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post #901 of 1236 Old 04-02-2013, 06:28 PM
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I haven't used their stain, but I've read a lot about it. Trying talking to fax6202 over in the Kinetic River Cinema, he's pretty well versed in all things stained. Actually, I think he may have been the one that turned me on to General Finishes.

I personally would try both and see what works for you. I don't think alcohol would be a big deal if it gives you a better finish (and I think that will be the case).

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post #902 of 1236 Old 04-02-2013, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Tim.  I think you are right.  I think it will be worth trying it out with alcohol.  I spent some time talking with someone at the supplier and he suggested just practicing on some scrap pieces to get the sprayer adjusted and it should be ok.  He repeated what others have said - I will be much happier with the results if I spray the finish.

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post #903 of 1236 Old 04-07-2013, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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This week's update has two parts. (1) The build status & (2) some drama.  I decided to separate it for those of you who are only interested in the build portion.

 

Earlier this week, I finally finished the lip on the front soffit.  The ogee turned out great.  It gives it a really clean look.  I really like it a lot.  Now the only question is, do I paint it black, or maybe even sand and stain it so that it blends in.  I will have to do some tests before deciding.  Using the tape to help prevent the veneer from ripping worked very well.  I only had two extremely small chips in the veneer.  I think with sanding and staining you won't even know.

 

 

The bigger accomplishment this week was finishing the veneer on the trim!  I am so happy that is over.  By the end, I had it down to a science, but it was still very time consuming.  248 feet - I hope it was worth it.

 

 


 

With the exception of the projector shelf/box, that should be the last of the veneering.  I am ready to begin prepping for stain.  With any luck, one of the colors I ordered will work and I can begin staining soon. I made up a couple of small boards with 3x5 veneer pieces on them so that I can make some stain samples.  I have about 5 combinations I plan to try out.

 

I may post this question in another thread, but when do you suggest stopping the wood cutting, routing, etc. in the theater?  It is really convenient, but it is also very dusty.  I am worried that once I start making the wall panels it will make way too much of a mess and they will get very dusty.  On the other hand, I don't know if I like the idea of running up and down the stairs to the garage for every cut.

 

The last big news is that my screen arrived this week!  I purchased a 140" wide curved anamorphic screen from Seymour/Screen Excellence.  It was a VERY long process, but that is where the drama comes in...

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

A few months ago, I decided I wanted to pck my screen so that I could have all of the measurements as I finished up my build.  I new it would take some time to order it and I didn't want to be scrambling at the last minute (of course, little did I know I was nowhere near finished rolleyes.gif).  After lots of research, I decided I really wanted to order an SMX screen.  The main deciding factor for me was that I had seen two of them in person and really loved them.  There wasn't the risk of picking something I had never seen in person.

 

I started calling around for quotes.  I contacted all of the usual suppliers - including AVS.  I had recently received my projector from them and was very happy with the transaction.  They didn't seem real interested in ordering the SMX screen for me and even advised against it (hind site - good advice).  As previously mentioned, I was really set on getting an SMX since I was familiar with their product.

 

I decided to ask Scott Horton from TechHT for pricing (GetGray here on AVS).  I had spoken with Scott multiple times about theater equipment and he was always glad to share his knowledge. I had originally spoken with him a month earlier about my projector.  Even after buying from someone else, he was still very friendly and helpful.  When I asked him about SMX, he agreed that they make a great product.  He told me that if that was what I really wanted, he would call Ruben and find out if there are any delays in ordering.  After speaking with Ruben, he was reassured that they could make the screen and they would even do a custom radius for no additional charge.

 

I was glad to hear this.  Based on Scotts help with the selection of my screen (and other products) and his great price, I pulled the trigger and sent Scott my money for the screen.  Within a few days he confirmed that he received my check and said he would order the screen right away.  He anticipated that it would take a few weeks to complete the order, but we would get an order confirmation and screen drawings within a few days to ensure the order was correct.

 

The next day, Scott contacted me to tell me that he spoke with SMX after sending in the order and they told him that they would require payment in advance and they couldn't accept credit cards for this high of an amount due to the fees.  Scott pushed them a bit and finally agreed to send them a check.  A week or so later Scott confirmed that the check had been cashed.  He contacted SMX to ask them how soon the order could be completed now that they had the money.  He left them multiple messages and didn't hear back for a couple of days.  Around the same time, someone from the forum contacted me telling me that they had an outstanding order with SMX that was pre-paid in the fall.  They said they received several excuses, but were always told it would be done within a couple of weeks.

 

Of course, being very nervous, I called Scott right away and told him what I had just heard.  This combined with AVS's concerns that they had voiced when I originally contacted them had me worried.  Scott agreed that this may not be a good sign, but reassured me that no matter what I would get a screen.  He asked me to give SMX some time and if they didn't come through, I wouldn't be out any money.

 

He ended up contacting Ruben directly and actually ended up getting a call from his sales manager.  They apologized and told him they had been very busy with an extremely large customer out of the country and they would get a status on my order after the weekend.  We were both very skeptical, but on Monday he actually received a call.  He was told that they were waiting for some of the materials to arrive and it would be a few days before they could start my screen.  This was the same excuse others had heard months earlier.  Scott told them that if they couldn't have the screen shipped within two weeks he wanted his money back.  That's when things started to get interesting.  They told him they were in the middle of an audit and couldn't write a check until the audit was competed.  If the screen wasn't completed by the time the audit was done, they would cut him a check.

 

I won't go into the rest of the details, but lots of phone calls, lots of promises to get my screen done, but nothing was happening.  This entire time, Scott kept telling me that I had nothing to worry about - I wouldn't lose any money.  On one hand, this made me feel better, but on the other hand, I felt horrible that Scott may lose thousands of dollars.  We finally hit a point where we had been contacted by others who had paid upfront, but received nothing.  Some people lost up to ten times more than what Scott had sent.  It really wasn't looking good.

 

Scott finally told me that this entire thing could take a while to be settled (good or bad) and he started talking to me about if I wanted to go ahead and order a different screen.  I was amazed.  He was out thousands of dollars, yet he stepped up and offered to order a replacement for me right away.  He could have easily told me that I have to wait until he got his money, sued them, whatever, but he didn't.

 

After some research, I finally decided to go with the Seymour/Screen Excellence screen with 4K material.  I figured it was the closest match to the SMX and Scott was offering it to me for an excellent price (applying the money I had already sent).  Scott ordered the screen for me and it arrived a couple of weeks later.  I am going to wait to assemble it, but looking at the parts, it looks like it is made with excellent materials and is extremely high quality.  Thanks to Chris for the excellent screen.  More importantly, thanks to Scott for being an outstanding business person.  As far as I am concerned, he hit it out of the park with his customer service.

 

I wouldn't hesitate to buy from him again.  In fact, I just ordered my GOM fabric from him this week.  His price was by far the best I found anywhere.  (plus I already have more goodies in the queue with Scott smile.gif).  If you are looking for any home theater equipment, he is the guy to contact.  No matter what stage you are in with your build, you should contact him.  He will provide excellent advice and service at any stage.

 

Sorry for the long rant - I am sad to see things turn so bad for what was once a well known and respected vendor here on AVS, but even more sad for what they knowingly did to several people here on the forum.

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post #904 of 1236 Old 04-07-2013, 08:06 PM
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ouch, [insert good/bad here] karma begets itself, glad you got your screen Nick.
Seems many small business got pinched in supply chain chicken/egg thing money from customer/money to order tier 2-3 supplies even in this post recession era.
If certain % of customers bails on SMX then it's like a big run on a bank and they will go under.....kinda sad.
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post #905 of 1236 Old 04-07-2013, 09:58 PM
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Thanks for the positive input Nick.

FWIW, I was happy to try to order Nick an SMX screen having sold and recommended others in the past. While other people reported trouble communicating with SMX, I never had any trouble, until this mess anyway. The direct loss will be $4400 for me, unfortunately much more for some others. What's sad is they were graciously taking money and cashing checks with no apparent intent or ability to give anyone anything. May still be. All indications are that there was no product to ship; it was complete, utter fraud. I know several of their biggest customers/distributors who did hundreds of thousands of bushiness with them per year. They are left numb too, asking me where to fill the vacuum left for their pending orders of the high dollar 4-way masking systems. What's also sad IMO is that only gross mismanagement could pile drive a business with that level of name recognition and known pending sales into the ground, and to add insult to injury steal from people on the way out. I don't care how bad things are, you don't steal from people. Or you get my encouragement to spend some time in the pokey.

There are several in the same boat who have pooled resources. Criminal charges including felony mail fraud are on the table, civil suits will be in there as well, however pointless they may be. I hope one way or another a payment will be made.

Please excuse my vent frown.gif That's just he highlights smile.gif

On the lighter side, none of this was Nicks problem. I take a lot of pride in my customer service and value added service to the DIY market. I was grateful Nick was patient while we were in limbo with SMX, being fed excuse after excuse, when we could get any reply at all. But after a reasonable time, I couldn't wait any longer for Nick's sake. I knew I had been duped and it was time to get Nick an alternative product. Thank goodness for Chris Seymour and Screen Excellence who has an excellent alternative.

Cheers,
Scott
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post #906 of 1236 Old 04-08-2013, 04:55 AM
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Wow. I had seen the SMX thread over in the Screens forum, so I knew there was something going on. Sorry to hear you were both pinched by them. At some point in the future the thread will probably be updated with the results of court proceedings. It's really too bad... I followed the thread from before he started testing shearweave samples.

But on to the positive side! I'm glad that ogee worked out for you. I would try staining a sample and see if that works for you. I think it will look just as good as painting it... Without the hassles of masking/cutting in.

As for stopping the cutting.. When I started finishing my waiscotting I stopped cutting. After I had the final coat on that, but prior to painting the walls.. I did a little more cutting, but I had the vacuum attached to the tools. Note well the vacuum is not a 100% solution.. I still had some dust coming out of the miter saw, but the vacuum reduced the dust by 80-90%. After the final coat was on the walls.. No more cutting/routing/sanding. The dust will stick to everything.. And by now you know what a PITA that flat black paint is.

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post #907 of 1236 Old 04-08-2013, 05:38 AM
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Ouch! Sorry to hear about that Nick....and Scott! Let's hope their intent to supply was good and that they will do the right thing and refund money for unfilled orders or otherwise fill the order if an alternative had not been purchased.

I had heard SMX was having some supply chain issues because they used an extruder in New Jersey for all of their aluminum frames and that this extruder was essentially shut down after Hurricane Sandy passed through and destroyed the facility. They gave me a mid-2013 delivery time period the last I had called and inquired.
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post #908 of 1236 Old 04-08-2013, 05:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Tim,

 

I sanded the ogee and it looks good.  The color of the sanded MDF is very close to the color of the oak.  I think if it will take the stain well, it will look good.  I'm worried that it may darken it a lot more than the oak, but that may still be better than black.

 

I think you are right about the dust.  I have the fabric on my front wall, but it is covered by plastic.  The plastic is completely covered in saw dust.  The black paint on the ceiling where I cut in the corners before putting up the soffits is now tan instead of black smile.gif.  I have pretty much decided that once I finish sanding the veneer, I am going to completely clean the room before staining and not cut wood in there anymore.  

 

The weather is starting to break here - most days end up above freezing now (even though it is still cold at night), so I should be able to work in the garage.

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post #909 of 1236 Old 04-08-2013, 05:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Ouch! Sorry to hear about that Nick....and Scott! Let's hope their intent to supply was good and that they will do the right thing and refund money for unfilled orders or otherwise fill the order if an alternative had not been purchased.

I had heard SMX was having some supply chain issues because they used an extruder in New Jersey for all of their aluminum frames and that this extruder was essentially shut down after Hurricane Sandy passed through and destroyed the facility. They gave me a mid-2013 delivery time period the last I had called and inquired.

 

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they are going to be refunding anyone's money.  They are officially gone.  I got word that someone went by the factory and it was shut down.  The phones are disconnected and the web site is gone.  There were some other very strange activities as well, but I will let others chime in on that since I didn't see/hear it first hand.  Unfortunately, I have a strong feeling that this is going to turn into a criminal situation.

 

You heard it was aluminum, we heard it was fabric.  I think everyone who called got a different story.

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post #910 of 1236 Old 04-08-2013, 07:54 AM
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I'm glad you got your screen but that is sad to hear about SMX. This stuff goes on in all hobbies though. I was thinking of getting a built block for my car at one point and came to find out the guy who was highly recommended and had built good race blocks before had skipped the county with $1000's in unfulfilled orders. Bad stuff.

The MacBeth Theater (flood resilient build)
 

Play like a Raven

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post #911 of 1236 Old 04-08-2013, 08:46 PM
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Wow what a mess to say the least. There are stories like this all over the place, (bad examples and good examples) of how business are run. Sound like you did have one outstanding and no holes barred prize fighter on your side though with Scott though. That is very impressive CS right there.

I have always tried to praise in public and criticize in private, but under the circumstances regarding SMX I think it's prudent to let people know what's going on so that others don't fall into any trap or false sense of security. Hopefully Scott can make up the loss with people here and elsewhere supporting him due to his excellent CS.

Thanks for sharing.

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post #912 of 1236 Old 04-09-2013, 03:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

I have always tried to praise in public and criticize in private, but under the circumstances regarding SMX I think it's prudent to let people know what's going on so that others don't fall into any trap or false sense of security. Hopefully Scott can make up the loss with people here and elsewhere supporting him due to his excellent CS.
 

 

You are absolutely right.  The only real reason for posting this story was to ensure others were aware so they don't make the same mistake.  Who knows if he is still asking people to send money (not likely since the phone number is shut down).

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post #913 of 1236 Old 04-11-2013, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I sprayed some samples of the stain I bought.  I didn't have any denatured alcohol, so I used water for the samples.  So far I am not that excited about any of the colors.  Everything seems way too brown.  I did try doing one piece with just a bright red stain, but it was way too transparent when it dried.  I am going to work on more samples this weekend.  I'm not going to move forward until I have something I really like.

 

In the mean time, I am prepping all of the wood for stain.  I began sanding the columns last night.  Hopefully this weekend I can finish sanding the wood, cleaning the room completely so it is dust free for spraying and mask the walls and ceiling with plastic.

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post #914 of 1236 Old 04-11-2013, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
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I sprayed some samples of the stain I bought.  I didn't have any denatured alcohol, so I used water for the samples.  So far I am not that excited about any of the colors.  Everything seems way too brown.  I did try doing one piece with just a bright red stain, but it was way too transparent when it dried.  I am going to work on more samples this weekend.  I'm not going to move forward until I have something I really like.

In the mean time, I am prepping all of the wood for stain.  I began sanding the columns last night.  Hopefully this weekend I can finish sanding the wood, cleaning the room completely so it is dust free for spraying and mask the walls and ceiling with plastic.


Sorry the samples aren't looking encouraging. There are a few guys on the forum that are pretty adept and staining. fax6202 is one and ifeliciano (sp?) is another one. I think you have to seal the veneer first, then put a few coats of stain on.

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post #915 of 1236 Old 04-11-2013, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Tim.  I contacted both of them.  Hopefully they will have some good pointers for me.

 

Thinking out loud - first of all, I mixed up some stain using denatured alcohol.  I think the water was raising the grain too much which may have been part of my problem.  I did a sample using a 50/50 mix of red and red mahogany dye.  I rubbed in a few coats, letting the alcohol evaporate between coats. It is much closer to what I am looking for.  Still a bit lighter and a bit browner, but a lot closer.

 

With that said, I may try something else to see if it helps.  I have some grain sealer in a red mahogany color - the same stuff sandman used in the middle of his process.  I wonder if I can put it on first to seal the grain (which would also darken the grain and slightly darken the wood), and then apply the new stain.  I didn't want to do the grain sealer after I applied the stain/dye because I was afraid the harsher chemicals might lift the dye.  If I apply it first and let it dry, the alcohol in the dye shouldn't impact the sealer.

 

Last thought - I wonder if the top coat would darken the color at all.  I don't think it should, but wasn't 100% positive.

 

I guess I have some more work to do to find the right combination.  I am getting closer to acceptable.  Hopefully this weekend I will figure out how to get the finish I want.

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post #916 of 1236 Old 04-12-2013, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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First - a huge thanks to both Mr. Tim and Dave (fax6202) for all of the staining help.  I have gone from complete disappointment at the beginning of the week to being close to my end goal at the end of the week.  It is amazing what a difference one day can make.

 

Tonight I decided to start from scratch and work on some new test samples for the stain.  I ended up much closer to where I had hoped to be.  The real test is going to be how it looks with the finish coat on it.  I am waiting for the high performance poly to be delivered some time next week, so in the mean time I will work on prep and fine tuning the color.

 

Here is the look I am wanting to achieve:

 

 

 

 

Here is a preview of where I am so far (without the satin poly finish).  I apologize for the chewed up veneer sample.  It was left over from my ogee test.

 

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post #917 of 1236 Old 04-12-2013, 08:08 PM
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What would you say it needs in order to reach the goal (which I like, quite a bit)? Just the satin poly? more coats? more brown tones? Or is it really there, I can't see it because of the different lighting?
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post #918 of 1236 Old 04-12-2013, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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What would you say it needs in order to reach the goal (which I like, quite a bit)? Just the satin poly? more coats? more brown tones? Or is it really there, I can't see it because of the different lighting?

 

Fred, 

 

the poly finish may be all it needs.  I'm going to let it dry overnight and see how it looks.  When sandman did it, he added a red stain to the top coat.  I applied several coats of dye right on top of each other (three colors).  I plan to spray the plain poly with no tint to see how it looks.  The biggest difference with this test was how much the grain pops.

 

By the way, you are right, the lighting is completely different in the two photos.  I actually was taking the samples and putting them against the wall under the lights in the soffit to see how they look.  That really changes things.  I also did this when picking fabric for my walls.

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post #919 of 1236 Old 04-13-2013, 12:00 AM
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In my experience with staining and poly, if you are using clear poly the color won't technically change, however it may appear slightly darker but only because it will appear "wet" unless you are going for a matte finish look. I would not even considered using denatured alcohol but thinking about how water would tend to raise the grain I think you are headed down the right path. You are going far beyond me though as most of the experience I have with staining is with Minwax stains. I don't recall ever using any of water based stains, but I have tried the gels, and the all in one stain and polys and did not like either one of those.

Looking forward to seeing some of your samples.

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post #920 of 1236 Old 04-13-2013, 04:53 AM
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Nick,

Glad the stain is looking more like what you wanted. When you do the finish coats on the sample, remember to do all 3 coats (or as many as you intend to do in the theater) before making final judgment. I used a block sander with 300 grit fre-cut gold (also from Homestead) between coats and the final product is pretty darn smooth.

I used the vivitone colorant in the poly, but my theme was black. I see they make a red tint as well, so if you want to tint the poly, the option i there.

However, it looks to me like you may be exactly where you want to be. It looks like Sandman may have used semi-gloss?

Tim
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post #921 of 1236 Old 04-13-2013, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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RTROSE,

 

Working with water based stains is awesome.  Mr. Tim said once he tried them he would never go back.  I think he is right.  I was skeptical at first, but the more I work with them, the more I like them.  I had a huge smile on my face the first time I cleaned up the spray gun.  It was easy.  Almost too easy.

 

While you can use water as a solvent with these, as I mentioned, it tends to raise the grain.  I tried pre-raising the grain, but it still didn't seem quite as smooth.  I don't know if it is because the veneer is so thin.  With the alcohol, it doesn't raise it at all.  The other advantage is that it dries much quicker allowing you to put on another coat sooner.

 

One last note on the water based stains/dyes - NO STRONG SMELL!!!!  I still wear a respirator when applying it because I don't want to breath it in, but once I close up the containers and take off the respirators, I can barely smell anything.  Keep in mind, this is on some small samples.  The smell may be stronger when I do the whole room, but it won't make everyone want to leave the house.  I have stained furniture before with oil based products and that was definitely a much stronger smell than this.

 

Tim,

 

I agree on putting on the right number of coats before making a final judgement.  The other thing is, the samples I did were rushed.  I didn't allow as much dry time between coats.  I want to make a couple more sample blocks using the exact technique I would use on the final product.  I will put on the exact number of coats and allow each to dry fully between coats. I will probably do some light sanding between coats on at least one sample.  I can then spray the top coat once it arrives next week.  I will make up a few samples so I can experiment with a different number of coats of poly.

 

Homestead said I can actually add the transtint dye directly to the poly if I want, but I think I can get the color I want without doing that.  As long as it looks good with the satin clear, I will skip the extra step of adding tint to it.  By the way, Sandman used a satin finish on his.  That is what I plan to use as well.  I found a thread from someone who duplicated Sandman's columns with cardboard sono tubes. He used the exact same finish products as Sandman and he said he also used the satin.

 

I'm crossing my fingers that this turns out the way I think it will.  If so, I will be extremely happy.

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post #922 of 1236 Old 04-15-2013, 06:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I love sanding overhead!

 

I love sanding overhead!

 

I love sanding overhead!

 

I was hoping if I said it enough times it might come true.  Apparently it doesn't work that way.  I spent the weekend finish sanding all of my veneer.  I started with 180 grit, then 220 grit and finished with 320 grit.  It is super smooth, but my shoulder and elbow felt it last night.  that was not fun at all.  I have all of the column pieces done as well as all of the soffits.  I have 7 of 31 pieces of trim sanded.  I hope to finish up the trim during the week so I can start staining next weekend.  

 

To take a break during the overhead sanding I cut the drywall for the side of the rear closet.  I also did some more staining tests.  I think I am 99% there.  I just need to make a couple minor tweaks to the process.  Hopefully the poly will show up today or tomorrow so I can finish the tests.  I also need to figure out if I am going to be able to stain the round over on the front soffit.  If not, I will need to paint it.

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Nick - are you using a 4" sq or 5" circle palm sander or?

I got those and love their small size still get the job done.


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post #924 of 1236 Old 04-15-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Actually Mike, I sanded it all by hand with a sanding block....

 

OK, maybe not biggrin.gif.  I used a 5" Porter Cable finish sander on all of the flat surfaces.  Works great and doesn't take off too much material.  I didn't want to burn through the veneer on the corners or edges, so I hand sanded those areas with a foam sanding block.

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Happy to hear you have found the look u wanted. Sanding is never fun, I can promise you that. Especially moldings. Looking forward to seeing your progress. I hope I was able to help a little.

Dave
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post #926 of 1236 Old 04-16-2013, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Dave.  You were a big help.  You are right about sanding the moldings - even with just the round overs, it takes a lot of extra effort to make sure they are smooth.

 

I'm at the point where I just want to get over this hump.  I am pushing to get a few pieces of trim done every night so I can hopefully be done with all of them by this weekend.  then the major sanding will be complete.  All I will have left for prep is a few touch ups on some of the veneer joints and a couple of edges on the lip of the light tray.  I should be able to knock those items out in a couple of hours.

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I'm interested in your water based stains. i have bad memories of staining in years past, because of the smell and cleanup. Will definitely take a look at those for my next staining needs cool.gif
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post #928 of 1236 Old 04-16-2013, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Nick,

 

the real test is going to be the water based poly.  It should arrive today, so I can hopefully try it out this week.  If it is anywhere near as easy to work with as the Transtint dye, I will never go back.

 

The only thing you have to watch out for is when you are layering colors.  If you are brushing or wiping on the color, the second coat will re-activate the first and some of the dye will wipe off.  This can be an issue if the colors are not the same.  For example, I am using a cordovan dye first followed by a red.  I tried wiping on the stains for a test and the red was removing some of the cordovan.  The easy way around this issue is to spray the dye so that you aren't rubbing the previous layer.

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Thats a good point. *We* have several projects we've picked up at garage sales and estate sales. One of these might be a good guinea pig biggrin.gif
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post #930 of 1236 Old 04-16-2013, 03:10 PM
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I think you will find the poly to be extremely easy. As a die hard oil paint guy (all of my interior trim and doors were oil), I too was skeptical of the waterbase poly.

I've had my Cinema F-20 (finished with HP Poly) in the living room for months with the kids doing all sorts of things in, on and around it.. the poly holds up like a champ.

Spraying it takes a little finesse (as with all spraying), but once you get the hang of it it's fine. Spraying outside is especially awesome since it dries in a few minutes. It dries relatively fast inside as well. You can also add the crosslinker for a tougher finish.. but I don't think that's necessary on a soffit.

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