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Forum topic by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 214 days ago 924 views 4 times favorited 37 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9561 posts in 1214 days


214 days ago

I’ve used this to apply paint:

When the job is done (total project OR for the day), it takes forever and many gallons of water running through the hose and sprayer to get the thing marginally clean. To finish the job means taking it apart and soaking / scrubbing before applying a bit of oil and putting the tool away.

For those that apply finish to woodworking projects (lacquer? poly? doesn’t matter for purposes of this question), how do you effectively clean the sprayer used? Isn’t there a messy cleanup that takes all kinds of time and lots of liquid (alcohol, mineral spirits, etc) that is also expensive?

I feel I’ve missed something in that many seem to discuss and use HPLV (is that the right acronym?) sprayers to great effect. I’ve been hesitant because of the work experience cleaning up after ole’ Wagner.

Thanks in advance for any enlightenment you choose to provide.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive


37 replies so far

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pintodeluxe

3256 posts in 1408 days


#1 posted 214 days ago

I use an airless sprayer for paint, and yes they take forever to clean.

For furniture projects, I use a gravity feed HVLP gun run off my compresser. It only takes 2-3 oz. of thinner and 10 minutes to clean up. I use it for lacquer, poly, shellac, and even spraying stain.

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

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9561 posts in 1214 days


#2 posted 214 days ago

So there’s a distinction to be made between airless sprayers and HVLP guns?

EDIT: I guess that’s a real dumb question, but is it simply the former uses electricity directly, the latter compressed air?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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TerryDowning

993 posts in 713 days


#3 posted 214 days ago

I have an older wagner and I hate it.

as you stated it’s a real pain to clean the pain point is high enough that I never use it anymore.

I haven’t tried the HVLP stuff for 3 reasons.

1. The cost of a dedicated sprayer is currently out of my reach.
2. While I could get a compressor driven model, my current compressor does not have the CFM volume to run one. Again cost becomes the issue for upgrading the compressor.
3. I don’t do enough finishing to warrant a sprayer of this magnitude. I just use rattle can products when spraying is preferred.

I may try the HF Touch up HVLP as my small compressor has just enough juice to run this.

-- - Terry

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9561 posts in 1214 days


#4 posted 214 days ago

2 -3 oz of thinner would be an incredible feat for me, Pinto. What’s your technique? Is that material run through the tool and collected so parts that are dis-assembled can be cleaned or?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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shampeon

1258 posts in 779 days


#5 posted 214 days ago

A cheapie gravity HVLP gun and waterborne finishes are extremely easy to clean. I spray one reservoir of water, then some soapy water, then clear water again. One more reason why Target Coatings EM-6000 is the best.

I have a small gravity HVLP sprayer I use for shellac, and that’s harder to clean, but not that bad either. I spray a reservoir of DNA, then take it to the sink, take off the tip, and let the tip and container soak in DNA for a bit before opening the trigger to flush it out.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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Fred Hargis

1638 posts in 1088 days


#6 posted 214 days ago

I have a conversion HVLP (runs off the compressor) and a turbine system. Cleaning either one is pretty much the same, and not that bad a job (IMHO). There area cleaning kits with a series of brushes to use to clean out the orifices with the appropriate solvent and if I had to guess I;d say I spend somewhere in the range of 30 minutes or so cleaning the guns after each use. When spraying multiple coats, I leave the finish in the gun then resume spraying, but never overnight. I did see an Apollo turbine set demonstrated at a woodworking show a few years ago. He claimed he left the varnish in the gun all weekend of the show and cleaned it before packing up. I don’t spray varnish, but even if I did I don’t think I’d go all weekend without cleaning. I haven’t used an airless system in many, many years so can’t compare the 2.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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Earlextech

898 posts in 1286 days


#7 posted 214 days ago

Smitty – Airless sprayers don’t use air. HVLP – High Volume Low Pressure – do use air.
HVLP units strength are based on output which relates to stages. A typical HVLP would be refered to as a three stage. That just means there are three fans on the motor moving air. A two stage would have two fans. the stronger the output, the thicker the material that can be sprayed.
Anairless system has about 60% overspray, that means that $60 out of every $100 worth of finish never lands on the project. With true HVLP systems that number is about 10%.
True HVLP means a turbine makes the air, a conversion HVLP runs off a regular compressor.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "finished"!

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

3256 posts in 1408 days


#8 posted 214 days ago

Airless means it doesn’t require a compressor. It has its own internal pump, and many contractors use them to paint houses and fences. They can either have a paint hopper on board, or have a hose that inserts into a 5 gallon bucket.

HVLP is high volume, low pressure which is aimed at improving transfer efficiency and reducing overspray. Conversion HVLP guns can be run on your compresser (both gravity feed and siphon type guns are available). Or you can buy a turbine system HVLP sprayer that has its own pump.

As far as the 2-3 oz of thinner… I empty the cup when I’m done spraying, and spray a couple oz. of thinner through the gun. Maybe one oz. goes in the lid to keep the threads and vent hole clean. Then I disassemble the gun and soak the parts in a tupperwear container of thinner. I re-use the thinner for soaking. It lasts many months and through several sprayed projects.

Good luck!

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

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9561 posts in 1214 days


#9 posted 214 days ago

Wow, guys, this is good stuff. Glad I asked the question, thank you for the quality responses. Keeping this on ‘on file’ for future reference when I’m ready to take the next step in finishing.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

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chrisstef

10364 posts in 1602 days


#10 posted 214 days ago

Im with you Smitty. I bought the HF HVLP to do the cabinet doors at the house and I think that its a pain in the chops to clean. Considering I had 27 doors and drawer fronts to paint it worked out well because of the quantity but when it came down to painting one 3’0 door, I went straight to the brush. I think I might be inclined to only spray water based through it from here on out. I sprayed oil based primer out of it and it took half a jug of MS to clean it out.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

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Don W

14584 posts in 1163 days


#11 posted 213 days ago

I haven’t bought any kind of spray apparatus because I’ve had most in the past, and agree with the cleaning crap. For what I do now, if I need to spray it, I buy rattle cans.

So I read everything, and still didn’t get the answer to “Is there an easy clean system” except for Ian. I hear soak and disassembly over and over.

This is why I like oil!

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

9561 posts in 1214 days


#12 posted 213 days ago

A good informational thread here I found Googling Ian’s comment on Target finishes.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

1638 posts in 1088 days


#13 posted 213 days ago

Actually, if you spray shellac, clean up for it isn’t much more costly than it is for waterborne finishes. Use household ammonia instead of DNA. The ammonia will just destroy shellac, in fact I store my mixed shellac in canning jars. To clean them out I’ll soak them in a bucket of ammonia and they look like the were new. One word of caution: ammonia can discolor aluminum, but it doesn’t seem to be destructive. As for the high cost of solvents to clean oil based finishes, it’s true you loose some, and I usually use a quart or so of paint thinner to clean a gun used with oil finishes. Some of it lost when you spray it through the gun, but what’s used for the soaking and other cleaning can be reused later, much as you do with your brushes (you do re-use that as well, right?) Eventually, you have to decant the thinner from the resins….but it’s cleaning abilities are not impaired in any way.

-- I long for the days when Coke was a cola, and a joint was a bad place to be (Merle Haggard)

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Bill1974

42 posts in 1580 days


#14 posted 213 days ago

Cleaning an airless with a hose and the pump that goes over the paint bucket does take a while and I know the time it takes to cleanup. if the airless is an all in one hand held unit its quicker, almost as quick as an HVLP, 20 minutes or so. usually I think its because airless are generally used to spray thicker materials that are more difficult to wash off.

I try to only spray water based finishes through stuff i have to clean. if i need some solvent based stuff i go for the rattle can.

For cleaning an HVLP, it takes 15 minutes and that includes running up to the kitchen sink and back to the garage. Dump the remaining product back into a container. Rinse everything off in the sink. A little disassemble, and more rinsing. Then it run some water through it till its clear. And maybe one last wash off and dry.

I used an airless to spray 30+ interior doors and 1600 ft of trim with latex. Did all the doors in one day (taking down, hang in gagage to paint, move to a drying rack and repeat for the next 30 doors). The trim was primed and painted prior to installing and that took a few days since it was all 16” pieces and I had not room to paint and store that much trim, in a 20” garage.

what you are spraying it what really determines how long it take to clean. Solvent just seem to be more of hassle for me so i don’t use them unless i can do it outside and there isn’t a water based product that is appropriate.

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rg33

51 posts in 597 days


#15 posted 213 days ago

I tried this HVLP about a year ago:

http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-518080-Control-Spray-Sprayer/dp/B003PGQI48/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387582071&sr=8-1&keywords=hvlp

I tried spraying water based poly and just got frustrated with the results and ended returning the unit. The finish was just crappy and not smooth and wasted a terrible amount of poly due to the overspray. Maybe I didnt know how to get the settings right for the viscocity of the finish or the fact that its a “breather” type meaning that regardless of whether the trigger is pressed air is always coming out of the nozzle. Needless to say I was not sold on “HVLP”s because of this one bad experience.
To the OP’s original question, clean up did not seem too bad however; just had to remove the container with poly and then run some water through it for several minutes.

Curious to hear from others who’ve had better experiences with reasonably priced HVLP’s ($100-$250) range.

Shampeon, what gravity HVLP do you use? the harbor “fright” one? I may just try it, though my compressor will barely keep up

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