LumberJocks

Bought a sprayer, need some advice

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by unclearthur posted 11-30-2019 07:39 AM 859 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

382 posts in 2754 days


11-30-2019 07:39 AM

I recently bought a sprayer (Earlex HV5500) off of Craigslist, admittedly somewhat on impulse. It is a 2 stage HVLP sprayer.

I’ve been researching (youtube etc) and I’ve seen the basic process / spray techniques, but I’m having a hard time getting my mind around exactly what finishes will spray OK through this. Also trying to figure out what other needles/tips I might need (it came with the stock 2.0 mm; 1 and 1.5 mm are available but not cheap).

I am a finishing novice. On anything I’ve cared about, I’ve brushed on poly (Miniwax oil based poly) and actually been pretty satisfied with that, but it is slow (usually 1 day between coats) and challenging if the geometry is complicated.

I’ve also brushed on water based (Miniwax water based poly), which is easier to use but I don’t really like the look – to me it is sort of bland / washed out.

I’ve also used Watco Danish oil for a fast finish on things that don’t need much protection. Looks OK, but not much protection.

As far as I can tell all those finishes and just about everything beside them on the shelf at HD are meant to be brushed, not sprayed.

So my questions,

What sort of clear finishes, which are readily available, are good for spraying?

Are there varnishes or polyurethanes that can be sprayed?

For small painting projects (e.g. a dresser, not a room or a house), what sort of paint can be sprayed? I’ve read that this sprayer isn’t powerful enough for latex paints but not sure on other types of paints?)

And do I need to get a smaller needle/tip for clear finishes? 1.0 or 1.5?

For those without a spray booth, do people generally spray just outside? (I’m in Canada so for several months it would be too cold for that).

I assume spraying leaves thinner coats then brushing? Need more coats? I typically would brush a wash coat (thinned a bit) then two additional coats.

I assume in terms of efficiency of use of finish, that spraying is more expensive due to lost finish in the overspray, etc? Significant?

Looking forward to experimenting, but it would be nice to start in the right direction, so thanks for any responses / advice.


22 replies so far

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

2361 posts in 513 days


#1 posted 11-30-2019 08:42 AM

Just about any product can be sprayed, except maybe for those designer texture paints. Latex, oilpaint, the multitude of clear finishes, all good. IMO the key to spraying product which is meant to be rolled or brushed is thinning it with whatever is appropriate for the product. For latex paint, you can go to 20% water with no problem, and I would add some flotrol to that as well. But you can substitute good old dishsoap for the flotrol. For poly, you can thin that as much as you like, 50%, even 75% no problem. And yes, there is alot of waste when spraying, you will go through alot more product, so make sure you have enough for the entire project beforehand and close at hand.

Really, your best answer will come from doing alot of trials with whatever product your likely to use the most till you get used to technique, flow-rate, uniform distance, steady sweeps, etc. These types of low-powered cannister spray systems can tend to spit finish when the cannister is nearing empty, so watch for that.

I have two sprayers, one dedicated for solvent-based product, the other for water-based product. This way there can be no cross contamination.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2817 posts in 1128 days


#2 posted 11-30-2019 12:17 PM


I have two sprayers, one dedicated for solvent-based product, the other for water-based product. This way there can be no cross contamination.

- wildwoodbybrianjohns

that is some very sound advice right there !!
if you do not have the manual, you can print one off the internet.
learn how to break down, disassemble and clean your machine before you use it.

since you bought it off of C/L, I am just guessing it is used ??
if so, strongly suggest you get the parts manual in front of you and disassemble it
to ensure all the innards are there and are in good shape.
you can get a “viscosity cup” just about anywhere.

.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Robert's profile

Robert

4287 posts in 2447 days


#3 posted 11-30-2019 02:41 PM

I consider myself an experienced novice, but I will tell you for me its all about the product thinning.

I wouldn’t use a tip smaller than 1.4. It will require thinning regardless of the type of sprayer you have. If you’re spraying typical latex paint, it will require an enormous amount of thinning, maybe up to 50% and that much thinning can create a lot of frustration in getting a smooth coat of paint.

Solvent based top coats are the easiest to spray IMO. So I would start out with those rather than paint.

I recommend getting a Ford cup and through trial and error you will figure out how much to thin for a given tip.

As far as specific products, personally I pretty much always use water based top coats, either urethane or polyacrylic, simply because I don’t like dealing with the VOC’s. Another huge advantage is fast drying time. Without a spray booth I don’t have a way to prevent contamination during the dry time. And clean up is easier (and greener if that matters).

For paint, I like SW Pro Classic and the pigmented lacquers available at Target Coatings.

Sometimes I will still brush on a finish, but overall you just can’t beat the quality of spraying, especially with paint.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3267 posts in 3910 days


#4 posted 11-30-2019 06:16 PM

Your biggest problem with this unit, once you use it a few times, will be addiction.

I’ve had a four stage and conversion (Accuspray, dedicated unit with compressor and tank) for a few decades now. My airless would go before my turbine unit would. So would the Accuspray, even though its gun has well deserved high ratings.

I love that I can shoot anything the average Joe and most commercial painters play with, and that would be shot through the standard spray guns operated at around 45 PSI.

Generally, I only have to add a few table spoons of thinner (cute way of saying water) to latex to toss it on cabinets or even stair railing (which I can do in a fraction of the time it would take me to do it with a brush and roller).

Clean ups are not all that difficult. I don’t even find switching between solvent based primers and water based finishes to be too much of a pain.

Back to that addiction, after using a two stage for a while, you’re going to start wondering about a three our four stage unites. Then, if you look into it a bit, you’re going to want to jump over the three and go straight for the four, or even a five.

I bought mine new, so they weren’t cheap. However, I have seen them pop up on craigslist for about 1/5 the retail price. Of course, I’ve seen the usual idiots trying to sell used four and five stage units for near retail – without any warranty too. Don’t encourage them.

I bought a used Graco three stage for $75.00 at a pawn shop. It was a good little unit. Sold it, after adding the hose and a HF gun (which I actually used) for $300.00. That guy was happy with it’s behavior too. I left him contact info so he could return it for a refund, but he was happy with it.

I guess a two stage would be better than the original HVLP’s, which were———KIRBY’s, and which were pretty good little units [again, if you learned how to use them, including how to mix materials].

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3981 posts in 2460 days


#5 posted 11-30-2019 06:59 PM

Welcome to the dark side!

+1 It can be an addiction. Once you learn how easy it is to lay down a finish with spray gun, your brushes will get lonely. Don’t get caught in the trap. It’s just another tool in your shop to be used when it is best option. For example: I use spray gun to apply dye stains on large projects, but I still wipe excess by hand in order to achieve the hand rubbed look with balanced color, for when absorption rates vary across the board.

+1 There is a lot to learn. Too much to type here.
1st and foremost: read the manual, and learn your equipment. Then search the web for ‘how to’ pages (like this one). Many have same information, and help reinforce two things:
- There is a tremendous amount of flexibility is howa spray gun is used. Meaning thickness per coating, paint viscosity, and type of finish used.
- While there is a sweet spot where the equipment/finish works perfect; you can achieve decent results even when things are not perfect.

- The biggest factor making spray painting a challenge is the weather. When you atomize paint for application, you need to think about things differently. Differences in temp and humidity means the solvent evaporates differently which changes the various stages of drying. With some experience, you will quickly learn how to adjust your gun/viscosity to compensate for these differences. Might even learn that difference solvents can make the process easier or harder. The changes I need to make here in AZ for low humidity are different than what folks in muggy deep south have to make; so read specific online advice with caution. In summer I might use water for solvent in WB, but in cooler temps I use Isopropyl alcohol or another fast evaporating alcohol.

As far as best finishes to apply with spray gun: Anything that dries quickly!

While you can spray Arm-R-Seal Oil based polyurethane, it dries very slow, and you don’t get benefit of being able to apply 1 coat of alcohol/acetone based dye stain, plus 3 coats of pre-cat lacquer in a single afternoon. :-)
Spraying is fantastic for large things like drawer boxes or cabinets. Can apply a couple quarts of WB poly, shellac, or lacquer on a stack of drawer boxes continuously for 90 minutes, and end up done with 3 coats on everything in a single paint session (on a warm day).

On last tip: A spray gun affords you the ability to use many commercial grade finishes designed for production environment and fast curing. Find your local industrial wood finish supplier and visit them. As long as you don’t arrive when they are swamped, they will usually provide advice and help introduce you to better grades of finishes for your projects. Look for Sherwin Williams, Mohawk, ML Campbell, Gemini, or Chemcraft distributors in your area if you need help finding one.

Best Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

382 posts in 2754 days


#6 posted 11-30-2019 09:56 PM

Thanks all for all that info, thats great.

I do have the manual and the viscosity cup, and I’ve pulled it apart and all seemed clean.

Very interested to hear any specific finishes (e.g. Brand X blah blah) that people recommend for spraying. Yesterday I walked into a local Sherwin Williams retail store and asked about finishes that were good to spray. Got basically a blank look back from them. I think I’d be better off searching for precise products. Most important to me is a film finish with high degree of protection like poly, but preferably not as ‘washed out’ looking as the Miniwax water based poly I’ve used in the past.

Thanks again

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3981 posts in 2460 days


#7 posted 12-01-2019 12:44 AM


Very interested to hear any specific finishes (e.g. Brand X blah blah) that people recommend for spraying. Yesterday I walked into a local Sherwin Williams retail store and asked about finishes that were good to spray. Got basically a blank look back from them.
- unclearthur

1) Sorry, You went to the wrong SW store! Retail stores are joke for wood workers. Must visit an SW commercial coatings location. Call your local retail SW and and ask them where you can get the Commercial Sher-wood or SAYERLACK coatings:
https://oem.sherwin-williams.com/products/wood/clear-wood-finishes/

2) Very hard to make specific recommendations for several reasons. Biggest is the need to use different finish for different projects. There are thousands of options in market if you include sheen levels.
Easy to suggest the retail crap found in big box stores, but based on your comments about warmth, doubt you will like the results?
Try some Varathane WB poly from HD. Sprays nice, water clear, no warmth, spray straight from can – no reducing. If you want WB and amber, about only retail choice is GF Enduro. Sprays well straight from can, looks pink till it drys, but leaves a slight amber poly finish.
Enduro will never bring out grain figure like a oil/solvent based system. If you want spray applied oil/solvent finish to enhance grain; have to go visit the commercial/industrial finish distributors thanks to environmental regulations about retail sales of hazardous solvent materials.

The problem with recommendations on professional materials is sourcing it locally. IME – SW pre-cat lacquer, CAB lacquer, and Kemvar Conversion Vanish (CV) are sort of industry standard materials? Meaning every other mfg makes something just like it (so they can share SW business in cabinet shops). So you don’t need to pay ridiculous prices to have SW shipped to you, if you can find something similar locally from ML Campbell, Chemcraft or the other folks. Hope that makes sense?
Hate to repeat myself, but look at the websites of the companies I mentioned above, and look for local INDUSTRIAL or COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTOR to visit. It will complete your mission down the deep dark hole of spray finishing.

Cheers!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

382 posts in 2754 days


#8 posted 12-01-2019 01:04 AM

Thanks very much, Captain!

Is a reasonable option also to first wipe a project with a coat of basic oil (e.g. BLO or even Danish oil) to help bring out the grain then spray with something like your Varathane WB poly? Saw that suggested somewhere.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

3267 posts in 3910 days


#9 posted 12-01-2019 01:05 AM

I’ve found good and bad Sherwin Williams stores. The ignorant bafoons in Yakima, Washington, couldn’t match a color to save their butts. Claimed absurd limits to exterior paints sheens that were bunk too (i.e. I “[c]ould only get flat”). I was trying to match metal siding taggers hit on a customer’s metal hay shed.

I tried again at the Kennewick, Washington, outlet and got both a good sheen and color match.

The Yakeeema store was a bit like going to the big box and being told you couldn’t tint primer. Bunk

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

6956 posts in 1540 days


#10 posted 12-01-2019 07:53 AM

So much at Youtube, make sure you follow just the Earlex videos. They will explain all the different finishes, and how to work with each one.

EarlexMR

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-dn97dWRqWtVYQgHKwVkQg

Earlex limited

https://www.youtube.com/user/EarlexLimited/videos

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3981 posts in 2460 days


#11 posted 12-01-2019 08:25 AM

+1 Good and Bad Sherwin Williams stores everywhere.

Here in Phoenix, have dozens and dozens of small retail SW outlets for ‘house paint’.
We have 3 larger retail stores (one east, west and north) that sell the popular industrial coatings, but usually lack enough wood finish knowledgeable staff to help very much.
We only have ONE true SW Industrial distributor right in middle of town that sells everything, and has an army of train professionals that know how to help.
When you find the right people in a REAL commercial wood finishing supplier, you will know the difference. Finishing wood is a passion, not something you sell.


Is a reasonable option also to first wipe a project with a coat of basic oil (e.g. BLO or even Danish oil) to help bring out the grain then spray with something like your Varathane WB poly? Saw that suggested somewhere.
- unclearthur

Yes.

Comments FWIW:

- Always make sure you leave enough time between oil base coating and WB. Not enough time and neither will cure right, and likely have poor adhesion; which is royal mess to clean off. With 50° cure temps it can take WEEKS before an oil can be top coated with WB.

- Pick you oil base coat very carefully. Many ‘Danish oil’ have varnish or poly in the formula; which may interfere with WB top coat adhesion. Often better to use pure Tung oil or BLO instead. (pick based on color you want to add) Always test on scraps first.

- De-waxed shellac base coat is also a good option to increase ‘chatoyance’ on figured woods. It may/may not pop grain as much as oil; it depends on wood. Best part is you can pick shellac color to enhance the wood. I tend use super blonde shellac as my sealer/blotch control for ‘white’ woods (maple), Blonde/Amber shellac for ‘tan’ colored woods (oak, hickory), and garnet shellac for darker woods (cherry, walnut, or mahogany). The extra amber/red tones adds to the grain pop, regardless of top coat used. IMHO – Sprayed on 100% garnet shellac finish on Walnut is gorgeous, dare I say ‘sexy’ finish, when you don’t need a lot of protection for wood.

- Since you seem to be hung up on WB? Might want to focus on Gemini or Target Coatings in your area. Target Coatings started as online only, but has distributors now. You can call them and get decent advice on phone easily. The EM6000 and EM8000 have loyal fan clubs. :-)
Both Gemini and Target produce some of the top rated ‘latest generation’ WB coatings for commercial cabinets and furniture. Another supplier making next gen WB coatings is Renner in Italy. They don’t have a broad distribution in north America, but their Slayerlock brand has been around a long time in partner ship with SW. Haven’t used Renner’s latest WB products yet, as my local distributor is still waiting for deliveries. The samples I saw actually had slight amber tone, and enhanced the grain; like a normal lacquer/CV. Hope it’s as good as the marketing claims?
Speaking of WB only commercial products: General Finishes has a commercial line of WB products in the Enduro brand. The product line is much broader than the single product called Enduro-Var that is sold at Woodcraft and Rockler.

- While you can buy/read many books on finish schedules, only experience will teach you which finishing schedules you like to use, and achieve your desired results. Don’t get hung up on perfection. Just buy some test materials, cut extra scrap wood; and start learning. Don’t forget to document the process, so you can repeat it. :-0)

I am not a finishing expert! I learned from school of hard knocks by painting cars, industrial equipment, plastics for electronic enclosuresn and stuff made from wood; for over 30 years. My methods, may or may not work for you. IE YMMV

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

4343 posts in 2188 days


#12 posted 12-01-2019 03:26 PM

I also have that sam gun (came with a three stage unit).

Most any solvent based finish will spray well, poly and lacquer seem to be the easiest with the proper thinning. Best thing is you can thin as much as you want to adjust for almost any conditions.

View unclearthur's profile

unclearthur

382 posts in 2754 days


#13 posted 12-01-2019 04:52 PM

@Captain Thanks very much for all your input!


I also have that sam gun (came with a three stage unit).

Most any solvent based finish will spray well, poly and lacquer seem to be the easiest with the proper thinning. Best thing is you can thin as much as you want to adjust for almost any conditions.
- splintergroup


@splintergroup, Do you recall what type/brand of poly and lacquer you used? And how much you thinned? Thanks

View putty's profile

putty

1300 posts in 2572 days


#14 posted 12-01-2019 05:08 PM

I have a fuji 2 stage. I just finished spraying kitchen cabinets with S.W. Emerald Urethane. It is a water base finish and after curing is very hard.

I use a 1.8 tip and thinned to 35 ish seconds in the ford cup ( when using the cup stop the timer when the first break in the stream starts!!

Edit: the Emerald Urethane is a paint, not a clear finish.

-- Putty

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

4343 posts in 2188 days


#15 posted 12-02-2019 12:44 AM


@splintergroup, Do you recall what type/brand of poly and lacquer you used? And how much you thinned? Thanks

- unclearthur

Typically I’ll thin about 25-50%, depending on the build I want. Thicker builds first when I’m after a “mirror” finish with no pores showing on the surface. Thinner is good for sealing and when I want a “closer to the wood” type finish.

The poly is/was standard satin Minwax and the lacquer is Deft “brushing” lacquer (thinned about 40-50%).

For precat lacquer, I use Mohawk which is excellent, thinned about 10% depending on temp/humidity.
I’m in the arid SW.

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com