Alternatives for Spraying Small Projects

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Forum topic by Peter Oxley posted 11-15-2007 03:44 AM 1579 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2627 days

11-15-2007 03:44 AM

Topic tags/keywords: paint finish spray alternative small job

Anyone have any great ideas for spraying paint or finish on small jobs? For instance, I have to put a pretty thick latex paint on one cabinet door tomorrow. I love my Earlex sprayer and it would have no problem with the job, but I hate to set it up and clean it up for each coat on each side of one door! But that’s what I usually do.

Has anyone used the Preval Spray Gun? If so, what did you think? The discount tool place everyone loves to hate something similar to the Preval, but it is an aerosol sprayer that can be recharged with air – has anyone used one of these?

Or do you have the perfect solution that works for you?

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17 replies so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2715 days

#1 posted 11-15-2007 04:57 AM

I use shellac and laquer in spray cans for small items. I guess you could use paint in the spray cans. I re-painted my airplane one time with spray can paint. It looked pretty good with a fresh coat of enamel. The old boy who owns Advance Hardware told about a guy coming in and asking for some of that”Rattlaquer”.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2627 days

#2 posted 11-15-2007 05:21 AM

Tom – I’m not opposed to spray cans. I keep cans of spray varnish around for touch ups, and I use spray paint some, too. But in this case I have one door that has to match the rest of a kitchen, so it’s custom mixed paint. I have an empty Krylon can in the shop, but hard as I try, I just can’t get the new paint into that can!

I just came across another small project sprayer. Has anyone used the Critter?

Did I mention that the paint I have to use to paint this single door only comes in gallons? I’m going to use about a pint!

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View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3971 posts in 2816 days

#3 posted 11-15-2007 05:56 AM

The newsletter ad copy written by Highland Hardware featured a POV monologue from a young lady employee who was new to woodworking who refinished her kitchen cabinets with the Critter. She seemed to have good results with a heavy bodied finish. Of course, she does work for them, and it is their advertisement.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2627 days

#4 posted 11-15-2007 03:08 PM

Wow, that sounds like an endorsement I can trust! I’m going to go buy three of them! Thanks Doug!

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View Karson's profile


34916 posts in 3153 days

#5 posted 11-15-2007 03:17 PM

My ex-son-in-law bought a critter. But I never used it or do I know if he did.

I haven’t hears of the others.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2774 days

#6 posted 11-15-2007 03:17 PM

I have a critter, somewhere.
It’s a venturi /syphon arrangement that suck the liquid up a tube from the jar below and blows it laterally.
it’s O.K. for seal coats I guess but I just use the HVLP cheapie for that now as there is just too much fussing around with compressed air then vacuum then compressed air etc.
I’m pretty convinced that turbine systems are the way to go for furniture.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2627 days

#7 posted 11-15-2007 04:30 PM

I completely agree that HVLP is the way to go. And I won’t gripe about cleanup when I’m spraying a quart of something or another. But if I’m spraying a few tablespoons, I sure wish there were another way.

At the old shop we had gravity feed air guns. The air was a hassle, the overspray was miserable, and the process wasn’t as forgiving of human variables. But I sure miss the easy cleanup: unscrew the cup of paint (or varnish or whatever), screw on a cup of thinner, spray the thinner through the gun for a few seconds, unscrew the cup of thinner, cap off both cups, hang up the spray gun and walk away.

I haven’t seen any gravity feed HVLP systems out there (other than HVLP conversion, which isn’t really HVLP). Does anyone know of any? Or know why there aren’t any?

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View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3971 posts in 2816 days

#8 posted 11-15-2007 06:20 PM

What, Steve. Don’t you believe in truth in advertising? LOL.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2913 days

#9 posted 11-15-2007 06:26 PM

when I was speaking with the rep from the Critter at a woodshow (never did hear back from him re: an interview.. hmm.. I should look into that).. a gentleman stopped by and said that he had one and had been using it for years and years and years… and like it.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2627 days

#10 posted 11-15-2007 06:38 PM

The Critter is almost inexpensive enough to just give it a try – $35 through the LJ store. I guess it doesn’t spray a fan, just a circle, but I can live with that for little jobs. I like that it has small containers that can be switched and sealed easily. Still has a siphon tube to clean, though.

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View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2747 days

#11 posted 11-15-2007 06:38 PM


Here is a link, where an L J called “Woodgal” talks about the “Critter.” She has very good things to say about it. Hope that helps.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4438 posts in 2715 days

#12 posted 11-15-2007 07:15 PM

Aw heck, Peter, sometimes we just have to bite the bullet. You’ve just spent enough time on here to clean the sprayer.LOL< LOL But this is a lot more fun.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Sawdust2's profile


1467 posts in 2840 days

#13 posted 11-16-2007 02:29 AM

Highland Woodworking is in my neighborhood (so to speak) I get there about once a month. I’ve been shopping there and going to seminars there for over 20 years.
She may work for them and it may be self-advertising but they are reputable people. If she did a lousy job or if it did a lousy job that’s what would have been reported. And I don’t doubt that she had good instruction on how to use it before she wrote the article.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

209 posts in 2725 days

#14 posted 11-16-2007 04:41 AM

I( use the critter and preval for small projects. They wokk great with a mi nimum of cleanup. Would not try to spray a large project but I think they are fine for small projects mand easy to use.

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2532 posts in 2710 days

#15 posted 11-16-2007 05:39 AM

I have a critter and I like the results I obtained with it. I sprayed latex paint, and clear water based poly and it worked great on both. I thinned the latex down and used a little latex paint additive and it worked great. The poly was thinned not as much as the latex and sprayed great also. The only thing about it is it is a fairly small pattern so it works better for smaller projects. I shot a base cabinet kitchen bookcase and draw base with the latex and that was about as large a piece as I would like to use it on. The gun cleans up easy, and you can buy kits to replace all the parts as well as a shorter stem if you want to use it with the smaller style mason jars. Thats another great thing about it is I bought a case of empty mason jars for about 12 dollars and if you have custom mixed colors, or leftovers you can just screw a lid on it and put it on the shelf! You can also buy a 5 pack of the cork jar will need them if you spray anything that will eat up the lacquer etc.


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