why not spraying?

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Forum topic by teenagewoodworker posted 06-19-2010 04:08 PM 2315 views 3 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2727 posts in 3191 days

06-19-2010 04:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’m just curious. What reasons do people have for not switching to spraying. I’ve been spraying for about 2 years now and I have to say that it is probably one of the best things I know how to do. I’m building a bed right now with a contemporary black finish and for it I sprayed 2 coats of General Finishes Waterbased sanding sealer followed by 1 full coat and 1 touch up coat of the GF Black Acrylic and it’s amazing. It took all of 5 hours and maybe an hour of labor and the finish is flawless, jet black, and it was really easy. Now I will just put on a coat of Waterbased poly for protection and it’s done. Simple, easy, and It works.

So that’s why I’m curious what reasons people have for not trying spraying (or why they like spraying)

of course finishing booths are tough to come by but with waterbased you can spray outside no problem because they dont have the smell like solvents do.

40 replies so far

View barryvabeach's profile


159 posts in 2467 days

#1 posted 06-19-2010 04:17 PM

It took be a while to get into spraying due to the expense. I didn’t use pnuematic nailers, so I didn’t have a compressor, so the cost with a decent sized compressor and hvlp gun was pretty steep. I actually got good results with a trim pad and waterborne on flat surfaces, but it did take forever. Also, when I got my first spray setup, there was a fairly steep learning curve. Now that I am spraying with some frequency I love it, much quicker and better results, but I can understand someone not having the space or money to spend on spraying.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3641 days

#2 posted 06-19-2010 04:18 PM

I purchased a Wood River hvlp gun from Woodcraft a while back, and I really have not experimented very much with it yet. I guess I’m a little intimidated with all the variables involved… getting the spray settings right, having the finished thinned to the proper consistency. Then, of course, there is worrying about laying the finish down too heavily or too light. And then there is proper cleanup.

I’m sure if I practiced some I would become comfortable with the process, but there are a lot of things to think about.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 06-19-2010 04:42 PM

it’s ironic but I was researching HVLPs this week trying to figure out if the Earlex 2900 featured on is worth the $150 price tag or if it’s better to go with something like the 5000 model… and all the researching made me also question is it’s even worth it for me as I don’t really have the time for much woodworking lately – but if I switch to spraying it could speed up and maybe make that part more efficient, what more – I have a few projects that are refinishing only that would benefit from it.

that lead me to researching WHAT I would spray if I went that route – with the options being Lacquer, oil poly, and waterbase poly or waterbase lacquer… that was a bit too much thinking for me with so many options, and although people like lacquer – I don’t think I could do that for the VOC and smell issues, yet I’m not sure how waterbase options would really stand up in comparison…

all this thinking, an all these options made me just stop as my brush/wipe poly suffices for the moment, although I would really like to switch.

So – question for you Dennis, since you’ve already gone through this – what are you spraying? how resistant is it for water/solvents/scratches?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 06-19-2010 04:43 PM

Hey Denis
I’ve been spraying for 25 years or more and it is the best way to go. Not everyone has the equipment or place to spray . It take me a couple hours just to clean up to spray since I don’t have a booth. It all depends on what material you use the compressor or other spray equipment you have plus your technique some projects are just easier to brush but most of the time I prefer to spay too.

-- Custom furniture

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3723 days

#5 posted 06-19-2010 04:55 PM

I think a lot of people are hesitant, because it takes some practice,

& most would rather do it the old way, instead of taking the time to learn.

I have a friend that restores pianos, and he switched to HVLP, and he loves it.

It also saves on the amount of lacquer he uses.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2384 days

#6 posted 06-19-2010 04:55 PM

The minister would always pause at the end of a project and say, “Let us spray.” Couldn’t resist that one! Spraying is a quick way but I’m limited in space for the equipment and booth. I don’t work outside as there is too much crud in the air.

View Woodwrecker's profile


3914 posts in 2999 days

#7 posted 06-19-2010 05:05 PM

I like spraying, and have had good results.
I find it the best way to go with larger projects, but with smaller ones, it’s too much hassle to clean up the equipment sufficiently.
Then again my equipment is pretty old and I bet there are probably easier systems that I could be using.
Good topic Dennis.

-- Eric, central Florida

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3191 days

#8 posted 06-19-2010 05:11 PM

PurpLev… the waterbases as far as toughness are on the top of the list. Most of them compare very well to conversion varnishes which are the toughest things out there.

I spray pretty much anything from General Finishes. Right now the Waterbased Poly which is tough stuff. I used it on some radiator covers a little over a year ago and I saw them a few weeks ago and they are still flawless. Also GF just came out with a waterbased lacquer which is much tougher than lacquer and kicks its butt in chemical resistance. Something else they have is the Enduro-Var. which is waterbased and is made to have a slight yellowing effect like an oil. I know there are also plans for a waterbased oil poly… sounds crazy but the waterbased stuff is super cool and its advancing in leaps and bounds. Also waterbased dyes are awesome. I use them all the time. Waterbased also has much more solids so it builds up very very fast. 2 or 3 coats and its all set. Head over the general finishes web site and check the stuff out. It will help to read through the stuff on the finishes. I use the pro finishes but there are plenty of consumer based things in stores as well.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


2620 posts in 2532 days

#9 posted 06-19-2010 05:13 PM

Dennis, I almost always spray. It is messier and uses more material, but the results are worth it. For small projects I use my air brush.

I’d say that up until I got my air compressor, I was a brush finisher. But I know how well spray finishing comes out, having painted some of my cars. Just can’t beat a lacquer finish car. And I usually painted those cars in the driveway, in still air.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2407 days

#10 posted 06-19-2010 05:20 PM

Its not always about switching to spraying or not spraying. It also has to do with the project your working on in how you apply your finish and what finish you use. There are some projects I can wipe on several coats of finish quicker and with less clean up than spraying. Then there are those projects with lots of corners to deal with or other detail work that spraying is the quicker and best application. Then there are some of those good ol projects that nothing but a brush would be better. So there are lots of reasons for not spraying as well as for spraying, but what it really all comes down to is a matter of preference in how one chooses to finish a project.
Its like joinery depending on the project, what type of joint you use. While I like pocket screw joinery its not the only type of joint I want to use in all of my projects.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View CampD's profile


1464 posts in 2909 days

#11 posted 06-19-2010 05:21 PM

I spray just about anything larger then say “a picture frame” I cant imagine hand brushing 2 coats of poly on 30 cabinets inside and out, that aside, the finish is most always flawless when sparyed. Takes more coats when spraying to achieve a consistant finish, but its worth it. I can spray 1 coat on 10 cabinets inside and out in around 2-3 hrs including clean-up of the gun (meaning I can spray 3 coats of water based finish in 1 day). I bought a Devilbiss HVLP kit a few years back and couldn’t have been more happy with the purchase (Devilbiss is best known in the automotive spray buiness). The kit has 4 different tips for different consistancy paints, I really only use the biggest and just try to thin my paints to the same. Like Jim , I spend half a day cleaning and preping the shop before I spray and let the dust settle overnight. Any bleamishes I do get are taken care of with sanding between coats and a final buffing if needed.

-- Doug...

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#12 posted 06-19-2010 05:26 PM

Thanks Dennis, thats good to know. currently I am looking at some kitchen table refinishing which needs to be pretty durable, probably as durable as a finish should be. I’ll check GF site, although I have a tendency to not fully trust information on a MFG/supplier as their main purpose is to sell more of their stuff. good to know you have personal good experience with it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3191 days

#13 posted 06-19-2010 05:28 PM

yep… you could email charles neil as well. he’ll help you out and he loves their stuff. The best thing about GF is that they’re a relatively small company. Not mom and pop but not giant either. They make nice stuff and the CEO is a really great guy. When you email their customer service as well the people know the products and can make suggestions on products as well as application and stuff.

View davcefai's profile


37 posts in 2820 days

#14 posted 06-19-2010 05:37 PM

I’ve got the kit but not the space. I sprayed a couple of large wardrobe projects years back but cannot justify the disruption to spray small projects.

-- David

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2409 days

#15 posted 06-19-2010 05:37 PM

Spraying does take up a fair amount of space… and outside doesn’t work for every situation. If I sprayed outside, I could only do it here from about mid-May to October, consistently. November-April isn’t “that” much time but it’s not like I’m going to tell a client in November that they have to wait until May for their project, just because I need to spray it. ;)

I have a large shop. But I don’t have a dedicated finishing area. When I do, I’ll be spraying. I do a little of it now but I have to be careful.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

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