Airless / HVLP sprayers for small projects

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Forum topic by William Shelley posted 12-28-2016 11:42 PM 589 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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William Shelley

595 posts in 1666 days

12-28-2016 11:42 PM

Hi all,

I’m finding myself wishing more and more that I could spray finishes on my small projects instead of brushing. One thing that I’m concerned about is how much finish is wasted when cleaning out your spray equipment after a session. I might be only spraying 1 or 2 small boxes at a time, for example. I would hate to waste multiple ounces of finish after spraying half an ounce onto the project.

I’ve considered buying a small handheld unit like this Wagner 0417005 Control Spray HVLP Sprayer

or this Graco 16Y385 TrueCoat 360 Paint Sprayer

however I don’t know much about sprayers in general and there seems to be a lot of buzzwords and mis-labeling of things.

I really only need something for spraying oil and water-based clear finishes. If the unit can do latex, cool, but that’s not what I’m buying for.

Thanks for any suggestions.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

2 replies so far

View cracknpop's profile


333 posts in 2545 days

#1 posted 12-29-2016 01:27 AM

Having grown up working in an automotive body shop painting cars/semis, I learned pretty quickly I did not like brushing on finishes on my wood projects. I was thrilled to find a good source of lacquer to spray on my projects.

I have used HVLP spray guns costing several hundreds of dollars but currently spraying lacquer with a $40 gun from Grizzly, Model: H5529. All have worked well. You will not waste much sealer or finish when you clean your gun, BUT you will use additional thinner/mineral spirits to clean your gun (and you definitely want to clean your gun as soon as you are done).

With that being said, before jumping into buying one of the spray guns you linked above, think about the projects you will use them on.
How big are the “small boxes” you will be spraying?
How frequently will you be finishing projects, how often will you be spraying?

Something to consider is the time spent mixing your material getting ready to spray and the time cleaning your spray gun after spraying. For this reason, I keep aerosol spray cans of shellac, lacquer, and polyurethane around to use on “smaller projects”. Yes, an aerosol can will cost more, but you can’t beat the time and ease of use…. shake the can for a minute, spray your project, clean the tip, put the can away, enjoy a cup of coffee/cold drink while your project dries.

Something else to consider is using wipe on finishes instead of brushing.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 788 days

#2 posted 12-30-2016 01:26 AM

Just pour whatever is left after spraying back in the can.
The amount left in the gun is negligible.
I would not use airless for woodworking, especially small items. HVLP is much more suitable. If you have only small items why are you concerned about the waste. Does it matter if you can spray only 180 boxes instead of 200 ? You will probably not see the bottom of the can in a few years anyway.
My experience with sprayers was that the very first attempt came out better than I ever could dream while brushing or wiping.
However get yourself at least 2 stage Fuji or Earlex otherwise do not bother with the ones you posted imho.

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