In some cases one must use wood filler to fill defects in certain areas. Maybe to fill nail holes in some cases. Problem we are having is that a "Spray Only" stain really accentuates those areas that have been filled. When using a wiping stain filled nail holes become very inconspicuous whereas a spray only stain makes them stand out as darker spots since the stain does not penetrate the wood filler the same as real wood. Anyone have any ideas how to overcome this problem? Is there a wood filler that is more "spray stain friendly"?
I have been happy with "Timber-mate"
It's a water based putty
Dries fast and you can mix a little water to thin it out
When dry the color looks very close to the wood specie
I keep cherry/pine/dark walnut/white/natural
There are more color available
We do mostly stain colors and very little natural finishes. I don't need a filler to match the natural wood color since I will be staining over it anyway. I thought of staining and applying the sealer first like Robert suggests. I haven't tried it yet but I'm afraid of sanding through to the bare wood when trying to sand off the excess filler. We are a 30 man shop doing 3 to 5 kitchens per day. Ideally I would like to find a filler that will absorb the stain more like the wood does so it does not leave that coin sized dark spot. We don't have a lot of time to fuss with matching a filler to the finished color etc. and the guys are working in a factory environment and not skilled at that kind of thing. It has never been a problem when using wiping stains, it just became an issue when we started using spray only stains. Thanks for your advice.
There are wax fill sticks available from Mohawk. They don't require a sanding to remove the excess...just shear off the excess with a plastic card.An old credit card works well.
A "coin size " dark spot indicates to me that the finisher is applying too much putty/filler. Just fill the area that needs it.
A little tutoring by the lead finisher can help educate the crew on that process.
A quality finish takes time and the devil is in the details.Working in a 30 man shop requires a lot of cooperation, are there any steps the cabinetmakers could be doing to help ease the load on the finishers?
You need a full time Mohawk touch-up specialist. One person who develops both speed and quality repairs. They can save you all kinds of rework and money! They can work in the shop and field. The quicker the damage is conciled, the calmer and more relaxed the client.
I do this in Vegas, the customer sees damage and says "I am paying for new!" Now (replace)build me a new one. ..........every trade in the place is telling their crew to go faster. .......the wood work gets beat to death!
Assuming your nail holes are flat the easiest way is to get a good stiff small brush from a fine art supply and dab on the stain you used after sanding the first coat. Correct if needed after 2nd coat. If you have larger areas such as dents you can use the same method. Unless you're into graining they won't be perfect but if done right they won't catch your eye either.
Bart, I'm not sure you understand the problem. After defects have been filled and sanded, "Spray ONLY" stain is applied. The area that has been filled becomes a dark blotch... there is too much stain there already... I don't need to add more with a brush. I need to either do something with the dark blotch to diminish it or find a way so I don't get the dark blotch. We sell to retailers who have their own installers so we don't go out in the field and get a second chance to make repairs either. It has to be right when it leaves our shop. Thanks for your input though.
" The area that has been filled becomes a dark blotch ". The putty is like a sponge and its more porous than the wood is.It absorbs more of the spray stain.
Try a lighter putty and just fill the area that needs to be filled....if the area is as big as a Dime is don't lay on a Silver Dollar size chunk of putty. Post some pictures of what you mean by a "dark blotch".
If you have a few stock colors you finish your Cabinets with, experiment with various putty colors or wax colors to find what works the best. Once you have a sample board, keep it for reference so the finishers on the line know what works the best.
Trent, are you in the office or on the finishing floor actually participating in the work flow ?
Ok I didn't quite get that. That seems odd as I use spray only dyes all the time. Especially as a second coat after the intial stain and wipe. They go on more evenly/opaque. What brand r u using? I use GF dyes and Famo wood for filler. One thing I do is try and match the filler color with the intended after stain color NOT the color of the wood. Say dark walnut on Alder for deep brown.
It almost sounds like your mixing your own filler with wood and glue. This would definitely lead to the blotching much like end grain.
O.K guys. Here are few pics of the problem. I put a toothbrush next to the first one to give you a scale. That is the one that has the "blotch" around the filled hole. The second pic is the filler we are using. I've been experimenting with different fillers the last couple of days and one of them happens to be "Famowood" filler as Bart suggested. That is what was used in the bottom pic. You can see the filler in a long scratch and a couple of small holes we filled but this is the best result we've had to date. We probably can't expect much better than this. We will try the Famowood for awhile with different stain colors and see how it goes. Not sure how clear these pics are... hope you can make them out.
Robert, I own the company and have been in the business for 34 years. I've spent a good deal of time on the shop floor over the years but I now spend most of my time in an office, except when I am dealing with stuff like this I tend to get involved more on the floor until it is resolved. In all the years though we've never tried filling with wax sticks "before" finishing. Will the finish stick to a wax repair job? If so we could stain, seal, fill and then top coat. Have you done this before.
Well to me the bottom pic the long scratch appears to be a handling problem or lack of attention to detail not sanding it out beforehand.The two dots look passable to me after topcoated. A work around would be to dilute your first coat of stain and then tone up to the desired color before or after sealing/sanding. Once the filler is sealed to a degree it won't soak up much if any more stain.
I do this a lot on projects when customers don't think the original sample is deep enough. I do the base stain and then reapply a 2nd highly atomized no wipe stain for a richer more even look. You have to be careful if you still want to see grain as it can get almost opaque.
Greetings Trent, the one photo with the toothbrush as a scale shows me that whoever is filling the void is also filling the surrounding area. Just apply the filler to the void or you will continue to see the same "dark blotch ".
Even if you over fill the void and sand the residue off, the filler has already filled the surrounding areas.
The wax sticks are formulated to accept most modern day coatings. Have you checked out the Mohawk website yet ? It gives a good description of the various fillers and colors that are available.
Mohawk might even have a Rep in your area who could stop by. Its worth a try.
Just retired after 35 years as a finisher and have used a variety of their products. Not so much their coatings but lots of their touch up items.
Not really a fan of the water based fillers but like the solvents or the burn in and wax sticks.Just my opinion but I think the water based fillers on Maple or Birch swell up too much. Like I said....just my opinion. Perhaps on Oak or Mahogany or Walnut they may work better, I just like the other options I mentioned.
I realize in a 30 man shop that production and the movement of product is important but with proper materials and with the knowledge to use them I don't see a slow down in the pace.
Hope you weren't offended by my asking your position, just wanted to get a feeling as to who was/is doing the work on the product to be finished.
I really think you could benefit from a Mohawk Rep. They've been supplying wood finishing products to large and smaller Manufacturers for many many years.
i second Roberts advice on calling a mohawk rep. They will come and see your operation, present you with their products that solve the issue, and also demonstrate/train the guys that will be using it. Ive been using spray on stain exclusively for 10 years and never have these problems. From the pics i can see that handling/prep is where you need to focus. Not filler. If you buy good filler (famowood) and have good prep then you will have good finishes. The elongated scratch in the bottom photo could have been raised by dropping water in the scratch then running an iron over it to steam swell the wood before applying any filler. Would have limited the gouge.
Thank you all for your thoughts. Just want to let you know that the pieces in the pics were intentionally scratched and gouged in order to test different fillers, it is not typical. You have all given me some good stuff to think about.
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