The Stumpy Nubs Workshop #39: Spray finishing: Cheap, less cheap, and a little pricey

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Blog entry by StumpyNubs posted 06-24-2013 04:31 PM 3574 reads 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 38: Upgrade your budget dust collection! Part 39 of The Stumpy Nubs Workshop series Part 40: Stone, paper, daimonds... Sharpening made simple! »

A special tool review episode takes a look at sprayers that are good for a small shop. First we look at the Harbor Freight HVLP spray gun, then the Earlex 5500 Spray Station, and finally the Graco cordless sprayer. PLUS: What size of compressor do you need for HVLP? And a look at Charles Neil’s new online finishing course… that and more on the latest episode of Blue Collar Woodworking!

After you watch this one, visit for more woodworking goodness!

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13 comments so far

View steliart's profile


2740 posts in 2743 days

#1 posted 06-24-2013 06:40 PM

Always having a good time watching your show, thanks.

-- Stelios L.A. Stavrinides: - I am not so rich to buy cheap tools, but... necessity is the mother of inventions !!!

View Don Johnson's profile

Don Johnson

688 posts in 2835 days

#2 posted 06-24-2013 07:19 PM

Viola? – you do sneak ‘em in! LOL

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2617 days

#3 posted 06-24-2013 07:22 PM

Very timely video for me.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View StumpyNubs's profile


7609 posts in 2855 days

#4 posted 06-24-2013 07:22 PM

Yah, Don. I like to see if people are paying attention.

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View CharlesNeil's profile


2422 posts in 3925 days

#5 posted 06-24-2013 08:37 PM

Gee thanks Stumpy for the finishing class plug’

The harbor freight gun does have a issue with the little washer where the cup attaches to the gun, many of the gravity feds do, if you use some teflon tape and tape it well it will seal it with no issue .HOWEVER get some of these

The seal well and are better than the smaller nylon cup, they fit all my gravity feds, and because they have more fluid and add more pressure to the fluid, they help some on atomization , We use them all the time.

View DIYaholic's profile


19624 posts in 2730 days

#6 posted 06-24-2013 09:55 PM

Great show Stumps!
I’ll be extra polite today, as there is a celebrity in the house (NOT you DYankee! I’m talking about Mr, Neil)!!!

I’ve yet to use my HF HVLP….
Guess I need to complete a project more worthy of a quality finish, than the utilitarian stuff I’ve been making!!!

Mr. Neil,
Thanks for the “HF disposable cup” tip.

Looking forward to more great infotainment!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View StumpyNubs's profile


7609 posts in 2855 days

#7 posted 06-24-2013 09:59 PM

Don’t forget the filter cones and the spray gun stand Harbor Freight has too!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View luv2learn's profile


2785 posts in 2358 days

#8 posted 06-24-2013 11:35 PM

Hey Stumpy, I used the Harbor Freight HVLP spray gun to spray all the high gloss latex paint on the interior trim of our house when we built it. I did have to thin it down quite a bit but after applying two coats the finish was like glass. I recommend it as a great little sprayer for guys like me who are on a budget.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View boxcarmarty's profile


16370 posts in 2415 days

#9 posted 06-24-2013 11:37 PM

That reminds me, I need to go to Walmart…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2669 days

#10 posted 06-25-2013 03:52 AM

great video stumpy , i got the harbor freight gun and it ok but first chance im going to up grade thanks , ,

and have charle s finishing classes on the list too ,hes a great teacher of this craft

wood craft has the erlaxer on sale also for 299 with a extre tip

Earlex Spray Station HV5500 HVLP
Item #152797
Save $40 and Receive a BONUS 1.5mm Fine Finish Needle Kit Now Through June 28, 2013
$339.99 Sale! $299.99
- See more at:

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View doubleDD's profile


7494 posts in 2098 days

#11 posted 06-25-2013 05:16 PM

Great video Stumpy, always willing to learn something, and I did. Thanks.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View DS's profile


2931 posts in 2475 days

#12 posted 06-25-2013 10:35 PM

Yup, I have the HF gun too. The stand is invaluable and so are the disposible cups. I tend to make a mess of them and have gone through about a dozen since I started. (I dropped the sprayer once before I had the stand and the cup shattered. That’s when I discovered both the stand and the disposible cups)

I had two issues with the gun at first which I overcame easily enough.

The first was that they coated it with a protectant from the manufacturer that you have to completely break down the gun and clean it out before your first use. I thought I could just run some lacquer thinner through it and it’d be okay. Nope. Fish-eyed like a river trout. Even after I stripped it I was getting fish-eyes. By the third cleaning I started getting good results. (The first one didn’t count as I didn’t break it down)

Second issue was that the pivot screw for the handle came apart on me whilst spraying. It made a huge mess that took a while to clean up. Once I re-assembled it and used some locktite on the threads it stayed together well enough.

For the money, it has been a very very productive sprayer for me. I used to use the automotive cup guns and I still keep those around.

If I could afford an airless sprayer, I’d probably go that route. Until then, the HF HVLP unit is good to go.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View ScottKaye's profile


656 posts in 2008 days

#13 posted 06-27-2013 12:44 AM

Hey Mr. Stumpy.. Which model HF gun did you review? Im on their site now and and I see two guns that look a like but have different stock numbers.. (prices are the same as well) The only diifference I see is one is labled “professional” and the other is not. I guess if I bought the professional gun, it would automatically bring my skill set and workmanship up to the level of say ah, oh I dont know… maybe um – a Charles Neil! Well that and probably many years of expert tutalage by Charles.

HVLP sprayer one labeled professional

HVLP sprayer two

-- "Nothing happens until you build it"

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