leaving finish in an Earlex 5500?

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Forum topic by WoodNSawdust posted 03-12-2015 04:59 PM 1528 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1417 posts in 1199 days

03-12-2015 04:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: spray finishing hvlp gun maintenance

I was told at the recent Woodworking Show that you only needed to clean the gun at the end of the day.

I forgot to ask if there was any steps to be done between coats?

I spray NC Lacquer and water based Poly (minwax polycrylic)

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

7 replies so far

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1618 days

#1 posted 03-12-2015 05:30 PM

I don’t know about lacquer but with polycrylic you can clean it at the end of the day. I’ve left it overnight sometimes without ill effect(not recommending just an observation).

I do wipe the tip clean in between coats. If you leave the tip wet it’ll harden and mess with the spray pattern.

View Drew's profile


350 posts in 3123 days

#2 posted 03-12-2015 07:19 PM

I always run some warm water through mine every couple hours.
I also run warm water through it before a final coat.


View pintodeluxe's profile


5702 posts in 2836 days

#3 posted 03-12-2015 07:19 PM

I don’t know about the Earlex brand specifically, but I got in the habit of cleaning the entire gun between coats. I disassemble the gun (conversion HVLP) and soak the nozzle, fluid cap, needle and filter in thinner. The times I have skipped this step, I had less than optimal performance with my gun. It takes about 2 minutes to take apart my gun, and the thinner can be re-used many times. Lacquer from the cup is placed in a sealed Tupperware container, and used for the next coat.
This simple step has been key for me with spray finishing.

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

View Bulkhead's profile


23 posts in 1556 days

#4 posted 03-14-2015 04:03 AM

I flush mine out between each coat. Honestly, the Earlex is just too easy to wash out and set aside, (especially if you are spraying water based products) to not wash it out between each coat.

I bought one of those .99 aluminum turkey trays that I use to set the sprayer in after I rinse it off. I usually blow the compressor on it to get rid of most of the water. Takes me ~5 minutes.

I put plastic wrap over the can while the gun dries off. Then I’m ready for the next coat when it comes time.

Just what I do..

View Finisherman's profile


227 posts in 1872 days

#5 posted 03-14-2015 04:04 AM

Unless it’s a relatively cheap gun, which I doubt in this case, I’d make a point of cleaning the gun as soon as you’re finished using it, especially if you are waiting several hours between coats. A clean spray gun is a “happy spray gun.” Having said that, you might well be able to use this approach with NC lacquer, but I’m not sure that I[d want to try it with a waterborne finish. The reason being that nitrocellulose lacquer will re-dissolve in its own thinner, making it somewhat self-cleaning, whereas waterborne finishes won’t, at least, not to any great degree. From what I’ve been told, cleaning partially cured waterborne finish out of a spray gun is like trying to remove partially cured white or yellow glue, in other words, a gummy mess. Having said all that, you could probably leave the gun charged with finish between coats and be ok. Still, just to be safe, I’d store the nozzle, air cap and fluid needle in a container of lacquer thinner or warm water, as appropriate. The bottom line is this, “when in doubt, clean it out.” After all, the thinner for waterborne finishes is free and comes from the faucet.

View TheFridge's profile


9606 posts in 1509 days

#6 posted 03-14-2015 06:08 AM

Lacquer no, poly yes. I saw charlesneil mention this on a similar topic. Or you could send him a pm. He would probably help.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


4204 posts in 2332 days

#7 posted 03-14-2015 08:31 AM

I don’t spray NC lacquer so no experience with that. I do spray clear waterborne finishes. Once I get started (usually 3 coats) I leave the finish is the gun until I’m done. Even leave it in the gun over night. Never a problem.

This is with HVLP conversion guns.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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