A Little About Atomizers
An atomizer, or blow pipe, is a simple but useful tool for repairing damaged finishes or adding consistency to varied colors.
By Mac Simmons
Many years ago, I suggested that the product development department of a company I was working for consider selling an atomizer which is commonly called a "blow pipe," and is used for blending in color when doing certain color repairs on damaged woods. I sent a photo of the blow pipe, with detailed instructions about how it worked, and included the name of a supplier of this highly efficient, low-tech tool.
To be safe, you should first practice using clean water. Place the portion of the atomizer with the long tube into a container of water. Then start blowing out of the shorter tube. It should not take long before you get the feel of how to work the atomizer. But however long it takes, be sure to practice enough with water to feel absolutely certain that you are doing it correctly. This is a safe way to learn before you attempt to use it with chemicals and solvents.
As with any finishing method, remember that colorants need to be clearcoated in order to see their true, final color. So you should always test your colorants first with clearcoats on some sample woods before you begin an actual job. This enables you to see if you need to make any color adjustment before you start blowing in color. Begin by blowing in short bursts and slowly move the atomizer. As I always say, "Practice makes perfect, and perfect takes lots of practice."
Mac Simmons is a freelance writer and 40-year veteran of the furniture finishing, refinishing and restoration trades. Questions may be directed to him in writing c/o CWB, 400 Knightsbridge Pkwy., Lincolnshire, IL 60069 or via e-mail c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.
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