Spraying White Conversion Varnish

Advice on priming and other quality control measures for spraying white pigmented CV. August 12, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I just started spraying CV a few months ago and I have a cabinet project coming up that will require white CV. I've done a few test pieces and color samples and they came out ok but I noticed a few fish eyes in them. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid these in the future? What is causing them? Also, how many coats does it typically take to get good white coverage and proper build on a maple panel? Should I be using a primer or undercoat? I'm also curious to hear how others process white cabinets. I typically spray all the parts flat and then do final assembly rather than assembling everything and having to deal with vertical surfaces and inside corners.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor U:
I have sprayed CV for years but have never sprayed white CV. I have always used Mohawk ez-vinyl primer and then white lacquer and then top coat with Chemcraft CV. I am trying a new system, aqua prime from Chemcraft which is water based and their verde line of 2k poly which you can get about any color. I've done one cabinet and one sample door and it looks very promising and will save me a step at the booth.

From contributor P:
Assemble everything and then spray two coats of M.L. Campbell Clawlock Undercoater. Topcoat with Krystal. It makes a beautiful white finish.

From contributor F:
I spray MLC's Resistant for pigmented finishes and you must, must, must prime before painting. There is not nearly enough pigment in the finish to hide anything. My norm is two coats of Clawlock followed by two coats of Resistant. I also spray everything flat and assemble after. For me it's ten times easier than trying to wrangle full assemblies into the spray booth.

From contributor M:
I've sprayed a lot of MLC Clawlock and Level Primer, I prefer the Level primer. You can spray it without thinning it. Level primer is a great product. However, I don't like their paint topcoat (Stealth). I've always had to whip up a concoction of two or three different solvents in heat, and always ended up having to thin it more than I wanted to but when it was right, it was gorgeous. I'm currently spraying Sherwin Williams Kemvar Plus (surfacer and then topcoat). You have to thin them both a lot as they are very high solids, but they are more user friendly in my opinion. Fish eyes are caused by silicon (or similar) contamination, but chances are you are seeing orange peel in cooler weather. You simply need to heat your paint up to around 80F (give or take), keep your makeup air warm, and use perhaps a bit more reducer.

From contributor G:
I currently use Sherwin-Williams Sherwood CV. I spray two coats of pigmented sealer, then one coat of clear CV sanding with 320 between each coat. I used this combination for years with both Mohawk and Gemini products with great success. Fish eyes are caused by contamination. Things like silicone, or even oil from your hands can wreak havoc on a finish. I wear nitril gloves during final sanding and throughout the finishing process.