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Paintshop: Managing Minor Frustrations and Snags

We’ve all had them. Those annoying, little glitches in our regular schedules that can mess up everything.


Take the new compressor hose that kinks, and causes the paint spray to sputter and spurt out of the nozzle. Or the day-late shipment of a big order of industrial coating for pipes. Or when you’re short two crew members, because they called in sick on the same day. Or the blown tire on the equipment-loaded truck out on the freeway.


What do you do? How do you deal with this minor stuff, so that you can move on to the real jobs?


Speedy Solutions for Minor Snags


1. Kinking compressor hose


Cut the hose where kinked area exists. Fit a hose connector – brass or galvanized pipe, as available. Then clasp each side of the connection with the proper size of stainless steel pipe clamp. This will hold well, until you are able to change out a new hose.


2. Delayed shipment of paint

A. Put out an emergency call to the manufacturer’s rep for a small supply of product. Enough to get at least one day of spraying completed.

B. Call the manager of the paint manufacturer’s closest paint store. Explain the situation. Have them get on the horn and get some of the shipment to you pronto.


3. Manpower shortage on a rush job

A. Call your company superintendent. Ask him to switch two guys to your job site for two days – whatever length of time you need the extra help.

B. Shorthanded anyway? Call for two men through the local painter’s union.

C. Non-union shop? Call the nearest construction trades’ labor pool.

D. Switch tasks on the schedule, if possible.


4. Big flat tire on loaded equipment truck

A. Call the shop for someone to bring out a replacement tire. TIP: Before you call, make sure that you have the jack system on the truck.

B. Call the shop for someone to bring out another truck, and then help you transfer the load. TIPS: Don’t think about transferring equipment that requires more men than you have around. And, never try to transfer equipment that requires OTHER equipment to move, lift, and/or lower it.

C. Call a truck towing service.

D. Call a truck rental outfit for emergency delivery.


5. Running out of paint thinner on a remote industrial job site.

A. Call your shop foreman. Have someone grab a supply, and deliver it to you.

B. Call the nearest paint store for an emergency delivery.

C. Call the closest Home Depot, Lowes, etc. – wherever your company has an account. Purchase a day’s supply of thinner over the phone. If possible, send a worker to pick it up.

D. Hand some cash to your site crew’s “go-for” person – apprentice. And, send him or her to the nearest hardware store. TIP: Price will be higher than a trade-construction source.


NOTE: Once, we called the business agent at the union hall, and asked him to pick up eight gallons of thinner from the nearest Sherwin-Williams, on the way for his scheduled visit to our site. Our company president ordered the supply. S-W had the containers waiting at their back door.


6. Two spray guns malfunction at the same time.


SPRAYER’S TIP: In your truck, carry a replacement rebuild kit for each type of spray gun you use frequently. Also, keep a supply of replacement rebuild kits for each type in the paintshop.

A. Call the shop foreman for quick delivery of a replacement rebuild kit for each spray gun you are using on-site. Also ask for a box of extra repair parts.

B. Call the nearest paint tool and equipment outlet that you deal with. Ask for a rush delivery.

C. Call your company boss, and ask him or her to buy a new spray gun and deliver it.

D. Do a rush clean-out of one spray gun, to get it back on the job. At least for that day.

E. At day’s end, tear down both spray guns. And do a complete overhaul.


By the way, sometimes you don’t have the time or resources to deal with a minor snag in the usual, standard, or acceptable way. When that’s the case, just do what you need to do to get the job moving forward.


BOTTOM LINE: Whatever comes along and stands in you and your crew’s way of getting the job done, do the best you can do at the time – and with what you have. And sweat about any repercussion later.


It can take more skill and savvy to deal with the minor snags than the major job or project.


Thank you for clicking into “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.



Lead painters – paintshop managers – have many good things to report for 2017. Here are a few of the more than 5,900 responses that I received to the e-mailed question:




  1. Regi.

“Owners ordered the property management to purchase and supply engineering with a much safer, and EPA certified, solution to treat Black mold. MoldSTAT Plus Mold Killer.”


  1. Alec.

“I found enough tinted paint to touch up all thirteen walls in the upgraded suites.”


  1. Danny.

“The air compressor kicked in first try this morning. It’s been malfunctioning. For over three months. No budget to replace it right now.”


  1. Pablo.

“The waterproof grout mix is holding all of those tiles onto the uneven surfaces around the pools…”


  1. Gabe.

“Management approved chief engineer’s request for a FaceMask breathing apparatus, and accessories before the end of 2017. My boss and I opted for a HobbyAir II, with 80-foot hose.””


  1. R.G.

“Starting January 2018, I’ll have a part-time painting assistant three mornings a week.”


  1. Brian.

“When I returned from vacation, some of the crew had cleared out the space to lay out the steel beams for me to spray. Over 120, each 80-foot long, need to be done in less than three days…”


  1. Fernando.

“Boss is paying time and a half when the shop closes down Christmas to New Year’s Day.”


  1. Margo.

“Three more painters have been added to help on the airport project January-February.


  1. Bill.

“Delivery date February 1 for my new (one year old) company truck. The old one is barely running. I’ve had to have it towed three times within the last month…”




DO before you ask management to invest in an expensive product, tool or equipment:  

  1. Research the item (s) you need.
  2. Contact a regional manufacturer’s rep.
  3. Ask for contact information for three contractors that use the product.
  4. Call each; find out what they like and dislike about the product. Also ask about alternate product (s) they recommend, and why.
  5. Then include all of the above information in your written request/proposal for management.


A painter cannot operate his or her paintshop on management’s good intentions, or promises.


Thanks for pushing for what you need, and for persisting until you get results.


Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: And, That’s A Good Thing



  1. Four guest passes to see The Last Jedi. (Thanks, Doc.)


  1. Packed cookies all in the mail, folks.


  1. I’d saved six of seven manuscripts and related files and setups onto flash drives. (See no. __ below.)


  1. Installed new hard drive. Now waiting for copy of new operating system from Microsoft.


  1. Old hard drive is on its way for specialist to run analysis, recover files…reactivate.


  1. So far, all “readers-en-field” have also written reviews. (And all are very positive.)


  1. Online bookseller Curtis is a first-class networker, linking only serious participants.


  1. Connection with best-selling author Buddy A. is proving outstanding.


  1. Artist-sculptor of Neanderthal in cover photo is on board 100 percent. And, with her international connections.


  1. Indiana cousin made it to the altar on December 2. (Three months earlier, his spinal cord was severely damaged in a five-vehicle pile up on the interstate.)


  1. New outpatient neurologist at CNH/FHMG is a very sharp, wholistic health pro. Very up to date on research, therapies and clinical trials.




  1. The new hard drive will not open up. Note: I’m waiting for new Windows 7 from Microsoft.


  1. I lost all of no. 7 manuscript and related files, when the hard drive failed. Rebooting, etc. a NO GO. Started working on this one in 2011.



Sometimes, even good or not so good things encapsulate the opposite effect.


“Painting with Bob” is a blog aimed at helping painters and decorators, including contractors.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


Painter’s World During Christmas

His eyes. There was something so familiar about those eyes. I couldn’t stop staring into them.


I was only two years old. But I knew those sea green eyes. From somewhere. Glistening and clear.


Of course. This was Santa Claus’s lap that I was sitting on. And, it was Santa that kept smiling, and laughing so jolly-like at me.


He was all dressed up in his bright red plush suit with the white fur trim, matching hat, and shiny black boots and belt.


Of course. My instincts were correct. The big, tall man with the white wavy beard that touched his chest?


It was my own father. He was playing Santa at IUPAT/ IBPAT Local 8’s Christmas party for the union member’s children. Like my one-year old sister. And I.


Christmas season can be a fun and rewarding time for a painter.


The union painter may be recruited to play Santa at the annual Christmas party for members’ children. (Like my Dad did for over five years.) He or she may serve as coordinator for the big boss and his wife’s holiday night out for the employee painters and their spouses/significant others.


A painter may be one of the volunteers that assembles bicycles and other “vehicles” to help out Santa’s helpers-parents. He or she may help collect, then wrap toy donations for the local children’s home. The painter may represent the shop, and make the rounds to the local paint manufacturer’s stores’ open houses held for trade customers.


He and other crew members may be “volunteered” to paint scenes and props for the local Christmas parade float. Or sets for the community theatre’s annual Christmas production starring local children.  The painter may join the construction trades’ community charity chorus.


The independent painter may reach out to his or her community, and lend a hand wherever it’s needed. Even in the public school system, or at a shelter. He or she may offer tools and equipment to make others’ holiday tasks easier, and safer. Special skills and abilities may be donated to help local non-profits tackle their holiday community projects and programs.


At any older neighborhood church, the help of a younger and more agile painter/ craftsperson would be appreciated in decorating. Also setting up the traditional outdoor nativity scene. Even preparing for the special meal for people that are homeless or alone.


What about the staff painter? Show a little enthusiasm for the season; and you’re recruited for major holiday decorating. Stringing thousands and thousands of Christmas lights throughout the property. Examples: Those tall, tall Palm trees. Decorating the swimming pool areas. Painting, then setting up exterior and interior holiday displays. Helping create a special space – presence – for dear old Santa. Decorating the halls and lobbies, and other high traffic areas. (One year, we also decorated the public restrooms.)


What had been one of my favorite on-the-job holiday projects? Helping the rest of the staff set up their special displays and holiday activity areas.


By the way, your ChristmasNew Year week may be just around the corner – or already here. There’s still time. to grab your talents, pack essential tools and equipment, and head out to help make the season bright, cheerful and hopeful. For others!


And, that’s what this season is all about.



Holiday bliss follows a benevolent heart, and extra pair of hands.  RDH


Best wishes from the network of people that make “Painting with Bob” possible.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.





Disaster Recovery, Part 2: Paintshop Priorities

You may not have much time to get the paintshop back in shape, after a hurricane, or another type of disaster, passes or weakens. In fact, you may need to work that job around the recovery property tasks that you must help others get done throughout the property.

Here are tips on what you might need to get ready right away, or as soon as possible.


1. Throw-away sponges, non-porous buckets, long rubber gloves, face masks.
2. Disposable plastic sheeting, 2-4 ML, duct tape, tarp clasps.
3. Scented bleach – to minimize lingering odors.
4. Non-toxic commercial fungal mold remediation solution, hydrogen peroxide.
5. Fillers, caulking, masonry patch, polyester filler.
6. Sandpaper – assorted counts, steel wool.
7. Interior latex paint – main base colors used on property, exterior latex or oil-base paints.
8. Glues, carpet tile adhesive and tape, mortar mix.
9. Paper towels, clean throw-away rags.
10. Other: Hygienic hand wipes, dust masks; texture for repairs.


1. Scrapers, putty knives, wire brushes.
2. Paintbrushes: 1 ½, 2, 3, and 4-inches; cutting in brush. China bristles and nylon/polyester.
3. Paint rollers and covers: 9-inch x ¼-inch, 3/8-inch, ½-inch, 1 ½-inch.
4. Pressure washer, rubber boots, water exposure gear.
5. Organic vapor respirator
6. Gas compressor..



Disaster Recovery, Part I: Hotel/Facility Priorities Come First

The lady walked toward her vehicle in Home Depot’s parking lot. In one hand, she grasped two, 1-gallon cans of Glidden’s Interior Latex Paint. In the other, she held onto a 2-inch Purdy paintbrush, a 6-inch paint roller with cover and an orange combination paint tray and screen.

It was one day after Hurricane Irma, and the tornadoes that it had spawned, had whipped through Central Florida.

When a major disaster hits – eg. hurricane, tropical storm, tornado – painting should be one of the last things on your immediate agenda.


1. Help your chief engineer check out all systems that are under the department’s charge – eg. mechanical, electrical, plumbing.

2. As part of the engineering team: (a) assess each building’s condition, interior and exterior; (b) identify problem areas; (c) determine which problems to resolve a.s.a.p., and, (d) decide how to handle each of them promptly and safely.

3. As part of the engineering team, get the department back in shape, so that all of you can do the major recovery and repair tasks and projects as efficiently as possible.

4. As part of the engineering team, help implement the plan to (a) make repairs and (b) get everything up and running again in a timely, safe and cost-effective manner.

5. Assist groundspersons in clearing away all broken trees, limbs and branches and brush; also dismantled lumber, metal, piping; debris, garbage, etc. This includes clearing main traffic areas.

6. Help repair and replace all crucial lighting – especially front entrance, parking, walkways, corridors, lobby, public restrooms. Also repair main walkways, as soon as possible.

7. Assist other departments, as necessary, to get their areas up and running again.

8. Assist chief engineer in working with utility companies, outside contractors, repair services, etc. to get property systems and amenities, and business operations back in working order.

9. Between efforts to help others, start to get your paintshop back in shape. HINT: Try to unpack, then set up what you’ll need to use first.

10. When your chief engineer gives the go-ahead, concentrate your efforts on reorganizing the paintshop so that you can get back to your painting job.

By the way, it can be tempting to ignore the engineering department’s big job during this very disorganized and stressful time. You might be tempted to hide in your area. Do not do it!

This is one instance when painting will be lower on the list of everyone’s priorities.

At the top of every staff member’s and department’s disaster recovery list needs to be:

1. people
2. property
3. business
4. “neighborhood”

This is one time when, both now and later, you’ll be glad that you helped others first.

See: “Painting It: Disaster Recovery, Part 2: Paintshop Priorities.”
See: “Painting It: Disaster Recovery, Part 3: When Painting Is Not Enough.”

Thank you for doing your best job every day. Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


Painter’s Hurricane Preparedness, Part 3: In the Paintshop

Many of the following tips make sense when preparing for any natural disaster.




  1. SECURE all flash drives, software packages, important papers, logs, supply/inventory lists, guidebooks and manuals, etc. in weatherproof metal box. Store in chief engineer’s private storage unit on the property, or in main office of hotel or facility.
  2. Carefully place all computers, cords, hard drives, and other peripherals into their original boxes if you have them, or equally sturdy storage boxes. Also put them in your boss’s storage.




  1. Clear off all open surfaces such as workbenches, countertops, tables, etc.
  2. Clear off the floor. Remove everything from all traffic areas – real, potential, emergency.
  3. Move smaller objects such as supplies and manual hand tools into sturdy cabinets and closets.
  4. Place paintbrushes into their wrappers, or clean newspaper pages. Place on end in clean, dry, plastic 5-gallon paint buckets. Secure lids. TIP: With permanent black marker, print BRUSHES on lid and several spots around bucket. Store upright in closet or large cabinet that locks.
  5. Place roller covers into their plastic wraps, bubble wrap, or soft shipping paper. Place in clean 5-gallon plastic bucket(s). Secure lids. Label bucket. Store in same closet or cabinet as brushes.
  6. Carefully wrap spray guns in clean, heavier fabric, soft vinyl, foam sheets, or bubble wrap. Tie twine or smaller rope around to secure. Place guns, boxes of tips, repair parts, etc. in 5-gallon bucket. Secure lid. TIP: Use permanent black marker to label “SPRAY GUNS” several places.
  7. Tightly close, then move all containers of paint and finishing products, wallcoverings, etc. into closets with secure door locks. TIP: Cram everything into the corners. Neatness helps later.
  8. Wrap power hand tools with attached electrical cords in heavy ply plastic or bubble wrap. TIP: I like to use doubled-up zip-lock freezer bags. Place tools together in smaller tool box with lid, heavy box or crate. Place in waterproof cabinet or closet with secure door locks.
  9. Place all electrical cords, connectors, plugs, etc. in deep drawers. Run rope or heavy twine through drawer handles and around knobs. Inter-tie off with nautical knot.
  10. Place sharp objects, tools, etc. into thick cardboard boxes, or wooden crates. Secure inside a cabinet or closet that locks tightly.
  11. Turn over tables and movable benches. Push against the inside walls of workshop.
  12. Put chairs, stools, etc. into a closet. OR, jam them under any of the built-in workbenches.
  13. After you’ve moved the smaller items into cabinets and closets, place all shorter ladders, multi-purpose stools, carts, wheelbarrels, etc. inside the same closets. TIP: I like to set them on their sides, then tightly PUSH them against the rest of the stored supplies, tools, equipment.
  14. Roll your heaviest equipment such as compressors into whatever closet still has room.
  15. Turn your heaviest, largest ladders on their ends. Tightly push them against the turned over tables and movable benches already hugging the inside walls of the workshop. TIP: Rex in Miami lays the ladders flat, one long end pushed against an inner wall. Then he “wheels” his heaviest, portable equipment between ladder rungs. Last, he ties the pieces of equipment to each other using heavy rope. “In Katrina, the guys helped me move concrete blocks onto the ladder rungs. Nothing budged.”



BOTTOM LINE: First protect lives. Second protect valuables. Third, if there’s any time left, protect whatever else really matters, most essential things first.



Major disasters swoop in, then leave.

People and pets are meant to stick around longer.


Stay alert, smart and safe. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.


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