of problems for you at the professional level.

Graco Ultra HandheldBy “convenience tool”, I am referring to those small projects that you don’t want to waste hours brushing.

Think of items like stair spindles, lattice work, bulkheads…those tasks that take about a gallon of paint, and you don’t want to haul out a larger airless rig for a gallon of work. At the same time, you don’t want to spend all day brushing a gallon. That is where handhelds are handy.

Portability is a primary benefit of handheld spraying, especially in the cordless versions. Having 2000 psi in the palm of your hand with full mobility and a solid 20v battery onboard creates some flexibility that makes nuisance tasks much more tolerable. With no hose to manage, it is that much easier to focus on your finish.

Handhelds won’t be the only sprayer technology you need in your business, but they are definitely worth adding to your arsenal if you run into a lot of small tasks that just need to get done well and quick by a workhorse that can do good work.

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Spring 2017 Festool Paint Magazine: Good Read http://topcoatreview.com/2017/04/festool-paint-magazine/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/04/festool-paint-magazine/#respond Wed, 05 Apr 2017 00:17:29 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=13023 If you are looking for a good read that is a solid balance of interesting paint stories and straight up cool paint tool resources, the Festool paint magazine is worth flipping through. Read it here!    

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If you are looking for a good read that is a solid balance of interesting paint stories and straight up cool paint tool resources, the Festool paint magazine is worth flipping through.

Read it here!

 

 

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Which Festool Sander? http://topcoatreview.com/2017/03/which-festool-sander/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/03/which-festool-sander/#comments Sun, 05 Mar 2017 12:16:40 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12592 Choosing the best tools for tasks is one way great craftspeople break away from the pack. Festool is well known for being the unmatched surface prep solution for efficiency and the most convenient customer experience. No one wants 80 labor hours of dirty prep in the kitchen when it could be done clean in 12. […]

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Choosing the best tools for tasks is one way great craftspeople break away from the pack. Festool is well known for being the unmatched surface prep solution for efficiency and the most convenient customer experience. No one wants 80 labor hours of dirty prep in the kitchen when it could be done clean in 12.

Sometimes the biggest decision is which Festool sander to get started with.

Which Festool sander should you get?

What kind of work do you do the most?

The Festool system combines sanders, abrasives and dust extractors that are designed to work together. These three components in the right hands create the clean, efficient process that makes work easier.

There are more than a dozen Festool sanders to consider. Here’s a look at what they are and what they do best.

Compact Orbitals: Cabinets/Trim/Doors/Wall Patch Sanding

Relatively low powered and smooth compact finish sanders with excellent dust extraction. These are best on mid to high grit interior prep of all flavors and in between coat sanding tasks. Grit range you would most commonly put on them is probably 120-320. This is the line for folks who are wondering which Festool sander is just a good all around orbital. 

The compact orbitals work with 2mm strokes and are easy on abrasives because they generally are not on the rougher sanding tasks where things get torn up. Lightweight enough for use on overhead tasks, and user friendly for people of all experience levels. There is also a very high quality optional dust bag to fit this line for users who don’t yet have an extractor or get into situations where it is not practical to use one. 

which Festool sander which festool sander

[Festool ORBITAL sanders in detail]

Larger Orbitals: Mixed Bag of Mostly Interior Solutions

which festool sander

The old and new ETS 6″

It is sometimes amazing the production difference when you move up from a 5″ to a 6″ sander. That is the way to look at the ETS150 options from Festool. While the smaller orbitals have 2mm strokes, the 6″ round ETS sanders are available in 3 and 5mm options.

The 150/3 is good for large cabinet grade work in higher grits. The 150/5 can actually go low grit sanding on exteriors. The downside to this group is that they are a bit cumbersome.

ETS150/3 ($360): #571903 A 6″ finish sander with a 3mm stroke. The 150/3 is handy on interior and shop based tasks. It does drywall patch sanding and also large flatwork such as table tops and panel work with ease. Most effective in the mid to higher grit range, this one will seem underpowered in low grits. That said, it does flawless swirl-free work in its wheelhouse.

ETS150/5 ($360): #571916 The 5mm stroke ETS packs more bang for the buck because it can cross over from interior to exterior tasks. Throw some 80 on and sand a deck, stick 320 on it and do a countertop. Solid all around 6″ tool.

which festool sanderRS2 ($410): #567696 Weighing in at about 5 lbs, the RS2 is the gentle giant of the Festool family. 4 1/2″x9″ and 2.5mm stroke. This one excels in horizontal interior work at high grits:

  • sheet goods
  • table tops
  • countertops
  • doors
  • panel work

[ALL about the RS2]

Brushless (ec-tec): European Automotive Styling

The brushless trio is lighter, shorter and more powerful than their brushed ETS (above) counterparts. Really, a different world of sanding because the styling, electronics and motors are entirely current generation. They make the old ETS line seem…dated and awkward.


ETS EC 125/3 ($385): #571897 A 5″ mid grit range generalist for both interior and exterior work. If you have it, you’ll grab it all the time and it will make you money on a wide variety of tasks.

[2016 Scouting Report of the ETS EC 125/3].

which festool sander

The brushless ETS150 is over 2″ shorter than the brushed.

ETS EC 150/3 ($485): #571880 6″ with 3mm stroke makes this a good all around interior grade sander for everything from small scale wall patches to cabinet grade work.

ETS EC 150/5 ($485): #571892 6″ with 5mm stroke for a broad range of both interior and exterior tasks. Good across the full range of abrasive grits, and especially handy on exterior for such tasks as deck prep and sanding.

“The lower profile design of the Festool brushless sanders puts the user closer to the surface being sanded, so feedback from the sander is instant. More importantly, the tool is likely to restore balance before the user needs to.

The electronics in the EC-TEC sanders sense vibration and automatically adjust speed to “dampen” the sense of turbulence at the surface, making for not only a better user experience, but a more efficient path to a smooth, quality result…” [READ MORE]

Rotex: Multiple Sanders in One

which festool sanderRotex sanders are the most all around robust exterior sanders that Festool offers.

Each has a powerful gear driven mode that is exceptional for quick and clean paint removal in low grits, with excellent dust extraction when attached to a Festool extractor.

All 3 versions also have an orbital sanding mode, and the RO90 also has the capability of receiving a triangular attachment for detail work in corners.

If you haven’t experienced gear driven sanding before, it is a powerful feeling.

RO150 ($595): #571810 6″ dual mode sander that is best suited for exterior paint prep work on larger surfaces. A low grit specialist. The 60-100 grit range is where it will blow your mind, and beat your labor estimate for prep work.

RO125 ($490): #571782 5″ dual mode sander. Very similar to the RO150, just smaller.

RO90 ($440): #571823 The 3.5″ round pad easily swaps out (without tools) to a triangular delta pad for corner work. For years, we have referred to the 90 as the “ultimate generalist” because it solves so many prep problems. Often, if we are carrying just one sander, it will be this one because it has all 3 modes (gear driven, orbital and detail). [Full Review of the RO90]

Linear: Straight Shooter

which festool sanderLS130 ($410): #567852 This is the stair master. Ok, make that stairs and architectural moldings, both interior and exterior. Because the LS is a linear sander, its pad just goes back and forth in a straight pattern. It is powerful enough to cover a wide range of grits effectively. We run it as low as 80 grit for exterior removal on fascia details, like crown, bed and cove moldings.

It also excels in higher grits on interior stair systems. Yet another example of eliminating hand sanding on items we were never able to power sand previously. Worth noting, the pad and abrasive size are identical to the RTS400. [About the LS130]

Modular Drywall

which festool sanderPlanex ($1150): #571579 The Planex is a drywall specialist. Although you may be tempted to try putting it on a deck or floor! By drywall specialist, we mean large scale new construction and remodeling style raw drywall mud sanding.

This is overkill for small patches or in between coat sanding on walls, although it can certainly do those things. Worth noting, this tool has its own specially designed dust extractor that is capable of handling the absurd amounts of insidious drywall dust it generates. The vac is called the CT36AC (auto clean) and is sold separately. [P2F on the Planex]

Rotary: the Beast of the Bunch

RAS115 ($340): #570789 The RAS is the low, low grit solution for heavy exterior removal and stripping. When you think of reaching for a grinder or paint eater, this is the Festool option. 500 watts of power radiating from a 4.5″ pad.

Now, which Festool sander are you thinking of getting next?

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Unplugged: New Festool Hand Sanding Abrasives http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/festool-hand-sanding-2/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/festool-hand-sanding-2/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 12:37:33 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12510 Muscles not Motors: Festool Hand Sanding Line Grows in ’17 If you use soft Granat and synthetic steel wool much, check this out… Festool USA and Festool Canada will introduce a complete line of premium hand sanding products. We’ve been testing these handy new abrasives for many months now. While at first the thought seems […]

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Muscles not Motors: Festool Hand Sanding Line Grows in ’17

If you use soft Granat and synthetic steel wool much, check this out…

Festool USA and Festool Canada will introduce a complete line of premium hand sanding products. We’ve been testing these handy new abrasives for many months now.

While at first the thought seems counterintuitive – the leader in power tools developing hand sanding gear – part of being innovative is figuring out what you can do better and…doing it.

A good manufacturer should always be looking to provide value and solutions it hasn’t before, especially if they can advance a product category. And let’s face it, the hand sanding abrasive category hasn’t evolved much lately.

Available in sheets, blocks, sponges, rolls and pads, the Festool hand sanding line is the manual counterpart to their power sander abrasives.

Coming Soon! We Unpack our Test and Review Info about these…

Festool hand sanding

Many painters use Festool Granat abrasives because of their exceptional material removal capacity and long lasting performance. The new Festool hand sanding line becomes available in March 2017.

 “Our new hand sanding line uses Festool’s GRANAT and VLIES abrasives so that you will achieve the desired results quickly and efficiently – even for hand sanding. Because we are known for unmatched power tool quality, performance and innovation, we made sure that our hand sanding line met our demanding performance and service life standards.”
– Leo Zirkler, Vice President of Marketing / FestoolUSA

In our opinion, it is kind of cool to see Festool put research and development attention into products that aren’t intended to be hooked up to an extractor. We all have to do some old school prep sometimes, and it is good that they understand that there are times when only the abrasive can be between your hand and what you sand.

Doesn’t Festool Already Do Sand Blocks?

{Read Hand Sanding: Necessary Evil Made Tolerable}

hand sandingPrevious Festool hand sanding options included the Granat soft rolls, as well as extractable and non-extractable hand sanding kits (HSK). The HSK units use abrasives that are designed for the Festool power sanders. They are great options, but this new generation of handies is designed to work with you at the most basic level. They are made to fit nothing but your hand and your workpiece.

The New Festool Hand Sanding line:

  • festool hand sandingLong lasting removal capacity
  • Synthetic resin for entirely bonded grits 
  • Simple cleaning for repeat usage
  • Flexible, extra-soft foam or high-quality latex paper backing
  • Form fitting with excellent pressure distribution
  • Resists being worn out by “crinkle” or clog 
  • Grit and style selections for every situation

So if it always seemed odd to you to hand sand in a linear motion with orbital abrasives that were made to work in a different motion and at a higher rate, these may fit your hand and eye for detail very well.

Check with your local dealer or Festool rep for pricing and availability. There is some bang for the buck to be had with these items, and we will be sharing specifics on how each of these new items works as a solution to tweaky sanding situations.

festool hand sanding

About FestoolUSA

Founded in Germany in 1925, Festool is known for its innovative, precision-engineered power tool solutions.  Based in Lebanon, IN, Festool USA offers a comprehensive lineup of power tools and system accessories, designed to boost productivity through efficiency and high performance.

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What About Getting a Perfect Finish by Sanding? http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/what-about-getting-a-perfect-finish-by-sanding/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/what-about-getting-a-perfect-finish-by-sanding/#respond Mon, 13 Feb 2017 14:11:38 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12375 Thanks for all the great info on your website. My question: can I sand latex painted wood (trim, shelves etc.) with 1000 – 1500 grit after the final coat? I’ll be using the ETS 150/5. Is getting a perfect finish by sanding possible without using a sprayer? Thanks, Greg Hi Greg Getting a perfect finish […]

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Thanks for all the great info on your website.

My question: can I sand latex painted wood (trim, shelves etc.) with 1000 – 1500 grit after the final coat? I’ll be using the ETS 150/5.

Is getting a perfect finish by sanding possible without using a sprayer?

Thanks, Greg

Hi Greg

Getting a perfect finish by sanding would be called polishing, and it is difficult to do. Especially with latex paints, and if there are any details beyond flat surfaces. We have tried. You might get away with it on a perfectly flat surface like a small table top, but even then it is difficult. If there are any corners or details, forget it.

In our experiments, you can get 90% of a flat surface to polish perfectly, but there will be a corner or an edge where it burns and is ruined. Latex paints seem to soft.

getting a perfect finish by sanding

Orange (medium) sponge pad…

If you want to try it, you will need to go further than 1000-1500 and transition out of conventional abrasives. Even at 1000-1500 grit, there is still “scratching” happening.

You would need to step up to orange foam pads (medium), white pads (fine) and/or sheepskin and go into the liquid polish realm.

Getting a Perfect Finish by Sanding means Polishing

Also, polishing is best done with Rotex sanders because of their eccentric stroke pattern. You can polish to a very high gloss. The downside is that touch ups down the road would be difficult compared to a conventionally applied finish.

Our colleague and fellow trainer Brian Sedgeley produces remarkable polished finishes on flat surfaces with clear finish using Rotex and this series of pads with liquid polish. It is fun to learn about getting a perfect finish by sanding, and it is challenging to master.

getting a perfect finish by sanding

Sheepskin…

getting a perfect finish by sanding

White (fine) foam pad…

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Painting Boral TruExterior® Trim http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/painting-boral/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/painting-boral/#comments Sat, 11 Feb 2017 00:20:21 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12454 A quick and inconclusive ‘heads up’ about a recent experience we had painting Boral TruExterior® composite trim. We have been sharing in our Facebook Spray Group the progress on a large pre-finishing project, with about 6000 lf of 1×12 pine shiplap siding for a new barn build by a local custom builder. The siding stain is […]

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A quick and inconclusive ‘heads up’ about a recent experience we had painting Boral TruExterior® composite trim. We have been sharing in our Facebook Spray Group the progress on a large pre-finishing project, with about 6000 lf of 1×12 pine shiplap siding for a new barn build by a local custom builder. The siding stain is Sherwin Williams Woodscapes custom mixed to a dark brown color from Benjamin Moore.

A Different Sort of Substrate

painting boral

Some of the pine siding we sprayed before the Boral.

We painted the trim package last…a mix of 1×8 fascia stock and custom moldings – in a variety of building materials. The 1×8 is Boral TruExterior® trim which is a fairly new synthetic/composite product made of “poly-ash”…a mix of bio polymers and fly ash.

Fly ash is a by product of coal combustion that is filtered out and collected. Not an easy hazardous waste to dispose of legally, it has become a (we guess) “green building alternative”. A recycling, ‘keep it out of the landfills’ concept if you will. Fly ash is also commonly used in concrete construction.

What Happened when we started Painting Boral?

We approached the trim package with the same sprayer set up as the siding: Graco 395 Finish Pro II air assisted airless with fine finish low pressure tips. We changed product…moving to Benjamin Moore Regal Select High Build soft gloss for the trim package, in the same color as the siding batch. Regal Select is a good product that is compatible with most everything.

painting boral

Boral Wet.

Boral is shipped from the manufacturer with a “factory applied primer” that seems to be well done and good product. We were spraying the paint on the faces and edges, and that is when we saw micro bubbles forming.

There are many variables that can cause micro bubbles, so we quickly experimented with our sprayer air and fluid pressure settings and double checked the Boral for cleanliness, etc. And took a look at our shop climate. No red flags in the variables…and our finish had bubbles that we couldn’t stop.

We had six 16′ boards wet and all showing the same problem. So, we tried back rolling with velour minis and back brushing, but the bubbles would only flatten out and then resurface.

The Boral seemed to stay wet forever on the drying racks. Some of the bubbles laid down and left dimples in their wake as the paint tacked up. We proceeded, knowing the worst case scenario would be buffing out bubbles later. The rest of the package was synthetic PVC type of trim items, which took the paint fine. As did the pine moldings.

This may just be what happens when you paint a porous substrate that your product can’t penetrate. Odd circumstance.

What About the Bubbles?

Bubbles that did not lay down could be wiped off the surface by hand the next day. The paint was well adhered and intact. Any subtle depressions from the bursted bubbles are mostly lost in the fake wood grain of the Boral and the color of the paint.

painting boral

Boral Dry.

The micro-bubbling was unique to the Boral. It took paint differently than the thousands of feet of pine siding, the PVC trim items and the pine molding details.

According to the Boral website FAQ’s, the product “absorbs virtually no moisture”. We suspect that this (and the unknown primer coating that the product ships with), caused the sprayed paint coat to sit wet for longer than usual with no absorption at the substrate.

That is fine from a paint performance standpoint. Latex paints don’t need to penetrate, they need to adhere. Performance will be normal, but the application made for an awkward few moments in the spray shop.

Just something to be aware of if you are painting boral…you may see bubbles in the finish during a sprayed application. We’d be curious to know if rollers and brushes cause it too.

A final tip for painting Boral is that the product is quite heavy and also flimsy like PVC. It doesn’t lay flat like solid wood, so handling the product definitely requires two people.

Do you have any experiences to share about painting Boral?

 

 

 

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Graco Jet Roller Inquiry from New York http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/jet-roller-inquiry/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/jet-roller-inquiry/#respond Thu, 09 Feb 2017 11:22:06 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12371 Eli from New York asks: I was wondering if you have used the Graco Jet Roller system? Scott answers: Hi Eli, Great question. We do use the Jet Roller, most commonly in our paint training program – Prep to Finish. It is a great system to teach students how to spray and back roll sheetrock […]

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Eli from New York asks:

I was wondering if you have used the Graco Jet Roller system?

Scott answers:

Hi Eli,

Great question. We do use the Jet Roller, most commonly in our paint training program – Prep to Finish. It is a great system to teach students how to spray and back roll sheetrock walls and ceilings.

Jet RollerAt the professional level, the Jet Roller is ideal for small tasks being done by one person. It allows you to apply paint with the sprayer and then roll with the roller all in one move. You don’t have to put the spray gun down and then pick up the roller – they are attached to the same extension.

And the roller frames are very nice. There are 9″ and 18″ versions that both work well.

Other previous power rolling options are designed to work so that the spray tip is wetting the roller as you go. We find that the jet roller works best to wet the surface (not the roller), and then roll the product out.

For small one person tasks, the Jet Roller pairs up very nicely with the Graco GX 19 hopper style airless sprayer. It will work with any airless or air assisted rig in the Graco line as well.

Learn more at the Graco site.

Jet Roller

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Festool Orbital Sanders Improved for 2017 http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/festool-orbital-sanders/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/festool-orbital-sanders/#comments Wed, 08 Feb 2017 00:33:37 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12392 2017 RTS and DTS400 Festool Orbital Sanders If you own previous versions of the Festool orbital sanders (RTS/DTS400EQ), those are still nice tools. No cause for alarm, but you may be interested in knowing… Festool has improved the functionality of these tools in the new generation for 2017. The new orbitals (RTS/DTS400REQ) sport a new […]

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2017 RTS and DTS400 Festool Orbital Sanders

If you own previous versions of the Festool orbital sanders (RTS/DTS400EQ), those are still nice tools. No cause for alarm, but you may be interested in knowing…

Festool Orbital Sanders

New DTS400REQ

Festool has improved the functionality of these tools in the new generation for 2017. The new orbitals (RTS/DTS400REQ) sport a new motor with more power, less vibration, improved balance and controls.

The basic size and shape of the RTS and DTS remain the same. On first glance, you won’t see much difference. Even holding it in your hand, there’s not much difference between the old EQ and the REQ models. When you turn them on, you’ll feel some design changes.

Publisher’s Disclaimer: Festool provided these tools to us at no cost for a test period. We don’t publish reviews of all products that manufacturers submit to us for testing. From time to time we highlight new, innovative or redesigned technologies that are introduced and relevant to professionals. All product review information we share is objective, honest, unbiased and 100% our own.

Festool Orbital Sanders

New RTS400REQ

What Stayed the Same:

  • Shape
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Abrasives
  • Plug it Cord
  • Systainer

What’s New With REQ?

ON/OFF switch – the older versions have a hard plastic inward facing switch with stiff click action, while the new REQ’s have a more finger fitting and pointed convex switch with better action. Let’s face it, you have to hit that switch to use the tool. It’s nice when it has better feel and action.

Speed Control – A location improvement. Instead of being awkwardly tight to the plug it cord connection at the rear of the tool, the speed control is now located at the left side of the upper housing where your palm grips the tool. It’s an easier adjustment that is less likely to disrupt workflow for users of all levels. You don’t change speeds all that often, but everything should be easier.

festool orbital sandersGrip – The top of the sanders, right where you hold them in your palm, now have a more comfortable soft grip coating than the previous, which had a hard plastic feel.

The grip of the tool is now easier to work with for extended periods. For users who sand more in hours than minutes, there is a cumulative effect.

More Power: Faster and Smoother

The sanders continue to feature a user friendly 2mm stroke pattern. So, more power and same stroke. Better design and electronics help the motor to reduce vibration, which is the primary cause of fatigue in extended tasks. You know, the numb claw hands you don’t want at night. This is the biggest impact change.

Locking Hose Port – A better connection where you capture the dust. The “bayonet” style connection is better than the old style ribbed twist on connection, which wasn’t bad. The main benefits are that your dust extractor hose can’t twist during use and certainly will never come off unexpectedly.

Protectors – Taking a cue from the Rotex line, Festool orbital sanders now have pad protectors (or “adjacent surface protectors“) that are easy to put on and take off when you want a small barrier between the edge of your pad and any surface adjacent to that which you are sanding. As always, the new RTS has it’s classic square pad edge while the DTS moves forward with it’s nicely beveled edge. Sometimes we put orbitals in lower grit material removals tasks where it is nice to protect pad edges.

Long Life Reusable Dust Bag  **separate accessory**

Festool Orbital Sanders

RTS REQ with edge protector and dust bag.

The new long life reusable bag ($30) capability is a big improvement and handy for those times when it is not safe or practical to connect your sander to a CT dust extractor.

If you have the extractor, you are on it most of the time. A good dust bag is helpful to have around, and the bayonet style dust port holds this long life bag much better than the old EQ versions held the Turbo disposable paper bags.

[Nichole from Harmony Haus’ with a look back at the previous generation DTS400EQ]

The 30 day money back guarantee and 3 year warranty make these fine finish Festool orbital sanders worth looking at for folks who are just getting into the Festool system as well as longer standing users who are upgrading or adding to tool kits.

How have your experiences been with DTS and RTS sanders?

 

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Minnesota Ipe Deck: Penofin Marine? http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/ipe-in-minnesotta/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/ipe-in-minnesotta/#comments Mon, 06 Feb 2017 11:14:51 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12367 Question from Minnesota Hi Scott It’s Eric up in Minnesota. You helped answer a lot of questions for me when I was building my IPE deck a couple years back. Well, it turned out great and thanks again for all your advice! I’ve been applying the Penofin Marine annually and it looks great but after […]

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Question from Minnesota

Hi Scott

It’s Eric up in Minnesota. You helped answer a lot of questions for me when I was building my IPE deck a couple years back. Well, it turned out great and thanks again for all your advice! I’ve been applying the Penofin Marine annually and it looks great but after the snow melts, the decks in need of some washing and fresh oil. Are you still recommending the Penofin Marine or have you found greater success with another product? Thanks for your help!

Kindly, Eric

Answer about Penofin Marine

Hello Eric

Hope you are having a good winter out there.

Glad to hear that the deck came out great and that you are staying on the maintenance – that is key. To your question, we have moved away from Penofin Marine (and all their formulations) as a deck product, mostly for the reasons you outlined. The decks would look great the season that we applied Penofin Marine, but after one winter or rainy season, they would discolor and often turn black.

Penofin Marine

Ready Seal is a great alternative…

This made the maintenance impractical, so we began testing other options. We have been seeing much better results from a couple of products: Ready Seal and Super Deck Transparent from Sherwin Williams. These products also do not require the wiping that Penofin Marine does, which is a huge plus.

Our ipe content has grown to where we launched a site dedicated specifically to the topic. Feel free to visit ipehelp.com to learn more about our more recent findings. You can register for free to access a lot of the articles. There are also paid membership options for ipe owners who need more in depth assistance with ipe projects.

Hope this helps, please post up some pictures as you make the product switch and continue to maintain.

They get better with age!

Cheers, Scott

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The Best Clear Finish you may have Never Heard of: Vermont Natural Coatings http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/vermont-natural-coatings/ http://topcoatreview.com/2017/02/vermont-natural-coatings/#comments Sun, 05 Feb 2017 10:07:46 +0000 http://topcoatreview.com/?p=12348 If you haven’t heard of Vermont Natural Coatings, this will sound kind of crazy. This small company located about 40 minutes from our Topcoat shop makes water based finishes that are fortified with whey – the protein that is a by-product of cheese making. Replacing Toxic Chems with Cheese? No Way! Way. PolyWhey™. And its […]

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If you haven’t heard of Vermont Natural Coatings, this will sound kind of crazy. This small company located about 40 minutes from our Topcoat shop makes water based finishes that are fortified with whey – the protein that is a by-product of cheese making.

Replacing Toxic Chems with Cheese? No Way!

Vermont Natural CoatingsWay. PolyWhey™. And its really good. We say this as previous users of oil based clears for decades. You remember, the kind that stunk, turned everything 80’s yellow/gold, and required special brushes and cleaning.

In around ’07, we switched to ZAR Ultramax. And then a couple years later we replaced that with SW Wood Classics. There are surprisingly few options in the category of interior clear wood finishes from the major manufacturers. It is a small market segment, so they don’t invest as much into R&D for it. The category was wide open for the finish equivalent of a smart microbrewery to make something good.

[Read About our Clear Finish Journey]

Vermont Natural Coatings has quietly turned environmentally sound clear finishes into not just a hipster pipe dream, but a desirable product in both user experience and quality of results.

The Vermont Natural Coatings Interior Product Lineup

  • All In One Stain & Finish in 8 Tones
  • PolyWhey™ Floor Finish (matte, satin, semi)
  • Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
  • PolyWhey™ Furniture Finish (satin, semi, gloss)
  • Heirloom Fine Finish (satin)
  • Non-Toxic Wood Cleaner
Vermont Natural Coatings

Applies great by spray or brush.

We’ve used the whole VNC line in recent years, and have been particularly impressed with the satin and matte. The matte is sold as a floor finish, but is excellent on furniture and cabinetry. Clear matte finishes are hard to find.

Vermont Natural Coatings are fast drying, low odor/VOC, and do not change the natural color of wood much – a rare and often desirable effect.

Learn more about VNC Products.

 

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