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Thread: Spray Finishing

  1. #1
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    Spray Finishing

    This post has been a while coming....so here goes.


    It has bugged me for a lifetime to have a spray gun in my hands. Dont ask me why its the one thing i have always wanted but avoided.

    I avoided it primarily had to do with what i percieved to be the need for a huge compressor capable of a healthy number of CFMs of air.

    Then a total lack of any prior knowledge and like the darn techie stuff i come to have a love hate relationship with, i did not want to be getting burnt in experiementing with various finishes and guns.

    When one reads the reviews in this area on just about any suppliers site its a real mixed bag. Automotive guys are the big users is my guess and hence we have a mix of pro and hobby and auto and wood guys providing reviews which leaves you more confused than anything else.

    Another thing, clean up. I hate painting in the house with a passion, even pva so clean up when one has used oil paints always put me off. Same thing for spray guns. I thought each time i use it i would have loads of little parts all over the show and tons of solvent......but its not true i found out.


    Then you get guys like Dave H who seem to have been born with one of these devices attached to their hand and been fed an encyclopedia of information on finishes.

    So i took the plunge recently when a harbor freight promo ad arrived in my in box and thought what the heck at $15 for a spray gun how can i go wrong and not try it out. The spec said 4.7 CFM at 45 PSI and i figured my PC pancake nailer compressor should do this somewhat. SO what if i have to wait every now and then, so what if i burnt the sucker out they relatively cheap. But i should be so lucky as to get enough time on it to do that, then i would happily replace and have justification for a bigger one.

    So a dear friend did me the honors after i recieved my gun and together we drove around procured some lacquer from LV and got some of the correct thinners. I was actually very dissapointed in this case with the guy serving at LV because we asked for lacquer thinners and got this handed too us and if you look on their site having just purchased this lacquer which can be brushed or sprayed ( note the back door escape if things dont work out) the lacquer supplied is definitely not suitable.

    Thank goodness my buddy was suspicious and we actually returned it before leaving the store.

    Home depot obliged with the correct thinners but it was an education to note there are two types of what is called thinners. SO if you a newbie like me take note to get the correct one. This is thinners but NOT for lacquer and spraying.

    Ok so next issue you need to know is which gun. Well if you in Canada you can get this gun at Princess Auto along with all the attachements you need. But mine came from Harbor Freight for half the price. this is the one i purchased after consultation with a friend here that actually has the same one and knew it would work for my needs.

    NOTE: I get to produce very little out of my shop right now. Couple of years that will change kids out the house then. But even when i do, its all small stuff. So my needs are just to finish hobby stuff.

    What i really would like is a HVLP Earlex unit which woodcraft has on special for $319 right now but i cannot justify it at present it would just be another dust collector to me. So YMMV.

    But if you doing small stuff for sale like bottle stoppers and trivets etc, this could be a perfect quick way to get a good finish.


    Instructions

    So i really could do with doing a proper tutorial here and putting it in a pdf and when time permits i may do it because i think for newbies this is an excellent way to go.

    Step 1
    Get a couple of mason jars.

    Step 2 get hold of a small ladle if you can, something like a gravy boat ladle. I actuall happen to have a couple of stainless little cups which served the purpose but you end up having your finger in the lacquer.

    Take 2 measures of lacquer and one measure of lacquer thinners.

    Mix in mason jar. Now you set.

    Step3
    Make sure you sanded your project and then blow off or wipe off very well the dust from the project.

    (this stuff is amazing because the test we did was on a scrap project gone wrong where the wood had only been planed and was mahogany which is fiberous etc as a surface and it covered it all)

    Step 4 set the pressure regulator on your pancake to 45PSI we actually used even a touch lower. (more about the compressor bit later).

    Step 5
    Get a large piece of cardboard or something large you can spray on to set the gun up. There are instructions in the manual and i had it easy i had a guiding hand in fact my buddy did the adjusting but showed me how and what i was looking for while spraying test sprays on the sheet of cardboard. You want this sheet to be something that is gonna show the wetting pattern so think of this before you get going.

    Ok fill the small gun cup to about 75% full. Put the lid on an be aware. There is something to understand about this gun.

    It works on a siphon method. Meaning the air travelling out the nozzle creates a suction that sucks the fluid up the tube and atomizes it.
    For that to work there is a little hole in the lid of the spray gun that needs to be kept clean and clear so air can enter.

    Then note the three prong lever to tighten the lid onto the cup once you have it clicked into the C hooks on the gun can easily exert enough tension so as to bend the C hooks open. You dont need to tighten it this tight. You only need to snug it up so the seal on the lid keeps the lacquer mix from running out and down the side. Would be different if it were a pressure type spray gun.

    Step 6

    Pray some lacquer on the board and adjust the airflow and liquid flow settings to get a nice pattern.

    There is some logic here that is worth knowing.

    There are two ears on the gun nozzle. when they are orientated in horizontal plane then the spray pattern is going to be a vertical oval and when orientated vertically the spray pattern is going to be an oval horizontal.

    Set the ears by loosening the threaded cap that holds the nozzle on and rotating them into the horizontal mode. ie vertical oval spray pattern.

    WHY? If you use a horizontal pattern then when you pass from left to right with the spray gun the pattern overlaps and can result in you putting down too much lacquer in one pass. Of course if you gonna spray up and down on a unit then rotate the nozzle the other way.

    Ok so by now you have the spray gun set you got a nice even pattern of moisture and the oval is coming out vertical.

    Step 7.

    Wind up the NN by spraying outdoors.. Only kidding.

    Ok now set the piece you want to spray up and begin with a spray pass starting with the gun trigger open and spraying at a height around 6- 8 inches off the object and get the gun going say 6 or more inches before its spraying on the object. Then take a nice even speed pass across the object you spraying. You can then come back and overlap the next layer and repeat till you coated your object on that side with one coat. Rotate the object and do the same till you have a coat all round.

    Note you may need to refill gun before going to far depends on how much you used to get set up and how much you used on your first object. I would strongly suggest you use some scrap wood before you get going on a project just to the feel.

    Now let this coat dry, it dries very quickly in fact amazingly so.

    Now take 320 sandpaper on a block or preferably some 320 sponge sander and just wipe one stroke across the unit you spraying with the sanding sponge. Only one wipe.

    The lacquer will look like white powder as you do this. Then take a nice clean rag and wipe it clean. Or even blow it clean.

    Now you can go to finishing another coat and even one more if needed depending on the finish you desired.

    Note: I purchased a satin lacquer there are three options . So the grain would show nice but not look glossy. Second, you can coat till the grain is completely covered if you like this or you can coat till some of its still visible. Its your choice. I like the look of gloss sometimes like say on a plane knob or tote but i like the look of satin grain on a flatwork object.

    Let the coats dry for at least 2 hours before you shoot again in between layers.

    Then you done. You can go to town doing other things after this but this was a good finish and more than adequate for a newbie on hobby projects.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 06-23-2011 at 04:43 PM.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    Part 2

    Now the extras.

    SAFETY>

    This is volatile solvent finish so use the proper organic compounds mask.

    I have the 3M half mask version with two organic canisters and air filters over the canister.

    USe gloves to protect your hands. I now use the nitrile one you get a box of dozens for a few bucks.

    VORTEX WARNING

    Since i did not want to venture much money in this experiment I initially only bought the gun and the essentials.

    But for a usable setup i have now added the following.

    1) You need an in line air filter to remove moisture from the air coming out of your compressor.
    2) Think of where you gonna spary and get a nice trully flexible hose. The one that came with my pancake is anything but flexible.
    3) Buy a pack of dozens of nipples both male fitting and female. Note all my fittings are 1/4 inch. Works fine for my needs.
    4) By a pack with lots of couplers in so you can add these to your hoses for quick connect disconnect.
    5) Buy a ball valve and fit to the outlet near where you gonna spray at the same location add the filter and one tip add another regulator so its close to where you gonna use the gun.
    6) Buy a manifold for your compressor outlet. There are some neat cheap units that are ready tapped for the 1/4 nipples. You can put one on one side and two on the other. This way you "plug in" the single side to the compressor and have dual outlets. I left my set up for my nail gun for the shop as is and ran a second cheap hose to the point of spray near a window as i am using my porch of my shop. Now i can put my hand in the window and shut of the air or regulate the air pressure or even disconnect the hose all within reach of the window opening. I have two air filters, one inline right at the gun and the other this one connected to the ball valve and regulator.

    This is where a little vortex comes in with all the above extras you dont see in the front end for the $15 gun. But its still way cheaper than the spinny vortex. For Canadians Princess Auto is your buddy here they have it all and more at good prices. My total was around $140 with extra hose filter loads of niplles and connectors and ball valve with lever.

    Ok last item. Dont do what i did. I did not listen properly or ask clarrifying questions.

    Take a board and pop a few nails in it with your nail gun. You want to use say a piece of MDF say 3/8 thick and pop 2 or 2.5 inch nails in it and have them stick through like a nail bed. BUT you dont need to use the whole box and get carried away. Nobody is going to sleep on them.

    Just put a few in to be able to rest what ever it is you gonna spray on them and have a few points supporting it.

    This way the object being sprayed is off the surface. Helps when turning over and also getting to edges with spray.

    Now a neat thing i did do was to make a lazy susan rotating table with my mdf and to fit the lazy susan bearing i took it up in a stack which further raised the be of nails off the table top surface. This way you can easily rotate the object and get to all sides and it helps when you get down to eye level and look at it in the light to see reflection off the side and tell how your finish is going on.

    Then make yourself a bar and hang some thin wire from it to use as hooks in future should you need to hang something to be able to get at both sides in one go spraying.

    Also make a place to put your spraygun. I have not but after seeing Mike H'S Tutorial the other day i now know what to do. Thanks Mike.

    Well thats it a long one but my name aint Mike so i did this on the fly. When i get a chance i will take pics and clean it up and put it into a pdf but that could be way off so i wanted to share it with ya all so someone may get started if they want to try it out like i did and only have a pancake. NOTE. Check first to see what your pancake is capable of in Air flow. The HF one on sale right now for $40 is not suitable. Looks right but its 1/4 of my cfm hence the price.

    Have fun. It changed my outlook on finishing. I still like WIpe on Poly though.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 06-23-2011 at 04:59 PM.
    cheers

  3. #3
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    ya-da ya-da ya-da

    Rob you just need to come for a visit. I'll have you ready to spray car's, furniture, toys , pen's what ever by the time you leave.

    But hey, you got the idea down.

    ! most important ! cheap equipment will produce a finish exceptable for the short run but will begin going down hill from there. SO the better your equipment the better your end product will be.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  4. #4
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    what Dave said!
    Also I highly recommend "Spray Finishing Made Simple" by Jeff Jewett. About 17 bucks on Amazon and it comes with a DVD.
    Also, stay away from the Earlex or any of those types...... Stick with your compressor driven guns. The new LVLP's are great and you have far more flexibility with tip sizes. Binks makes a great set up 2qt pressure pot and gun with assorted tips and needles for about 250. By far superior to anything earlex will offer you.
    Another thing to consider, strongly, is starting out with a good waterborne. The benefits are too many to list and you can get a beautiful finish that is, in my opinion durable and long lasting. You dont have to worry about blowing up your house or having special fans and such to exaust the fumes. Easy soap and water clean up.

    http://www.spraygunworld.com/product...TPSpecial.html

  5. #5
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    Like Rich says , in house set up use water born. You defiantly do not want an explosion.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hawksford View Post
    Like Rich says , in house set up use water born. You defiantly do not want an explosion.
    There ya go taking all the fun out of spraying
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    There ya go taking all the fun out of spraying
    I know I know... I had to stop using the stinky stuff when my head started sounding like a 2 person sack race instead of a pack of lemmings going over a cliff everytime I was too lazy to put my respirator on and just pulled the collar of my t shirt up over my nose...... I still cant stand next to a bowl of rice crispies hehehehehe

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Soby View Post
    I know I know... I had to stop using the stinky stuff when my head started sounding like a 2 person sack race instead of a pack of lemmings going over a cliff everytime I was too lazy to put my respirator on and just pulled the collar of my t shirt up over my nose...... I still cant stand next to a bowl of rice crispies hehehehehe
    Rich I ended up in the emergency room one day , thought I was having a heart attack ended up with an Asama attack about 10 years ago. I ware mine. Good idea to use it.
    I dream a lot. I do more painting when I'm not painting. It's in the subconscious.
    ::: Andrew Wyeth :::
    colonialrestorationstudio.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Location
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    Back in the days when I painted houses, finished cabinets and woodwork. I spray alot of lacquer, here are some lessons learned, you can passout if you don't ventilate the room your spraying in, wear a respirator or hood with fresh air pumped in to it and if you are a smoker, DON'T light up.
    "Have no fear of perfection--you'll never reach it."
    ---Salvador Dali

  10. #10
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    ok here is a question, for those like dave that do this all the time professionally..

    where did you start your experience in spraying finish? was you actually born a pro at spraying? think back to the time when yu switched from the brushes or rags and went to spraying finish, and tell us how you learned or got started..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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