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So, the first 5 trees are done. Overall I thought they came out better than I deserve, for my lack of finishing skills, and patience. I made some changes going in. I Knew Iwas gonna paint them, becaus

The recovery is going well Artie. My vision has returned to normal. I'll be seeing my opthamologist in Dec. to get clearance to drive. Legs still need a bit of coaxing, but I'd say I'm at 80% or maybe

Got a tree farm in the basement!

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So my main question is, if I suck at painting with a brush, will I suck even more with a sprayer? I’m curious about getting a sprayer. This will be in my basement shop, so I’m guessing I’m limited to water based products only. (don’t want the burner setting off any explosions). If spraying isn’t much more difficult than brush painting, and it appears to be faster for larger projects, any recommendations? Earlex? Fuji? Apollo? Other? Models? Accessories? Pointers? Don’t bother? I’m like a dry sponge, trying to soak up knowledge (or sumpin like that).

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3 hours ago, Fred W. Hargis Jr said:

Keith's advice doesn't need my endorsement, but he is spot-on. One more thing to consider...the brushes only last 30 years if you have a good cleaning regimen. I use a three jar method, and while I don't have any that lasted 30 years I do have a couple that are over 10 years old and still good.

Yes, I use the three jar system, too.   In a nutshell, 3 jars of paint thinner used sequentially, #1, #2, then #3.   First, I wipe the brush off with a rag. The first one(#1) has the most sludge in the bottom and less as you go along.   When jar #1 gets too nasty, promote jar #2 to be #1, jar #3 to be #2, and start a new jar #3.   There is no reason why you need fresh paint thinner every time.


I also do a final rinse in lacquer thinner (jar #4?)


Before each use, I wet the brush in paint thinner and let it flow up to the ferrule, then wipe off excess.


When the brush gets too stiff, I put it in a jar with NMP paint remover and let it sit overnight.   Rinse out and you're good for a few more years.




If you are brushing shellac or lacquer, you don't need to be so careful.  Soaking in DNA or lacquer thinner for a few minutes before use gets them ready.   Use separate brushes for each of these.




Spraying is faster.  How much depends on what you are doing.  It might take an hour to brush out a chair with lots of spindles, stretchers, and turned parts.   Spray in 2 minutes.   But if you are doing one small thing like a box, it will take more time to clean the gun than you save applying finish.  If you are doing 6 chairs, you'll be ahead.


I like HVLP systems.  But I've used the cheap Harbor Freight guns for things like spray stains, shellac, and lacquer finishes.   This assumes you already have a fairly large compressor and don't have to go out and buy one just for spraying.

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Well right now I’m trying to make 10 of the Kissmass trees that were in the last issue of woodcraft magazine. So I have 300 pieces of wood, I want to paint. 2 coats primer, 2 coats green. The largest piece is 12 inches X 1/2 inch X 1 1/8 inch. The thought my little pea brain had was that spraying might be both faster and have a better looking end result. I see some sprayers need a separate compressor, and some have a turbine built in. I know nothing about these. Rockler shows one for under $400 that had a lot of raves (not that raves can’t be faked). As Jim pointed out, this is gonna take place in our basement. If I’m using water based primer/paint how strong an odor, if any? I don’t really smell any when I brush it. Right now a sprayer is in th budget, But I don’t want to buy something that is not gonna do what I want it to.  

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Practice is the key.  All the shop jigs and trays and holders.  All practice, various finishes, paints stains etc etc.


Whatever method you use to apply I rec you do it in small batches.  Pace yourself, don't try to do all at once.  Quality, not quantity.

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4 hours ago, Danl said:

I would like to pass along what I have used to obtain good spraying results.  No way am I saying, “this is how you have to do it”.  I am a hobby woodworker.  If you want a quality finish, you need to practice, practice, and practice.  Use more than cardboard when you practice.  Also practice on sample wood projects.


If using a HVLP system, make sure your gun and air compressor are compatible.  I believe most hobby air compressors do not put out a high enough CFM to atomize the paint adequately.  I use a low price HVLP gun with a 33 gal. Craftsman air compressor.  The compressor’s CFM ratings are 8.6 CFM @ 40 psi and 6.4 CFM @ 90 psi.  I use both a filter and a regulator on the gun.  I have the regulator closest to the gun.   I dial down the line pressure to approx. 2X gun gun/spray pressure.  My gun/spray psi is between 18 – 30 psi when the trigger is pulled. 


I purchased the book, SPRAY FINISHING made simple by Jeff Jewett.  Jeff has a lot of good information.


When spraying paint, I spray the primer and the paint with a 2.0 mm needle.  Woodcraft sells the 2.0 mm needle kit which fits the HF gun and others.  You will have to adjust the material flow valve to get desired results.  With the gun I use, the flow rate is approx. 1-1/2 to 2 full turns. 

Every time I spray a finish, I take notes.  I record the following: date, time, project, finish, temp, humidity, tank pressure, line pressure, gun pressure, and flow rate.  I spray in an unfinished garage and it can get cold or hot with high humidity.  I try to spray on days where the temp is between 65 – 85 deg F and the humidity is below 70%.  Having too low humidity is not an issue for me.


I spray almost exclusively SW products, but I do not purchase my material from the stores in the strip malls located everywhere.  I purchase all my material from a SW Commercial Store which sells Industrial Coatings.  They sell their products in 1 gal cans up to 55 gal barrels. 

The paint products I purchase for cabinets are the Sher-wood Kem Aqua plus white (M64W522) and Sher-wood Aqua plus Surfacer (primer) (E64W520).  It is WB and KCMA certified.  If purchased, you should follow SW requirements/ data sheets.  SW can tint the product if you have a SW color name/number.


When spraying, I try to have the surface which is receiving the paint, in a horizontal position.  It is much easier to spray a horizontal surface than it is a vertical surface.  Know before you pull the trigger the path your gun will follow.  You may want to do a dry run. 


I have been eyeing the FUJI spray systems for a long time.  They are not cheap.  A three-stage system will probable do most of what I what to do but when I pull the trigger, I will purchase either a four or five stage system.  I have been told it will only hurt once ($$$).   Danl

Ordered the book, thanks.

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