Distributor Tools, Troubleshooting Common Sources of Finishing Problems

The most common culprits that cause most of the headaches

Potential Finish Problem Sources



  • Improper moisture content
  • Extreme room temperature
  • Extreme color variations in the wood


  • Glue joints
  • Access for sanding and finishing

Hand Sanding

  • Proper paper – weight, mineral and grit
  • Skipping grits
  • Over using paper
  • Sanding with too fine of a grit
  • Waiting too long between sanding and finishing
  • Inadequately maintained tool
  • Improper or damaged pad
  • Poor sanding technique
    • Bearing down too hard on the machine
    • Sanding with the edge of the pad
    • Sanding too fast
    • Inconsistent sanding
  • Inadequate air volume to pneumatic tools

Sanding – Wide Belt

  • Improper feed speed
  • Poor quality belt splices
  • Improper roller pressure
  • Inadequate dust collection

Compressed Air Systems

  • Under-powered compressor
  • Poorly maintained compressor
  • Plastic pipe used for compressed air system
  • Improper piping layout
  • Improperly sized piping
  • Piping reducers used at inappropriate places
  • Undersized air hoses
  • Excessively long air hoses
  • Inadequate or undersized water and oil filters
  • Filters improperly located

Spray Equipment

  • Improper needle / nozzle / air cap for material being sprayed
  • Gun not adequately maintained
  • Improper air and/or fluid settings on gun
  • Improper fan size


  • Didn’t make stepped samples
  • Applying finish before stain is dry
  • Misting on wiping stain on to wood and then not wiping them off

Painting and Clear Coating

  • Doesn’t use primer
  • Incorrect reduction of finish – especially primers
  • Insufficient sanding of primer or sealer
  • Does not apply two topcoats of paint or clear coat.
  • Not boxing / intermixing all the gallons of paint before spraying to insure consistent color
  • Improper use of putty under finish

Spray Technique

  • Improper gun technique
    • Improper gun to target distance
    • Inconsistent gun to target distance – “wind milling”
    • Improper gun angle – heel & toe
    • Improper or inconsistent gun travel speed
    • Doesn’t throttle fluid on/off at beginning and end of each stroke
    • Improper spray pattern overlap
    • Inside surfaces – spraying technique
    • Doesn’t spray towards the booth
  • Improper material reduction
  • Using wrong solvent for current temperature
  • Room / finish / wood too cold
  • Improper wet mil application
  • Improper number of coats
  • Waiting too long between scuff sanding and re-coating

Spray Area

  • Housekeeping
    • Dirty or missing booth filters
    • Overspray build-up on booth and lights
    • Un-necessary objects in spray room – dust catchers
    • Dust generating operations too close to spray area
    • Lack of housekeeping
  • Lack of intake air
  • Furnace or booth filters used as air intake filters
  • Area too cold for finishes
  • Improper material storage
  • Improper containers for liquid waste
  • Improper storage and/or disposal of used rags
  • Improper or inadequate lighting
  • Not enough drying racks or carts