A New Way To Spray Makes Painting Easier

Painting can be an easy, economical way to spruce up your home, inside and out. Each year, millions of Americans put a new coat on their homes, touch up furniture, paint fences or decks. Apart from being tedious, it can be messy, take forever to complete and, in many cases, may not result in the smooth, professional finish you were hoping to achieve.

A new painting technology overcomes all this and at the same time saves you time and money. Touted as “The New Way to Spray,” High Volume/Low Pressure (HVLP) spray-painting systems make large or detail jobs faster, easier, more precise and more controlled than the traditional paintbrush, electric gun or compressor system. Manufacturers say HVLP users find painting friendlier and more enjoyable due to its efficiency in application and control-and no previous spraying experience is required.

hvlp1The preferred choice of many Europeans, HVLP systems, from companies such as Earlex, Graco and Wagner, use one-third less paint to do the job because of exceptional paint transfer efficiency, minimal over-spray, almost zero bounce back and less waste common with other methods.

These versatile systems let users spray any surface, from siding to decking, doors, walls and ceilings, furniture, wicker, fences, sheds, kitchen/bathroom tile-even flowerpots. The gun rarely clogs and cleanup is “faster than a paintbrush.”

HVLP systems are paint-friendly and can be used with latex, lacquer, varnish, enamel, oils, acrylic, eggshell, fence and deck stain, polyurethane, shellac and automobile paint. The best systems have lightweight guns that don’t vibrate in your hand and are generally quiet and easy to use. Proper protective clothing, such as a face mask and eye mask, are recommended.hvlp2

Setup is simple. After filling the spray gun with paint, connect the hose and turn it on. With most systems, a turbine motor feeds a high volume of air through the gun at low pressure. The airflow forces the paint from the cup to the nozzle, where it atomizes the paint into fine particles. The air jacket around the paint ensures that overspray is minimal and gives the user optimum control of the spray.

With most systems, paint volume is adjustable with spray patterns as fine as one inch, up to 12 inches wide. For best results, users should spray 10 to 12 inches from the object using a horizontal and then a vertical spray pattern. Round spray patterns are also available with some systems.  Costs will run $120 to $200 at your local home improvement store.

a complete wood repair newbie on how to repair ornate wood trim

If you’d like to know how to repair wood carvings, and have a good sense of shaping material, I will teach you how I did it myself. I have a cane I use if my ankle is sore and I’ve dropped it one too many times. The right side of the naga’s face was broken off partially, and the tongue was chipped off. This is some really delicate work to restore, not just a ding you fill with wood putty. The cane can’t be ordered anymore, either.

This cane was handcarved in Indonesia and was purchased from National Geographic's store, Novica

This cane was handcarved in Indonesia and was purchased from National Geographic’s store, Novica


The left side and tongue were heavily damaged


IMG_20140705_102236_672 asked Ken, the owner how to repair the trim and he suggested two-part epoxy, like this stuff:

I got this stuff at the Ace Hardware store over on Cooper Point and Harrison, on the West Side of Olympia.

I got this stuff at the Ace Hardware store over on Cooper Point and Harrison, on the West Side of Olympia.

Okay, so the epoxy is designed to be carvable, sandable and stainable. The finish would be easy to match since it’s just a basic espresso.

I start off by cutting up a paper cup for mixing the two parts of the chemicals together.

You don't want to ruin a nice cup.

You don’t want to ruin a nice cup.


The instructions for this particular epoxy called for a 1:1 ratio which I mixed thoroughly

The instructions for this particular epoxy called for a 1:1 ratio which I mixed thoroughly



I applied the mixture in dabs, roughly shaping it to the angle of the face and putting a dab on the tongue.IMG_20140705_104325_062

Letting it dry into a putty like texture, after 20 minutes I was able to shape the tongue and face to match the other side that wasn’t damaged. It required a lot of babysitting, especially the tongue which kept trying to droop until it had hardened enough to stay curved.


It looks the same when dried – there’s no shrink. Now it was time to smooth the rough edges, using some simple tools. Nail file, sanding block and whittling knife! I would have liked better tools but this is all I had to work with.


Done! Now it’s time to stain, using a stain marker.


Not perfect, but much better!

Painting Used Furniture

If you think of painted furniture as a scraped-up old chair you pick up at the flea market to put in the laundry room, think again. Painting used furniture has many benefits. It is great if you want to update your home on a budget, while keeping it stylish and is the most eco-friendly way to do so. It also allows you to get creative and add your own personality to your home. Consider it a work of art. Did you ever think of painted furniture as art? You don’t need to be especially artistically gifted to successfully create a conversation starter as well as a true work of art.

Before you get started, take a mental survey of what it is that you want.

What piece of furniture do I want? Where is it going and what will it be used for?

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Once you know what piece it is your painting, start thinking about the style of the piece.

What look are you going for?  If you don’t have an idea of the look you’re trying to achieve, then look on the internet for inspiration. Pinterest.com is an awesome site for ideas of all kind and will show you different styles of old furniture and what they look like painted.

Now that you have an idea of the style of the piece you are looking for, you can begin your furniture hunt.

painted furniture 2

Start your search on Craigslist. Many people do not see the need for their grandmother’s 1940’s highboy dresser and are selling it for next to nothing. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Flea markets are also a good source but the prices can run a bit high.  Here at Furniture Works, we have a large selection of affordable used wood pieces, such as dressers, nightstands, and hutches. All of which can be repainted to look like a one of a kind designer piece.

The next step is choosing the colors and the design.

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Choose a base color; buy some acrylic paint in a can and a good brush. Get a set of small bottles of acrylic paint in several colors at a crafts store and an inexpensive set of little brushes. Paint your furniture item. Acrylic dries quickly, so you’re ready to move on in half an hour.

Use any colors you fancy. Bright, primary colors are favorites with kids. For your teen daughter, various pastel shades may be just the ticket. If you’ve chosen a dark green as your base color, a burnt orange can provide a nice contrast.

When you’re doing this type of painted furniture project, you can ad lib, painting an appealing shape wherever it pleases you. Maybe you’ll then outline that shape in a contrasting color. Painted furniture can be a kind of pop-art creation. Perhaps you want to paint a vine that drapes gracefully across the chair seat or runs across the table like a runner. How about stripes on the rungs of the chair? Anything goes. A geometric pattern can look very attractive, a la Mondrian.  If you are not so good with painting freehand, then create or download an attractive stencil. You can also find painted rollers with patterns on them at hardware stores.

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There are some other tricks of the painted furniture trade you’ll want to explore while creating your work of art. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water and layered over another color, a bit like batik. A swath of light blue crossing over a purple area creates a new shade and added dimension. There are clear acrylic gels which you can use to dilute the color while retaining the same body of the full strength paint.  You can also create a cottage chic look by sanding the corners and edges lightly after the paint has dried. Experiment and have fun.

When you’ve completed this first project, consider the possibilities.  Remember that practice makes perfect so plan ahead and practice your designs and experiment with colors on a piece of paper beforehand. This will ensure that you are satisfied with the piece and will encourage you to keep going. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look like the pictures. Your piece is unique and it is a one of a kind created by you!

A painted furniture project is one you can put away and pick right back up when it’s convenient to your schedule. I can almost guarantee you’ll be eager to come back and work some more, because it’s a therapeutic and satisfying activity. Be forewarned that painted furniture projects can be addicting, just for the pleasure of creating a little work of art.

Tips for keeping your wood furniture in great condition

There is nothing like wood furniture to add elegance and beauty to a home. Whether it is a thick, all-natural butchers block table, an Art Deco wooden dresser, a simple mahogany dining room table or a sleek, modern coffee table, wood furniture is a staple in homes across America and the world. Make sure your wood tables, vanities and dressers stay gorgeous for generations to come with these simple solutions and guidelines.

Stain, Stain, Go Away!

Ever gasped after a child inadvertently left a giant scratch in the surface of your dining room table? Or cringed when a well-meaning adult accidentally knocked over a drink onto your beautiful wood coffee table? Well, fear not. One of the best attributes of wood furniture is that it is simple to touch up or renew its original luster.

Small nicks and scratches can usually be disguised with the help of a store-bought scratch cover product. For larger scratches, try using a felt tip pen or shoe polish in a color closely matched to the finish of the furniture piece. Shoe polish applicator bottles filled with the stain work well for the cover-up job, as do Sharpie markers. Coloring in the scratch is easy and surprisingly effective.

Get rid of pesky water spots and small nicks or scratches on your wood furniture easily and safely by using Howards Restor-a-Finish. This is Furniture Works most favorite refinisher. This product comes in any color to match your piece. Choose the right color and apply it to an old cloth. Gently rub the cloth in circles all over the piece to restore its original finish. The results are spectacular!

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And what about candle wax, marring the beautiful finish of your wood dining room table? Wait until the wax cools, then apply ice. Once the wax becomes extremely hard and brittle, gently scrape it off with a plastic spatula. Finally, polish the table with a rich cream polish, and buff away any residue.

Prevent serious damage to your wood furniture by taking care not to position it in direct sunlight. Unless you are going for the weathered picnic table look, shield all wood furniture from the drying influence of the sun. Also, protect your dining room table’s finish using an inexpensive table pad when the table is not in use.

When eating a meal or entertaining guests, use a tablecloth or placemats to protect the finish of a wood table, especially when serving hot food. Place hot serving dishes atop a hot pad and candle holders over a large felt protector with a plastic top, since plastic prevents wax from running.

Use coasters beneath all glasses and mugs to protect your coffee table, dining room table and wood dressers from unsightly rings and water spots. Beware, because not all coasters are created equal. Metal coasters can sweat onto the wood, and plastic coasters can react with certain finishes on some wood furniture pieces. So consider choosing wooden coasters with felt backing and a waterproof material on top to further ensure the longevity of your wood table tops. The best coasters are those that taper up on the sides, preventing leakage.

Proper Care and Cleaning

Polishing wood furniture every week goes a long way toward protecting the finish from damage and helping your wood tables, chairs and dressers look their best. Beware, though, of cheap polishes, or any polish that contains silicone or alcohol. Alcohol can do permanent damage to a wood surface, as can any household cleaner that contains ammonia. An excellent polish can be easily made at home, by combining lemon oil with 3 parts olive oil. A wonderful product that we use for our pieces in the store is Howards Feed-N-Wax orange oil. It conditions and cleans the dirtiest of wood.

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Now that you know about polishes, don’t forget to clean your wood furniture as well. Regular cleaning is especially important for coffee tables and dining room tables where food and drink are daily staples. Use a very mild soap, such as a diluted mixture of hand soap and water, as a cleaning agent for your wood furniture. And if you really want to ensure your dining room table or heirloom wood desk stays beautiful, have your wood furniture buffed and polished by a professional service once or twice a year.

Now you are fully armed to properly care for your wood furniture. And don’t be disheartened if you are unable to make a nick or small stain disappear completely. Signs of use can add character to a piece of wood furniture, and are often barely noticeable. Whether it is a dresser, coffee table, bookshelf, desk, or dining room table, wood furniture is the perfect addition to any home.

Simple Refinishing Tips for Old and Outdated Furniture

Refinishing furniture is easier than it was ten or twenty years ago. Did you know you can recolor leather, vinyl and fabric quite easily? There are special products on the market now that let you paint fabric couches, spray on leather color and even waterproof it for patio use. I will introduce you to some of these technique and special tools and you can see if they would work for some of the old pieces lying around your house. 


 These are outdated in today’s computerized age, but they’re still used by painters for doing measurements of complex geometric patterns.  Projecting a floral pattern onto a dresser can allow you to paint within the lines and create a beautiful custom piece. The image will wrap around curves and nooks and crannys, taking away the guesswork on painting the pattern. Continue reading