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Forum topic by TomFran posted 2568 days ago 3142 views 1 time favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


2568 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: hvlp finishing spray equipment

Hello Friends,

Does anybody know how much “better” an HVLP spray gun is than a regular one?

  • Is the quality of the paint job any better?
  • Is a “conversion gun” as good as a HVLP turbine system?
  • Could you get by spraying kitchen cabinets in place, if you were changing colors?
  • If you already had regular spray guns, would it be worth it to purchase HVLP guns to take their place?

Any helpful input in regard to these questions would be appreciated.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28


25 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2917 days


#1 posted 2568 days ago

My HVLP is just a cup gun that runs at about 40lbs compressed air. I’ll spray whole kitchens with it. It uses less product and gives a smoother finish than my regular spray guns. If you spray very often get one at around $150.00 to $250.00. I think the turbine systems run a lot higher. Many kitchens have been sprayed in place. I would plan on taking the doors off.

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#2 posted 2568 days ago

Dennis, You are just the man I need to talk to!
  • Can you spray water based paint with them? I was told by a paint “expert” tonight at Lowes that you can’t spray paint with them, just stain and light finishes.

The reason I’m asking is that I’m thinking of painting our kitchen cabinets white, and I would assume that you would use a latex paint of some sort. Do you have any recommendations for what type of paint I should use?

Right now they have a clear lacquer over stain on them, which I guess would have to be scuffed up before putting a primer on it.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3961 posts in 2667 days


#3 posted 2568 days ago

Tom
Crystalac make a white waterbased lacquer. They have it at MCFeely’s (their server was busy when I tried to connect or I would have provided a link. Manufacturer’s website has limited info and web bells or whistles. There is a toll free number there.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1973 posts in 3009 days


#4 posted 2568 days ago

Tom: I also have an HVLP Cup gun. I suppose it is probably the same as Dennis’. Mine is a Porter-Cable brand that I have used for about 5 years, paid something like $80 for it. I use 40-50 lbs of air, and enjoy the gun, although it does require that I thin my finish before I spray, typically 40-50% thinner. I recently added a Puma inline air/water filter, and a regulator to the gun, and it is has greatly improved my finish quality. Clean-up of a cup gun is a breeze, even when I have accidently left lacquer in it for a few days. I like it much better than the three siphon spray guns I have, and so none of them ever get used anymore.

This past April I had a bad chemical exposure allergic reaction with either Deft Lacquer of Zinsser Shellac, and so I have become very careful when using any chemical. Due to my health problem, I have looked around for alternatives to what I am doing. I have a friend who lives close that builds kitchen cabinets, and has a 2-stage turbine Apollo HVLP sprayer, so I went to his place after my incident to see if using one of the Apollo’s would reduce the amount of airborn exposure.

Since then, I have been helping him catch up on his kitchen cabinet backlog which was stressing him out. His wife asked me to help him, as he was afraid to ask. So, I have been helping him out on Saturdays and a few evenings over at his shop this summer. I think we about have him caught up now.

During my time at his shop, I have been using, and watching him use, the Apollo gun to spray Lacquer. I have been impressed with the Apollo. The facts from him is that he uses 50-60% less lacquer, and has used the Apollo for about 10 years now with no problems. He is very happy with the results. In about 4 coats of spraying, he has a nice looking finish. I think my lacquer finish is just as smooth, just as beautiful, and gives a comparable finish, but it takes me more coats to get the same result. The Apollo uses less lacquer during the process of spraying a project.

Also, as the turbine runs it heats the air running through the spray gun. This has the effect of producing something on the range of 110 degree air that sprays the finish. My friend says that this is helpful when the temperature of the room is not ideal to spray. He also says that he tucks the extra hose in the front of his jacket during the winter which keeps him warmer. We all have our tricks, huh?

Ok, now here goes my lose-the-Apollo-sponsorship opinion:
The Apollo is a great tool, although noisy to use. It is also very expensive, something in the $500-$900 range depending on what you get. From what I have seen first hand, is that it is a good tool for a person that sprays a lot of finish. My friend uses about 3 gallons of Sherwin Williams’ Lacquer on each cabinet project, and so the reduced volume of finish cuts his cost pretty good on each project. However, there is still enough overspray to require the use of a canister mask, and a spray room would be recommended. I had hoped it would reduce the overspray enough as to not need either, but it didn’t. I think for someone that sprays a lot of finish, where the reduced cost of finish will be captured over the years to justify the Apollo machine, then it would be a good investment. For folks like myself that don’t use that much finish on smaller projects, I think it is too expensive of a tool. I will continue to use use my Porter-Cable HVLP cup gun, and just buy a little more lacquer over the years. If money were no object, then I would also own an Apollo. Or, if Apollo gave me one, I would definitely use it, and blog about it!

I have no experience with any water-based finishes. It is something I will try to use some time. It is hard for me to switch when I have become so efficient and experienced with lacquer. I can tell exactly what it will do in any situation of wood type, humidity, temperature, etc., and I would have to start my learning-curve over with another style of finish. With that said, after working with my friend, I am about to leave the Deft brand, and switch over to Sherwin Williams stain and lacquer. I really like their stain much better than the Minwax stuff I have used for several years, and their lacquer is just as good as the Deft. Their stain can be added to their lacquer to use as a tinted clear finish, which is helpful when trying to blend a few boards that have odd coloring after the staining process. So, if I have to stop at their store to get stain, why not also get their lacquer? For a harder finish, their catalyzed lacquer works well also. The switch is something I will be doing in the future. I have also had a hard time finding a retail store that carries more than a gallon of semi-gloss Deft at any one time, so switching to Sherwin Williams will also help with finding something to buy when I make the trip to town (35 miles).

glad you asked, I have been wanting to blog my experiences with the Apollo, and this will suffice, so I can move on now to something else.
Mark DeCou

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#5 posted 2568 days ago

Dennis, Doug, and Mark,
You guys are great! That is what I love so much about this Lumberjocks forum. I come here with my ignorance, and there are people who can “educate” me. And, they even do it in a gracious manner.

Thank you fellows, so much for this tutorial on HVLP guns. I know I could just run out to Lowes or go online and order a gun, but I try to make my purchases intelligently, and you guys have helped me a lot.

Mark,
Thanks for the detailed analysis of the Apollo and your logic of why you will not buy one at this time.

I also found what you said about tinting with the Sherwin Williams stain to be helpful as well.

You have provided us with wealth of wisdom here on this subject, and I greatly appreciate your taking the time to articulate such a comprehensive assessment.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#6 posted 2568 days ago

Doug,
Do you think that it would be alright to spray a water based paint with the HVLP gun? As I stated in a previous post, the “expert” at Lowes said I couldn’t.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#7 posted 2568 days ago

Dennis or Mark,
When you say you have an HVLP “cup” gun, does that mean that the cup is on the bottom and not mounted on the top? Would a “cup” gun be a suction feed as opposed to a gravity (top-mounte) fed gun?

Is there any reason to choose a cup mounted on the bottom over one mounted on the top?

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2917 days


#8 posted 2568 days ago

Tom the cup is mounted on the top. In my mind the clean up is a lot easier. I have my doubts, but I’ve never tried water based paints. I’d be concerned with a paint finish on cabinets. You might look into a harder finish.

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#9 posted 2568 days ago

Dennis,
What type of finish would you recommend spraying then – a lacquer? And if so, do you have a brand preference?

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3961 posts in 2667 days


#10 posted 2567 days ago

Tom,

Now Mcfeelys’ server is up and I can point you to the link I had in mind.
http://www.mcfeelys.com/product/CLU-5390/Gallon-Gloss-White-Topcoat-CrystaLac
I assisted a buddy (Jeffery a fellow LJ) in his first efforts at using the PC gravity-fed cup conversion gun using this finish, and was suitably impressed. It is again water-borne.

As for the paint expert at Lowe’s, I believe labeling concerns and Federal Law make it hard for them to advise cutting finishes with the suitable solvent to make the recommendation you sought. I have used the PC gun to shoot outdoor black enamel, thinned about 50% with mineral spirits. Worked like a champ. The gun is actually manufactured by DeVilbis. It comes supplied with (I believe- without looking it up) #2 needle and airhorn, but different sizes are available should you require shooting thicker finishes, epoxies etc.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#11 posted 2567 days ago

Doug,

Thanks for the link for the paint. I really, really would like to use a water-based paint on this project, so I hope this will work. Do you think I’d have to thin this paint in order to spray it?

I thought you bought a Shop Fox HVLP gun at Highland Hardware, which opens up another question.

  • Which gun would be suitable for a non-pro like me? Dennis recommended a gun between $150 – $250.
  • I found one at Lowes for $100.
  • There are a bunch of them at Grizzly.
  • There is also this Wagner.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2917 days


#12 posted 2567 days ago

Doug..I’d forget Lowes and talk to a paint professional. You will have a local store, mine are Columbia or Sherman Williams. These are the guys the local pros deal with they are usually very knowledgeable. They really know the products.

View TomFran's profile

TomFran

2940 posts in 2597 days


#13 posted 2567 days ago

Guys,
Would you recommend buying this Porter Cable gun?

I can order one online and have it shipped to my house for $83.

Mark, This sounds like the one you have.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2691 days


#14 posted 2567 days ago

I have an Apollo that I got a few years ago at IWF. It was the show display so I got a really good deal on it. Without the deal it would have cost about $1300.00. Never mind what I stole it for.

I have sprayed shellac, lacquer, Deft (lacquer), oil based, acrylic and waterbased paints.

The only problem I had, and it was a novice problem, with the shellac and waterbased is that they are so thin you really have to power down the amount of air otherwise the stuff goes on fast and you (I) use to much.

I had the Wagner and, to me, it was less than useful.

IMHO, the waterbased is just as effective as solvent based. Especially on items that are not handled a lot. Cabinets are not used a lot but do get kitchen grease etc. which will wipe off. If you have pulls on the doors the doors are not handled a lot (unless you have kids or just ignore the pulls). Waterbased is a lot easier to clean up but, if you think about it, all those “thick” acrylic paints are water clean up. Once either are dry you are only dealing with the solids, not the carrier of the solids.

My $.03.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1467 posts in 2691 days


#15 posted 2567 days ago

Oh, yes. Bottom cup.
Some sprayers are suction. The gun I had with my comnpressor was suction.
Some are pressure. The Apollo is a bottom cup but use air pressure to force the paint up to the nozzle.
The easy way to tell is look to see if there is a hose from the gun to the cup. If yes it is pressure. I no it is suction.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

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