Volume 7, Issue 6, November-December 2003

Tint Talk 
    Laurence Streidel

Finding Shop Essentials

In my previous articles Iíve talked about location, overhead prices and problems with acquiring permits. Now itís time to talk about the details: cleanliness and tools. 
One of the first things I did to my new shop was paint the walls white and paint the floor gray. Painting forced me to clean, and cleanliness is essential in any film shop. The clean walls and floor of my shop now make any contamination more visible so I can take care of it early.

The next step was to install good lighting. I installed six 8-foot, double-hung, fluorescent lights on the ceiling and another pair along the walls. This way everything could be seen, and there were no dark corners in which dirt could hide.

My third project was to install quarter-inch glass mirrors along each wall of the bay. These mirrors, on which we place our film, are approximately 4 feet wide by 7 feet long. This way, I can cut the film on the mirror instead of on of someoneís car. Just remember to keep the mirror clean to reduce contamination further. 

If you are using tap water, another essential should be a water filter. Some water systems have more contaminants in the water than others. Either way, if you are serious about doing a good job, you will filter the water and change your water bottles every six to eight months.

Dust Busters
Among a film shopís many issues, contaminants and dust particles ranked high as concerns but are fairly easy to deal with. Hereís a list to go by to help you keep your shop free of dust: 
ē Sweep and mop the floor every morning. A wet floor keeps the dust heavy and not airborne.
ē Clean the mirrors to avoid residue build-up. 
ē Change your water for dipping your hands daily. Always dip your hands in said water before handling film. That way there arenít any fingerprints on the tint.
ē Keep your tools in a dry area or you can also keep them permanently soaked in a bucket of water.
ē When felt is an issue, place tape over areas that can cause felt 
contamination.

I found that in my situation, these tools and tricks made me a better tinter and made my work environment a little easier. Over time, you, too, will find out what tools and tricks make you a better applicator. Hopefully, these ideas give you a good place to start.

Tool Time
Once the important steps have been followed, itís time to acquire all of the tools needed for a proper installation.
1. Heat guns;
2. Conqueror squeegee;
3. Yellow 4-inch squeegee;
4. Black squeegee for cleaning;
5. Big Foot for rear windows;
6. Four to six water bottles;
7. Johnsonís Baby Shampoo;
8. Knives with spare stainless steel blades (never use carbon blades);
9. Blade holder;
10. Twelve-inch squeegee;
11. Computer cut system (if affordable);
12. Lint-free towels;
13. Buckets of clean water;
14.Gold or black hard cards; and
15. Shop light.

WINDOW FILM

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