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Beauty, Brawn, and Brains: Wizard Z1 CMC

Unfinished wood and Milk Paint

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
845
Does anyone here have experience with Milk Paint?

I have a customer who likes to paint their own frames with Milk Paint.
When they first came to me they had not told me that they were planning on painting their frames. They had asked about Pine frames. They also asked about light colored wood. I did not have any pine in an unfinished color.
The first order they placed was with simple clear Maple. The Paint would not stick.
I then ordered unfinished Maple for them. The Paint is peeling off. I'm not sure how long it took to have problems.
I am about to put together an order with unfinished Poplar. I'm unsure how this will go.
They are also asking about raw pine frames. This is what they used to get before they came to me. They were unhappy with the knots.

I am not a painter.
I'm not sure why paint wouldn't stick to the finished Maple frames.
I'm not sure why paint wouldn't stick to the unfinished Maple frames.
I'm not sure if paint will stick to the unfinished Poplar.

I can understand why stain would act differently with different woods, as it soaks into the wood.
I thought paint was more of a surface coat. I didn't think that the wood mattered much.

I also don't know if Milk Paint acts differently than other paints.

I am considering going to a lumber yard and picking up pine boards and milling my own frames for this customer. I have 500 ft of unfinished Poplar sitting in my back room waiting for her, that I ordered 3 or more months ago.

Any advice?

Brian
 

Gilder

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Joined
Aug 18, 2009
Messages
946
It should stick just fine to unfinished wood, maybe it's too thin, too much water, I don't know for sure.
But it still should be fine, I didn't try painting maple myself, not 100% sure but use it on gilded frames and it dries very hard.
It will not stick to the finished frame because it' very likely was waxed.
 
Beauty, Brawn, and Brains: Wizard Z1 CMC

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Thread starter
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
845
I don't know anything about modern milk paints, but the old ones that they used a hundred years ago are nigh unto impossible to strip.

The painter is probably in his 80s. I am not sure if he is mixing his own paints. I am only in contact with his daughter.
 

JFeig

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Oct 13, 1999
Messages
4,576
A talk with the father of the customer(the actual end user) is in order to understand what is going on with the non-stick problem.
 

Twin2

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Joined
Feb 22, 2006
Messages
2,262
Perhaps your customer could use chalk paints instead. I know Mariska Kavich from Mikki’s Frame Shop carries Country Chic paint, which is a chalk based furniture paint. She does a lot of refinishing old furniture with this paint and has used it on picture frame mouldings for making Christmas wreaths. Very little you have to do to prepare the surface and it adheres quite well.
 

David Waldmann

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The finished maple is easy to understand, unless the surface was properly prepped (sand 150-220 grit). If not, the surface can be too slick for paint to stick.

Unfinished maple, should have stuck fine if it was properly prepped (sanded 150-220 grit). If it was just a milled finish ("planer" knives), just like the finished maple, it can be too smooth. Another possibility is that it was not clean enough, i.e. after sanding the dust was not removed, or just an accumulation of dust from sitting around.

Bottom line is, with proper surface prep, the paint should easily stick to any of the materials mentioned.
 

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Thread starter
Joined
Sep 22, 2009
Messages
845

After some research, spurred on by a conversation with Andrea at Dundean, I have learned that:
Milk Paint acts as it's own primer
Milk Paint soaks into the wood like a stain, as well as laying on the surface like a paint
Milk Paint does not adhere well to Hardwood unless a Milk Paint Primer is used

As I only have contact with the daughter of the painter, I'm not sure that I can convince the painter of what he needs to do.
For future frames we will be working with pine.
Now I need to find a use for 400+ ft of 3/4" unfinished Poplar frame (I may have a lead on selling it).
 
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Prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Joined
Jul 16, 2007
Messages
19,298
Never tried painting and never using milk paint either.... but

There are woods that will resist paint sticking properly. Sometimes freshly cut softwoods can
have a sort-off soapy feel - for want of a better description and paint does not quite grab on
how it should. In these cases I find a coat of shellac can act as a barrier. It has to be shellac
and not any form of synthetic varnish as shellac sticks to practically anything and is porous when
dry so will accept a variety of water-based paint. You just need to let it dry fully and de-gloss it a
bit wil fine sandpaper. It will also seal knots and prevent any bleed-though later.
 
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