Applying glaze in tight spots

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Tips for achieving a consistent glaze application in tight places on raised-panel doors. June 24, 2001

I've made some samples, using glaze, that do not look very good. To achieve a brushed look, we apply the glaze by dipping the edge of a rolled cotton cloth into it. We tried a brush with no luck. We even sprayed it, then tried the rolled cloth. It worked so-so. The glaze is going on raised panel doors with an applied molding. The deep inside corners don't look good. Is there a better way?

Forum Responses
Are you trying to do some sort of a faux finish? What's the deal with the rolled cotton cloth? Normally, you apply the glaze either by spraying or brushing and then either wiping or dry-brushing it off. We need to know more about the effect you are trying to achieve.

From the original questioner:
The sample I am trying to match shows a very fine brush effect over a base coat. Not knowing any better, we rolled the cotton cloth, dipped it in the glaze and applied it on the door. The results are less than optimal.

We normally use SW conversion varnish. Being that the glaze covers the catalyzed base coat, will there be adhesion problems? SW says there "should not be any problems", hardly reassuring. Should we use another of their products?

Depending on the color of glaze you require, S-W offers two options. They make a neutral glaze base you tint with HULS 844 or 866 colorants (866 is preferable, since it is slower drying) and they also make a pre-prepared Van Dyke Brown, which is commonly the color picked for glaze. Staying with S-W products puts the onus squarely on them, so it's not a bad idea to go this way.

From the original questioner:
How long should we leave the glaze to dry? It is around 80 degrees F and very dry here. I tried dry brushing a door after letting the glaze dry for about 3 hours, with mixed results. It seems we applied the glaze too thick. Is there a particular type of brush that would work best?

Let the glaze dry for no longer than 15 minutes prior to manipulating it. You waited way too long to start working the material. After 10 minutes it's flashed and you can start working with it. I would recommend a natural China bristle brush. Cotton tee shirt material is the cloth of choice if you want to rub the glaze off. Use a piece of paper (thick paper shopping bags work well) to wipe the dry brush on if it begins to load with the glaze you have removed.

Regarding glaze coats, Sherwin-Williams CV, and inter-coat adhesion issues: if the tech support, not the sales staff behind the counter, suggests layering it between applications of conversion varnish, that's one thing. (If the store is a chemical coatings stores and not a paint and wallpaper outlet, the sales staff is qualified to render suggestions for finish schedules.)

But some conversion varnish schedules call for topcoating and locking in the glaze coat with a light application of vinyl sealer, and then shooting the conversion varnish over that vinyl sealer.

If the Sherwin-Williams finish schedule does call for using the vinyl sealer, then you must use their catalyzed vinyl sealer. Why vinyl sealer? The vinyl sealer (or lacquer if you are using a lacquer system) has the ability to bite through the glaze coat, locking the glaze into the vinyl sealer coating. If the conversion varnish does that as well, good. Tech support will tell you what to shoot and what your window of workability is for their glazes.

Following up on the posts about removing glaze, the "fine brush effect" you mention is probably achieved by removing glaze with a stippling brush. This is a brush with long, relatively coarse, loosely packed bristles. They're available in art supply stores.

From the original questioner:
We tried the catalyzed vinyl sealer over the glaze and then conversion varnish over the sealer and the adhesion looked good.

When we glaze, it is normally on a non-sterite sealer coat, either a clear coat stain or a painted finish. Spray on two to three coats of sealer and sand out with 320 and scotchbrite. Next, apply two wet coats of sealer with a good shot of retarder and glaze over this base. There is nothing worse than a glazing job that accentuates the sanding scratches left from your 320 or 220. If you cannot spray a smooth coat of sealer, hit the dry sealer with a paper bag to remove minor defects.

Next, most oil glazes can be cut with naptha, which cuts the concentration of the glaze and increases its workability. It will also give you a way to fix any problems. On a raised panel door, we normally apply the glaze with a rag in the details first. Gently wipe the glaze off with a rag that is lightly dampened with the naptha. Next, with a 3.5" china brush (cost about $60), pull the glaze from the detail and across the flats. Keep the brush as dry as you can. You can go over the door at any time with the second rag to blend or fix anything. This process will give you a soft, sophisticated look. Some glazes need to cure for a day and some must be coated within 3 hours--check the can of glaze. Seal, 320 and final.

Have one person do all the glazing or have two people work with each other, since different hands produce different work. My client normally hangs over my shoulder to approve of the job, since it is very subjective.

Applying glaze takes practice. We apply oil-based glaze over vinyl sealer. A terry hand towel works well for applying the glaze to raised paneled doors. Remove excess with a clean towel. It will leave a brush mark when you wipe. You will have to test it out for proper dry time between applying and wiping.