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Thread: piano finish

  1. #1
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    piano finish

    I need to put a piano finish on parts for a bed. By piano finish, I mean a gloss black which is so smooth that you can't tell there's wood underneath it. I only spray waterbornes, so traditional piano finish schemes don't exactly work. My plan is to start with a fine-grained wood - likely soft maple - sand carefully, and apply primer. The primer I'm considering is General Finish's sanding sealer, colored with black UTC. I'll apply primer, and resand. My aim with the primer is to fill any wood pores, and nail down any little whisps of wood. I may need several cycles of primer and sanding. Eventually I should get to a surface which is completely primer and has no hints that wood is underneath. At that point, I'll spray with gloss black -- likely General Finish's Black Poly -- for 2-3 coats.

    Comments? Advice?

  2. #2
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    I don’t use waterborne so don’t know if there is a comparable product. I sprayed several coats black primer/surfacer which has a much higher solids content than regular primer then high gloss clear then buffed it out.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  3. #3
    If I were looking for a mirror black finish, I'd spray last two or three coats with clear that was able to be cut and buffed. I'm a solvent guy but I do know some folks have used Target waterborne which they say handle like solvent based lacquer. Most polyurethanes will develop halos if sanding through layers.

    If I went the Target route, I'd likely use their compatible primer, then tint clear black for color coats, then same clear. A cut and polished finish will always be more refined than off-the-gun if done well, but it's work for sure.

    As much as I hate to say it, this is the kind of finish that composites like MDF really do well at. More stable than solid wood and easier to get to the finish you describe. Yet another choice, I guess.

    https://www.targetcoatings.com/produ...ction-lacquer/
    Last edited by Peter Rawlings; 08-17-2019 at 8:01 PM.

  4. #4
    This may seem obvious, but practice, practice, practice. Process a small piece of the same wood you're using in the same way you're working it and try the finish on it before doing so on your completed work. Better to work out the kinks on it.

  5. #5
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    You can use a water borne black, such as EM6500, clear coat it heavily and then rub it out using micromesh followed by various polishes...just like doing a guitar, but much larger project.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the thoughts.
    This black part is going to be challenging to make, much less paint. It is a rim on a platform bed, running around the lower edge of the mattress. It is 3" tall half-round. At the two corners at the foot, it bends around the corner with a 3" radius. Carving those corners out of MDF sounds easy, but it will expose a whole lot of the MDF core, which in my experience is very difficult to seal. My plan is to bent-laminate the corner from thin layers of maple.
    There are no flat surfaces on this rim. On the down side, that means all the sanding will be by hand; all my power sanders make surfaces flat. On the up side, sanding divots won't be as glaring as on a flat surface.

    Jim, I find on the Target web site this "EM6500 is only available in a Satin/35 Sheen". Starting with a satin sheen to get to a gloss surface seems to me like a bad starting point?

    Peter, yes I'm concerned about polishing poly or waterborne just to see witness lines between layers. A fix would be solvent lacquer, but I don't want to spray that stuff. I'm hoping I can get a good enough surface right off the gun. I hope, I hope.
    Last edited by Jamie Buxton; 08-17-2019 at 11:36 PM.

  7. #7
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    Jamie, the EM6500 in satin is fine for this since as I noted you want to shoot a whole lot of clear on top of it for the type of finish you want to achieve. There is a lot of hand-work involved in getting that "perfect" high gloss, so the base color coats are not going to matter all that much if they are satin. I've done the same with the GF "milk paint" in black for the back of a guitar body, too. BTW, with the EM6500/EM6000 there will be no "witness lines" like there would be with many other finishes like polyurethane...the Target products are formulated to "burn in" like solvent lacquers which means you only have "one layer" of finish when you are done.

    For filling, check out ZPoxy as you are correct that getting the best surface first is essential to get that great gloss later. ZPoxy seals and fills...multiple coats probably needed...and sands out nicely. Follow that with a couple of coats of high-solids primer before moving on to color and clears. It's a whole lot of work to get what you want, but it can be done.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
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    For getting a perfect, high gloss finish, I don't know of anything that will get you there any quicker than the 3M Perfect It system. I started using it 30 years ago doing boat repairs, and their system has gotten a lot more complicated since then.

    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/collisio...ts/perfect-it/

    Go down to the middle of that page, and watch the video. Nobody can get that finish off the gun.

    edited to add: The really fine wet sanding can be done by hand, which is the way I've done it so far. Durablock pads (or similar-can't remember the brand names) come in different flex grades to back up the sandpaper.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 08-18-2019 at 10:21 AM.

  9. #9
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    Well, the customer heard the cost, and opted for another design. I'm relieved.

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