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Thread: Spray finishing advice

  1. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Washington State rainforest
    Cheers Mike. I'm in the same boat as you. Just one small step ahead.

    In the past when I occasionally needed the service, I sent things out to be done by a professional. I'm just not willing or interested in spraying toxic, explosive finishes. That's just me. But my go-to guy has stopped accepting orders because he has an 18-month backlog and there just aren't any other good options within a reasonable distance. And my business has picked up substantially so I've decided to start working in-house.

    A personal choice I made was to only spray water borne finishes, and as I've found out, there are actually some really good choices with full burn in. For a good basic overview and discussion of spraying and spray finishes, the blog at is a great starting resource (for many things, actually).

    Also, Jim Becker mentioned Homestead Finishing Products, another great resource. I actually ended up ordering my equipment through them since they pre-test everything that goes out the door (can I say that here?) and Jeff Jewitt is the man when it comes to finishing. He was very helpful.

    I ended up biting the bullet and ordering a 5-stage HVLP set up. Not cheap. But I figure I'm either doing this right or not at all, and I want the greatest flexibility over time with the least hassle. I also got two guns since one of the coatings I'll be spraying has silicon in it - a potential nightmare for contamination for any other finish, or so I'm told - but I'll be spraying that stuff in a tent outside my shop. The equipment came last week. That was the easy part.
    Don't ask me how I know that!

  2. #17
    I'm sure you'll get better advice than I can give, but one thing I learned quickly using an HVLP gun it is all about the thinning. An orifice size that produces fine atomization and I've found getting water based paint thinned enough to spray through a tip this size is a huge challenge and affects the performance and coating of the paint. I've heard windshield wiper fluid can be used for thinning but I've never tried it. Some wb paints I've had to thin 50% to spray and that much thinning causes real challenges with application.

    Oil based paints and top coats products are much easier for me to spray with HVLP, but then you have air quality and clean up to consider.

    I think it is Jim Becker I should thank, but I tried the Target Coatings pigmented lacquer. I like the way it sprays and the recoat time. The other product I use frequently is SW ProClassic.

    All this said, in your situation its possible outsourcing is your best route. I have a friend who has all his painted cabs done by a cab shop. He worked a deal with them and found not worrying about the hassle and environmental codes takes a big load off and saves huge amount of time. While the cabs are dropped off to be painted he can start on the next project.

    And, he doesn't need to remodel or build a spray booth.

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