WEEK COMMENCING 21 MAY 2023
Have you had a good week? We’ve been a bit short-staffed this week, holidays and illness, so it’s been all hands to the deck. I don’t think our service level has dropped, which is a testament to the great team here.
This means I’m really looking forward to the long weekend, and a chance to put my feet up. Do you have any plans? For many of us it’s the last Bank Holiday until August, although if you’re in Northern Ireland you get an extra one in July, so I hope the weather is good, and you can make the most of it.
I had an email during the week with the subject line ‘Disaster!’, so I knew it wasn’t going to be good! It was a regular reader, who had applied our Acrylic Gloss Lacquer over a painted design. All was well, a second coat was applied, but between coats the piece had been moved outside…and a piece of the newspaper protecting the spraying platform was blown onto the wet lacquer by the wind! To make it worse, the lacquer had dried with the paper still stuck to it. What could be done to save the piece, without damaging the painted design beneath the lacquer??
My suggestion was to use a very fine abrasive, wetted with water for extra lubrication, and gently sand the area back. Hopefully, this would remove the unwanted paper without cutting through the lacquer, thus avoiding damage to the paintwork. This was done, and it did the trick. The piece was saved and we had a happy customer!
Whilst it’s always useful to have a Plan B, the A Plan should always be to avoid the possibility of something like this happening. If possible, always protect your drying work from dust, flies, errant newspaper and any other contaminants determined to spoil your work
Another email this week asked for my opinion on something often heard on YouTube, as well as other places. Are all finishes really food safe once they have dried/cured? Frankly, my opinion on that probably isn’t printable, but suffice to say I think it’s misleading, unhelpful and potentially dangerous.
It would be great if it truly were the case, but it isn’t. The argument is, that once the solvents have evaporated, there’s nothing left that can be harmful. But this shows a lack of understanding of the materials used in making finishes, and also how they might be affected by the oils and acids in foodstuffs.
The best way I can think of to dispel this myth is this: we test many of our products to the EN71-3 regulations for toys, to ensure that the dried film doesn’t contain anything that could injure a child if licked or chewed etc. Seventeen different elements (all of which could be used in coatings), are tested for. (A full list is here if you’re curious).
If all coatings were food safe, there would be no need for this test, or for nursery paints and associated items. After all, if it was safe for food contact, how could it be dangerous for a child? Many coatings are toy safe, but many more aren’t, simply because they don’t need to be.
I believe that the existence of this test requirement can be used to prove that not all finishes are food safe once dried.
After two fairly in-depth – and lengthy – answers, here’s a simpler one to finish off with. I was contacted by someone who had made a bird box. All was fine, until it developed a crack, which had been turned into a feature by adding a band of red-stained wood. The problem was, the existing wood had been coated with Finishing Oil, and the maker wanted to keep the vibrant red of the stain (Finishing Oil would darken it slightly). The best option for the red band was our Acrylic Gloss Lacquer, but this could cause problems if overspray went onto the oil. (In time, the lacquer could delaminate from the oil and start to look tatty). Simple solution? Masking tape! Make sure the oil is completely dry, and mask it off.
I’ve mentioned bird boxes before, saying that the RSPB advice was to leave them pretty much untreated, on the inside at least. My thanks to Colin W for providing the link to this that I couldn’t find
That’s everything for this week, I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll be back again next Friday – same time, same place!