Need help choosing a spay gun

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Forum topic by Carya posted 05-28-2016 12:35 AM 1337 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 3089 days

05-28-2016 12:35 AM

I need help in choosing a spray gun to buy. I’ve used one in a finishing class a few years ago so I’m not completely unfamiliar with how to use one. Yes I need to practice on scrap before going on to my project which includes two Adirondack chairs and a picnic table. I’ll be applying Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish and their Marine Satin Sheen finish. The chairs and table will be less than 20’ from a sea wall. I’ve done some shopping around and nothing seem to pop for me in terms of quality, flexibility and price which is my most limiting factor. Is there anything in the $150.00 – $200.00 range that’s reliable? Up till now I’ve applied every finish by brush. A sprayer would make finishing the chairs much easier. I’m a hobbyist woodworker working in a garage so I don’t need, but would love to be able to afford, a professional sprayer. Something in the intermediate range would do. The beginner models I’ve seen look like they won’t last long.

Thank you ahead of time for any help on this.

18 replies so far

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1661 days

#1 posted 05-28-2016 01:03 AM

The purists may scream, but I’ve gotten good use from my assortment of Harbor Freight spray guns – siphon and gravity type. I have one for each type finish, since I don’t want to mess with settings that work. Took me a while to find good settings for each liquid,

And yes, I’d love to have some really nice spray gear, for even better finishes, but truth is that I’m doing Ok.

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Dave G

337 posts in 2961 days

#2 posted 05-28-2016 09:03 AM

+1 on the Harbor Freight spray guns. They also have a variety of sizes and for the the money you say you’re willing to spend, you could get every single one and have money leftover to buy the whole lineup again if it breaks. I like the automotive detail gun they sell. I don’t find them flimsy at all.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View Tennessee's profile


2901 posts in 3427 days

#3 posted 05-28-2016 11:20 AM

+2 on the Harbor Freight guns, especially the gravity fed purple one that can be had with a coupon for about $9.99. I own three of them, and have pushed everything from thinned lacquer to water based heavy colored stain for outdoor flower boxes a customer ordered.
I also have the detail gun they have, and it is every bit as good as the Husky that is sold for about $50.

Best thing…if it goofs up or you drop it, you are only out $9.99, not $150.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View ClammyBallz's profile


449 posts in 2049 days

#4 posted 05-28-2016 04:35 PM

I wouldn’t spray waterlox, it’s a slow drying finish and the first coat should be absorbed into the wood.
You’re better off brushing it on. If you insist on spraying, then spray shellac as the first coat to seal it, then apply the WL Marine on top.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2920 days

#5 posted 05-28-2016 05:29 PM

I had to chuckle at the title. My first thought was “Why shoot the dog? Just have her fixed!”

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1661 days

#6 posted 05-28-2016 06:45 PM

Just for info, I’ve found that a foam brush works great with Waterlox. That has become my favored application method. I have heard of folks spraying it,,but I haven’t tried.

View OSU55's profile


2658 posts in 2902 days

#7 posted 05-28-2016 07:04 PM

Have to agree a foam brush, or just a sponge, is the best way to apply something like waterlox. It’s design to be a very thin film finish. The 1st coat is wiped fairly dry after being allowed to absorb into the wood.

View kroginold's profile


64 posts in 1962 days

#8 posted 05-29-2016 03:28 AM

I would recommend the Critter spray gun. It is good for most finishes, though not so good for thicker materials. It uses regular mason jars that you can just cap off and store the finish in. You can buy a third party tube set on Amazon to use smaller jars for small projects. You can buy it from Highland Woodworking or on Amazon. There is a cheaper knock off brand on Amazon that may not work with standard mason jars so beware of this

View Wondermutt's profile


69 posts in 1769 days

#9 posted 05-29-2016 05:03 AM

Finex 1000. Have a few of the these and never had any issues.

I also have the HF guns mentioned and they work ok. Good guns if you are not up to through cleanings.

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3537 days

#10 posted 05-29-2016 05:28 AM

+1 with kroginold. Love my critter. I mostly spray brushing lacquer. The critter excels with lacquer.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View ChefHDAN's profile


1780 posts in 3762 days

#11 posted 05-29-2016 10:49 AM

+3 for HF, have had the little $20 gun & 11 gallon compressor for the past 8 years or so and once dialed in on scrap I have gotten very good results. I’m about to build new doors and drawer fronts for the kitchen & baths, looked at the Earlex and Fuji systems an decided to do a topic search here in LJ. Best advice was from A1Jim who pointed out that a decent gun with plenty of air will give great results, so instead of $400 for the Earlex, I found a 30 gallon cast iron compressor on Craigslist and got a larger $65 gun from to spray the latex all for $265 and the compressor will get much more use than the Earlex would have.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View skatefriday's profile


465 posts in 2395 days

#12 posted 05-29-2016 02:56 PM

This is clearly a question for :-)

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4490 days

#13 posted 05-29-2016 03:10 PM

I have 40 years of spraying behind me and find that a good finish can be applied with inexpensive guns,I too use the $20 HF guns.


View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 3375 days

#14 posted 05-29-2016 05:03 PM

50 bucks most for the gun, because the real quality comes from setting it up correctly. Also, why not use a finish that is designed for spraying and an outdoor application? I assume some of the finish manufacturers of a catalyze do product with UV additives that is a much kinder to spray. I have no idea, but it might warrant some research and you may get an overall better product in the end.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


6204 posts in 3222 days

#15 posted 05-29-2016 06:18 PM

If you’re a Charlies Neil fan here are some link to what he says about spray guns.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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