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How are woodworkers using air compressors?

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Forum topic by rjensen posted 11-01-2017 01:43 AM 2504 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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rjensen

5 posts in 1007 days


11-01-2017 01:43 AM

I’m trying to get a sense for how woodworkers are using air compressors so that I have an idea of how much capacity I should be planning for. From what I’ve gathered, the main functions I’ve seen for woodworking are shooting brad nails and spraying point and other finishes.

Depending on what people are actually using their compressors for, I’m trying to figure out should I do for a small compressor and separate turbine sprayer or will I want a larger compressor for other woodworking jobs as well?


40 replies so far

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diverlloyd

2329 posts in 1692 days


#1 posted 11-01-2017 02:00 AM

Blowing off dust stuff mostly. But if you are buying one you can use it for more then wood working. Filling up tires, balloons, inflatables for pools or decor. You can also but auto body air tools to use for woodworking like sanders,grinders and stuff like that. That being said I have a 30gal oil less and a oiled 80gal also just purchased a turbine sprayer. The portability of the turbine is nice, the speed of fill of the oil less is nice but it’s loud, and the oiled is a bit slow to fill but has a lot of volume and is quiet. Figure out what you will use it for and then buy bigger so you can grow into it and only buy once instead of buying small and having to upgrade.

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Rich

1976 posts in 424 days


#2 posted 11-01-2017 02:19 AM

I have an old 20 gal unit that still is going strong, and a small portable one I can carry with one hand. I use the 20 gal 99% of the time, and only use the portable when I need to get it somewhere. I also have a Fuji Q4 turbine which is great for big spraying jobs. Smaller conversion guns are more convenient for smaller pieces.

The compressor is used for blowing, nailing (frame nailer, finish nailer, 18 ga brad nailer, 23 ga pin nailer, 18 ga narrow crown stapler and a pneumatic stapler for T50 staples). I also use it with conversion guns. You do need to be careful to check the specs on any gun you buy when you have a smaller compressor like mine to ensure that the CFM requirement of the gun doesn’t exceed the output of the compressor. If you’re a little off, it just means you’ll have to pause occasionally to let it catch up, but too much and it’ll be a pain.

Bottom line is, I couldn’t live without one. If this one died, I’d buy a new one the next day.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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RDan

44 posts in 2158 days


#3 posted 11-01-2017 02:51 AM

Consider California Air or the Husky version. Very quiet and have good recovery in the 2-10 Gal range. They can run a vacuum bag with an adapter. If you want to run a framing nail Gun get at least a 4-5 Gal. I don’t spray with mine yet so can’t answer that. I have the Husky version of this one https://www.homedepot.com/p/California-Air-Tools-4610AC-Ultra-Quiet-and-Oil-Free-1-0-Hp-4-6-Gal-Aluminum-Twin-Tank-Electric-Portable-Air-Compressor-4610AC/207147357 I bought it from a clearance center for $100. It is quiet enough I can run it when everyone is sleeping. My other 2, forget it. C-Man 33 Gallon No Oil & a C-Man 2 Gallon Oil . Both are Very loud. Dan

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MrUnix

5985 posts in 2033 days


#4 posted 11-01-2017 03:03 AM

Got a 30gal DeVilbiss (craftsman badged) compressor that I’ve had for decades, and couldn’t live without it. Sand blasting, paint spraying, automotive work (tires, impact wrench, etc…), blowing crap out of the shop, pneumatic nailers, grinders, wrenches, and the list goes on and on. It stays plugged in and on 24/7 so it’s ready to go whenever needed, which is quite often (I’ve used it a half dozen times today alone).

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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woodbutcherbynight

3641 posts in 2243 days


#5 posted 11-01-2017 03:07 AM

+1 what Rich wrote for compressor uses. I would add you need not restrict yourself to only woodworking applications. Even a 30 gallon can run pneumatic impact wrenches to do odd repairs such as lawnmowers, your car, running lag bolts through landscape ties etc etc. It is a versatile tool that if taken care of will last a long time. Well worth money spent to get one and have available. Do you need a huge 80 gallon like I have, probably not. But if someone coughs one for our favorite price of free you gotta take it ya know?

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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NoSpace

104 posts in 1075 days


#6 posted 11-01-2017 03:40 AM

I use my 1.3 gallon (I think) for one thing: cleaning the shop. Smallest one at lowe’s they have but majorly critical device. For this application, capacity doesn’t really matter. You either blow air while the engine is running or let the tank fill, blow air, and let the engine keep the tank semi-full.

Even though I’ve moved and I can change my handle to “slightly-more-space” I calculate every inch of space use. I don’t foresee any woodworking applications that I need it for and so while it would be cool to do other things too, I’d rather have the space for another woodworking tool.

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bigblockyeti

4697 posts in 1555 days


#7 posted 11-01-2017 03:56 AM

I’ve got four, a 2 gallon direct drive Senco for portability, a 26 gallon belt drive Porter Cable for the garage (mostly mechanic work), a 30 gallon gas powered Emglo for remote work & an 80 gallon Quincy in the shop for anything than needs massive air volume. There’s certainly overlap in capability and usage between them but they each serve a purpose that would be inconvenient to do without.

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Andybb

547 posts in 438 days


#8 posted 11-01-2017 04:15 AM

Got rid of a 30gal about 5 years ago to save space before I really got back into woodworking. Then I kicked myself when I started woodworking again thinking I would miss it but I don’t. I have the Harbor Freight (same as Rockler) HVLP that gets the job done when I need to spray. But I do have a little contractors compressor that I use constantly for blowing, nails guns etc. that I couldn’t do without and would replace instantly if it died. Don’t know where I’d put the 30gal if I had it so it’s just as well.

-- Andybb - GO HAWKS!

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MT_Stringer

3115 posts in 3066 days


#9 posted 11-01-2017 04:15 AM

HVLP sprayer=mucho air consumption. YMMV! :-)

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

380 posts in 777 days


#10 posted 11-01-2017 04:26 AM

I have 2 compressors. One is a small portable Husky that is 5 gallons and the other is a Dewalt 80 gallon twin stage 5hp. A compressor is like clamps ... you can’t have too much capacity.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself"

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Rich

1976 posts in 424 days


#11 posted 11-01-2017 04:34 AM


HVLP sprayer=mucho air consumption. YMMV! :-)

- MT_Stringer

That’s not universally true. You need to check the specs, like I mentioned in my earlier post. For instance, my 20 gal is rated at 8.6 CFM at 40 PSI (which is the pressure most HVLP conversion guns like to run). There are many HVLP conversion guns out these days that are rated at less than that. Much less, in fact, so that even if the rating on the compressor is inflated (pun intended), you’re still good.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Manitario

2553 posts in 2717 days


#12 posted 11-01-2017 12:14 PM

I do some blacksmithing and work on old cars on the side, besides woodworking but only have a small 6 gallon compressor. Never really got into using pneumatic tools, and the larger the compressor, the less portable it is for me (hard to move from my woodworking shop to the garage etc.) So really only use it for filling up tires, blowing off the DC filters and the occais. project where I use a pneumatic nailer.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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MrRon

4492 posts in 3078 days


#13 posted 11-01-2017 06:10 PM

I feel you should have at least 2 compressors; one to handle jobs that require lots of air, (painting, framing, sanding) and a small compressor, like the California Air Tools compressor that is super quiet and used for small brad and pin nailers. It is also very light and can be carried around easily.

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MT_Stringer

3115 posts in 3066 days


#14 posted 11-01-2017 07:46 PM


HVLP sprayer=mucho air consumption. YMMV! :-)

- MT_Stringer

That s not universally true. You need to check the specs, like I mentioned in my earlier post. For instance, my 20 gal is rated at 8.6 CFM at 40 PSI (which is the pressure most HVLP conversion guns like to run). There are many HVLP conversion guns out these days that are rated at less than that. Much less, in fact, so that even if the rating on the compressor is inflated (pun intended), you re still good.

- Rich

It is in my case. 30 gallon compressor…and I run out of air when spraying a lot like cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

I also have a 6 gallon pancake that is portable for work off site.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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Fred Hargis

4756 posts in 2328 days


#15 posted 11-01-2017 07:49 PM

Very little, at least for woodworking. About as close as it comes may be on that very rare occasion I use a pin nail (or maybe a brad). Otherwise the only wood working it sees is blowing dist off something. I did use it to spray finishes for a short while, but went to an HVLP turbine for that. That’s not to say I’m not glad I have them…they see plenty of use for other things.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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