Labor Time and Glaze Finishes

Is there any way to make glaze finish application less labor-intensive and time-consuming? December 15, 2005

We have reexamined our application methods in our finish department. The practice that we use for applying a glaze finish over a painted surface, although very appealing when complete, is far too labor intensive.

After the doors, panels, moldings, etc. have received final paint coat, the piece is lightly and carefully distressed with a scotch brite pad. On doors, this distressing technique tries to mimic the original wood grain on the rails and stiles. We try to simulate butt joints at the corners, etc. Next, a layer of glaze is wiped on, then allowed to dry. Last we use the scotch brite pad to again remove excess glaze, even the application and enhance the look to that of an antiqued door. A final spray of lacquer covers all. This process has way too many steps and is very costly. We also have observed that if more than one applicator shares the task, you can see slight differences in their technique. Does anyone have a simpler application process they would share?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor T:
To date, we have not found a quicker and more efficient way of doing glaze on paint. We have used and seen several techniques. All are labor intensive. We settled on one person using what is call the "brushing off" technique. Apply the glaze over painted item (no prep sand) heavily. With a mineral spirit damped rag, remove most of the excess. Then use a good quality dry china bristle brush to remove the remainder and simulate brush strokes. Allow about 1 hour for flash off the top coat with lacquer. We have 4 people that can do this, but only one of us works on any one project. I spent 4 days alone on a modest size kitchen. It does clog up the finish shop and you should make sure the money is there. Most finish reps should tell you that 40% upcharge for this is normal. I know a few shops here in Maryland are getting 60% upcharge. If they ever invent this finish that you can shoot straight from the pot, I'll be the first in line.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the feedback. We too, levy a 40% up charge for glaze finishes. With our current process I donít think itís enough, especially for larger or more complicated kitchens. The technique that you describe sounds very interesting. We will definitely give it some serious testing.

From contributor M:
Take a sanding paper of the desired number, put it on a cane. Take the pad and put it on the same cane. Strain the finishes and painting stuff and the glaze, dilute all with lacquer thinner, and spray on raw wood. That way you can finish in one step.

From the original questioner:
If only we could solve all of our finishing problems that easily. Thanks.

From contributor M:
The more layers of finish you can apply, the nicer the look and you can work to the color you want more easily and more accurately. You will get a deeper color. On the other hand, the more layers you apply, the more time it takes, and time = money + material = money, and you may have put more money in than the customer wants to pay.

From contributor R:
This is a method I have used. (Please note I am a custom finisher and I hate paint/glazes.) Paint your doors/parts, let dry overnight. Scuff with Scotchbrite, maroon, like it is a raised panel door. Thin glaze one part glaze, two parts lacquer thinners. Spray glaze with a very low pressure and only a light mist coming out. Spray evenly from all four directions again. This is a very light coat of glaze. Let dry for a hour or so and take maroon scotchbrite and scuff a pattern the same as you did in the paint. Play around with a sample, as this is a little tricky.