One of the biggest complaints we get when talking with potential clients who are currently using oil or solvent based stains and lacquers, but want to switch to water, is grain raise. When applying water-based products to wood, the wood will do what it is ingrained in its chemistry to do. (Pun fully intended) The grain raises and leaves the wood feeling rough and unfinished.
There are all sorts of solutions for remedying this, but most of them are more sanding and more coats of product. Three or four coats of finish ought to take care of that, with dry time and sanding between each, of course. While this works, it comes at a cost. You are wasting your valuable time doing something multiple times to get a product you can be proud of. In this business, time is money. It is really easy to start losing money on a job when processes have to be repeated for any reason. We are not interested in wasting time or money. I can't imagine you would be either.
At AMS we produce and use a water-based preconditioner on raw wood as soon as it's through the doors. Our preconditioner acts like hairspray did in the eighties. The water draws up the grain into an upright position, and the resins then freeze them in that position. The wood can then be sanded to a very smooth surface that will take stain evenly and create minimal grain raise. We suggest using 180 grit sandpaper, and Norton Champagne has been our best friend in this journey. It has a tougher, more fibrous backing that resists ripping and can handle large jobs. Using our products, you can get a typical sized house done with just a couple sheets. Because of the high volume of resins in all our products, you get a more smooth coat in much less time.
When our preconditioner is used, you can stain and seal over wet stain, sand it once more, and finish it with a smooth, beautiful finish - every time. You don't need any extra coats with AMS Products.
I know that you folks that have been using your oil and solvent bases for decades are going to naturally be uncomfortable with the changes that come with switching to water. That's why when we get a new customer or even an interested one, we will come there with our product and our own sprayers to show you not only how well our stuff works, but also how to use them. If it means a few days of training and prep, we're with you. We want each of our customers to have the best chance for massive growth. We really enjoy seeing people thrive. Not just so we can get more business, but because we care. We're small enough to know what it's like to have a budget, and we love seeing people becoming flexible in theirs because of the savings we help create.
If you are resistant to switching to water, give us a call. You might just be surprised how simple the transition can be. We don't just produce and sell our products; we use them. We know exactly how they behave and will never feed you a line to make a sale. Integrity is number one, and we work hard for our customers. We're looking forward to talking with you.
One of the most important parts of running a successful business is the ability to keep up with the ever-changing times. As most companies have limited resources, it is crucial that they utilize their time well and make the most of every dollar. The biggest challenge for smaller companies like ours is investing the necessary time to seek out new and innovative materials for our paints and finishes. This can easily be a full time job in and of itself, and in our office that is no exception.
We spend large quantities of our time invested in seeking out the best and the newest technologies that will not just streamline our work, but will increase the quality of our already premium products. We are not interested in providing a discount product that works like a discount product. We are much more interested in placing the best products you have used into your hands with a price tag that still looks attractive.
A trick to getting the most out of your company is knowing how long you can use your old equipment effectively, and when that nostalgia is costing you time and money. If you've been in a business long enough, you'll know what I mean. There is that mixer in the corner that works as long as you kick it and yell every once in a while, and there is the air compressor that shuts itself off every half hour. Looking at the price tag of a new product may scare you away, but look past that for a moment.
How much time are you spending on maintenance/fidgeting/adjusting your old equipment?
How much has technology improved since you last purchased?
How much efficiency is bleeding out because you don't want to foot that one-time bill?
These are really crucial things to look at when looking into upgrading, but there is also the flip-side.
In today's culture, nothing lasts. At least, nothing keeps our interest long before we start looking at what the guy across the street has.
Am I right?
How many times have you purchased a new vehicle because it was so much better than what you had and you would never want something else because it's so perfect, then a year down the road you're slowing down past car dealerships because the newest models have come out? This is the bane of our society. Technology especially. How long does it take for a cell phone to go out of style? By the time you wait in line, fight your way through the crowd and sell your child's inheritance to get your hands on the newest model, the store is already setting up displays for the newer model with a bigger camera. We are trained from a young age to be short attention span consumers, and it is ingrained in our brain chemistry.
This speaks more about marketing than anything else, but it rings true in every avenue. In business, it is really easy to see the advertisement for the newest industrial equipment that can handle more and do more and produce more in half the time. The inherent risk in this is that we can dump so much of our equity into new and shiny without getting solid footing under our feet.
Use your old equipment as long as it works, but don't be afraid to upgrade when necessary. Buy used when possible, and I guarantee you will be surprised at the savings you will find. There are countless sites and companies that make a living from selling used equipment that has been refurbished. There's a word that scares people away! Don't be afraid of the Refurb. It just means that they have removed what wasn't working and replaced it with what does. Even humans get refurbished from time to time!
Smart spending is every bit as wise as smart saving. Never buy on impulse, never buy from an email advertisement, and always shop around.
We here at AMS have a healthy balance of the old school and the new. I (Steve) am the "young guy" that wants the newer equipment, while Barry is the "old school" type that uses something until it disintegrates. We balance out well, and our shop runs swimmingly to prove it. We have amazing products that can easily compete with the big brands, whether water or not. We also have the equipment necessary to meet any level of volume our customers may need, while we will sit at the side of a barrel with a hand mixer when necessary. We're small, but sometimes it takes something small to do big things.
Thanks for reading!