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Cabinetry- HVLP Paint Sprayer Question??

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Forum topic by dougstritonv8 posted 08-10-2020 09:03 PM 547 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dougstritonv8

3 posts in 42 days


08-10-2020 09:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hvlp cabinetry cabinets finishing cabinets hvlp paint sprayer painting cabinets

Hello, first time making a post on this forum and I am DIY’er. I have a question about HVLP paint sprayer, I am a newbie. I am doing a kitchen remodel and I have been doing a little research on finishing cabinets. I was going to paint them with a brush and roller but the more I looked into it I’ve been reading that if you want a professional looking finish is to go with an HVLP paint sprayer. My dad has a HVLP spray gun that he uses when he was doing a restoration on one of his cars. Unsure on what type of gun he has, I know it runs off of an air compressor.

Question I have is what type of spray gun should I go with for a professional quality finish (Was looking at a Wagner but hearing there are better options out there)?
What size nozzle?
What type of paint should I go with (is it a latex paint, like a Sherwin Williams)?

If you have any pointers on what to do to give me the quality finish I am looking for would be greatly appreciated (I am a novice).

Thanks in advance,


13 replies so far

View Axis39's profile

Axis39

338 posts in 445 days


#1 posted 08-11-2020 12:38 AM

The Wagner units are not really very good. They do okay, but, just not great. I have used the older Wagner turbine HVLP systems a number of times and gotten good results. I’ve also been spraying finishes on things for almost 40 years.

My son recently tried one of the under a hundred buck Wagner HVLP sprayers… He had nothing but problems.

If you have a compressor, or can borrow one from Pops, hit Harbor Freight and grab one fo the $15 purple guns. They do a fine job, in fact, i just sprayed some polyurethane with mine this morning on some oak shelves I’m doing for a customer. There are better guns, but, honestly, the HF ones work well enough for cabinetry.

My son hit HF and picked up the more expensive gun, a compressor, and used the air hose he already had and cranked out a kitchen’s worth of cabinets in no time. His customer liked it so much, he landed a bunch more work. So, HF wins again.

If you have to buy from scratch, there’s a list of things you should get and a list of things you can get by with….

I have an Earlex 5500 that I like a lot, but have misplaced my other needle and tip (I needed the smaller size needle and tip). But, it’s 300 bucks these days. The all-in-one turbine systems are nice. This is my preferred method. But, it is a single use tool (whereas a compressor can be used for other things like nail guns and filling the spare tire or basketball.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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Fred Hargis

6417 posts in 3341 days


#2 posted 08-11-2020 10:46 AM

The paint you want will be 100% acrylic (SW told me all their paints are 1200% acrylic), not “latex” as in wall paint. Many of these paints are very tough to spray with an air driven sprayer, and units like the Wagner really aren’t made for work like spraying cabinets.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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ChefHDAN

1730 posts in 3698 days


#3 posted 08-11-2020 11:00 AM


My son hit HF and picked up the more expensive gun, a compressor, and used the air hose he already had and cranked out a kitchen s worth of cabinets in no time. His customer liked it so much, he landed a bunch more work. So, HF wins again.
- Axis39

John, any chance you know which of the HF HVLP guns your son bought? I picked one up but can’t get a tip large enough to spray latex

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

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Axis39

338 posts in 445 days


#4 posted 08-11-2020 02:24 PM


My son hit HF and picked up the more expensive gun, a compressor, and used the air hose he already had and cranked out a kitchen s worth of cabinets in no time. His customer liked it so much, he landed a bunch more work. So, HF wins again.
- Axis39

John, any chance you know which of the HF HVLP guns your son bought? I picked one up but can t get a tip large enough to spray latex

- ChefHDAN

I don’t know which one, but I know that he was looking for a bigger tip and he figured out that HF only seems to make one size tip, and all their guns get it. It’s a 1.4 I believe. At least, that’s what’s on my purple gun. I couldn’t find any different tips for their guns, but I didn’t spend a lot of time looking, either.

He was shooting the Ben Moore stuff. I believe he said it was their oli-modified product… Maybe the Cabinet Coat? Not really latex, but water cleanup and thinned. I’ll check with him later today on paint and gun.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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Axis39

338 posts in 445 days


#5 posted 08-11-2020 07:36 PM

I was incorrect, my son was using the Ben Moore Advance paint. It is a ‘low VOC, water reducible alkyd’.

Not the Cabinet Coat, I thought he had picked up.

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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bilyo

1161 posts in 1951 days


#6 posted 08-12-2020 02:49 AM

I’ll bore the regulars here by repeating my recent spray gun experience. I only recently started spraying my projects and purchased a Sprayit sp-352. It is under $20 from Home Depot and I have gotten very good results. Having said that, I’ll tell you that I have no experience with expensive guns. So, I may not really know what “good results” are. This gun comes with a 1.5 mm tip and I have sprayed Polycrylic and Valspar water based poly without thinning. The results were very smooth requiring little or no final rubbing. The main thing I like about it is the swivel cup. You can swivel it so that you can spray straight up or straight down without spilling the contents or starving the nozzle.
I also purchased another of the same model from Ebay for about the same price that came with a 2.0mm tip. I got it for spraying thicker material like latex (or acrylic). I have only sprayed some test panels with it but, those came out very smooth with only minor thinning (within label instructions). Both of these guns are classified as LVLP and will work well with smaller compressors (about 4 cfm and above).

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CaptainKlutz

3589 posts in 2342 days


#7 posted 08-12-2020 05:04 AM

Welcome to Lumberjocks!

Cabinet ‘paint’:

Commercial shops use pigmented lacquer or pigmented Conversion Vanish (CV) for ‘white’ cabinetry. There are water base versions available for remodeling work inside the home to avoid heavy solvent odors. I would not recommend any 100% acrylic paint for cabinets. Pure acrylics are too soft, and easily damaged in thin films used on wood cabinetry. You want something harder and more durable, preferably a coating that meets the ANSI-KCMA requirements for kitchen/bath use.

For WB finishes, suggest Gemini EVO pigmented, or Target coatings EM6500. For both materials, need to use ‘optional’ cross-linker for best performance and durability. Since your cabinets are already finished, ultimate durability will be determined by the seal coat attached to wood. Note that WB coats can require special wood grain sealers to ensure maximum wood protection, so consult the suppliers literature. May have to prime a remodel cabinet surface for best results, depending on what is underneath? There are many other suppliers with similar materials, so ask your local industrial wood coatings source for their recommendation.

Spray guns:
There is a large amount of science to spray guns and selecting proper tool for job. There is always an interaction between coating type, viscosity, any fillers present, temperature of object, plus ambient temperature and humidity. Hence, there is no single solution for everything. As the spray monkey, you have to adjust solvent type, solvent amounts, and pressures to achieve the same film build result from one day to next. So be prepared to buy a Ford or Zahn viscosity measuring cup, and do a lot testing on that pile of Amazon cardboard boxes your wife has delivered all time.

Other useless tips:

Gun tip sizes:
It is often possible to a use smaller (wrong?) size tip for a material, by adjusting the viscosity with proper solvent blend. It simply takes more coats to achieve the proper film build. Using too large of tip can be a disaster, as you need more airflow/pressure to achieve proper atomization; which also increases over spray (and potentially contamination of previously spray areas in high temp conditions with fast solvent flash off). Hence, is usually better to error on small size, then too large; when making a choice.
Should also note the larger tip size, the higher the CFM requirement from compressor, which is why self contained turbine units are popular for wide range of materials used in finishing wood. My 8cfm compressor never stops running with spraying with 2.2+mm tip, as I am using 15+ cfm.

Another challenge with spray gun setup is method of material feed. Units like the self contained turbine HVLP sprayers (Earlex, etc) tend to use pressure fed cups, which can use smaller tip size; than a siphon/suction (bottom) cup gun. While the gravity feed (top cup) gun might require a completely different tip size for same coating. The differences in equipment and materials makes it really hard to compare one person’s finishing setup to another.
Practically all the coating mfg suggests some optimum starting settings for their material in different gun types, so be sure to read those product data sheets or ask your supplier for advice. Have found that many of the new WB coatings require the gun to provide excellent atomization for the best surface finish. This is area where cheap HF guns usually suffer, as the fit/finish of the internals causes irregular flow patterns. For the HF purple guns, find I usually need to run relatively high HVLP gun pressure (50-55psi) to get decent optimization. My WB wood finish suppliers recommend a turbine gun or conventional pressurized cup gun for best performance as they tend to have better atomization.

Have to disagree with comments above, HF does sell guns with different tip sizes. But the popular $15 purple gun only comes with one size, and no others are available from parts department. The $50 automotive 2 gun set offers 2 different tip sizes for the large gun. The siphon cup guns tend to have a range of tip sizes depending on model. They have two pressure pot guns, one with 1.8mm tip is large enough to spray exterior latex well, as I used it to spray my recent shed build. :-)
IMHO – The HF guns are perfect for someone that wants to ‘try’ spraying for first time, due lower entry cost. But once you learn how to spray with gun/compressor and your technique and needs expand; might need something better to get best surface finish on certain materials? Usually don’t know till you try using one with the selected material.

Hate to admit this, but I use the HF purple guns as disposable units for spraying catalyzed enamels for machine rebuilds. Will spray some solvent to clean internals over a couple days use, but never tear apart and totally clean; just toss them. It is very hard to remove color out of those guns due catalyst cross linking the coating on the rough surfaces in the head. They tend to be cheaper than disposable spray heads for my 3M PPS gun, so when the coating only cost $35 a gallon, I use cheap HF gun. When spraying a $150-200 gallon automotive finishes, tend to use better equipment.

Oops, forgot to mention: must have clean dry air. So start up costs are more than just a gun/compressor; need to include filters and water separator for best spray finishing.

Thanks for reading.
Sorry this is rambling mess, there is lot to cover when starting to spray coatings.

PS – #IAMAKLUTZ, not an expert. Lots of folks with more gun time than I have. But I have been spraying various finishes on cars, cabinets, machinery, furniture, and electronics; for 40 years?

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

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northwoodsman

326 posts in 4594 days


#8 posted 08-12-2020 01:07 PM

I have some kitchen and bathroom projects that I would like to do in the next few years so I bit the bullet and went ahead and purchased a Fuji 4 turbine system. It’s really the only equipment that I needed to purchase besides a Festool Domino for a bunch of projects I’m planning. I figure I’d invest $2000 in tools and save $4000 in labor so they will pay for themselves quickly and I still have the tools for other projects. I’ve had the Fuji sprayer for about 8 months but have only used it a couple times. It is a huge improvement over my compressor powered HVLP guns. Thanks for all the info CaptainKlutz!

-- NorthWoodsMan

View Axis39's profile

Axis39

338 posts in 445 days


#9 posted 08-12-2020 01:33 PM

CaaptainKlutz, thanks for the additional info on the HF guns. I will pass that info on to my Son.

I sold off a bunch fo older Devlbliss guns when I moved across the country. None were HVLP guns, so I wasn’t too worried about it. But, I can honestly say, I get about as nice a finish with my cheap-o purple HF gun as I’ve ever gotten with any other spray equipment…. Maybe I’m just not good at shooting finish? LOL

-- John F. SoCal transplant, chewer uppper of good wood

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Robert

3936 posts in 2329 days


#10 posted 08-12-2020 01:50 PM

You need a 1.3 – 1.4mm tip for fine atomization which = good finish.

You can use a bigger tip for primer (and I recommend it).

The paint is very important for a kitchen. Durability is the key factor. There are several that well do the job. The main ones I have experience with are SW Pro Classic (water based) and Target Coatings.

I really recommend you check Target Coatings and take a look at the pigmented lacquers. They do not require a lot of thinning and go on very nicely. For kitchen I would add the cross linker.

You’ll need a compressor that can handle duty, 20Gal 2HP would a minimum IMO. You’ll also need to address water separation.

The gun is also important. While you don’t need a $500 gun, you want something better than a $9.99 Harbor Freight. I’ve actually used one and while I was initially impressed, that didn’t last long ;-)

Lastly, you’ll want to practice. And not on a piece of cardboard! You want to get this right. Get some sanded 1/4” ply.

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

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dougstritonv8

3 posts in 42 days


#11 posted 08-12-2020 02:11 PM

The cabinetry I am painting is unfinished, so when I go to select a finish those are are my best options is using a tinted lacquer or tinted varnish ( of whatever color I decide to go with and those brands above are your best recommendations (Gemini EVO pigmented, or Target coatings EM6500, not something I will get at Sherwin Williams)? And this is because it has a better hardener in it then an acrylic and will prevent the paint from chipping overtime?

And the way is sounds your local paint store will not mix the paint to recommended viscosity that is something Ill have to do it myslef. My dad paints occasionally with HVLP sprayer said he has a nice gun says its a Matco (dont know if its gravity fed or siphoned) and I think he has one of those cups Ford or Zahn viscosity measuring cup. He is also looking into a water separator for his air compressor.

For the nozzles I have been reading the best size for applying a finish coat is 1.4 mm and for primer a 2.0 mm. Is that correct?

Sorry, just wanted to clarify everything, trying to obtain the best possible finish I can apply and being a newbie the advice you’ve all given is greatly appreciated.

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CaptainKlutz

3589 posts in 2342 days


#12 posted 08-12-2020 04:46 PM

The cabinetry I am painting is unfinished, so when I go to select a finish those are are my best options is using a tinted lacquer or tinted varnish ( of whatever color I decide to go with and those brands above are your best recommendations (Gemini EVO pigmented, or Target coatings EM6500, not something I will get at Sherwin Williams)? And this is because it has a better hardener in it then an acrylic and will prevent the paint from chipping overtime?

Pigmented lacquer is the simplest choice. Brands I suggested are a sample of choices. There are others.

Regarding stuff from Sherwin Williams: I personally do not like any of their water based furniture coatings, or the Slayerlock polyurethanes. They are temperamental to apply with narrow temp/humidity windows for good results. Only use SW solvent based CAB and pigmented pre-cat lacquers, or alkyd enamels for machinery painting. If you want to use one of these solvent based coatings, they will work well for you.

FWIW: The Slayerlock brand is owned by Renner in Italy, licensed and sold by SW in US. Renner is now selling the newest generation of 2 part polyurethanes direct in US. If you have local distributor for Renner pigmented poly, that would be my #1 choice. Before I typed the ones that are easier to find, with decent online reference materials. Renner is new in USA, and online information in English is very hard to find.

As far as unfinished cabinets: If using fine grain wood species, then can use pigmented lacquer as your sealer. If using a large open grain wood species (like oak), probably want to use a mfg recommended sealer first, as lacquer has total film build limits that are easy to exceed if you attempt to get smooth finish on large grain woods. The sealers also dry faster, and are easy to sand too!


And the way is sounds your local paint store will not mix the paint to recommended viscosity that is something Ill have to do it myslef. My dad paints occasionally with HVLP sprayer said he has a nice gun says its a Matco (dont know if its gravity fed or siphoned) and I think he has one of those cups Ford or Zahn viscosity measuring cup. He is also looking into a water separator for his air compressor.

Spray painting requires subtle changes to viscosity, solvent type, and catalyst type based on temp and humidity.
Several of my auto finish suppliers will pre-mix some materials as ‘spray ready’, as the catalyst has 30-60 day mixed pot life. Only precat lacquer has this same luxury in wood finishing, usually with a 12 month shelf in can. Many catalyzed materials have only a few hours pot life once mixed, so you will need to mix and use the coatings as needed.
Mixing/prepping your paint for spray is not hard. Mfg usually recommend a viscosity range, and the max amount of thinner, reducer, or retarder they recommend for best performance. There is NO one size fits all solution, except usually can add 10% solvent thinner, or 5% thinner + 5% retarder to most anything without messing up the final properties. LOL


For the nozzles I have been reading the best size for applying a finish coat is 1.4 mm and for primer a 2.0 mm. Is that correct?
- dougstritonv8

Don’t get hung up on comparing the size of your big toe to size of mine. lol

The size of nozzle, depends on type of gun and material being applied!
Here is a random online link from Carlisle Fluid Technologies for comparison of tip size .vs gun type that might help you understand: https://www.carlisleft.com/library/CapSelectBookEJuly121.pdf

Eastwood has nice article on gravity fed guns for automotive work:
https://garage.eastwood.com/eastwood-chatter/how-to-select-the-right-tip-for-your-paint-gun/

Neither of these references is covering wood finishes!

For reference here is PDS on Gemini EVO white pigmented top coat:
http://portal.gemini-coatings.com/assets/pdf_pds/HPUREW-1060,HPUREW-1030,HPUREW-1020,HPUREW-1010.pdf
They suggest a 2mm tip for HVLP gun.
Here is the White primer, suggesting the same tip size:
http://portal.gemini-coatings.com/assets/pdf_pds/HPUREW-1000.pdf

The reason for same tip size is they both have fillers/pigments and spray more like a automotive primer, than a low viscosity clear coat. :-)

Can find the same information for Target coatings, Chemcraft, ML Campbell. Mohawk, or many of the other industrial wood finishes in the market. Once you find your local distributor, pick your coating; then you can find the data sheets to figure recommended spray tip size. I would expect that most all the pigmented materials will prefer a larger 1.8-2.0mm.

Hope this makes sense?

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

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hkmiller

244 posts in 930 days


#13 posted 08-12-2020 06:36 PM

I sprayed BM Advanced on my kitchen cabinets. Great product. Prime first. The Advanced needs to cure for total hardness. I used a 2.5mm tip with air compressor.

-- always something

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