A great testimonial from a recent guest at our 2-day Cerakote Training Class:
I wanted to say a few things about my most recent experience with NIC Industries, and Cerakote.
While at SHOT I visited the Cerakote booth and talked to a few of the guys there about some specific questions I had. In doing so I realized that my self taught application of this product over the last year was seriously lacking. So I decided that some formal training would help bring me to the level I need to be at with this coating.
I started finishing firearms about a year ago and I'm set up in my workshop to parkerize, and apply spray on/bake on coatings. In all of my trials and tribulations I came to the personal conclusion that Cerakote seemed to be the most durable and versatile coatings of all that I tried. And I tried all of the spray on / bake on finishes out there. The only issue for me was that Cerakote was also the most difficult to apply with someone of my experience. As Cerakote became more popular NIC Industries started making how to videos which guided me in the right direction. I got to the point where I could coat a custom 1911 with an airbrush to a satisfactory condition, but I was still having issues with other firearms and spray guns.
Fast forward to last week when I arrived in Medford Oregon for my two day Cerakote application course. The course started weeks prior when I made contact with the Cerakote team and discussed my experience and what I wanted out of the course. These classes are done on an individual basis and are custom tailored to the specific attendee. That in it self really sparked my interest and told me that this company is not interested in just my money they are interested in teaching me what I want and need to know about applying their product.
Since I had a basic understanding of prep, and applying the coating I wanted to focus on all the different types of substrates I could apply the coating to: Polymer frame, fiberglass stock, Stainless Steel 1911, M4 carbine, scopes and optics. NIC has you send your guns ahead of time for there people to perform most of the prep work so your two days of training aren't spent at the blast cabinet. Prep is still covered in detail at the class. So I went into my safe and got a mix of everything I thought would be a good firearm to coat.
I showed up Thursday morning and was greeted by two of NIC's people and was given a brief overview of the two day course. I was then taken on a tour of the facility and shown how the coatings are made, how and where they are tested, and some of the evolution and changes they have made over time to continue to make their product better.
After that it was right to work starting with prep and color selection. Allot of the way you prep is based on color selection. I learned quite a bit within the first hour on better ways to prep and rack parts, which is the foundation of getting the most out of this coating.
After prep was done we moved into the spray booth and I received a comprehensive period of instruction on the Iawata spray gun. This class alone was worth taking this course. I learned more about the spray gun and methods for using the spray fan in that POI then I thought was possible. I would have to say besides prep knowing how to use the gun is the most important skill for an applying an even durable great looking finish. They had some test barrels and actions for me to practice on before getting into the firearms I had brought. We sprayed in the booth for the rest of the day, with myself getting more hands on then anything else.
Day two started with continued hands on in the booth as well as some new skill sets. Cerakote comes in two basic forms, air dry and heat cure. I was very interested in learning how to apply air dry to a fiberglass stock that was already bedded and not a good candidate for the oven, and spraying optics. We also covered the use of stencils to make camouflage patterns. So day two was spent in the spray booth and at the prep table lifting and applying stencils.
During lunch of both days the marketing people sat and talked in depth about how to promote my business as a certified Cerakote applicator. They took the time to get to know me and my business and how I planned on using there product. They walked me through their web site and explained how as part of this class they will promote my business on there web site. They also explained the partnership we just created now that I'm a certified applicator. At no time did they ever try to sell me any products, future classes, or commit to anything that pertained to there products. They simply wanted to know how they could help make my business successful.
In conclusion, I could not have been happier with the entire course. The guy in charge of training was a great instructor and cared about me learning the process and that I was satisfied with everything he taught. There wasn't a question he couldn't answer or a technique he couldn't produce when asked. The hands on part of this course is hands down one of the best training courses I've been through. I put it on the same level as the Vickers 1911 Gunsmith Course I took. And the support and everything else that went with the course was equally as good.
The bottom line is that Cerakote will adhere to just about every metal you can come across in the firearms world. The myth of not adhering to as well to stainless steel or Ti was put to rest. Also the ability to color match optics and parts that are not meant for the oven is invaluable. My Glock has never looked better then the two tone Cerakote job I did on it at the course.
If you are serious about getting into the application of this product, I highly recommend taking this training course. If you were up in the air about which coating to use on your firearms, in my opinion Cerakote is the best stuff out there. And now that I'm a certified applicator, I will be putting my new found skills to good use.
-Vinnie P. (Lorton, VA)