Applying a proper finish — using color correctly, employing the appropriate techniques and equipment — is one of the most important aspects of completing any project. The finish is essential in ensuring customer satisfaction since it is one of the first things a customer notices.
Buda Woodworks craftsmen understand the importance of applying a good finish, as some of their signature jobs in high-profile public venues reveal vast expanses of uniformly finished panels and trim.
Founded in 1993, Buda Woodworks is named for its hometown, Buda, TX, just outside Austin. As a cultural center for central Texas, Austin sees its share of demanding architectural interior projects for the University of Texas and other organizations based there.
Many of the company’s commercial projects have been around the Austin area, including the Austin City Hall, the Almetris Duren Residence Hall at the University of Texas at Austin, the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the Williamson County Courthouse located just north of Austin in Georgetown, TX.
To meet the requirements of demanding clients, Buda Woodworks craftsmen and designers have been Quality Certified by the Architectural Woodwork Institute. Each of its projects is coordinated by one of Buda’s AWI QCP-tested project managers.
Certification credentials are earned by woodworking firms after comprehensive testing and inspection demonstrate the ability to fabricate, finish and install work in accordance with the quality grade criteria set forth in AWI’s Quality Standards Illustrated book.
The firm generally uses clear and pigmented lacquers as well as dye and pigmented stains on most of its work.
According to Chris Gallegos, lead finisher for Buda Woodworks, the company typically uses a lot of dye stains at the request of its customers.
“People want a deep, fancy look,” he says. That rich depth of color is something that can be achieved with a dye finish, allowing the color to resonate without covering up the woodgrain.
Finding a Finishing Solution
The methods developed by Buda Woodworks to apply dye stains were painstakingly slow.
Gallegos says that they used a gravity HVLP manual spray gun, but this process slowed production time and did not give a quality finish. They also used a 10.14 pump with a manual MVX spray gun for its clear and pigmented lacquers.
What Buda needed, Gallegos decided, was a finishing system that could “go low pressure at fluid level,” he says, because they used a “really thin” dye stain. One of the reasons they needed a low pressure system — and why the process took a considerable amount of time — was because they wanted to ensure that the wood was not oversaturated with color. They also needed the ability to be able to control the amount of the spray.
“That’s why we used a gravity gun,” Gallegos notes. Gallegos says that the company examined a variety of approaches to find a workable solution.
They were not convinced that many of the spray systems available could provide the level of quality for the dye and pigmented stains that they needed to create the desired effect. Sammy Govea, from local finishing equipment distributor EAH Spray Equipment, brought in the EOS System from Kremlin Rexson to demonstrate. Gallegos says the he was still skeptical about whether it would work.
The demonstration included the EOS System with Xcite Airmix manual spray gun. They sprayed several pieces of 4-foot by 8-foot wood panels with a dye stain at 150 psi fluid pressure with no pump pulsation or stalling, providing an even finish.
Gallegos says that he was so influenced by the demonstration and what the EOS system could do that when the next dye stain project came up, he told Buda Woodworks owner Bill Kleinsorge, that he thought the system would cut down the amount of time needed to complete it.
“The finish, transfer efficiency and the speed of the application for the stains is what caused us to buy the new EOS System,” he explains.
Buda Woodworks officials say the firm was able to improve its overall shop efficiency by increasing production and reducing labor costs.
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