Painting and Decorating Made Easier!

Posts tagged ‘finishes’

Franzen: Restoring Churches and Lives

“ ‘Margret clung to the side of the overturned wood row boat. Knowing that her grip could not last much longer. Knowing that she would not make it. And the enraged waters of the North Sea would swallow her.

 

“ ‘Then, she felt a powerful hand grab her arm, and force her frozen hand from the boat’s rim. Encircling her chest. Then pulling her backward. Into the churning waves. Was she, in fact, being washed away? Or drowning?’ ”

 

These were the opening words of the true account written by the victim’s oldest brother, Franzen, in an e-mail to me. A native of Amsterdam, the third cousin was a “restoration painter of churches.”

 

“That’s why I became a painter of holy buildings,” he wrote. “To give thanks to the priest that saved my baby sister over thirty-two years ago.”

 

At a later date, Franzen took me on a virtual tour of the church in Bratislava, Slovakia that he’s been working on. It is a small structure, compared to the grand cathedral projects that he has completed in Europe and Canada. And, it holds a significant place in the painter’s life, perhaps in mine also. The church is the home parish of a group of Haytovkas originally from old Austria.

 

“Presently, I sandblast the upper spires on the roof. There are twelve of them, representing the twelve apostles. I push to finish spray before the heavy snows come. It is dangerous part,” the painter emphasized. “So high from the ground, over 4419 cm (145 feet) up. One slip of the foot. I worry. Then I remember Margret. The arms that saved her…”

 

Franzen said the upper exterior of the church had not been touched in over forty years.

 

“The surfaces were pitted by thick, pebble-looking layers of grime and pollutants from the large manufacturing plant located less than 1.6 kilometers (one mile) away. Underneath, most of the paint was chipped off. Brass was badly tarnished, and coated with sea salts and bird droppings.

 

“It was in much worse condition than the church officials believed. Much removal and repair work…”

 

Franzen said that he has been doing restorative painting since age twenty-six. Previously, he worked for a contractor that repaired and redecorated older homes, apartment buildings, shops, and large flats. My cousin explained that most of the properties were “…owned by the rich.”

 

For two years prior, he “studied the painting craft” at a trade school run by the Netherlands government. He called the training very intense.

 

“This church will be my last high project. I will be fifty-nine in December. My feet are not quite as sure as they were. I make plans to retire at sixty. Muriel and I take Gordon to cottage by sea.”

 

By the way, Franzen and his wife are caregivers for their son Gordon (28). He has severe traumatic brain injuries from a work accident in 2009.

 

Something tells me that both Gordon and the historic church structure, built over 250 years ago, are in very good hands.

With equal dedication and selflessness, a true craftsman preserves the lives of impaired persons and old buildings.

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Advertisements

Decorative Finishing: The Lacquer Table

My childhood home had been an antique shop previously, in the 1950s and early 1960s.

 

Luxurious oriental wallpaper – black silk textured panels – still covered the walls of the largest room. An elegantly dressed Geisha knelt in the center of one of the panels, bordered in etched goldleafing.

 

All of the wallpaper was faded and worn from age. Each panel bore the signs of water damage.

 

On the longest wall was depicted a Teahouse scene. A dainty china tea service set on the low, glass-smooth black lacquer table. For seating, large silk-covered pillows were arranged on the floor. Rice paper sliding door panels could be seen in the background.

 

I did my homework, seated in a red-enameled, round-backed cane chair. Pulled up to a restored circa 1940s oblong, drop leaf table. My wandering eyes floated toward that Teahouse scene. Specifically, the lacquered table.

 

I promised myself that I’d decorate my first dining room in the oriental style.

 

In my early 20s, the inspiration came to design and build a small Oriental table, out of ebony wood.

To get the perfect black, lustrous finish, I applied nine coats of Glidden’s high-gloss enamel. Each coat was allowed to set and “cure,” at least four hours. Then, I did a light and thorough damp feather sanding with No. 1000 sandpaper. Followed by a complete surface “wipe,” using a barely damp, soft muslin cloth.

 

In 2010, the need for a laptop computer table motivated me to build a “lap table” sized version of that lacquer table. I did not apply as many coats of the black, high-gloss finish enamel, because of the lack of workshop space. And, the curing/drying time between coats was reduced – according to outdoor environmental conditions.

 

The mystique remained for the sleek, elegant oriental décor. Yet, a deeper appreciation for the natural in furniture finishing, refinishing, and restoration work had taken over.

 

In early 2013, a couple from Asia stayed at the hotel for over ten days. They were purchasing a second home in Celebration. They showed me two photos of a badly abused, 52-inch square table that came with the house.

 

The couple wanted to shorten the oak table, to 20-inches in height. Then, they wanted to refinish the table. To a mirror-smooth black lacquer. They wanted to do the entire project themselves. With a little guidance from me.

 

The husband and wife team turned out to be very talented. And handy with tools – painting, decorative finishing, and power.

 

One day after work, we met at their new house. A sprawling two-story, with many porches and balconies.

Using a level and steel ruler, we measured and marked the table legs for shortening. By my next visit, the couple had sawed down the legs. Also, they’d carefully cleaned and sanded every inch of the table.

 

At their request, we actually video-cammed the basic procedure:

 

  1. Repairing the table’s cracks, gouges, splinters, etc.
  2. Filling and smoothing out all surface imperfections.
  3. Dry and moist sanding the surfaces multiple times.
  4. Applying a very thin white sealer/primer.
  5. Applying five of the nine finish coats – with very fine, and gentle, sanding between each.

 

By the time the couple applied the fifth finish coat themselves, my job was completed. They had mastered the finishing process, at a high, non-professional level.

 

I never saw the finished Lacquer table. Until June of 2015. The couple and I spotted each other at a Home Depot. They invited me to their home the following week.

 

Upon my arrival, they urged me to take a very close look at their work.

 

“What a beautiful job!” I excitedly told them. And it was!

 

At their beautiful table, they served tea and homemade shortbread wafers, on a set of hand-painted china.

 

By the way, the Lacquer table sets in the middle of their traditional, oriental dining room. In their traditional, oriental decorated home.

 

*********************************************************************************

Some of the best decorative finishing is done by the most surprising craftspersons.

*********************************************************************************

Thank you, Tau Hong and Sum Li.

And, thank you everyone for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painting It: Restoring an Antique Finish

If you are looking to retain the value of an antique, do not restore the finish. Leave it as it is.

 

If the future dollar value doesn’t impress you, a new finish, if done properly, will revive an old and worn out look into a complete marvel. Just don’t take it to Antiques Roadshow.

 

Primarily, I recommend “refinishing” to those individuals who have no intention of selling or trading off their antiques. When a particular item is to remain in your home, its condition sould be of significant importance.

 

Too, you may be interested in restoring it to preserve the integrity of the piece.

 

In order to judge it properly, you will need to assess the exact needs of the object. Examine the following:

 

  1. Are there any structural repairs that need to be done? Examples: wood- veneer replacement, re-molding fabrication, joinery, etc.
  2. What is the condition of the hardware? Examples: glass, handles, knobs, hinges. Do they need replacement or reconditioning?
  3. Does it need a thorough cleaning? Recommended: Citrus type cleanser or mild detergent.
  4. What is the condition of the stained, clear-finished surface? Is there an uneven stain pattern? Are there defects in the clear coat (crazing, alligatoring, cracking, etc.)?

 

METHODS OF ANTIQUE SURFACE RE-FINISHING

 

You can remove aged or failed finishes in one of two ways:

  1. Dry sand surface, using # 80-#120 grit sandpaper, depending on the roughness of surface.
  2. Apply varnish remover to loosen all layers of finish. Key here: Treat the surface gently. Try not to scratch the wood at all, or too deeply.

 

BASIC STEPS FOR REFINISHING AN ANTIQUE SURFACE

 

  1. Clean the surface. Use lacquer thinner, or another high evaporating type solvent. Let this dry thoroughly.
  2. Determine the color of stain that you wish to use. Based on the lightness of the stain, you may have to bleach the wood so that the new product can penetrate the surface evenly.
  3. When the surface is dry, apply stain using a two-coat application with a rag and/or sponge. Let dry between coats.
  4. After 24 hours, apply multiple, thin coats of sanding sealer or shellac using spray method. Sand surface between coats, and use tack cloth.
  5. Select either a solvent-based varnish or polyurethane, or an acrylic clear coat as a top coat.
  6. Apply several finish coats by using an HVLP spray system. Lightly sand between each coat. At this point, you can use either a # 400 grit sandpaper, or emery cloth.
  7. After the surface has cured 48 hours, you may apply a polish or wax, specifically designed for wood.

 

In refinishing quality antique pieces, try to prevent scratching the wood surface. The general idea is to remove as little of the existing finish as is necessary. TIP: If a stain color change is planned, the bare wood tone after stripping must be as uniform as possible.

 

Also, by selecting a matte varnish or polyurethane finish, you will be able to camouflage any minor imperfections in the wood.

 

As a form of Nuveau furniture design, separate pieces of wood can be finished with completely different colors of stain and finish. Few people try this. But, the end result exceeds all others. It is highly decorative. And, it has similarities to the Folk Art style.

 

Finally, if you want to retain the full retail value on the antique market, don’t do anything to the piece, other than clean it. And do that very carefully!

 

Final notes: As I’ve learned, each antique piece presents its unique set of signs that it should not be refinished. Each piece presents its unique set of challenges to the person that will be refinishing and/or restoring the piece’s integrity. It is always wise to listen to both messages.

 

*****************************************************************************************

Wise is the painter/finisher who respects the true, and deeper, character of each antique piece.

*****************************************************************************************
Thank you for each visit that you’ve made to “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s World: Lars, Luxury Home Painter – Chicago Style

Lars lives in a 3-story walk-up (no elevator) apartment building off West Grand Boulevard, in northwest Chicago. He paints and also installs wallpapers in luxury “owner” apartments and condominiums on the in the North Shore and northeast side neighborhoods overlooking Lake Michigan.

 

On the average, he works on the same residence for seven to eight full days at a time. When one of the properties is sold, he is usually the first painter that the new owners contact to redecorate the home to their specifications.

 

These redecorating projects fall into three levels of work.

 

1. Minimal redecorating. Repainting one or two rooms (often the living room and master bedroom); touching up painting throughout the home. Owner involvement: Owner/client is minimally involved during the work. Approximate completion time: 1 to 3 days.

 

2. Some redecorating. New painting often needs to encorporate new owner’s color preferences into existing color scheme. Requires repainting of front hallway; main living, dining and entertainment areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Owner involvement: Owner checks in on project fairly regularly. Approximate completion time: 7 to 10 days.

 

3. Remodeling & redecorating. He works under project contractor, based on the architect’s and interior designer’s plans. Entails extensive surface prepping, following new color scheme and applying paint, special finishes and wallcoverings, also detail work. Owner involvement: Very little directly with painter and other craftspersons. Approximate completion time: 1 to 6 months.

 

PROJECT COSTS:

 

NOTE: Labor costs for Level one and two are figured at a materials plus hourly labor rate. Level three are figured on a three-part project basis: (1) materials, supplies; (2) repairs and prep work; and (3) finish work.

 

1. Projects-Level one. Materials and supplies: Lars asks the owner to pay out front for all. Or, the owner gives him a cashier’s check or money order to purchase what he needs. Labor: Owner pays one-half out front, and one-half at completion.

 

2. Projects-Level two. Property owner and Lars sign 2-page agreement, which includes the approximate itemized cost for project. Materials, supplies, equipment rental: Property owner pays Lars out front. Labor: Owner pays one-third before work begins, one-third half-way through project, one-third upon inspection and completion.

 

3. Projects-Level three. Lars signs contract agreement with project contractor, that bonds Lars. Materials and supplies, special tools, equipment rental: Lars receives debit card or access to special checking account, and purchases everything he needs out front and as needed.

Labor: Lars, like all tradespersons on project, receives “project employee” pay check on bi-weekly basis. Craftsman bonus: Upon completion and final inspections, Lars receives a bonus check, if his work is rated at A or A-plus level. That means premium craftsmanship, coming in before his deadline, and under painting and decorating budget.

 

NOTE: Lars’s bonuses are never based on the productivity level of other tradespersons on the project. They do, however, take into account the quality of the finished work of everyone on the project. Thus, Lars and the different tradespersons have an added incentive to work together, consistently, toward achieving high-end results!

 

By the way, Lars worked as an IUPAT/IBPAT painter for over fourteen years. He moved, got caught in the union’s new vested hours rule determination, and lost all fourteen years of his vested worked hours toward pension.

 

So, in late 2002, he struck out on his own. He became a one-man paintshop. Plus, he farms himself out on larger projects.

 

He says that he has never regretted the switch. “During rough times, I’ve had to take on temporary staff painting jobs with hotels and resorts… Also, I’ve worked for a non-union contractor on and off, installing wallcoverings.”

 

With a Dutch twinkle in his eyes, he adds, “I do what all professional painters do. What is necessary…what makes sense.”

 

Right you are, Lars.

 

**********************************************************************************************

CONGRATULATIONS and a big “thank you” to our Chicago Cubs for  winning the 2017 World Series. We’re all very proud of you.

**********************************************************************************************

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: Covering Substrate Flaws with Decorating Finishes

Decorative finishing can cover a lot of flaws in a substrate. Or an entire area, for that matter.

 

It is an ideal solution for improving or enhancing the aesthetic appearance of a wall, furniture piece, fixture, etc.

 

. You can get very creative in the choice of color(s), patterns, and finishes.

. You can produce amazing results within a limited time to do it – and a limited budget.

. You can use up extra paint in the paintshop, that otherwise might go unused – and go bad.

. You can add a new look, theme and spirit to the total atmosphere.

. You can even increase the value of the property.

 

I rely on decorative finishing – especially faux – to add new life to walls, trim and baseboard, window frames, built-ins, cabinetry fronts (eg. wood), and even floors and doors. It works wonders on furniture, fixtures, mirror and picture frames, decorative accessories, even faded and scratched appliance shells.

 

I’ve seen a faux finished piece or area give residents in assisted living facilities or nursing homes a tremendous lift in mood and attitude, new energy, and new interest in life. I’ve been amazed at how it can renew a sense of hope and motivation in high school students at a low-rated, run down school. I’ve watched as young, mentally challenged children in a hospital smiled and cheered when led into a colorfully accented, faux finished playroom.

 

The possibilities are practically endless. Limited only by you and your readiness to experiment, to create, to invent.

 

 

12 Tips for Creating Decorative Finishes that Float Flaws Out of Sight.

 

  1. Select a faux design or technique that will add to, not detract from, the overall design and purpose of the room, piece, etc.
  2. Uncertain what will look great, versus a visual mistake? Take a little time; and apply each finish you’re considering onto separate sample boards.
  3. Choose an easy design/technique and one color hue when you want or need fast results. Examples: colorwashing, sponging, spattering.
  4. Is your budget real tight? Choose the paint color of a product already in the paintshop.
  5. Choose a paint color that you have when both the base coat and faux glaze must closely blend with the established color scheme of the property, office, home, etc.
  6. Choose a glaze two or more hues brighter when you want to achieve a sharper contrast effect.
  7. Don’t be afraid to mix two or three faux techniques together on the same surface, or even on different parts of, say, a furniture piece. Example: Combing on table legs and feet, sponging on side panels, ragging on top.
  8. For ultimate fun, apply the same technique/design to different parts of a wall, using different colors of glaze over the same base coat color. Example: Red, rust, copper.
  9. Is the table top bruised but the rest of wood piece is okay? Choose base coat in same or darker tone of current wood finish. Then, apply glaze in dark color, that’s close to base color. Or, apply a subtle color that contrasts with the base coat.
  10. Is the front of lobby’s wood counter heavily nicked, scratched, gouged, and even cracked? Apply base coat that’s darker than the wood finish on entire unit. Then apply two colors of glazing using wood grain finish.
  11. Is the top of the general manager’s or president’s large walnut desk have ink and water stains, also burn marks? Apply black base coat. Then apply dark green, royal blue or wine glaze using marbleizing technique.
  12. When the paint amount available is limited, use dry brushing to create a textured effect.
  13. When the area is smaller, use dragging technique to create clean, striped effect.

 

 

You get the idea. There are few substrate and surface flaws that cannot be camouflaged with one or more faux finishes.

 

There are faux finish techniques available to treat nearly every surface appearance problem of a substrate.

 

******************************************************************

Take the time to learn, to try, and to use faux finishes to cover flaws

of otherwise great surfaces, areas, and pieces.

****************************************************************

Thanks, everyone, for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: What is the Best Paint?

Paints and coatings are similar. What separates them from each other is their ability to retain color and their durability of sheen.

 

The typical factors, which can affect this, are (1) surface exposure to the sun, (2) cleanliness, and (3) humidity.

 

First of all, to find the “best possible paint” for your application, consult paint store and manufacturer recommendations.

 

As a rule, you get what you pay for. Normally, the best quality paint will have the highest price. With the modern development in coatings research, the quality of paint is at its highest level. Now, there are paints which combine primer as part of their formulation.

 

Usually, I prefer to use a suitable primer, then let it dry. And I apply a top coat, especially designed for that surface and that primer-top coat combination. To each his own, however.

 

Each surface requires a paint that is specific to its requirements. You wouldn’t put latex paint on bare steel. And, you wouldn’t prime the steel with the recommended primer and then apply a latex finish paint. If you don’t know the difference, you might.

 

There are “best paints” for every class of surfaces. Here are a few of them.

 

  1. Exterior masonry. Use an elastomeric coating. It’s a high-build, water-proofing material.
  2. Steel. Use epoxy primer and finish. They provide an extremely durable, chemical resistant finish.
  3. Interior drywall. Use acrylic latex. It leaves a highly washable, color retentive finish.
  4. Non ferrous metal. Use oil galvanizing primer. It has excellent adhesive properties.
  5. Automotive. Use urethane. It has ultimate durability, high color retention, resist abrasions.
  6. All surfaces. Use oil-based paint. It provides excellent durability, color retention, resist stains.

 

Then, there are my “best brand paint picks.” Opinions may vary. Yet, there are standards of quality, cost and reputation for each manufacturer.

 

  1. Interior/Exterior house paints: #1 Glidden; #2 Sherwin Williams; #3 Behr.
  2. Wood finishes: #1 Minwax; #2 Olympia.
  3. Masonry: #1 Glidden; #2 Sherwin Williams.
  4. Fine finish metals: #1 DuPont, #2 Sherwin Williams.
  5. Industrial coatings: #1 Sherwin Williams.

 

There are many paint and coatings’ manufacturers out there. Do your research, especially when you are questioning a surface’s compatibility with a particular paint type. Paint failures or a reduced life of the sheen can occur if the wrong selection is made.

 

 

A STORY OF EXTREMES

 

As a commercial painter, I was once assigned a job to decorate the front offices and lobby of an automotive body shop. My job was to paint all of the drywall ceilings, with a flat white latex, and to apply vinyl wall coverings to all of the walls and the electrical cover plates. It sounded simple enough.

 

But as I got started, I saw several of the body shop workers carrying stack s of wood moulding into their service area. And when the doors arrived – about 12 of them, they were taken to that area as well.

 

I was busy doing my own work. Until one day, I went back and discovered a couple of body shop employees working on the doors and woodwork. They were painting them.

 

I thought:  Well, that’s just fine. Then, I realized that the paint they were using was not the run of the mill latex or oil I would have used. I was shocked, yet totally amazed at what they were doing.

 

The owner had chosen to finish his woodwork with automotive paint. I never heard of such a thing. On his own, the owner decided to experiment.

 

The product he chose to use was a two-part urethane with a clear coat final finish.  The finish was known for its unsurpassed durability and extremely high gloss.

 

Okay! I waited and continued with my duties. In the last days of my work, I got to see the carpenters putting everything up. Room by room, they installed the doors and the trim. Then the body shop guys sprayed the last coat of clear coat.

 

We had a party upon completion of the project. And we got to witness the end result. It was beyond words.

 

THE DOORS! I’m not kidding. You could see yourself. When you walked along the casing or baseboard, you could see your reflection as you walked by. Not only that: This interior finishing had the most durable finish I had ever seen.

 

When I talked to the owner, he said: “I want my shop to be the only one of its kind. I want it to be perfect. I don’t care how long it takes. And money is no object.”

 

By the way, he invited shop owners from all over the area to the party. So they could admire the work done on his body shop. And, I even got to take a bow.

 

*****************************************************************************

Creative results are often the harmonious blend of the norm with the impossible.

*****************************************************************************

 

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting It: How to Apply a Marquetry Design to a Floor

The Marquetry application is for those who aspire for decorative beauty, but do not have the funds to construct an inlaid wood floor. That tends to mean most of us. Marquetry is a combination of designs using color geometric shapes and small pictorial motifs and symbols.

 

The basis of Marquetry has its origins in Scandinavian culture. Its purpose was to bring elements from the environment and incorporate them into a durable, folk craft type floor design. It includes the use of stencils, rubber stamps and fine artistic brush work.

 

Marquetry is intended to be used to enhance the beauty of an open wood floor that is typically bare. For optimum decoration, though, the floor is best if nothing rests upon it, including around the perimeter.

 

If such a floor design interests you, try designing a small hallway floor.

 

Now, how: is such a thing accomplished?

 

  1. Design a scale drawing of your concept. Grid paper works well.

 

  1. Refer to your scale drawing.

 

Here’s what you will need to begin:

 

  1. Choose your motifs: a stencil form, or with the addition of rubber stamps.

 

  1. Choose your sheen: matte, semi-gloss, gloss, or a combination.

 

  1. Oil base finishes are recommended. Fine art oils will do.

 

  1. Use a matte shellac for quick sealing.

 

  1. Use a varnish or polyurethane for final finish protection.

 

  1. Use assorted abrasives: #220, #80, wet sandpaper, or emery cloth #400.

 

  1. Also you’ll need rags, tack clothes, mineral spirits, and easy remove masking tape.

 

 

The basic procedures – Finished wood or unfinished-bare wood floor.

 

  1. Measure off. Tape area to be painted or stained. Scuff sand surface with sandpaper.
  2. Paint in corner designs first.
  3. Then work in between placing stencils and stamps at equal measurements from corners and adjacent designs.
  4. Work multiple designs with same color.
  5. If a narrow border design is to be used, run it completely around entire perimeter.
  6. Let dry before doing block designs. Mask accordingly.
  7. When blocks are completed, seal with shellac to protect.
  8. There are four sides; blocks should be duplicated no more than twice per side.
  9. If you have chosen a center motif, measure and tape off perpendicular to the sides. Note: The scale of the motif may be adjusted up to 4 times size of the perimeter block designs.
  10. As an option for creative effect: Stain, pain, and ink can be used simultaneously.
  11. When dry, make sure to seal with shellac each individual block design.
  12. Remove masking tape as necessary; and tack cloth surface.
  13. Once designs are completely dry, lightly sand surfaces.
  14. Apply first coat of clear finish. Let dry over night.
  15. Lightly sand with #220 or #400 sandpaper, depending on overall smoothness of the wood.
  16. Apply second coat of varnish, polyurethane or clear acrylic.
  17. In ten days, apply floor wax (optional). The work is completed.

 

A Marquetry design can be finished in any number of ways. It does not have to be traditional as in Folk Art. If you are doing a child’s room, animals, clowns and rocket ships are excellent choices.

 

If it is a family dining room with a light stain colored finish, try using traditional miniature farm scenes with fruits and vegetables placed in between. A stencil works well because it creates an easy method of producing repeatable designs.

 

And if you choose a contemporary design, try using world symbols as a motif. Vary the colors. A neat trick would then be to apply a varnish with various sheens on different block.

 

In decorating a floor, there are many options available. Some are simpler than others. Choose a design motif that fits your personality, level of skill, budget, and time allotment.

 

Remember: If you cover the design with furniture, you will have defeated the purpose of Marquetry.  That’s one reason it works exceptionally well in hallways.

 

*****************************************

Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

Tag Cloud