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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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Three Signs your Part’s not Properly Grounded

Three Signs your Part’s not Properly Grounded

I would wager that most career powder coaters are not physicists. I certainly am not.  And yet, success in our occupation relies upon our ability to understand - and harness - certain electrostatic phenomena, including the all-important concept of grounding. Failure...

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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 Three Pillars of Pretreatment

The Three Pillars of Pretreatment

Good powder coating does not exist in a vacuum. It’s not enough to simply purchase the best powder on the market, and ask the most skilled powder coater in the world to apply it – not if you want your coating to last. High-quality powder and skilled application are...

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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. We 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

We talk about powder coating in monolithic terms, but the truth is that “powder” can mean a lot of different things on the chemical level.  And different powders serve different purposes. Even though powder chemistry has a significant effect on the coating’s...

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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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Powder Vs. Liquid Coating: A Summary

Powder Vs. Liquid Coating: A Summary

To powder coat, or to liquid coat? That is the question. Given the choice, we typically choose powder. It’s not necessarily because powder coating is more durable than liquid – you can certainly achieve durable, high-quality finish from liquid paint. Finish is not the...

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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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The Road to Custom Color

The Road to Custom Color

Color carries meaning. The right color can build a brand, create an atmosphere, and make a statement. It has the power to capture attention, or deflect it. Whether you’re using it as a spotlight or as camouflage, color matters. At Kaser, color is our livelihood. We...

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The Power of Pretreatment

The Power of Pretreatment

The devil is in the details. Was this idiom coined by someone who works in the powder coating industry? Unlikely – but it may as well have been. If the term “powder coating” evokes images of a dirty metal part being glossed over in a smooth and vibrant color, you’re...

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