Electrostatic finishing of wood products

An overview of the uses of electrostatic spray technology in the wood industry. 1998.

by Rick Hill

Could you send me info on how electrostatic works with spraying for woodworking?

Areas of interest:

1) How does electrostatic work with wood?
2) Types of functions?
3) Types of finishes?
4) Types of equipment? Text, specs, and pictures
5) Shop needs?
6) Costs?
7) Markets?

The use of electrostatics on wood has been around for awhile. As a general overview, most industrial finishers use electrostatics when they are coating parts that are hard to spray evenly. Common applications would be cribs or bed ends where an electrostatic can coat the dowels evenly without the usual overspray seen on sprayed applications.

The wood is the negative pole so the coating carries the positive charge.

The drawbacks are that you are dealing with a very flammable combination of products...solvent based coatings, wood and electricity. Very specialized equipment and specific coatings are needed before this is a feasible method to use. It is also a system that requires excellent operator training and consistency to stay safe.

As to cost, once the equipment is set up, they are similar to other coatings, but the equipment cost is the biggest investment hurdle.

Rick Hill is an independent representative and consultant for industrial wood finishes. He has been involved in the woodworking industry for 12 years, and has been known to actually hold, shoot, and clean a spray gun.

If you have an industry related question, visit WOODWEB's Finishing Forum to post your question.