Of the many uses for glaze, in this section we'll focus on using spray only
glazes to accentuate the shapes and designs in a piece as well as develop an aged
look. Spray only glazes contain pigments and a fast drying solvent like acetone.
They dry so fast it's impossible to apply them by hand. This fast drying
property limits their use to a few effects but make it quick and easy to use. You
can make your own spray glazes or buy them pre-mixed. If you buy the pre-mixed
version, also get a supply of the clear glaze base so you can reduce the glaze
somewhere in the 50% - 100% range and have better control of the coloring. Spray
glazes can be used over paint (pigmented finishes) or in a clear coat finish
system just like a slower drying wiping glaze. I'll cover some techniques that
work well with spray only glaze in the sections that follow.
Spray Glaze into Recessed Areas
Here's a typical way that I use spray glaze. First I stain the wood
and then seal it with a coat of finish (I usually use vinyl sealer but
you can use the finish of your choice). After sanding the seal coat
smooth, I use a narrow fan width and low fluid flow to spray the glaze into
the corners/recesses of the piece. On this door, I sprayed the outside of
the raised trim in one pass and the inside in a second pass. The glaze I
used is a medium/dark brown that I mixed up. Various shades of brown look
more natural than black.
How heavily to spray the glaze takes a little practice and experimenting.
I adjust the fan width, fluid flow, and air pressure to allow spraying about
a 3/4" pattern with the spray gun about 4" - 5" from the surface. I'm
looking for the glaze to go on just wet looking (it looks black briefly)
and then flash off and dry in seconds. The air from the spray gun speeds
the drying process.
Remove Glaze from High Spots
The glaze turns powdery looking almost instantly as you spray it. The acetone in it actually gets a "bite" into the vinyl sealer or finish and a small amount of the glaze color is "melted" into the finish. On this finish, I wanted the high spots in the beaded trim to be lighter than the low spots to improve the 3D look. To do this, I use synthetic steel wool, like Scotchbrite, to selectively remove the glaze. Depending on how well the glaze bit into the finish, the excess may come off with very light pressure or it may take a little scrubbing to cut it from the top layer of the finish.
There are a couple problems you want to avoid. First, don't spray the glaze too heavily or the acetone can damage/wrinkle the finish if you're not using a very durable catalyzed finish. And second, if you apply too much glaze, it can crackle when you apply a coat of clear finish over it.
Here's another example of spray glaze used to highlight the profiles on a door. The maple door was stained with a very dilute wiping stain to bring out the grain and then sealed. After sanding the seal coat smooth, the glaze was sprayed along the frame of the door as well as the edges of the panel. I scrubbed the glaze off the middle of the frame and the raised beads. I left some of the glaze along the inner edges of the panel.
Scrub Glaze Off
Glazed Door Final Look
The door on the left is stained and sealed and the door on the right is the final look.
After scrubbing the glaze off the selected areas, blow the dust off with compressed air. Don't use a brush or you will leave marks in the glaze since some of it is sitting on the surface and isn't bound to the wood. Use very little air pressure for the same reason. An optional method you can use with this glaze is to intentionally brush it off to create what looks like a brushed wiping glaze. The stiffness of the brush bristle changes the effect.
After removing the dust, I sprayed a coat of highly thinned finish with some of the same stain in it (called a toner) over the glaze. I immediately followed that with a full wet coat of clear finish. After that coat dried, I scuff sanded and applied the final clear coat.
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© Copyright 2001-2005. Paul Snyder. All rights reserved.