HVLP - Spraying Lacquer - Inside ??

  • Advertise with us

« back to Finishing forum

Forum topic by NBeener posted 02-09-2012 08:47 PM 18836 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3777 days

02-09-2012 08:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hvlp lacquer spray spraying inside indoors basement fumes

Hey, All ….

As usual, I’m reaching out to this vast wealth of knowledge, assembled here :-)

I’ve completed my Shaker-inspired Hall Table, out of beetle-kill pine:

Yep. A leg warped, after glue-up. Gonna’ live with it … at least for now ;-)

My mother was kind enough to buy me the Harbor Freight HVLP sprayer. I bought some lacquer, and would like to spray the finish on this piece.

I’ll do a wash coat, of 50/50 denatured alcohol and shellac, but ….

It’s been mighty cold outside (ie, garage is cold), and I understand you want temps >= 65 degrees and humidity <= 65%, to do a good job with spray lacquer. For the next few months, that’s likely to mean … finish in the basement shop.

I have an explosion proof fan, powering my shop-built air filter, and built it so that I can stick any number of … any kind of filters into it. It moves a lot of CFM. I have a respirator with organic vapor cartridges, so … I’m good. I have a twin-fan, in-the-window fan that moves a little bit of air that I can use to help vent vapors (it’s NOT an explosion-proof fan, though).

The question is … how bad will the fumes be, if I spray lacquer inside the house ? I’ve brushed on varnish, stain, shellac, and poly, in the basement, in the past. Not GREAT, but not awful. Should I worry more about using an HVLP indoors, or … pretty much the same deal ?

If this just seems like a bad idea, I can easily put the piece in the hall, and leave it, unfinished, until spring. Not a problem.

Thanks, as always !

-- -- Neil

26 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5922 posts in 3097 days

#1 posted 02-09-2012 08:55 PM

I’ll offer my opinion: don’t do it. The fumes from lacquer are just too flammable to take a chance. Besides, lacquer is an evaporative finish, it will dry in some very cool temperatures. I’ve sprayed it outside (only place I’ll spray it) in sub 40° temps before and it dried just fine, albeit slightly slower. Just my 2¢.

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

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 3937 days

#2 posted 02-09-2012 09:00 PM

Sorry I can’t give you any advice on this Neil. What I know about spraying would fit into a gnats…..eye. Reading your blog reminded of the time about 25 years ago I decided to spray paint a second car we had. I sprayed it in the garage and the mist settled on my sons new, expensive bike (and everything else in the garage too). Since then I have stayed away from serious spray painting. The car didn’t come out too good either. If I had a nice HVLP spray unit, I would be tempted to try again. I’m quite sure you will get some good LJ advice on this. It’s too late for me, lol. P.S. my son isn’t as angry about now as he was before. Good luck with your project. It looks real good so far.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ETwoodworks's profile


92 posts in 3296 days

#3 posted 02-09-2012 09:15 PM

I am spraying in my poorly vented garage with a similar setup to what you described. I am using Deft waterborne acrylic and the fumes are not a problem at all. I would not do it with the flamible lacquer you have. I would go get a waterbased “lacquer”. I also wouldnt spray the shellac down there but i like to error on the side of caution. Just my 2cents

-- Building quality in a throw away world.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3460 days

#4 posted 02-09-2012 09:16 PM

Is the Shellac suspended in methylated spirits?

I use the HVLP Earlex unit, very little overs pray not like HP.

I’ve had no problems and great results.
Don’t even think of any of the high volatile solvents like cellulose.

Whether you brush or spray Especially Shellac it is mostly an
equal mix. So whether you spray or brush you are going to the same
amount of solvent in the room. It just get out quicker with an aerosol.
I find a very slight increase in the fumes with HVLP over brush.
High Pressure on the other hands blast to much around the room.



-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3907 days

#5 posted 02-09-2012 09:20 PM

is there any way to heat your garage, if your able to hang some plastic to create a simple and temp spray booth, that would work out there, but i would not spray in your house at all, the fumes are very bad and you would possibly get sick, in fact you would, even when i spray lacquer in my shop from a spray can, the whole shop smells of it and ive gotten some really bad head aches from it, i would either do it in the garage, or let it wait until spring time, lacquer dries really quick, so it wont take long at all, in fact you can have it sprayed and done in one day..that’s my 2 cents… i feel a nap coming on….....grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4301 days

#6 posted 02-09-2012 09:33 PM

Great work Neil.
If you get Kiln Drying Lumber you still have 6% to 8% moisture so you should have it at room temperature for at lease 6 months before using it for furniture building dropping you moisture around 4%.

View patron's profile


13694 posts in 3944 days

#7 posted 02-09-2012 09:34 PM

not worth the effort neil

that is bigger than a box

i used to spray in the house
i’m still razor scraping the windows and sliding glass doors

the fumes will get to you
and permeate everything

best wait
it will be warm out soon

nice table
even with a zen leg

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4301 days

#8 posted 02-09-2012 09:37 PM

leg warped that is an easy fix

View Ripthorn's profile


1459 posts in 3588 days

#9 posted 02-09-2012 09:39 PM

I have the same sprayer and I spray target coatings em6000 indoors, as it has no fumes and is a great nitrocellulose alternative (wb acrylic). I wouldn’t dream of spraying a solvent-based lacquer indoors, though.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3672 days

#10 posted 02-09-2012 09:40 PM

You couldn’t pay me enough to spray lacquer indoors unless I had a for-real spray booth. The fumes would floor you. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View JohnMeeley's profile


255 posts in 2936 days

#11 posted 02-09-2012 09:54 PM

Sprayed lacquer once in my basement similar to your explanation. Thought I would be okay, like you are now. I will never do that again Yes, the fumes penetrated the entire house. I had a nice buzz going in-spite of the respirator.

Just my two cents, BTW I like shellac. Finish with that in the color of your choice.

Edit… how rude of me, nice job on the table.

-- "The greatest pleasure in life is doing what others say you cannot do."-Walter Bagehot

View Vincent Nocito's profile

Vincent Nocito

485 posts in 3967 days

#12 posted 02-09-2012 10:27 PM

You also need to keep in mind that it is indoor heating season. Gas/oil fired heaters, hot water heaters and stoves (pilot light) provide a source of ignition for solvent vapors. Even some electric units will have a spark on start up. If there are kids, pets or others in the house, they can also get a lot of vapor. I think Grizzman had a good point about trying to preheat the garage. If you can get it above 50 F, you should be able to do the work. I use quartz heaters to warm up the garage for temperature sensitive work.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3777 days

#13 posted 02-09-2012 11:06 PM


I’m very grateful for the common-sense feedback. I’ll either warm up the garage, using my oil-filled radiator, and leaving the door partially open, or—as we Coloradoans often do—look forward to Spring !

Thanks much !

Yeah. My poor gimpy-legged table ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4276 days

#14 posted 02-09-2012 11:11 PM

Beautiful table, Neil. Never try any spray finishing.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3907 days

#15 posted 02-10-2012 03:02 AM

if memory serves me correctly maloof didnt use a sprayer…...:)))

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

showing 1 through 15 of 26 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