Adventures in Spraying #2: First Spray Job Done (sort of)

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Blog entry by PurpLev posted 07-02-2010 10:57 PM 2163 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Surface Preparation Part 2 of Adventures in Spraying series Part 3: Piece 1 finished - recap »

We had the day off today at the office, so I figured this is as good a time to spray some finish.

Fist thing first. I had to setup a way to spray while keeping the area somewhat separated from the rest of the basement in fear of contamination of the rest of the things. I also wanted to have a way to rotate the work so that I can spray all sides without having to walk around and being in the direction of the air flow (I have a box fan in the window to pull out the overspray etc.

I initially had a tarp that I hung on the basement ceiling joists with hooks that can easily be taken off/put on. problem was the tarp was very heavy, and not easy to work with, and it also didn’t pass the light making the spraying area dim. I replaced it with some 4mil drop cloth plastics which was a very good upgrade as it’s lighter, I could cut it to size easily, and it lets the light come through from the other lights in the basement.

the next thing that I did was setup a turn table. since I did not have any hardward to make anything permanent, I just put 2 masonite sheets (40×48) with the smooth sides facing each other. this way I can easily rotate the top masonite sheet to present me with all the sides of the piece being sprayed.

I also used 4 chair-pads (the type that nails into the chair leg) upside down to hold my piece above the surface of the “table” so that I can spray underneath.

as I mentioned – I put a box fan at the window and opened the basement door so air comes in from door, and pulled out through window along with overspray etc. originally I had a furnace filter on the fan, but it fell due to poor tape quality – I need to get some bungee cords to hold it in place better.

All in all, here is what the setup looks like. it’s small, maybe not ideal, but gets me something to start with and learn what needs to be improved for my workflow:

All in all, I was hoping for a better result, but given this is the first time I’m spraying (anything for that matter) and that I’ve had no training, past experience or anything of that sort, I guess it’s not too bad.:

I was able to put 4 coats since 10am already which I think is all I’m going to put on it.

I had some runs on the first coat, I think I was spraying too much material, and in later coats I reduced the dial to let out less material which was easier for me to handle.

except for some bumps due to the runs, I do notice some texture in the finish in some areas. not sure if I didn’t put too much material there so there are dry spots, or if it’s the technique:

I definitely need more practice. the lighting made it a bit hard for me to see where I’ve already sprayed, and where the spray is going to. I wasn’t sure how much material to put, and the corners got more finish than the rest of the piece:

I think some areas got more finish than others, but hopefully I can buff this to a (somewhat) even finish to hide my errors a little bit.

good thing this is just a test piece. definitely start with something you don’t mind screwing up.

for now. I’ll let this dry thoroughly, buff it, and then can get a better view of how this came out.

I guess given the lack of experience and nature of this “adventure” – so far so good :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

13 comments so far

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1588 posts in 4045 days

#1 posted 07-02-2010 11:33 PM

Thanks for posting your efforts Sharon, as I have not tried this myself it will be interesting tagging along. Hope you get some time tomorrow to post a pic or two when things dry out a bit. Good luck climbing this learning curve!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View littlecope's profile


3072 posts in 3982 days

#2 posted 07-02-2010 11:39 PM

Looking Good, Sharon!!
Sorry I can’t offer any advice… All the spraying I’ve done is with a can… but if that is any teacher, keep that thing moving!! Spray right past the corners, so you don’t get the “Reverse direction hang time” and build-up on them…
Nice even sweeps is the way, my Friend!!
You’re doing fine!! It takes a little practice I’m told… :)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View Lenny's profile


1638 posts in 4007 days

#3 posted 07-02-2010 11:40 PM

Nice Sharon! Seems like you worked out the kinks relative to set up and have your initial techniques experience under your belt. With a bit more practice you’ll be putting out DaVinci, Monet and (fill in favorite artist)-like pieces. Good luck as you continue the journey.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View degoose's profile


7255 posts in 3835 days

#4 posted 07-03-2010 12:15 AM

I bought a spray gun a few years ago… never used it … don’t think I ever will… never know tho… might be faster …but it does look like you are having fun learning a new skill…

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View CampD's profile


1789 posts in 3966 days

#5 posted 07-03-2010 12:16 AM

Thats a good start, I will add thou
With spraying, the first coat will lift the grain (no matter how much you sand before hand)
and is used just to seal the piece. 1st coat is applied lightly and wait for it to fully dry, then you can sand all the little nubs off with 220, tack rag after sanding, then your ready for all the coats you want.
I check between coats with a light (drop light works good) to see areas that I didnt get good coverage on.
Also, any runs I use a scraper to scape them off while the finish is still tacky, if it was to big a goof it will need to be lighly sanded when dry, the next coat should hide it.
Good luck (I’ve been spraying for over 20 yrs and still get runs, weather is a big factor).

-- Doug...

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4129 days

#6 posted 07-03-2010 12:46 AM

Thanks guys, yes it does take practice (yet another one to the list).

Doug- thanks for the tip, I actually didn’t think about the fact that this is water based, and it does make sense that it raises the grain. will keep that in mind from now on.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile


35197 posts in 4881 days

#7 posted 07-03-2010 01:05 AM

I was reading a blog by Glen Huey, The editor of Popular Woodworking. He was writing about a shellac finish, but he stated spray some heavy coats and then sanded them smooth with a block and sandpaper. Once you have a smooth surface then you can put the finish coat one and then lightly level the finish and polish or what ever you want for your final surface.

When I made my baby cradles I sprayed Shellac Amber Shellac that then top coated with a Shellac Sanding sealer and then did a French Polish on top of that. That process cut down the amount of work to do a total French Polish on the piece.

For my Kitchen Cabinets that I’m making now I’m spraying Sherman Williams Water Clear, Post Cat Conversion Varnish. I’m not sure of the number on the finish at this time. Send my a PM and I’ll find it if you want. It dries in about 5 minutes and I hit the top surface with some 600 grit paper and then wax. It’s as smooth as can be and it’s a hard finish.

The finish requires that you buy a bottle of catalyst and mix it at time of finishing. The bottle will have enough for about 21 gallons of finish.You can store unused finish in the refrigerator for 24 hrs or store in the freezer almost indefinitely (According to their papers) I just mix up enough for the session that I’m doing.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4129 days

#8 posted 07-03-2010 02:04 AM

Thanks Karson, eventually I would like to spray shellac and lacquer (or conversion varnish), but for now I have to stay with water borne finishes because of safety and health reasons. I’ll keep that in mind though as this is definitely something I’d like to venture into when I have a more suitable space that I can spray those things in.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View woodsmithshop's profile


1385 posts in 4026 days

#9 posted 07-03-2010 02:10 AM

I am far from being an expert on spraying, but I always try to spray only on the horizontal if at all possible, and very carefully on the vertical when necessary.

-- Smitty!!!

View Karson's profile


35197 posts in 4881 days

#10 posted 07-03-2010 06:42 AM

OK I screwed up. I was giving Glen Huey credit for something that I read. I was wrong. I did read Glen’s blog and he was talking about shellac.

But, I stated that he also wrote about finishing the finish. (He also did that), but I also read in the latest Wood Magazine Issue 199, Sept 2010 about “Power your way to a Polished Finish” That article referred to finishing the finish. Check it out.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View ellen35's profile


2742 posts in 3913 days

#11 posted 07-03-2010 12:52 PM

Coming right along Sharon!
You know what they say about Carnegie Hall… practice, practice, practice… and you’ll be spraying Carnegie Hall!
Have you considered an old appliance box (refrigerator? – good excuse to get one of Degoose’s inspirational refrigerators!) as a spray area?

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View wchips's profile


314 posts in 3568 days

#12 posted 07-03-2010 03:13 PM

Looking good PurpLe I spray finish when i spray lacquer. Spray the first coat very lite. just enough to harden the fuzzies. when dry sand litely to get rid of the fuzzies , then spray the top coats . I find that the HVLP gravity feed gun works the best for me

-- wchips

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4208 days

#13 posted 07-03-2010 10:23 PM

very cool. I’m going to the recap now.

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