Painting a set of shelves - dust nibs driving me MAD.


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OK teamsters, you all seem to be a pretty practical bunch around here. So what do you do about dust nibs in gloss enamel paint? I've tidied up an old set of shelves for my little daughter and applied a couple of coats of new gloss (this was probably my first mistake) oil-based enamel. From a couple of metres away everything looks fine, but step up closer with the light at an angle and the finish is full of dust nibs. It drives me nucking futs! I've tried everything, making sure that I'm working in an undisturbed, clean workshop, ensuring the paint and brushes are clean, wiping down the surfaces with a tack rag after thorough cleaning, and so on. However it appears impossible to stop the airborne dust from clinging to the new paint. Short of a building a sealed, filtered, positive pressure workshop/paint booth what can I do?


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Presume the shelves are metal?
Static is bound to build up and attract dust!
Flat with w&d 2000 paper and polish just like a car!


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No, they're wood. They're a set my old man knocked together for us some years ago to fill a gap in the kitchen at our old house. I saved them when we moved, and I've now cleaned them up and painted them a lovely bright pink for the wall in my daughter's bedroom. Honestly, the dust nibs have been driving me mental, and removed all the fun from the project. You see, I'm an obsessive compulsive, anally retentive perfectionist, and if I can't get the finish I'm want I will sulk for weeks.

So, wet 'n' dry 2000 will be alright on Dulux gloss enamel?
I don't thin you can wet and dry Dulux gloss unless you're going to give it another coat
Personally I'd live with it , there are more important things like cars to worry about


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Of courses you are quite right, Dave. But try telling that to my daughter! And since I still don't have a Rover to worry about I might try wet 'n' drying the very bottom of the shelves where it doesn't matter if things go a bit awry and see what happens.
I think as long as the paint is well dry, then the wet and dry will work, but getting the gloss back up might be the problem, could try some car wax.


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I'll try 2000-grit wet 'n' dry. I also have some buffing pads, like a scotch-brite kitchen pad, intended to replace 0000 steel wool.

Of course, it's only a crappy set of old shelves, but it's the general principles involved, and I always find that the experience gained on something relatively inconsequential like this stands one in good stead when it comes to something that really counts, like a Rover P6!
I'm sorry but if my daughter (if I had one) complained about my painting , I would tell her she could have shelves with dust nibs or no shelves at all
How many of us can brush paint anything wihout dust nibs , the odd run . or a fly settling on it ? Problem is that the paint is slowdrying
I did think of one of those electric spray kits they sell on the shopping channels but I still think the slow drying paint is the answer
its obviously a problem with the pink pigment in the paint, probably a faulty batch of princesses that were ground down to make the pigment, id just live with it, if you continue fussing about it you run the risk of her finding out how pink paint is made, and that's the last thing you want. :mrgreen:
I fully accept she's your little princess and that you want to do your best for her but how old is she ? She's not going to say " What an awful paint job" -she's going to say "Thanks Dad for those lovely pink shelves "
Seems to me you're setting yourself impossibly high standards and making life harder than you need
However , you can tell me to shut up if you want
Thinks- how did they cope with this problem when vehicles were coach painted ?


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DaveHerns said:
Seems to me you're setting yourself impossibly high standards and making life harder than you need
Absolutely, Dave. But I suspect I've created the wrong impression. I view these things as a learning experience. It actually doesn't matter how these shelves come out, but if I do my very best to do a great job I learn a huge amount along the way. I'm always trying to get better at things so that when a really worthwhile project rears its head (handpainting my custom coach-built P6?) I've built up the skills along the way. Getting a nib-free paint finish has practical applications all over the place.

Now, Whitewash, you're not very clever at all. Your Forum alias totally gives away your anti-pink prejudices.
I'd better shut up ! Amazes me how much children want these days .As they say " wasn't like that in my day "
I think I am now officially a grumpy old man
the problem would be negatively charged dust particles floating around, and by brushing on the paint, you are building a static positively charged surface. The positive charge attracts the negative charge. On a car, or anything metal, a ground chain attached into a stake driven about two feet into the ground usually reduces the problem to almost nil, provided you have a clean room, and ever so slightly wet floor (not soaked, just damp). I've painted cars with almost nil dust with very slow drying enamel paint this way.

If you can figure out how to ground wood, it may solve the problem, and get you a Noble prize for physics in the process. Other than that, wet floor, and a cheap rain suit over your cloths, and a shower cap on your head, and keep everyone out of the room until dry, should cure the problem.

If it's worth all the effort is up to you.