type of air compressor and paint gun needed?

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Forum topic by thatlabguy posted 330 days ago 817 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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84 posts in 1296 days

330 days ago

I am getting ready to purchase what I will need to be able to use pre-cat finish on my dining tables, etc. My question is what specs should the air compressor have and recommendations of paint guns for the best finish results.


6 replies so far

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

472 posts in 1134 days

#1 posted 330 days ago

I’ll ask the obvious question first – what is your budget? You can spend a little money or a lot of money…

If you don’t already have a compressor, and don’t have a need for a compressor outside of spraying finishes, your best bet is a self-contained HVLP unit, which is a gun and air supply unit designed to work together. HVLP units are quite portable so you can set up and spray pretty much anywhere.

To spray larger pieces with a compressor and gun combo, you are usually looking at a mid-size stationary compressor. Even the largest portable compressor (around 30 gallon tank) is barely adequate for anything but small pieces. And don’t even think about using your typical construction site hotdogs or pancakes. The advantage to going the compressor route is that you can switch guns easily and have different guns for different tasks. The disadvantage is that you are tied to your compressor.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View cutworm's profile


1063 posts in 1397 days

#2 posted 330 days ago

Good question. I’m not an authority but pre-cat is a good choice. I have sprayed it with my Harbor Freight HVLP turbine and with my compressed air sprayer. It does require a bit of practice so be patient. It helps to keep a log of finish/thinner ratios, pressure settings, nozzle sizes, etc. Hope it turns out well.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1396 posts in 965 days

#3 posted 330 days ago

SATA or Devilbiss gravity feed gun and the biggest compressor you can afford.

-- Clint Searl.............We deserve what we tolerate

View huff's profile


2788 posts in 1889 days

#4 posted 330 days ago

I think Mark pretty well covered it for you; if you’re in the market to buy a compressor and gun strictly for finishing, then I would also suggest you try an HVLP unit.

In my business I sprayed pre-catalyzed lacquers and used a large commercial compressor and a Devilibess spray gun, but at my home shop I use the Earlex 5500 HVLP, spraying the same finishes and get great results.

I like the protability of the HVLP plus not having to worry with regulators, seperators and making sure no water is in the lines.

-- John @

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1243 posts in 552 days

#5 posted 329 days ago

While I agree somewhat with mark, but I feel that is a lot of cash for a machine that does 1 thing. For the non commercial app I would go for a 60 gallon compressor and a HF gun. the reason is when you are done then you can still use the compressor for whatever you need. also if the gun gets messed up(dropped or not cleaned properly) then you pitch it and get another one, they are only 10-20 bucks. Thats how I roll

View NiteWalker's profile


2709 posts in 1180 days

#6 posted 329 days ago

I faced this dilemma a while back and decided on a turbine unit.
For what I would have spent on a new, bigger compressor and a full size gun, I would have spent the same as I did on my turbine (fuji minimite 4). I’m much happier with the turbine system.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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