Today we are going to talk about the nuts and bolts of creating shaders. In the past weeks we have talked a lot about the equipment that you will need and the skill sets that you need to develop to be good at this. Now It’s time to mix up some color and put it in the gun.

What I stated several weeks ago is at the basis of this. My most often repeated “Bernie-ism” is speed and distance are your friends when applying color with a spray gun. Of equal importance, my next bit of advice is that you must sneak up on the intensity of color that you want without blowing past the intensity of color that you need.

You don’t want that formulation to be too strong. If it is, the possibility is certainly there to cause striping. Worse yet would be if you put on two coats and go 90 degrees on the second coat. Then you would create plaids!

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I am mindful at this point that a session or two on paint kitchen math would be handy…but not right now.

Shading Concentrates
These are a formulation of color that, essentially, contains nothing but color and an equal volume of lacquer thinner. That’s all there is and that’s why we call it a shading concentrate. It is a recipe that contains the exact same colorants and dyes that your wiping stain had. But, it has the liquid of the stain base (not chemically compatible with lacquer) replaced by lacquer thinner which is totally compatible with lacquer clear coat chemistry.

That recipe has those colors in exactly the same proportions as the wipe stain formula. It is just “blown up” to whatever amount you will need and then reduced and suspended 1:1 in the thinner.

Taking my Bernie-isms into account, we need to dilute that concentrate down to a workable level to allow us to be sneaky. Let’s start with 1 tablespoon of it and add it to 16 oz. of lacquer and 16 oz. of lacquer thinner.

That 32 oz. of liquid is the binder. If you are using a post-cat lacquer, remember to catalyze first and then add an equal volume of thinner to that to get a true 1:1 ratio. It pays to be anal when it comes to measuring and following recipes. That’s another Bernie-ism!

Stop and look at what you have created. Look at the ratio of lacquer to thinner to color. It’s pretty obvious that this is going to be rather weak and really thin. Weak and thin are good because we want to fog this on to the surface and sneak up on the intensity that you want. It should also dry relatively quickly. We want that so that we can keep moving and so we don’t have runs.

At the same time, our creation has a good amount of binder with the 50/50 mix of clear lacquer as the base material.  It should stick really well and it is 100% compatible with the wipe stain underneath and the clear that you will put over the top.

As you gain experience with this you may want to increase the ratio of shading concentrate to the binder.

More on this topic next week.

Until next time...spray on!

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