Router Table Enhancements and HVLP with Latex Paint

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 04-17-2012 05:26 PM 14235 reads 2 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I wanted to try my hand at spraying latex paint with my harbor freight hvlp machine Last time I tried spraying milk paint and I thinned it too much got a lot of runs. But that is user error, I wanted to see how latex paint would come out because it’s cheaper and you can get it in just about any color you’d ever want at my local home center.

If you get this machine, I recomend getting extra cups from rockler I’m disapointed in HF that they don’t even make or carry replacement cups for this machine that I could find. But since the HF model is the same as the rockler branded model, the cups work and they work well.

Being able to take off your paint cup, seal it then put on a cup of hot soapy water to clean out the spray gun between coats makes life so much easier and far less waste than having to empty the cup each time between coats.

The mixture ratio I used was pretty straight forward.
4 oz latex paint
1 oz flotrol
2 oz water based poly

For a full cup I did
20 oz paint
5 oz flotrol
10 oz water based poly

An electronic cooking scale with a tare button helps with this, I had forgotten where I had gotten this from but noone pointed to this youtube video which looks familliar so it was most likely from there.

I didn’t get any pictures of day 1, but I got 3 coats of painting on the outside done on saturday, on sunday I focused on spraying the inside of the boxes, here is a picture of everything set up ready to be sprayed.

After letting the paint dry for several hours, I was able to put it all together under my router table I still need to make the drawer that will hold my wrenches and other accessories for the router table.

Here’s a picture of one side, the other side looks the same I just don’t have anything in there yet.

Here is a close up of the MDF, you can see it’s not perfectly smooth, it has a bit of a texture too it because of the splatter from the latex paint. I think this is due to method more than the device. I believe I applied the coats too thick so it didn’t allow for it to even out as easily, if I did thinner coats and doubled them up with sanding in between I think I would have had much smoother results.

The paint has a much glossier and better feel to it than straight up latex paint, this is most likely the poly at work, though you can’t sand the final coat enless you plan on doing clear top coats after which I didn’t think was needed because it looked and felt pretty smooth to me.

Overall it’s still pretty smooth and for a shop project it’s perfectly fine and fast. The only thing I haven’t mastered is the sides of MDF, I dunno it just soaks up so much paint I can’t get it to smooth out, even with several coats and sanding in between.

If I started earlier in the day (like around 11 instead of 3) I could have easily gotten it fully painted in a single day, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

11 comments so far

View RoodyJ's profile


47 posts in 4104 days

#1 posted 04-17-2012 05:40 PM

Great idea using latex paint. Jeremy, what is the flotrol for? I also have had probs with the “end-grain” of MDF. Somewhere I saw a suggestion to use a thin coat of drywall paste over the edge, then sand it down smooth before painting. Works very well.

-- Jim, Maryland

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3550 days

#2 posted 04-17-2012 05:44 PM

That looks a perfectly fine finish for a router cabinet. You will find that if you seal MDF before painting (you can use a mixture of white glue and water if you don’t want the expense of buying a commercially made sealer) you will have less absorption especially along the edges of the boards and will use less paint.

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4010 days

#3 posted 04-17-2012 05:51 PM

Flotrol isn’t a thinner, but it’s an additive that’s supposed to allow the latex paint to smooth out easier. At least that’s what I think it’s supposed to do.

I tried yellow glue thinned with water and didn’t have a lot of luck, by time I was able to sand it smooth I had sanded mostly through it, maybe I needed more coats of the glue beforehand.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View ChrisK's profile


2059 posts in 4319 days

#4 posted 04-17-2012 06:15 PM

Flotrol delays the setup of the latex paint to allow to flow a bit more before it sets. I use a 4 stage Apollo machine that I purchased for painting with latex. I tried the Flotrol and found that it did make runs easier to produce. It worked better when I brushed the paint on.

I am still learning how to set up the gun and paint. The last items I sprayed using the largest air orifice hole and the gun set to spray a mid size cone with very little paint. Lots of over spray but not too many runs. You need to watch that you do not get to close to the work and leave the gun in an area for to long. This method requires lot of coats. I find I can spray a coat, wait 15 or 20 minutes and spray another coat and so on until I run out of paint or time. I figure another 20 or 30 projects and I will get the hang of it.

As for the MDF end grain, or another I found that Spackle works or pre-painting the offending end grain with a few coats with a brush helps.

-- Chris K

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3882 posts in 4676 days

#5 posted 04-17-2012 07:01 PM

I have an HVlP Gun and usually use water based poly through it. the other day I did some screen doors with spirit based Spar Varnish. The thing worked well and this stuff was sticky. I cleaned the gun running cleaner through it a couple of times between each of the 3 coats I put on. Amazing way to apply finish. I hate brushing and love this gun.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 3510 days

#6 posted 04-17-2012 09:43 PM

I won’t be retiring my brushes or wipes anytime soon, but with these reviews and formulas, I may just have to try one of those HVLP’ers.

Thanks for the tips, Y’all. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4813 days

#7 posted 04-17-2012 10:19 PM

Great tips and review Jeremy, thanks.
I have one of those guns and haven’t tried it yet, but after reading your blog post, I think I’ll try it.

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4473 days

#8 posted 04-17-2012 11:15 PM

Interesting, I tried latex with the HVLP but it was the Behr stuff that’s primer+paint and it did not work well. I had used a 4:1:1 ratio (paint:flotrol:water) so yours was thinned out more, and I think my paint was thicker still than just regular latex. I may revisit this, I was just afraid to thin the paint too much.

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 4010 days

#9 posted 04-17-2012 11:18 PM

Ya I’m still a fan of things like wipe on poly for stuff, but when you want to knock out a lot of finishing in an afternoon, spray water based finish totally takes the cake.

I used the valspar paint + primer .. I didn’t think about trying paint without the primer, that might work better.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View macatlin1's profile


78 posts in 4181 days

#10 posted 04-18-2012 01:23 AM

I sprayed the doors in our house with latex, both primer and topcoat. My ratio was 15 oz water and 5 oz Flotrol per gallon of paint through a Rockler sprayer. Worked great with the doors laying flat. I had a few runs when the doors were standing up but that was probably operator error when I hit the edges too much. My only complaint is the darned hose gets collapsed when stepped on.

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3665 days

#11 posted 07-29-2012 05:21 AM

I sprayed my bath remodel trim work with my Capspray 9100.
I used 75%PVA paint and 25% Flotrol.
I got great results on a vertical surface (beadboard) you can see the results on my cabinet project.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

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