High quality surface finishes

Friday, April 11th, 2014 - Architecture, Best Design

One of the high points when undertaking home improvements or crafting interior design pieces is getting to that last stage when all that remains is to create the final, high quality finish. Great designs for items that have clean lines – whether these are realized in wood, metal, or plastic – look more attractive and more professional if given appropriate finishes. Here are a few tips on how top quality finishes are achieved by the industry experts, and why it is often worth the investment to get great results.

Working with wood

Initially sealing a surface with cellulose based sanding sealer will serve to flatten the appearance of a wooden surface before any varnish or paint is applied; this is particularly effective if a polished, wax finish is desired. It is possible to get water based solutions as well as chemical ones.

A traditional material for both furniture and construction, wood is often painted or varnished, generally with emulsion or acrylic paints. Using a primer first will help the paint to adhere and produce a matt finish. A couple of topcoats using a foam roller or foam brushes will enhance the final appearance. Some manufacturers choose to use solvent based paints sold in aerosol cans, or even oil based paints; however, these are usually quite toxic and really only suitable for use in controlled factory conditions.

Lacquers and varnishes are transparent, although sometimes a penetrative chemical or dye – known as a stain – is used first to provide color before the varnishing process. Similar to paint, these products are available in satin, gloss, and matt finishes. Oil is popular for use on garden furniture – Danish, teak, or linseed oil (from the flax plant) can be used on most wood to improve the appearance, as can vegetable oils – and is often chosen to treat wooden utensils in the kitchen.

Working with metal

Slick finishes on metal objects will enhance the look, and many professionals use a primer on metal surfaces if they are intending to paint them – particularly on steel surfaces. There are many high tech manufacturing processes available to experts working with metal, which will help to ensure they get an excellent result, including deburring, coating, painting, electroplating, galvanizing, and anodizing.

Ragged edges, shavings, protrusions, or raised particles are called burrs, and deburring is the procedure by which these are removed. Abrasive cloths or substances may be applied, or sanding – by hand or machine – may be used to smooth both metal and wood. Sometimes filing or grinding is needed to remove fragments and nicks.

In the home, sandpaper and filing tools will help to make rough surfaces smooth; it is also possible to buy handheld deburring tools, which will remove some sharp edges, although it must be said that these do not achieve the quality, professional finish that is achieved by the manufacturing processes.

Making a difference

Undoubtedly, the touch of an industry standard deburring machine will determine whether the finish on architectural, craft, or design items looks like the work of an amateur or a pro. For this reason it is well worth investing in the technology to achieve a fabulous result.



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