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Two Warnings for Anyone Considering Custom Powder Coating

Two Warnings for Anyone Considering Custom Powder Coating

My advice to anyone who wants a custom powder coating color is very simple, and always the same: don’t do it. Is it possible to create a custom powder that matches the exact color you want? Yes. Is it necessary sometimes? Also yes. But the road to custom powder...

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When Should You Choose Liquid Coating over Powder Coating?

When Should You Choose Liquid Coating over Powder Coating?

It’s not a secret: I consider powder coating to be far superior to liquid coating most of the time. Why? Because powder coating materials are typically less expensive, easier to apply, and quicker to cure than liquid coating, saving the customer time and money on...

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Mastering Pretreatment Technique with the Three P’s

Mastering Pretreatment Technique with the Three P’s

Pretreating parts may be easier than spraying powder, but good pretreatment technique is still very important. Without it, parts won’t get clean – or, worse yet, a careless operator could cause premature rust or permanent damage. Pretreatment operators, remember the...

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Pretreatment Options for Every Budget

Pretreatment Options for Every Budget

Pretreatment can be very sophisticated or super simple, and quite frankly, you can get a good quality part either way. So what are your pretreatment options, and how do you pick the best one for your budget? You can pretreat parts with a bucket and a rag. Contrary to...

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We’re All Around You: Local Projects in Lincoln, NE

We’re All Around You: Local Projects in Lincoln, NE

Here’s a word problem for the math enthusiasts: if Kaser has been blasting since 2005 and powder coating since 2014, and the population of Lincoln is 292,000 people, how much of our handiwork will be visible from your car window as you drive around town in 2023? The...

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Pretreating Parts for Powder Coating: A Step by Step Guide

Pretreating Parts for Powder Coating: A Step by Step Guide

The devil is in the details. Did a powder coater coin this idiom? Unlikely – but they may as well have. Most customers don’t realize that when a metal part arrives at Kaser Blasting & Coatings, it undergoes an intense, multi-step pretreatment process before ever...

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A Day in the Life of an Abrasive Media Blaster

A Day in the Life of an Abrasive Media Blaster

The success of Kaser’s blast shop can be attributed to one man: Stan. Since 2007, Stan has (largely single handedly) cycled parts through Kaser’s blast booth. He’s experienced, efficient, and very comfortable working alone. Here’s a normal day in Stan’s life as an...

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Powder Coating: A Day in the Life

Powder Coating: A Day in the Life

Jay Wills (“Wills” to his friends and colleagues) has been spraying powder coating for most of his adult life. He’s as close to being an expert as anyone can be in our field. Here’s a normal day in his life as a powder coater. Consulting the Schedule Wills starts his...

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Is Powder Coating a Good Career for Car Enthusiasts?

Is Powder Coating a Good Career for Car Enthusiasts?

Nine out of ten applicants tell me they want to work at Kaser because they’re interested in automotive restoration. I hate to break their hearts, but I have to be upfront: powder coating has nothing to do with working on cars. For starters, we see very few car parts...

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Three Rules for Reducing Oven-Related Downtime

Three Rules for Reducing Oven-Related Downtime

The oven is often the largest, simplest, and most important piece of equipment in the powder coating shop. At Kaser, we have two ovens. One dries parts, and the other cures powder. Both ovens run eight hours a day, every day, and they’re the heartbeat of the shop –...

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How Many Coats of Powder does my Part Need?

How Many Coats of Powder does my Part Need?

When it comes to powder coating, more coats does not necessarily mean better performance. Here are a few things to consider when deciding how many coats to spray. When to Spray a Single Coat of Powder Coating At Kaser, we spray a single coat of powder 90% of the time....

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Four Powder Coating Terms You Should Know

Four Powder Coating Terms You Should Know

Savvy shoppers do their research. In order to advocate for yourself, you have to know the lingo. That’s particularly true if you’re in the market for services (i.e., powder coating). Here are four powder coating terms you should know before you talk to a pro. Shooting...

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Four Surface Preparation Terms You Should Know

Four Surface Preparation Terms You Should Know

Finishing industry jargon can be confusing to customers. Here are four surface preparation terms you should know. DA Sanding Short for dual action sanding, this process involves an electric, hand-held palm sander, the likes of which you might find in any well-equipped...

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Five Rework Traps (And How To Avoid Them)

Five Rework Traps (And How To Avoid Them)

Nothing ruins a powder coater’s day faster – or more thoroughly – than rework.  Rework pops up in the oddest places, at the most inconvenient times. Experienced powder coaters are not immune. While we cannot escape the laws of entropy, we can be proactive about...

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Three Signs You’ll Thrive in the Finishing Industry

Three Signs You’ll Thrive in the Finishing Industry

Most of us who wound up working in the finishing industry took the scenic route. I don’t know of any community colleges offering Associate degrees (or licensing of any kind, for that matter) in powder coating. Few kids grow up hoping to be abrasive media blasters. The...

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Pretreating Parts for Liquid Coating

Pretreating Parts for Liquid Coating

I’ve spilled a lot of ink touting the importance of pretreatment before powder coating, which is why the following statement may come as a surprise to some readers: Kaser does not pretreat parts before liquid coating them. Wash bays take up space. They require walls,...

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Fast Blasting Facts for Regular Folks

Fast Blasting Facts for Regular Folks

It has come to my attention that customers are bit confused about what goes on in the blast booth. In their defense, I spend a lot of time and energy talking about our pretreatment and powder coating processes, and significantly less time and energy demystifying...

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What Does “Talent” Mean in the Finishing Industry?

What Does “Talent” Mean in the Finishing Industry?

Roughly once a year, I hire someone talented. Talent is harder to define in the finishing industry than it is in sports, art, or music. I can’t think of any specific physical traits that would predispose someone to being good – or better than their peers – at what we...

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Reasons *NOT* To Blast Before Powder Coating

Reasons *NOT* To Blast Before Powder Coating

Nine times out of ten, I recommend blasting parts before powder coating them. I’ve blogged extensively about this in the past, and won’t reiterate my pro-blasting arguments here. Instead, I want to talk about the occasions when blasting may not be advisable. They’re...

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Why I’m So Uptight about Scheduling

Why I’m So Uptight about Scheduling

It’s no secret: I’m uptight about the powder coating production schedule. Customers are often baffled by this. In their minds, batching one lawn chair in with a larger run of parts should be no big deal – and to a certain extent, that’s true. But there are...

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How To Help (And How Not To Help) Your Powder Coater

How To Help (And How Not To Help) Your Powder Coater

It’s no secret: lead times are long. They’re unusually long at Kaser, and from what I can tell, we’re not alone. Mostly, it’s beyond anyone’s control. I can’t solve global hiring and supply chain issues. That being said, there are a few things that customers should...

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What Not To Do in the Powder Booth

What Not To Do in the Powder Booth

Two powder coating operators walk into the booth at the same time. They’re spraying identical parts with identical equipment, using powder from the same box. Even their gun settings match. Why do their parts come out looking so different? It turns out that powder...

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A Tale of 32 Colors: Why We Stick With Our Stock

A Tale of 32 Colors: Why We Stick With Our Stock

Once upon a time, I used to let customers flip through vast powder coating color decks and choose whatever they wanted. I no longer do that. Instead, I’ve narrowed Kaser’s selection down to 32 stock colors, and (almost) everyone is much happier. Here’s why. These...

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Powder Coating: A Homeowner’s Guide

Powder Coating: A Homeowner’s Guide

Powder coating is a durable and cost-effective solution for refinishing everything from vent covers to lawn furniture, but it comes with some caveats. Here’s what homeowners need to know.   Know the limits of durability. When I say that powder coating is more durable...

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Introduction to Hanging Parts for Powder Coating

Introduction to Hanging Parts for Powder Coating

Assuming no previous finishing industry experience, all of my new hires start off learning the same thing: how to hang metal parts on carts. Hanging parts is not as simple as it sounds. A lot can go wrong, resulting in serious injuries, inadequate pretreatment, and...

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Ground Rules for the Wash Bay

Ground Rules for the Wash Bay

I’ve blogged extensively about Kaser’s pretreatment processes and the chemicals we use on steel and aluminum. Now, it’s time to address the ground rules of the wash bay. Wear PPE. While the chemicals we use are at relatively low concentrations (meaning they won’t...

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Introduction to Powder Coating

Introduction to Powder Coating

Powder coating can - and, I believe, should - be learned on the job. Experience is the best teacher: you’ll learn far more through trial and error than you could from a book.  That being said, here are some helpful ground rules to get you started. Wear your PPE. There...

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Interviewing 101: Tips from the Hiring Manager

Interviewing 101: Tips from the Hiring Manager

If an exceptional person expresses interest in working at Kaser, I always want them on my team. As a result, I conduct interviews year-round. Here’s my advice to job candidates who want to level up their interview game. Be forthcoming.  I suspect people want to avoid...

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Enough Already: Please Stop Doing This to my Female Employees

Enough Already: Please Stop Doing This to my Female Employees

Men in the finishing industry – customers, vendors, and sales reps alike – respond to my female employees differently than they respond to me. This is a longstanding issue that has always driven me nuts. I’ve had a lot of women on my team over the years, of various...

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Hanging Parts: A New Powder Coater’s Guide

Hanging Parts: A New Powder Coater’s Guide

Hanging parts is often perceived as grunt work. On some level, it is – it’s manual labor that involves a significant amount of lifting, no matter the type of shop. However, good hanging requires far more skill than most people expect, particularly in a shop that...

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Powder vs. Liquid Coating: A Nuanced Discussion

Powder vs. Liquid Coating: A Nuanced Discussion

The powder vs. liquid coating conversation has been going on a long time. Experts have picked sides and spilled ink on the subject for decades, but customers remain confused. I get asked all the time which is better. While I am partial to powder coating because it has...

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What New Hires Don’t Know About Working at Kaser

What New Hires Don’t Know About Working at Kaser

I will be candid: new hires would be shocked to learn how quickly – and unanimously – the Kaser team can tell whether they’re a good fit. I’m not saying this to scare potential employees away. On the contrary, I think Kaser’s culture is one of our great strengths, and...

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Fun Facts About Substrates Other Than Steel

Fun Facts About Substrates Other Than Steel

I could talk about steel for days, and I have. That’s partially because Kaser blasts & coats a lot of steel, but it’s also because steel lends itself well to social media content: it’s quick and rewarding to blast, it turns interesting colors after pretreatment,...

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Why Expediting Is Harder than It Sounds

Why Expediting Is Harder than It Sounds

Frustration is almost always the result of unmet expectations. It’s no wonder, then, that customers get frustrated with Kaser’s inability to expedite projects. In their minds, it takes no time at all to throw a single part up on a cart and spray it. While they may...

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Managers,  Are You Communicating Too Much?

Managers, Are You Communicating Too Much?

I used to be very transparent with my team about customers’ expectations for their projects. Let’s say the customer was demanding, or the spec was unusually rigorous, or the deadline was urgent – I communicated all of that to my team, thinking that the extra...

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The Three Cardinal Rules of Powder Storage

The Three Cardinal Rules of Powder Storage

Here’s a fun industry fact that most customers don’t consider: coatings that are not actively being sprayed must be stored. This presents a spectrum of challenges for a small business like mine. On the high-maintenance side, we have liquid coatings, which are...

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Quality Control for Busy Powder Coaters

Quality Control for Busy Powder Coaters

In a perfect world, the Kaser team would perform quality control at every step of the powder coating process, every day. Hanging, pretreatment, spraying, curing, and packaging – mistakes can (and do) occur at each of these stages, impacting the quality of the finished...

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My Latest (And Final?) Hiring Epiphany

My Latest (And Final?) Hiring Epiphany

I’ve recently evolved into what I think will be my final form as a hiring manager. Here’s what I mean. When I first started at Kaser, there were three of us: Stan in the blast booth, Chauncey in powder, and myself. Collectively, we had little experience in the...

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3 Questions to Determine Whether Blasting is Necessary

3 Questions to Determine Whether Blasting is Necessary

Customers sometimes ask me to quote powder coating projects with and without blasting, so they can compare pricing. I’ll spoil it for you: most of the time, blasting before powder coating doubles the cost of the project. Understandably, that gives some customers...

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Fewer Options Means Less Yelling: A Lesson in Stock Colors

Fewer Options Means Less Yelling: A Lesson in Stock Colors

Humans think they want choices, but they don’t. Exhibit A: powder coating colors. Kaser stocks 24 different powder coating options. They’re all affordable, high-quality products in a range of popular colors, textures, and glosses. Most customers are very happy with...

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Three Myths I Used to Believe about Part Time Workers

Three Myths I Used to Believe about Part Time Workers

If you had asked me last spring whether I’d consider hiring part time help at Kaser, I would have laughed and said “absolutely not.” One year later, I’m singing a different tune. I realized that if the hiring landscape wasn’t going to change, I needed to. Full time...

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I Just Raised my Bar. Here’s Why.

I Just Raised my Bar. Here’s Why.

I’ve never been the type to hire a warm body.  Even in times when Kaser could’ve desperately used another set of hands, I’ve proceeded cautiously. There’s too much at stake: the team’s camaraderie, the quality of Kaser’s product, the amount of time it takes to train...

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The 2020 Miscalculation That Haunts Me Two Years Later

The 2020 Miscalculation That Haunts Me Two Years Later

I recently realized that I’ve spent the last 18 months mis-categorizing Kaser’s busy-ness. I thought we had a staffing issue, and that hiring more people would take care of it; but the more I hired, the more the workload stayed the same. Turns out we were just coating...

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Life as a Liquid Coater

Life as a Liquid Coater

The powder coating shop is Kaser’s engine room: hot, busy, and largely responsible for driving the whole business forward. The liquid coating booth is Kaser’s sail: quieter overall with long stretches of downtime, but always ready to catch a big gust. While the powder...

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Introducing Lincoln’s Yellow Garage

Introducing Lincoln’s Yellow Garage

Downtown Lincoln is stepping up its parking game, and Kaser is involved. Haymarket visitors will likely be familiar with the red, blue, and green parking garages. What they may not realize is that long ago, when I was still in college, Kaser Painting, Inc, painted the...

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Settlers, Breweries, and Welding: A Nebraska Story

Settlers, Breweries, and Welding: A Nebraska Story

In 1904, settlers could purchase 640 acres of land in Western Nebraska for $14. This was known as the Kinkaid Act, and the settlers in question were called Kinkaiders. Fast forward to late 2021. Kinkaider Brewery, a beloved fixture in Nebraska’s microbrew landscape,...

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Let’s Talk About Raises

Let’s Talk About Raises

I have spent very little time as someone else’s employee. There was one research opportunity in college, where I worked for a professor – and my dad retained a lot of the decision-making power in my early days at Kaser, before I was comfortable handling daily...

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Day One at Powder Coating University

Day One at Powder Coating University

The Kaser team is growing rapidly. My managers and I feel a bit like professors, guiding a fresh batch of recruits through Powder Coating 101 every few weeks or so. This is not a complaint. Yes, training is hard, but the benefits of having a full crew far outweigh the...

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What To Do With Talented People

What To Do With Talented People

Once a year or so, I hire someone with the uncanny ability to handle any and all tasks that Kaser throws at them. It’s rare, but always exciting. Some people seem to have a knack for producing higher-than-average quality, no matter what task they’re given. For lack of...

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Kaser’s Workplace Culture: What Candidates Need to Know

Kaser’s Workplace Culture: What Candidates Need to Know

Some of the job candidates I interview ask about Kaser’s workplace culture but, to my surprise, most don’t. I guess it’s hard from an interviewee’s perspective – what questions do you ask to really get the info you want? Does the hiring manager know anything about the...

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What To Expect as a New Hire in the Powder Shop

What To Expect as a New Hire in the Powder Shop

Anyone who follows Kaser Blasting & Coatings on social media knows that I’ve had two mantras on repeat this year: 1. The Kaser powder shop is ALWAYS hiring; and 2. No experience required. So what can a new powder shop employee expect if they have no previous...

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A Day in the Life of the Kaser Blast Booth

A Day in the Life of the Kaser Blast Booth

Kaser’s blast shop gets less social media attention than the powder shop. That’s not a reflection of how much I value the work; it’s simply that the powder shop is twice as busy and much safer to document, because there’s no blast media flying around. As a result, I’m...

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What I Need from a Forklift Operator

What I Need from a Forklift Operator

Of all the jobs at Kaser, none is more misunderstood than the Shipping & Receiving/Forklift Operator position. I’m certain there are tons of large companies whose forklift drivers do nothing else. They sit down in the morning, move pallets around all day, and...

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Your Perfectionism Might Be Lying To You

Your Perfectionism Might Be Lying To You

My name is Jase Kaser, and I’m a perfectionist. Perfectionism gets a bad rap, but it’s a trait I really value in myself and others. For starters, I think my pursuit of perfection benefits Kaser’s customers – they’ve come to expect great quality, and all of our...

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What You’ve Always Wanted to Ask about Working at Kaser

What You’ve Always Wanted to Ask about Working at Kaser

Kaser Blasting & Coatings is always hiring. Our job posts, while abundant, don’t always get into the nitty-gritty details of what we offer. So if you’ve ever wondered about compensation, benefits, and time off, here’s what you need to know. Compensation Kaser does...

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Three Tough Questions to Ask Yourself About Safety

Three Tough Questions to Ask Yourself About Safety

None of us will ever achieve a 100% effective, all-encompassing, fool-proof safety program with total adherence. It’s not possible. As managers, our best shot at keeping our teams safe is to commit to progress. Our safety programs are an exercise routine, and we’re...

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Three Reasons I Don’t Need an Automated Line

Three Reasons I Don’t Need an Automated Line

Kaser Blasting & Coatings employs a batch booth setup, instead of an automated line. Honestly, that’s been a point of contention for more than one prospective client. Several large manufacturers have declined to give us their business because we don’t have a line....

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3 Common Causes of Rework (And What to Do About Them)

3 Common Causes of Rework (And What to Do About Them)

We live in a world of dirt, oil, and human error. As finishers, it’s good to acknowledge these realities. The sooner we embrace the inevitability of rework, the sooner we can get to problem-solving.  Here are the three most common rework scenarios I see at Kaser, and...

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Making Small Talk on Big Subjects: The Finisher’s Dilemma

Making Small Talk on Big Subjects: The Finisher’s Dilemma

Scenario: I’m in a situation that calls for small talk with a stranger (i.e., getting a haircut, sitting in an Uber, or meeting someone for the first time). They ask me what I do for a living. I pause to weigh my options. Option 1: tell them I’m a coater and leave it...

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Paint Gets No Respect

Paint Gets No Respect

Firetrucks are large, complex pieces of machinery designed to do life-saving work under brutal conditions. But the first – and possibly only – thing that the average person will ever really notice about them is that they’re red. Coatings matter. And while those of us...

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The Three Rules of Selling to a Millennial

The Three Rules of Selling to a Millennial

When I first started at Kaser, I was ordering a box of powder coating every two weeks.  Now, I’m averaging ten boxes of powder coating a day. There are a number of vendors I’ve stuck with through all of this growth – reliable, high-quality suppliers who’ve earned my...

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All This Ambition And Nowhere to Put It

All This Ambition And Nowhere to Put It

My name is Jase Kaser, and I’m aggressive. When I say “aggressive,” I mean I’m ambitious. I’m risky. I like to push the production schedule to its limits. I like to get results when no one else can. That’s my brand, and it’s the Kaser brand – we take on projects that...

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Why Washing Steel Isn’t Enough

Why Washing Steel Isn’t Enough

If you see a piece of raw steel that isn’t actively rusting, that can only mean one of two things: it’s either covered in oil, or there’s a conversion coating on it. Folks who don’t work with metal may not realize just how oily raw steel can be. Greases and oils can...

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You Think You Love Powder Coating…But You’re Wrong

You Think You Love Powder Coating…But You’re Wrong

Anytime a customer expresses satisfaction with our coatings, what they’re really happy about is our surface prep. They just don’t know it yet. We’re called Kaser Blasting & Coatings because “Kaser Sanding & Pretreatment” doesn’t really have the same ring. But...

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What Rain REALLY Does to Your Parts

What Rain REALLY Does to Your Parts

I might be the only person in Nebraska who hasn’t been happy about all of the rain lately. I’ve talked before about how rain causes chaos on the Kaser campus, as we scramble to get vulnerable parts indoors – but it recently occurred to me that the average person might...

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Two Things I Want (And One Thing I Don’t)

Two Things I Want (And One Thing I Don’t)

Believe it or not, I’m not looking to hire expert powder coaters.  I’m not even necessarily looking for finishing industry experience. I’m not interested in college degrees, trade school educations, or whether a candidate has ever held a pressure washer. I’ve learned...

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What Nobody Told You About Being “More Than Just a Number”

What Nobody Told You About Being “More Than Just a Number”

You would be shocked at the number of job candidates I’ve interviewed over the years.  Yes, Kaser is small, but we’re never not hiring – and since the pandemic started, we, like everyone else, are desperate for good help. I ask every prospective employee what they’re...

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Four Harsh Truths about Transit

Four Harsh Truths about Transit

If you work in the finishing industry, I have news for you: customers care a lot less about how good the part looks coming out of the oven, than how it looks when they receive it. In other words, the damage that happens in transit reflects poorly on the powder...

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Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Yelling

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Yelling

Kaser recently had a bad production day.  We’d been firing on all cylinders for weeks, churning out great work in record time through our busiest season. Then on a single day, we fell behind on a handful of projects. Customers weren’t happy, and neither was I. I...

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Why We Choose Powder Coating over Liquid Coating

Why We Choose Powder Coating over Liquid Coating

I suspect general public customers are partial to liquid coating because they imagine they could do it themselves.  The concept is familiar: they’ve used spray paint, latex paint, even acrylic paint - how different could industrial coating really be? So they push me...

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It’s Pretty, But Will It Last?

It’s Pretty, But Will It Last?

A lot of people approach shopping for industrial coatings as though they were buying their metal parts a makeover. While there’s nothing wrong with prioritizing aesthetics, there’s so much more to be gained from the coating process if you know how to ask for it. I’m...

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Patio Furniture Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Patio Furniture Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Metal patio furniture tends to be the general public’s gateway into the world of industrial coatings. This is particularly true in Nebraska, where harsh winters, hot summers, and constant humidity takes a greater-than-average toll on outdoor tables and chairs....

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Cross Training the Smart Way

Cross Training the Smart Way

It’s a classic rock-and-a-hard-place scenario: on one hand, having a lean staff and a busy production schedule makes it hard to cross train employees. On the other, what if someone calls in sick? Having a lean staff and a busy production schedule means you can’t...

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How to Get an Accurate Quote for your Car Restoration

How to Get an Accurate Quote for your Car Restoration

Car restoration projects are like snowflakes. No two are alike. The car’s make, its age, its condition, and the restorer’s knowledge, skill level, and vision - all of these variables impact the project’s cost, workload, and timeline in (often unexpected) ways. It...

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The Cost of Refinishing Aluminum Wheels

The Cost of Refinishing Aluminum Wheels

It’s a fact that I don’t relish sharing: aluminum wheels are more expensive to blast and powder coat than steel wheels. Customers who don’t understand the discrepancy will likely be frustrated by it. Let me assure you that our pricing is not arbitrary. There’s a...

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Hot Tips for Oven Health

Hot Tips for Oven Health

A powder coater’s oven is both their strength and their weakness. Kaser’s large oven is 12’ tall x 14’ wide x 30’ long. It’s essentially a whole room made of thick, insulated panels and a 2.5 million BTU burn box on top, which puts out a significant, gas-powered...

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Hurry Up and Wait: How 2021 is Making Deadlines Difficult

Hurry Up and Wait: How 2021 is Making Deadlines Difficult

Thanks in equal parts to caution and luck, Kaser Blasting & Coatings made it through Covid unscathed. But 2021 has brought us face to face with an even more disruptive reality: we can’t coat parts that don’t exist. The majority of our customers are metal...

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Let’s Talk About What You See on Instagram.

Let’s Talk About What You See on Instagram.

Search #powdercoating on Instagram, and you’ll see hot pink wheels with contrasting inlays, metallic powders layered like galaxies, and neon green car parts with clear coat so thick you could get lost in it. It’s beautiful. It’s also very niche. Most people don’t...

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It’s Never Been Easier to be Exceptional

It’s Never Been Easier to be Exceptional

I will be honest: it’s been a discouraging week, for reasons I’ll explain momentarily. But my loss is your gain, because the struggle has served to crystallize a truth so simple, so universal, and so revolutionary, that I can confidently offer you THE secret to...

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Dump Trailers and Growing Pains

Dump Trailers and Growing Pains

 Some types of growth are eminently measurable. Financial growth? Check the statement. Physical growth? The tape measure will tell you what you need to know. Other types of growth are open to interpretation. How do you tell, for instance, whether you’re more skilled...

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IT Advice from a Self-Taught Enthusiast

IT Advice from a Self-Taught Enthusiast

Ask any small business employee what IT support looks like at their office, and they’ll probably shrug and tell you that they just go to That One Person from [insert any department here] Who Knows About Computers. At Kaser, I’m that That One Person. I don’t mind – in...

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Say It, Don’t Spray It: The Case for Filter Maintenance

Say It, Don’t Spray It: The Case for Filter Maintenance

No powder coater in their right mind would take a freshly-blasted piece of steel and dunk it in water. Why not?  Because ferrous substrates are particularly prone to rusting after they’ve been blasted…and if there’s one thing the finishing industry hates, it’s rust....

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Setting Up your Air Supply

Setting Up your Air Supply

Compressed air powers most of what we do at Kaser. There could be no blasting, no blowing off, and no spraying powder - or paint - without it. Because it’s both invisible and baked into all of our processes, it'd be easy to take air for granted. If it’s been a while...

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You’re Grounded. (Hopefully.)

You’re Grounded. (Hopefully.)

In powder coating as in life, we should aspire to be well grounded. The good news is that, at least in the powder booth, proper grounding is easy to achieve. Please note that the following advice comes from someone whose powder coating experience revolves solely...

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If You’re Learning, You’re Winning: The Limits of DIY

If You’re Learning, You’re Winning: The Limits of DIY

Odds are high that if you’re an entrepreneur, you enjoy problem-solving. Odds are also high that if you manage a production schedule, you’ll do just about anything to keep it on track. I have a foot in each of those camps: I’m part problem-solving junkie, part...

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The Bad Kind of Blooming: Jase’s Search for Answers

The Bad Kind of Blooming: Jase’s Search for Answers

If the word “blooming” evokes happy thoughts of springtime and flowers, congratulations – you’re normal. If the word “blooming” triggers feelings of frustration and a deep-seated fear of rework, then you (like me) are probably a powder coater. I would venture to guess...

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The Pursuit of Smoothness

The Pursuit of Smoothness

Shortcuts and work-arounds are lifesavers for busy powder coating job shops. Anytime I can cap threads instead of painstakingly masking them with tape, for instance, I consider that a victory – it’s a time-saver that does not negatively impact the end product. There...

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Got Kerf? Here’s Why.

Got Kerf? Here’s Why.

Busy powder coaters will agree: silicone plugs are life-savers. They’re the quickest, most fool-proof way to ensure that blast media and powder coating stay out of vulnerable, threaded areas, and they’re reusable to boot. Like any other tool in your shop, though,...

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Quotes Notes: Things your Shop Can’t Do for You.

Quotes Notes: Things your Shop Can’t Do for You.

I’ve been quoting projects like crazy, lately, and I find myself writing the same notes over and over. That usually means it’s time for a blog post. General public customers, this one’s for you: here’s everything your blasting & coating shop can’t do. My note:...

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Friability is your Friend: Demystifying Blast Media

Friability is your Friend: Demystifying Blast Media

I’m a Mechanical Engineer who gets excited about material properties, and today, I’m sharing one of my favorite words: friability. Friability measures how well a piece of material holds up under duress. All solid substances in the world experience friability, to...

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A Crash Course in Corrosion

A Crash Course in Corrosion

As far as Kaser Blasting & Coatings is concerned, corrosion is Public Enemy #1. All of our services – blasting, pretreatment, coating, packaging – have the same end goal: keep corrosion at bay for as long as humanly possible. In the grand scheme, it’s a losing...

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“So What Do You Do, Exactly?”

“So What Do You Do, Exactly?”

I spend so much time around the Kaser team (and interacting with fellow industry professionals on social media), that I have to pause when I hear “so what do you do?” from someone in a public setting. If I say the words “blasting, powder coating, and liquid coating”...

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The Two Rules of Delegation

The Two Rules of Delegation

The concept of delegation is fairly simple: handing a task over to another person should, in theory, lighten your load while giving them a project to which they’re suited. On paper, delegation is a win-win. A lot tends to go wrong in practice, however. If you’ve ever...

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The Case for Creating a Playbook

The Case for Creating a Playbook

Time is a scarce and precious resource for small business owners and managers. I get it – there aren’t enough hours in the day, and you have to be judicious about how you allocate them. That’s why a lot of small businesses don’t have a training book. It takes time to...

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Life Advice from a Brain Ninja

Life Advice from a Brain Ninja

Shari Kaser is a lot of things: she’s an accountant, a UNL grad, and a founding member of Kaser Painting, Inc. She’s also my mom, and, as the rest of my family will attest, a skilled brain ninja (more on that nickname in a moment). I sat down recently to interview...

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What Sports Fans Already Know about Management

What Sports Fans Already Know about Management

Managers, it’s time to face facts: we will never manage a whole crew of Michael Jordans. Not everyone we hire will be the Tom Brady of our industry. It’s unlikely that you will ever discover (much less successfully recruit) the Wayne Gretzky of powder coating. And...

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Cross-Examining Crosslinkers

Cross-Examining Crosslinkers

American powder coaters: it’s time for us to get acquainted with our crosslinkers. The crosslinker is responsible for causing polymer chains to link during the curing process. In other words, it’s the chemical agent that transforms the grainy powder we spray into the...

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Fail Friday: How a Perfect Coating Might Still be All Wrong

Fail Friday: How a Perfect Coating Might Still be All Wrong

Imagine for a moment that you’re a powder coater. You manage a well-regarded, family-owned blasting and coating business in Lincoln, NE. One day, a customer drops off two signs (that look very similar to one another), and asks you to powder coat one in blue and one in...

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The Road is Rougher than you Think

The Road is Rougher than you Think

Anyone new to the world of powder coating needs to internalize one fundamental truth: yes, powder coating is durable…but it is not indestructible. If you repeatedly hit a powder coated surface with a hammer, it will eventually chip. This may come as a sad revelation...

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Unfixable Flaws and How to Avoid Them

Unfixable Flaws and How to Avoid Them

True or false: there’s no need to package parts before sending them to the finishing shop, because any damage caused in transit will be invisible after blasting and coating? False. While most people understand that freshly-applied powder coating needs to be babied on...

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Every Little Thing Matters

Every Little Thing Matters

This is a sad story about mistakes made, lessons learned, and rework. To set the scene: it’s late summer at Kaser Blasting & Coatings. A set of parts arrives, the likes of which we’ve coated many times before. It is, by all appearances, a regular Tuesday. The...

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Keeping the Schedule Train on Track

Keeping the Schedule Train on Track

I’ve said it before: scheduling your part’s blasting and coating well ahead of time is a great way to keep turnarounds short. With proper scheduling, (and depending on the size and scope of the project,) we can usually get parts blasted, coated, and back in your hands...

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The Three Rules of Training

The Three Rules of Training

We all reach points in our careers where certain aspects of our jobs become ingrained in our instincts and muscle memory. For powder coaters, industry lingo becomes second nature. We become comfortable identifying substrates, and predicting how they’ll behave. We can...

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Busting the Myth of Self-Direction

Busting the Myth of Self-Direction

To the casual observer walking by Kaser’s campus on a weekday, our operations look like a buzzing hive of freight trucks, forklifts, and carts. The intensity level ranges from “moderate flurry” to “fog of war,” but one thing remains constant: from 7 AM to 4 PM, Kaser...

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Moving Past Yelling: A Manager’s Evolution

Moving Past Yelling: A Manager’s Evolution

If you haven’t been around a college student lately, you’ll perhaps have forgotten how very young they are, and how little real-life work experience they have. That certainly was the case for me, as a freshly-graduated college student taking a manager position at...

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Scheduling Backward Instead of Forward

Scheduling Backward Instead of Forward

A textbook might describe the metal manufacturing process this way: a customer has an idea for a metal part they want made. They find a fabricator, who comes up with some drawings. Once the design is approved, the part is made. If the fabricator provides in-house...

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Heat, Sweat, and Soreness: Summer Powder Coating Problems

Heat, Sweat, and Soreness: Summer Powder Coating Problems

Imagine the hottest day of a Nebraska summer. Now add ten degrees to the temperature. Now picture yourself wearing full-body personal protective equipment and a respirator, while pushing large metal parts around on carts.  That’s a normal August day in the life of a...

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What’s in a Lead Time?

What’s in a Lead Time?

What do urgent care and the fire department have in common? Their lead times could be a matter of life or death. If you’re calling an emergency locksmith because your toddler is stuck in a hot car, you’re going to want that service provided as quickly as humanly...

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No Need to Panic: A Tale of Rust Streaking

No Need to Panic: A Tale of Rust Streaking

I got a call the other day from a Kaser client with a question worth blogging about. The client is a retirement community, for whom we had powder coated quite a bit of railing five years prior, all in white. If that raises red flags, it should: I’ve blogged before...

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Treat Yourself to Proper Pretreatment

Treat Yourself to Proper Pretreatment

Pretreatment is neither the most visible nor the most glamorous part of the coating process. It doesn’t involve color, it doesn’t photograph well, and it makes for less-than-ideal social media content. It’s no wonder, then, that most customers don’t prioritize...

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The Secret Kaser Family Packaging Recipe

The Secret Kaser Family Packaging Recipe

True or false: the back of a truck (pickup truck, air-ride-equipped semi, or any model in between) rides as smoothly as the cab of said truck? False with a capital F and an exclamation point. While suspension has improved over the years, the back of any truck will...

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Getting Wheel Specific

Getting Wheel Specific

Today, we’re tackling another one of Kaser’s all-time FAQs: “how much will it cost to blast and powder coat my car’s wheels?” The short answer is, “it depends.” While I’m more than happy to give a quote over the phone or email, there are 3 questions I will need...

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It’s Time to Talk about Cc

It’s Time to Talk about Cc

I’m taking a break from blogging about niche, coating-related issues in favor of a much more universal topic: the humble workplace email. Email users, assemble. It’s time we have a frank conversation about the Cc function. Let’s begin with a definition: Cc stands for...

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Shop For Powder Like A Pro

Shop For Powder Like A Pro

Good shopping means asking the right questions. This is true for just about anything money can buy, and powder coating is no exception. I’m not talking about the powder coating service, this time. I’m talking about the powder itself. No matter who you choose as your...

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Sales: Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Sales: Work Smarter, Not Harder.

Imagine for a moment that ABC Powder Supplier and XYZ Powder Supplier are two companies that offer the exact same powder, of the exact same quality, at the exact same price point. Let’s take it one step further and imagine that neither company charges for shipping. In...

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When Sales Reps go Rogue: A Rant

When Sales Reps go Rogue: A Rant

I’m a pretty positive, results-oriented person who is fortunate to work in an industry full of positive, results-oriented people. But, my fellow powder coaters, general managers, and small business owners, can we take a moment to bond over what I am sure is a shared...

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The Magic of Scheduling

The Magic of Scheduling

Is there anything more frustrating for a customer than calling a powder coating shop and being told that the lead time is 4-5 weeks? No. I get it, and I’m here to help. First, I want to reframe how we look at lead times. While a long lead time is an understandable...

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What Blasting Can’t Do

What Blasting Can’t Do

Myth: blasting parts is the same as cleaning them. Fact: blasting and washing are two very different processes, with very different results, and you cannot substitute one for the other. I think social media may be (at least partly) to blame for the confusion. We’re...

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Two Cents on Higher Education

Two Cents on Higher Education

I ask every single interview candidate the same question: “What is your ideal job?” This question yields a variety of answers, but there’s a common one that really bothers me. It goes something like this: “I eventually want to own my own business, but right now, I...

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Love, Hate, and Process

Love, Hate, and Process

If the words “procedure” and “process” conjure mixed emotions of rage and comfort, you’re not alone. I feel the same way. Whether as employees or consumers, we’ve all experienced corporate red tape – long chains of command, endless phone call transfers, time-consuming...

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“I Don’t Know” and Other Barriers

“I Don’t Know” and Other Barriers

My biggest challenge on any given day comes in the form of human communication. The most consistent, frustrating, and oddly humorous example of this happens during shipping and receiving. Some of our larger industrial customers ship parts to us via freight truck. I...

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Meditation on Metallic

Meditation on Metallic

Humans are attracted to shiny things. I get it – metallic powder coating is mesmerizing. But before you decide that every metal part you own should glitter, allow us to provide you with a reality check: applying metallic powder coatings is an expensive exercise in...

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How’s It Hanging?

How’s It Hanging?

“Danger” is perhaps too strong a word, but anytime you’re dealing with heavy metal parts, there’s always a risk of bodily injury. This risk is heightened a little bit every time you move the part – for instance, transporting it from the parking lot to the blasting...

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Teeny Tiny Hooks for Teeny Tiny Hardware

Teeny Tiny Hooks for Teeny Tiny Hardware

Moving, coating, and curing large, heavy parts presents a fairly obvious set of predictable challenges for any coating shop. But what challenges do we face on the smaller end of the spectrum? More specifically, what makes coating nuts, bolts, screw heads, and other...

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The Cold Call that Worked: A Hiring Parable

The Cold Call that Worked: A Hiring Parable

Small business owners, General Managers, and entrepreneurs: can I get an amen when I say that hiring is hard? If you’re like me, you:       Don’t have an HR department,       Do have a hand in every aspect of daily operation, and       Spend your days in a blur of...

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Getting what you Want: A Cautionary Tale

Getting what you Want: A Cautionary Tale

My two-word summary of the custom color matching process for powder coating: IT’S DIFFICULT. I blogged about this a while ago, but recent events at Kaser have reminded me that custom color matching is a loaded issue, fraught with opportunities for frustration, and...

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The Trouble with White

The Trouble with White

Anyone who has spilled spaghetti sauce on a white button down, cleaned fingerprints off of a white wall, or tried to keep a white car dust-free knows: the color white tends to be higher-maintenance than most. This is true in the liquid and powder coating world as...

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The Complete Package

The Complete Package

Myth: powder coating, once cured, is indestructible. Fact: while powder coating can be designed to effectively resist weather damage, sunlight, fading, industrial solvents, and moisture, it is not bulletproof. It is not even scratch-proof. If you throw a smooth,...

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Quotes and Conversation

Quotes and Conversation

Here’s the scenario. It’s 2 PM on a Tuesday at Kaser Blasting & Coatings, and the phone rings. I pick up. The conversation goes like this: Customer: “Hi, yes, I have a rusty patio chair that I want powder coated. Could I get a quote?” Me, thinking to myself: OK,...

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Can We Handle It?

Can We Handle It?

Kaser Blasting & Coatings serves both the general public and larger industrial customers, which means we frequently hear similar questions from opposite ends of the spectrum: “Can you handle projects [this large/small?]” “Are you able to blast [ten thousand...

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Two Minutes of your Time

Two Minutes of your Time

Can I rant for a minute? Anyone who owns a small business will tell you it’s not easy. There are a lot of serious, real-life reasons for that: small businesses are buffeted by the economy, the margins are often narrow, and it can be tough to attract and retain talent....

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Outside the Box

Outside the Box

We’re here to solve customers’ problems. As a blasting and coating shop, this means we’re typically solving rust and corrosion problems, and applying coatings preventively against future damage. That’s our area of expertise. But occasionally we’re asked to solve a...

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See Something? Say Something.

See Something? Say Something.

Rework. The purpose of our quality control is to catch the surface quality issues before parts leave our facility. Say a part didn’t get pretreated properly and oil bubbles through the coating surface, or there was a pinhole in the weld that causes some outgassing, or...

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Substrates: A Summary

Substrates: A Summary

Kaser sees quite a variety of parts come through the shop - lawn furniture, cars, steel beams and everything in between. Despite the broad diversity of the parts we handle, the majority tends to fall into one of only three substrate categories: steel, aluminum, and...

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A Customer’s Guide to Powder Chemistry

A Customer’s Guide to Powder Chemistry

Powder coating is not a monolith. “Powder” can mean a lot of different things at the chemical level, which is why we can’t (or shouldn’t) spray leftover powders indiscriminately on incoming parts. Different applications require different powder chemistries. Of all the...

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Things Are Heating Up

Things Are Heating Up

It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: the powder coating oven runs hot. More precisely, the powder coating oven typically reaches around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important, because it directly affects the types of parts we can powder coat. For instance,...

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If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the…Car Wash?

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Stay Out of the…Car Wash?

We talk a lot about the protective element of powder coating. It’s ideal for outdoor parts, for instance, because powder coating creates a barrier against the elements, protecting the part from damage. But there’s protection, and then there’s PROTECTION. Parts for...

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Guns, Pistons, and Knives, Oh My!

Guns, Pistons, and Knives, Oh My!

“Can you blast sensitive parts?” Typically, when I get this question, the customer is asking about a smaller part they want cleaned – a firearm, a knife, an oily piston, or something tarnished. They don’t want the current coating (if any) removed, they just want the...

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All about Air

All about Air

Take it from a Mechanical Engineer: the right equipment makes all the difference in the quality of blasting and coating. This is a topic that genuinely excites me, and I wanted to share some insights I’ve developed over years of trial and error, in case they can be...

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Blasting for Interior Application

Blasting for Interior Application

It’s one of Kaser’s golden rules: outdoor parts need to be blasted before being powder coated. It’s non-negotiable for anyone who is at all concerned about the durability of their powder coating against the elements. But what about indoor parts? If they aren’t exposed...

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Keep it Together, Man

Keep it Together, Man

Which is more expensive: powder coating one large part, or powder coating the same part that’s been broken down into several smaller pieces? I get this question all the time. Often, it’s about something like a ladder rack for a truck: ladder racks can either be welded...

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Caps, Plugs and Other Saviors

Caps, Plugs and Other Saviors

Lest anyone think that masking is all about tape, I wanted to follow up my previous masking blog with a note about the non-tape masking resources we use regularly. Tape is ideal for large, flat surfaces. However, if we’re blasting a part that has threads, pins,...

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Masters of Masking

Masters of Masking

Allow me to brag for a second: Kaser Blasting & Coatings has gotten really good at masking. That’s because we’ve been asked to do it a lot recently, and through trial, error, and practice, we’ve figured out what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. Since...

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I’m a Manager of Entropy. Nice to Meet You.

I’m a Manager of Entropy. Nice to Meet You.

We’re a quarter of the way through 2019, and I’ve identified my personal theme for the year: I’m a manager of entropy. I’ll explain. Occasionally, a customer will learn that I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This...

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Kaser, Cars, and You

Kaser, Cars, and You

I hear it a lot: “I’m restoring a car. Can you help?” The short answer is (usually) yes. Of course, “restoring a car” can mean a lot of different things, so I like to ask some questions, and make a judgment call on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if a customer...

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New Year, New Wash Bay

New Year, New Wash Bay

The Kaser Blasting & Coatings compound expanded recently – we announced the new addition on Facebook a while ago, and have been using that extra square footage as some very handy storage space for equipment and parts. The storage capacity has been nice, but we’re...

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An Alternative to Custom Color

An Alternative to Custom Color

I published an article a while back on the custom color matching process for powder coating. The blog was a bit long and technical, because the custom color matching process is long and technical. In case you missed it, here’s the short version: matching powder...

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How Soon Can You Get It Done?

How Soon Can You Get It Done?

2019 has been keeping us busy. We’re very happy about that – in years past, we would occasionally experience a lull in the winter months. This hasn’t been true for quite a while. Business is booming, and we’re thrilled. Being busy comes with its own set of...

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New Year, Same Mission

New Year, Same Mission

Happy New Year from the Kaser family! Change is inevitable, and I’m ready to embrace the growth and challenges that 2019 will bring. At the same time, I find myself hoping that certain things will stay exactly the same. In 2018, the Kaser team spent some time...

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Kaser: The Origin Story

Kaser: The Origin Story

Shortly before their wedding day in 1987, Jay and Shari Kaser put up Shari’s grey Honda Prelude as collateral, took out a small business loan, and ventured into the business of residential painting. Just like that, Kaser Painting, Inc. was formed. Kaser Painting grew...

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To Galvanize or Not to Galvanize

To Galvanize or Not to Galvanize

Adhesion. If you’ve been following Kaser Blasting & Coatings on social media, you know that adhesion has been the theme of 2018. Good adhesion is the foundation of a high-quality powder coating job. It’s the reason we blast: removing mill scale, rust, and old...

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When Bigger Means Better

When Bigger Means Better

In a world obsessed with sleek, portable, pocket-sized technological advances, Kaser Blasting & Coatings is here to tell you that the old adage still occasionally rings true: sometimes, bigger is better. Over the years, we’ve built and modified our space to bring...

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Making the Dream Work

Making the Dream Work

‘Tis the season of reflection and gratitude. As Kaser Blasting & Coatings wraps up another stellar year, I’m grateful for so many things: our customers, new and returning, who give us a reason to come to work every day; Jay and Shari Kaser, whose vision started...

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Blasting: The Kaser Difference

Blasting: The Kaser Difference

Last week, we talked a little bit about blasting: the process, the advantages, and its impact on the success of powder coating. A lot of shops offer blasting services. Some enthusiasts even have a blasting setup at home. What makes Kaser different? Not all blasts are...

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Blasting for Best Results

Blasting for Best Results

Powder coating lends itself well to social media: the dramatic before-and-after shots, the vibrant colors, the gloss and texture of the part after it’s been coated – it’s all very photogenic. We love to showcase our powder coating on Facebook and Instagram because...

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