roll and tip

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by whitepointer23, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    what are the best rollers and brushs for this method of painting.
  2. XJ9
    Joined: Mar 2012
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    XJ9 Junior Member

    You want a roller that will not delaminate from the solvent in your paint, so the same sort of roller that you could use to wet out your fibreglass mat with polyesther resin. Lambs wool rollers work pretty well, especially if they have had a couple uses and are no longer shedding hairs into your finish - that will probably happen, but you want to keep the extra work picking debris out of the applied paint to a minimum.

    As for brushes, a nice soft one, say 3" wide works well for for tipping off a hull (you could go wider or narrower depending on the curves etc in the surface you are working on). I have used cheap synthetic bristle brushes, the ones with the white tips at the end and they work really well, especially since they don't tend to drop bristles everywhere like some of the supposedly good quality natural bristle ones. You only have to very lightly brush out the pattern left by the roller, barely touching the surface of the wet finish, so a nice soft brush with a nice square end to the bristles tends to work best. Also, on larger areas if you have two people, one rolling and the other tipping, things progress much better.

    The extra pair of hands makes it easier to always be working with a wet edge of the applied finish. Remember to plan your work to achieve this as some finishes might not give you as much working time as others. My experience is with applying Jotun 2-pack epoxy based paint and that levels out nicely with no bumps and bubbles using the roll and tip method.

  3. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    thanks simon.
  4. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Simon you described the process very well. I have been doing it pretty much that way and have had numerous compliments on the quality of my finishes. The method is not as fast or quite as spectacular as a competent spray job but it is much less atmospherically toxic.
  5. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    thill Junior Member

    I've only done one, but I used a foam roller and the same kind of brush you describe, and the results were excellent, the brush being dipped in solvent to help level the finish.

    I don't remember the foam rollers being anything special, but they left a pretty smooth finish that didn't really need the brush, wasn't affected by the paint, and obviously didn't shed.

    And I was using Awlgrip 2-part, for what it's worth. Again, the finish was impressive.

  6. aaronhl
    Joined: Aug 2012
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    aaronhl Senior Member

    Thanks for the explanation, I plan to use the roll and tip method on a couple projects coming up. You might also want to heat the epoxy to reduce air bubbles. I lightly heated (with a soldering torch, butane) a piece of wood covered with epoxy the other day and I could not believe how clear it came out.
  7. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have found the natural bristle bushes seem to flow on a lot nicer than the synthetic fibers, the problem is most of the natural bristle brushes come are made poorly and shed bristles. If you can find a well made one it will perform better than the synthetic I think, particularly if you choose a very soft tipped one.

    As pointed out above, it takes a very light touch to tip the surface. You are basically just dragging the meniscus across the surface. you should not be forcing the bristle down hard on the surface, you do not want to be mixing up the layers of paint, just dragging lightly over the surface.

    this is how you get a streak free surface with either clear or color finishes. I used to teach an art class occasionally, and I was always surprised how many adults were never taught how to use a brush properly. Even with a tiny soft sable fine art brush they would often hold it like a pencil and drive it down hard on the painted surface. stirring up the under layers and leaving a blotchy uneven coat.

    I always prefer natural fiber brushes and rollers, however the low cost foam rollers have a place. The surface gets the tipping brush strokes over it anyway (so texture is not as important) and they can be tossed when done for the day. Only buy as many as you need for the project, storing them for very long will allow them to start to break down and they can leave piece of foam behind in the finish. many professional boat painters have started using both foam rollers and brushes, but I still prefer the natural bristle brush.

    Good luck
  8. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    I use the cheapest foam mini rollers I can buy and cut them in half as long as they will still fit on the roller shaft. They are one time use (for me) then bin whether applying, paint, epoxy, gelcoat whatever. Not had them breaking up at all this way and can't afford to have little bits of foam all over the place.

    I'm afraid I use the clear wooden handled 'laminating' brushes for most paint and varnish too, approx 1 1/2" I find a good size for large paint areas and a 1" for smaller. You can keep a brush going some time if using 2k varnish by storing in Acetone in a sealed jar. The top quality natural fibres do give the best finish in my experience but decent cheap synthetics can be OK if you have the experience. I prefer to apply the first three coats (at least) by brush if doing a 2K varnish finish with lots of thinning in the first two coats - 25-50%. That is not roller territory.

    If painting say an upsidedown hull, it is more useful to remember to keep the paint/varnish thin and even, on the more vertical parts to avoid runs. Better another coat than a nasty that needs cutting off!. I tend to use about 10% thinner in one pack poly varnishes as it flows better at least in moderate temperatures. This alone allows more even coating, you just need to find a decent balance for the exact finish you are applying.

    A good tip with epoxy is to use a hair dryer to thin it after application and it will release any small air bubbles. A bit more gentle than a soldering torch! Works well, remember it will make the epoxy more runny but also accelerate cure. I actually have an ancient hair dryer dedicated to setting off local glue repairs, sheathing etc, doesn't look too pretty now with dabs of epoxy and paint on it but what the hell...
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  9. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The roll and tip technique has been well documented here and elsewhere online. I don't use conventional brushes, preferring foam, as they leave a slightly finer knock down, don't hold as much paint, are cheap enough to just toss and don't shed.

    I do the same with rollers. There are a few tricks you'll learn pretty quickly once you get a few dozen square feet done right. The first is, as has been pointed out, how to handle the tip brush. It should be held nearly perpendicular to the surface and used with a light touch, it should be relativity dry and wiped dry as it loads up. You're not trying to move paint, but knock down the tops of the stipple, left by the roller. If the paint has any reasonable self leveling ability, it doesn't have as far to go, so the end result is fairly smooth. If you very lightly drag the roller back over the freshly painted surface, while holding a finger against it in the process, you can get pretty good at tipping without the brush. Often you will still have to go back and knock down the edge of roller marks, but this takes less time and an important consideration, if the paint is trying to flash on you. If you must use a fuzzy roller, get a tight nap, as thin coats will lay down better then longer nap rollers.

    If you really want to get anal about a beautiful paint job, drastically thin the paint, say as much as 30% - 40%. and apply a couple of coats, one after another, as soon as the previous coat has flashed. Don't tip, just chase sags and drips, which there'll be plenty of, especially on vertical surfaces. Don't worry about them yet. Let this cure, then very lightly scuff with a Scotch Brite pad (green or maroon) and do the same thing again. Now, you have 4 coats, some sags and runs of very thin paint, equaling about 2 coats of unthinned. Once this has cured, drag out the buffer (it needs to be a good DA with variable speed), knock off the sags and runs with a buffing pad (green or grey) and/or use a course rubbing compound on the rest of the surface, which knocks down the stipple. Next move up to a finer cutter (buffing compound or grey/white pad), then onto a polishing pad. You'll wear through most of the paint in some areas, but you just apply another 4 very thin coats again and get back to the buffing sequence. It's more labor, but the results will rival any spray job, easily. You could do just 3 coats per pass, but I've found 4 bulks faster.

    If doing this type of work, it's helpful to know about some of the "pads" available. For example the Scotch Brite series:

    7445 - White pad, called Light Duty Cleansing - (1,000) 1,200-1,500 grit
    7448 - Light Grey, called Ultra Fine Hand - (600-800) 800 grit.
    6448 - Green (?), called Light Duty Hand Pad - (600) 600 grit
    7447 - Maroon pad, called General Purpose Hand - (320-400) 320 grit
    6444 - Brown pad, called Extra Duty Hand - (280-320) 240 grit
    7446 - Dark Grey pad, called Blending Pad (180-220) 150 grit
    7440 - Tan pad, called Heavy Duty Hand Pad - (120-150) 60 grit

    They have other pads too, up to about 2,500 grit. This means you don't need the chemicals (rubbing, cutting and polishing), so much as a good buffer and some practice with the speeds that work for each grit. You also can buy these materials in pads big enough to apply to a long board, so smoothing operations can be sped up too.

    This technique is for only those truly anal about the finish, which will be mirror like, if done properly. You do need to bulk up film thickness, which is why it takes so many coats if applying by hand.
  10. pauloman
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    pauloman Epoxy Vendor

    I'm far from and expert and have only roll and tipped a few times, but being in the marine epoxy business talk and deal with folks about two part lpu coatings on a regular basis.

    I just wanted to add for the newbies (this thread is at a higher level) - that the #1 issue with these coatings (and most unhappiness with beginners) is applying it too thick (it is not hardware store enamel or house paint!)

    multi thin coats - as implied above is the way it works.

    Interestingly I mostly do 'crappy' enamel or latex on plywood or fiberglass. In these situations (rude and crude) - I reverse the process - tip and roll.
    I apply alot of paint quickly with a brush in one hand. In the other hand I have a 3 inch roller and go back over the brushed on paint. The roller evens out the very uneven application of paint by a brush thus reducing sags for too thick paint and 'thin spots'.
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Brushes don't apply coatings evenly, though rollers do (for the most part in comparison), hence the roll first approach, which also removes stipple and bubbles from the roller.

    The multiple coat thing I mentioned above is a good example of the thin coat idea and why it works. You bulk and block at the same time and if you're labor is free, a good way to get as good as sprayed results, with the appropriate film thicknesses.

    The biggest issue I see with roll and tip by a novice is trying to work too big an area at once, usually in less than desirable conditions. The second is over working the paint with the brush.
  12. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    thanks for the great replys. there are some good videos on u tube to watch as well. i normally spray paint but i want to give this a go to learn something new.
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Be careful with some of the videos, as they'll just reinforce bad techniques. Joel over at has a few good ones.
  14. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    no worrys.

  15. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    rwatson Senior Member

    As it turn out, I have been doing some roll and tip on house internal doors.

    The painting worked out well, but I suffered from lots of 'debris' left on the painting surface before the rolling.

    Whats the best way to ensure zero dust and other rubbish is removed before painting ?
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