Spraying in a garage

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Forum topic by grelcar posted 12-14-2013 02:53 PM 3021 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View grelcar's profile


6 posts in 2885 days

12-14-2013 02:53 PM

I am seriously thinking about picking up an Earlex Spray Station. It seems to me that I am spending more time finishing a project than it take to build it. I also find finishing to be the least enjoyable.

My shop is in an attached 1-1/2 car garage. All the big tools are mobile and are stores around the perimeter of the shop. Believe it or not I can still pull a car in when everything is in the stored position but rarely do. I have a located in the garage which keeps it at a reasonable temperature throughout the winter.

I’m sure that most of the hobbyist woodworkers don’t have a dedicated finishing room of spray booth. Does anyone spray in a garage with just drop cloths on the floor? I will be spraying furniture items like living room tables, bookcases, cabinets and doors as well as smaller craft projects. What sort of problems will I have with overspray with 8-10’ of open space all around the piece if I am spraying without some sort of spray booth? Keep in mind this is not a production shop.

Also what is the lowest temperature you would consider spraying in? I do more large woodworking projects during the colder months as the weather keeps me off thee motorcycle and out of the boat.

I currently use Transtint dye in alcohol or water, Sealcoat shellac, and a water based poly topcoat. Will these products work well with a spray unit?

I work primarily with Oak and Maple. I am currently working on four living room tables and two bookcases in oak and want the finish to match as much as possible. I plan to build all of the pieces and finish them at the same time.

11 replies so far

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3142 days

#1 posted 12-14-2013 03:11 PM

Though it’s not a garage, I have a similar situation. I would highly recommend Zipwall spring loaded poles. With these, you can set up a spray tent in 5 minutes. It definitely beats getting little droplets of finish off your tablesaw top.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3436 days

#2 posted 12-14-2013 03:14 PM

I can offer limited help. I have a HVLP spray unit using a huge compressor not an dedicated one like you do. The results are similar though. I put a plastic on the bench and spray stuff right in the shop. These units have very controlled spray areas. Yes it mists in the room but I’ve yet to see anything ‘varnished’ beyond the drop cloth. The spray is fine and without tons of force. it stays pretty much confined. Good idea to wear a mask though, and I put on an old pair of glasses as I figure I’m spraying a little on the lens. I mostly do poly but I’ve always been of the contention after reading it a lot on the sides of paint cans that a 50 degree minimum should be observed. Even if you have non freezing medium I’d think the drying might be affected if the temperature were colder.

After I’m done I clean my gun good with solvent (or water for water based) by spraying 1/4 cup of it through the gun and then I take the container off and spray a couple of squirts of wd 40 through the nozzle. Before I use it again I spray about 10 seconds of the finish into a trash can to remove the wd 40. Third year with the same gun and still going strong after maybe 3 gallons of finish.

Others might offer better or even corrected info. These are just the practices I observe that work for me.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View SuperCubber's profile


1026 posts in 2283 days

#3 posted 12-14-2013 09:39 PM

I spray with an HVLP in my garage. I have about the same size area as you. The zip wall seems like a phenomenal idea, but currently, I just throw a 3 mil plastic sheet over the important things in the garage. I’ve noticed some very tiny specs on my bench, so I’ll probably cover that from now on too.

I spray almost exclusively water-based stuff. Oil-based is too hard for me to vent out.

Hope this helps.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View NateLFO's profile


10 posts in 1622 days

#4 posted 12-15-2013 05:03 PM

Hello. I just joined, so this is my first post.

I have a similar situation and have an idea, but have not actually designed it yet. This is what I’m thinking about for spraying in my garage…
Hanging from the ceiling would be a simple rectangular frame (2 dimensional) made from metal pipe the dimensions of the spray booth. This frame would have maybe a MDF board that fills in the rectangle and would have a few LED flood lights and some sort of either an intake or exhaust vent cutout with a holder for an HVAC type HEPA filter. The actual pipe would have an inlet QD (facing outward) and maybe a 3 way QD (facing inward) so that an air hose would plug into the frame to supply air to the 3 way, which could feed a blower, spray gun, and forced air respirator, or what ever you need. This part would be suspended/bolted to the ceiling.
From the frame would hang a plastic sheeting wall with a similar rectangular frame which would form the base and provide weight to keep the plastic sheeting from moving. Add some sort of sealable entry flap and a intake or exhaust for air circulation/ventilation, you have a fully functional spray booth that can either be pulled down (by releasing how it is being held up by the upper frame), or maybe using straps and pullies, it could be raised and folded like window blinds.
I am pretty new to woodworking and know very little about spraying, but I do come up with a lot of ideas for solving various problems. Maybe some of you can provide some input an how this may or may not work. I would really love some input on this and maybe we can get a design going…

-- Nate

View TaybulSawz's profile


156 posts in 1681 days

#5 posted 12-16-2013 05:36 PM

For most small projects, a PreVal Sprayer will do the job Very Nicely…
Cost $10 will shoot any liquid. Replacement CO2 cartridges are $4.00. 6 oz jar is like a LARGE Spray Can of Clear coat. This thing is a Must for any woodworkers shop. IMHO!!

10 bucks worth of PVC and fittings. some Painter Plastic and a Box fan with a furnace filter taped to the back of it and you’ve got a small paint booth set up in 30 mins.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5659 posts in 2812 days

#6 posted 12-16-2013 05:49 PM

^ good looking spray booth. I already have the PVC from my knock-down kiln.
I usually spray large projects like beds, dining tables etc. so a booth isn’t always practical for me. I use two box fans to exhaust the fumes. I have sprayed shellac, poly, and lacquer. I have been most impressed with the lacquer by far. Shellac dries so quickly, it can dry before it reaches the workpiece, resulting in a rough surface. Standard oil based poly takes forever to dry, so I reserve that for outdoor applications like front doors etc.
Lacquer melts into the previous coat, and results in a velvety smooth finish in just two coats. Your project will be finished in one day with lacquer.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Bill1974's profile


124 posts in 2984 days

#7 posted 12-16-2013 07:29 PM

My experience is that if you do enough spraying, whatever you are spraying will get on everything, HVLP to airless. Basically I start with trying to get as much dust out of my garage by vacuuming/leaf blower/compressed air. Then I try to cover everything that I don’t want to paint. Rosin paper the floor, (latex on plastic is a slip and slide, enough on anything is also a slip and slide) Put on a tyvex bunny suit (unless you don’t care about paint on your clothes). and paint away. Also I always use a respirator (HEPA) and sometime the one’s with the organic filters when spraying inside or outside. Also I never spray anything other than waterbased stuff inside, vapors and the smell are not healthy and the they can be a fire issue too. If you are using an air compressor driven paint gun, check the filters on if after spraying, you will be surprised how much they pick up.

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2071 days

#8 posted 12-16-2013 11:12 PM

Lots of good advice… A word of advice in garages be aware of fire danger. Especially with water heaters and such. Venting to out of the garage is important when spraying certain finishes.

-- Who is John Galt?

View NateLFO's profile


10 posts in 1622 days

#9 posted 12-17-2013 02:14 AM

What Joey said is true, even if a filter eliminates the airborne particulates, the gasses may still be combustible. Venting outside would be ideal

-- Nate

View grelcar's profile


6 posts in 2885 days

#10 posted 12-17-2013 03:55 AM

Thanks for all the replies. Sounds like either some type of temporary spray booth or covering everything with plastic and drop clothes is the way to go. One concern would be getting overspray on the lumber and plywood I have stored in the shop. I keep the cast iron tops on my tools covered with old towels when not in use. I would be turning off the boiler and wearing a proper respirator when spraying. I would be wearing an old pair of glasses when spraying, learned that lesson the expensive way.

My wife had the idea of making some rollup blinds and installing them on the garage ceiling to close off an area for spraying. Quick to deploy and stores out of the way when not in use.

Thanks again,


View TaybulSawz's profile


156 posts in 1681 days

#11 posted 12-17-2013 02:36 PM

If you’ve never tried Varathane, I’d highly recommend you try it. Thinned 15% with Acetone it Dries quickly but not too quickly and yields a very durable finish. I think you’ll like it.

-- Still got all my Fingers!!!

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