Earlex 5500 HVLP & General Finishes

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Forum topic by GeminiMonkeyWorkshop posted 06-20-2016 12:19 PM 1329 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 855 days

06-20-2016 12:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: earlex 5500 hvlp general finishes

Hoping ‘Earlextech’ sees this – I can’t message him directly because of the 5 post minimum requirement and this is my first post.

I recently purchased the Earlex 5500 HVLP, have never sprayed before, and have not had much practice time with this unit. I did search and have read many older posts but I still feel the need to ask about my particular situation.

I have a prospective customer whom would like me to build a 48” dresser with 3 drawers and 1 cabinet door – due by July 30. She states “I like the smooth white lacquered look…”. Funds are very limited (if not depleted already for testing) and in my hasty research I purchased from Menards & Sherwin-Williams:
  • Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-base Primer
  • Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-based Primer
  • General Finishes – Snow White – Water Based – Milk White
  • General Finishes – High Performance – Water Based – Top Coat – Gloss
  • Flood Floetrol Clear Latex Paint Additive

In practicing and playing around I likely have screwed up the Zinsser WB primer with possible over thinning and/or Floetrol. I tried spraying the Zinsser SB primer and greatly disliked the cleanup required. Returning to a roller for the Zinsser SB primer worked absolutely fine.

Going forward I’d like to know recommended needle, thinning, number or coats, realistic dry time between coats, etc. for the GF products when using the E5500. The wood will likely be raw Pine or Poplar or even Maple. (She does not want any plywood.) Initial plan is to sand raw wood to 150 grit, roll on & sand SB primer (multiple coats) to 320 grit and everything else to your recommendation. I have researched polishing the top coat if that becomes necessary.

Note that current weather here in the Chicago area has my garage workshop on average at 90F & 70% humidity for the majority of the day. I do have ample fans for air flow as needed and I do have most/all the tips/caps; 1.0, 1.5. 2.0, 2.5.

Again, hoping to from Earlextech but all other comments/recommendations greatly welcomed as well.


-- Jeff,

4 replies so far

View CharlesNeil's profile


2436 posts in 4019 days

#1 posted 06-25-2016 05:20 PM

Since no one has responded, I will give it a shot, so exactly where are you at at this point and whats going on. I may be able to help .

View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2194 days

#2 posted 06-25-2016 09:01 PM

I have the HF HVLP spray gun and have sprayed all of those items w/o any problems to achieve a “lacquered”. My wife and I have been very happy with the finished products. I think I’ve used both a 1.5mm and the larger 2.0mm (or was it 1.8mm) tip. Here’s what I found based on my experience ranking from positive to annoying (but not negative).

  1. Zinsser BIN primer sprays super easily. Upon drying it left a very smooth surface. Cleanup didn’t require that much denatured alcohol. I used the 1.5mm tip
  2. Most of the GF paint I have sprayed has been thin enough to not require thinning, albeit I fond Snow White to be a little thicker (could have just been my batch?). I used the 1.5mm tip for GF paint). I’ve also had good success spraying normal Sherwin Williams Latex paint, but I don’t enjoy doing it because of the amount of thinning and mixing with Floetrol involved (w/ my 1.8/2.0mm tip).
  3. Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 primer and I have a love-hate relationship with spraying. It dries really fast after opening. A fresh can sprayed very well with some thinning with water. However wait a few months w/o proper removal of air from the can resulted in the primer beginning to cure, therefore it required a lot more water to get it to a workable state. I’m sure I’m breaking many of the “mixing” rules, but that hasn’t been an adhesion problem thus far. I use the 1.8mm to 2.0mm tip.
  4. No experience with GF High Performance, but I’d imagine it would be a great product to use. I’ve been spraying Rustoleum Ultimate Polyurethane using the 1.5mm tip w/o any problems.

-- paxorion

View GeminiMonkeyWorkshop's profile


2 posts in 855 days

#3 posted 06-26-2016 04:47 PM

Since no one has responded, I will give it a shot, so exactly where are you at at this point and whats going on. I may be able to help .
- CharlesNeil

I have the HF HVLP spray gun and have sprayed all of those items w/o any problems to achieve a “lacquered”….
- paxrion

I’m still at the very beginning. I told the client that I would show her a couple of test boards with the finish that I am capable of and if she approves then I will build the project.

All I have done so far on two small test boards is roll-on and sand three coats of Zinsser BIN Shellac-based Primer with an hour between coats, let dry overnight, and then sprayed three coats of GF Snow White (thinned 20% and 1.0mm tip based on another site’s recommendation) with two hours between coats. I have one to three 14” attic fans on moving the air in a 2-car garage (garage door and back door open for a wind tunnel).

Given the high heat and humidity (90F & 70%) we’re experiencing, and my lack of experience, it seems to me the paint is drying too quickly (maybe even not enough material being sprayed). After watching countless videos I don’t feel I’m seeing that nice big mist coming from the gun and there is a slight orange peel visible just before it dries. However, the surface does appear relatively smooth once fully dried.

paxorion – I did find the GF Snow White to be quite thick. It certainly did not pass the Earlex 160-second guideline.

So consider me still at ground zero with test boards primed and waiting for the best recommendations on tips/thinning/etc for the GF products.

-- Jeff,

View CharlesNeil's profile


2436 posts in 4019 days

#4 posted 06-26-2016 05:36 PM

sent you a Pm, email me, be glad to help, you should post here, having medical test this week so may be a little slow to respond, but we can get you fixed up

BTW do you have a Sherwin Williams close by ?

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