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Thread: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

  1. #1
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    Default Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    I’ve asked and received advice here before regarding Kirby’s but am still having a devil of a time. I’m using their light gray semigloss on primed wood and feel like I have tried every possible ratio of solvent/paint/conditioner/penetrol and It still looks crappy. I’m starting to suspect that the product is different than what others have used.

    Out of the can it is hopelessly thick and drags like mad. To get it down somewhere near cream consistency I’m having to use about 20-25 thinner (tried turps and mineral spirits). Even then it still shows brush marks. To be clear, you can lay on a brushstroke on a sample surface and stand and watch as almost no leveling takes place. It just doesn’t like to flow. It also appears streaky in terms of sheen. Out of desperation I ordered some of the gloss and found that it lays down MUCH, much better. Problem is I don’t want a gloss finish.

    The most frustrating thing is that I’ve read so many glowing reviews of this paint, where folks say it went on beautifully. I’ve also called Kirby’s and I’m afraid they didn’t have an answer.

    If anybody has used Kirby’s semigloss lately and can tell me how you made it work I’d be very grateful. Oh, and I’m not rolling and tipping.

    Steve Z

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Worked fine for me, just laid down 3/4 can of white semi. What did George have to say? Maybe you can get him to send you another can.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    I was going to send you a link to a thread response about Kirby's that I have bookmarked, and then I realized you asked the original question there (http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...88#post5950788)

    I'm fairly new at this myself, but I suspect other people will be along soon to ask these as well:
    - What's the sample surface?
    - What brushes are you using?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    I just roll and tip so, sorry, I’m no help.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    I have never seen a professional painter in the PNW use Kirby's. It seems to be favored by hobbyists.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Ben,
    Glad it worked well. Can you share roughly how much you thinned it and with what? Thanks for the help.

    Steve

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Hey PCFORD,
    So what are the pros using to paint wood boats up there? Who else makes a good alkyd paint suitable for brush application? Any advice would be great.

    Steve

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by pcford View Post
    I have never seen a professional painter in the PNW use Kirby's. It seems to be favored by hobbyists.
    Most professionals are working glossy, and the interluxes of this world don't do semi gloss or flat. Another nice paint that works in semi is Marshall Cove whose distribution appears to be PNW. When house paint used to be available in oil base, some of us used Benjamin Moore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z View Post
    Ben,
    Glad it worked well. Can you share roughly how much you thinned it and with what? Thanks for the help.

    Steve
    Take another look at Cleek's post. I stir while I'm painting and paint thin. What I was working yesterday was my 40 year old Good Little Skiff. Outside was wooded then primed, inside with less paint build up was scraped, sanded and spot primed. Nothing finer than 80 grit. Fein and hand sanding. Both wiped down with thinner/ penatrol before painting. The outside was painted with a high grade thick 2'' brush, two coats with a wipe of penatrol between coats. Inside with one so far, may do a second, but I'd rather keep the coats thin. I used a 1 1/2" high grade sash brush which doesn't hold lots of paint, and a foam brush, especially handy with its short handle, one in each hand, some times switching. Almost like roll and tip. I tend to work the paint harder than I think is optimum. I dropped a little penatrol into the paint to before hand, stirred it up hard to start and then stirred it from time to time working. I put holes in the rim of the paint can which helps keep edge build up from happening, and keep the quart can in a plastic pound coffee can so the runs on the paint can get contained.

    Can I see brush marks? Maybe but it could well be the wood grain, which when you do 80 you will see. I'm not working for a glossy finish; if I'd been working for the spray-on look I'd be roll and tip. One of the keys is light; following Harry Bryant who made up a lighting board, but not as elegantly I try for low angle light so I can see holidays and the wet edge. The inside of a traditionally built boat is complex enough so the only place you have expanses is the seats. It took almost 5 hours to paint it, excluding the centerboard trunk which will be green to match the rub rail and the lift out panel in the stern sheets while I could get a coat on the three plank lapstrake exterior in under two.
    Last edited by Ben Fuller; 06-05-2020 at 05:30 AM.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    I have not used their semi gloss, but can tell you that the gloss is not really a super high gloss. The gloss tones down some after it fully dries, and more so as time goes by.
    I have also found the paint to be self leveling. As it dries the brush marks pretty much disappear.
    On the current boat I'm doing I used Kirby's conditioner only, and kept adding some more if it felt draggy.
    Previous boat I used Penetrol and mineral spirits.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Regarding other oil paints, I have had success with Rustoleum Marine, and Benjamin Moore Alkyd Enamel.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    You wipe with Penetrol? I mix it into the paint to slow down the rate at which it dries. Otherwise you can't keep a wet edge going, and you get "lands", or visibly different sections of paint.

    I do the same with Latex, using a similar product.

    As for Kirby's maybe you just got a bad batch.

    The best-flowing, self-levelling paint I know of is Interlux. I've used it on the struts of my airplane and all the brush marks disappear. You can't tell it wasn't sprayed. But even it needs a slowing-agent, and I use their 333 brushing liquid.

    Paints these days all seem to be designed to dry in an hour on a 50F foggy day in Maine, or Washington state. They tack way too fast on clear dry warm days.

    I'll be painting things on Drake today...

    Dave

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    I've used lots of Kirby's and also lots of Brightsides and Petit Easypoxy. The Kirby is definitely harder to "condition", and I found Penetrol to be more effective than the proprietary solvent that George makes. If the batch is thick (and batches do vary), it will take more Penetrol than you think. I condition a smallish amount in a separate container, and add more Penetrol as the session wears on. I find it doesn't flow out as well as the above mentioned single part polys, but the semigloss finish is quite nice, and consistent, and George's color charts are extensive, making for great "off the shelf' trad. boat finishes. I find that shortly after launching, as the boat is in use, the surface wears to a beautiful soft, even finish. In short, I like it quite a bit, and find it worth the extra fuss of conditioning. No straight alkyd gloss will be as glossy as the polyurethanes, but if you want a semi, you won't have to mix a flatting oil in either.

    All Kirby semigloss. The "shine" mellows out to a nice finish pretty quickly.





    I realize you can't really see how smooth the finish is. But I was quite happy.
    Cricket

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    You wipe with Penetrol? I mix it into the paint to slow down the rate at which it dries. Otherwise you can't keep a wet edge going, and you get "lands", or visibly different sections of paint.

    I do the same with Latex, using a similar product.

    As for Kirby's maybe you just got a bad batch.

    The best-flowing, self-levelling paint I know of is Interlux. I've used it on the struts of my airplane and all the brush marks disappear. You can't tell it wasn't sprayed. But even it needs a slowing-agent, and I use their 333 brushing liquid.

    Paints these days all seem to be designed to dry in an hour on a 50F foggy day in Maine, or Washington state. They tack way too fast on clear dry warm days.

    I'll be painting things on Drake today...

    Dave
    Penetrol goes into the paint as well. but the wipe is mostly to chase the last dust with something that seems to soften up the first coat a touch instead of sanding it with something fine. Seems to work, and I'm not inclined to scuff sand the inside of the skiff as it is multi hour project and there is all the dust that again needs to be chased. Doing some trim work reminded me that green for some reason really likes to gum up sand paper, much more so than white.
    Ben Fuller
    Ran Tan, Liten Kuhling, Tipsy, Tippy, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity, Look Far, Flash and a quiver of other 'yaks.
    "Bound fast is boatless man."

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Try Interlux 333 with Kirby’s. Works pretty well.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Kirby's is a paint that will work well when pure gum spirits of turpentine are used as a thinner. I tad of Japan Drier will speed up the drying time and Penetrol will smooth out the brush strokes. Those of us who have been in the trade a while call this mix "Slide" as it eases the brush strokes very well but helps the paint kick faster in the drying dept. Nice paint work Jim!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    So this ‘slide’ mix is an aid in getting Kirby’s to produce a finer finish than their paints straight from the can?

    I’m new to using their paints, about to use it to finish a CLC kit Waterlust canoe I’ve been building since last Nov. Any suggestions as to the proportions of the additives you’ve named? Seems like a slapdash approach to making up a batch might lead to unpredictable results, not something one would be proud of once the paint’s dried?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    "Slide" is pretty much what we used for making old oil based formula marine paints go on smooth and dry to a soft gloss. A soft gloss does not make surface imperfections show up glaringly as high gloss paint will. The application can be brought to nearly sprayed paint quality by using the correct amount of Slide and a top of the line Chinese Bore bristle brush. Remember that brushed paint always has the application strokes swung from the center of the chest to allow the paint to feather leaving the laps undetectable. If you are right handed this means that the paint is applied at chest center and drawn out to the right. Move from right to left as you progress and lift the brush smoothly to finish the stroke. The right amount of slide and the right mechanical movement of the hand should leave a film that has no brush strokes showing. If you area doing topsides start on the port side aft and progress having a left handed painter to do the other side this way, you can race to see who finishes first and who buys the beer!
    At all costs have fun doing it!
    Jay

    Last edited by Jay Greer; 06-14-2020 at 10:43 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    It's been quite while since I started this thread and Covid upset the boat project quite a bit, but I've been back at it for a while now and thought I'd pass along some lessons learned in the hope that it would save others from some frustration. The troubles began while trying to paint the inside of a newly built glued lapstrake dinghy with some Kirby's Light Gray semi-gloss. I did all the research I could before I started and saw that just about all the info out there advised roll/tip; however, several people told me that it wasn't really possible on a clinker hull. I also read at least one person on this forum who appears to be a very experienced painter that said quite emphatically that roll/tip was unnecessarily complicated and something of a crutch for those who couldn't/wouldn't learn proper brush technique. I took this advice very much to heart and spent an enormous amount of time (and $) trying to get the hang of it. No matter how much thinner and penetrol I used I just couldn't get the paint to level the way people said it should. I will say that along the way my brushing skills improved immensely and I was ultimately able to get the inside of the hull good enough for me accept it and flip the boat.

    The bottom was actually a bit easiert, as I found the off white paint flowed much better than the gray. It actually has only the most minimal brush marks, but I still find it very hard to blend one section into the next. Overall it came out pretty darned good and I was looking forward to applying some Kirby's Bottle Green to the sheerstrake and calling it painted. The paint itself needed quite a bit of conditioning, but even so, the very dark color was much less forgiving of brush marks than the white. By the time I got to the second coat I realized I just couldn't accept the quality. I sanded it dead flat and tried to formulate a plan for a good final coat. The search brought me back to the forum where I carefully reread every post on the subject. A couple of things sort of jumped out:

    1. Several times PCFord has suggested that we should use the thinners recommended by the paint maker, and resist playing amateur chemist. He says that the maker wants us to succeed and that they have done far more research than we could possibly do. After all my struggling I started to realize that he was right. In fact, I recently reached out to Kirbys to ask about their thinner and was told that it's actually turpentine and Penetrol. To think that on occasion I had actually blended turpentine, Penetrol, PLUS some of Kirbys thinner (which is just more of the same).

    2. Suggestions to thin the paint to the consistency of half and half is probably not good advice for all paint. I suspect that perhaps this suggestion is made by people who haven't actually taken a close look at half and half in a while. I used a viscosity cup to measure some half & half and then thinned the paint to this point. It really works pretty badly with this much thinner. It goes on way too thin and dries almost instantly. It also has no sheen whatsoever.

    3. The position that "real" painters shouldn't rely on roll/tip is definitely a minority opinion. I've seen that almost everyone on here and everywhere else on Youtube, etc., is rolling and tipping. Some doing a pretty crappy job, some doing spectacular work on all types of boats. I'm sure that a very skilled painter could do a great job with just a brush, but most of us just don't have the years available to develop that skill.

    So, armed with a clearer head (maybe), I had a go at rolling and tipping the final coat of the final strake of the boat and IT WAS SOOOOO MUCH EASIER!! Yes, its a little bit more of a ballet trying to manage two tools, but it goes way faster, the coverage is perfectly even, and the blending of sections is almost perfect. Dealing with the lap was easy and if I had it all to do over again I most definitely would roll/tip the whole boat. For anybody wanting specific details, I used Kirby's Bottle Green semi, a corona 3" badger type brush, and a yellow foam roller cut to 3". The paint was thinned about 8:1 using Kirby's brushing thinner. Temp here was about 65. If I did it again I'd probably add just a bit more thinner. Having said that, I've found that different colors have very different thicknesses. That's about it. I so wish I had it all to do over again, but I'm hoping somebody will read this and save themselves the headaches. Thanks to all those who offered help.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Had a look at the perfectionists thread lately?
    Seeking perfection but using…… Kirby’s?

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Yes, Penetrol, Jim Cickets description above is pretty much correct. Stir and thin as needed while painting. What few brush marks there are just look fine on a traditional boat.Might be hard to see but here's Kirby's semi #24 red next to Interlux fire red on the right.IMG_1041.jpg
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Any recent Kirbyís experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z View Post
    Iíve asked and received advice here before regarding Kirbyís but am still having a devil of a time. Iím using their light gray semigloss on primed wood and feel like I have tried every possible ratio of solvent/paint/conditioner/penetrol and It still looks crappy. Iím starting to suspect that the product is different than what others have used.

    Out of the can it is hopelessly thick and drags like mad. To get it down somewhere near cream consistency Iím having to use about 20-25 thinner (tried turps and mineral spirits). Even then it still shows brush marks. To be clear, you can lay on a brushstroke on a sample surface and stand and watch as almost no leveling takes place. It just doesnít like to flow. It also appears streaky in terms of sheen. Out of desperation I ordered some of the gloss and found that it lays down MUCH, much better. Problem is I donít want a gloss finish.

    The most frustrating thing is that Iíve read so many glowing reviews of this paint, where folks say it went on beautifully. Iíve also called Kirbyís and Iím afraid they didnít have an answer.

    If anybody has used Kirbyís semigloss lately and can tell me how you made it work Iíd be very grateful. Oh, and Iím not rolling and tipping.

    Steve Z
    I have, apply with a foam roller and tip with a brush, if the paint begins to drag I add enough Kirby's Conditioner and or keep adding until the paint flows smooth. It worked fine for me.

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