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Hard-Earned Advice: Paint Spray Guns

By Alchemy Fine Living on May 10, 2012

I have been getting a ton of emails lately regarding the gun that I use. I try to answer a lot of the emails that I get, but I am bombarded with so many it is difficult to respond to each one individually. I try to answer the most commonly asked questions on my blog so the information is available for everyone to find. Hopefully many of you will find this bit of information useful.

I have been painting furniture for about eight years now. I have gone through a couple of different machines through the years; some I would recommend and some I would not. I won’t mention the ones I didn’t like here. Everyone has their own personal preferences and what may not have worked for me might work great for someone else.

One of the machines I used was the Graco True Coat. I wrote all about it in a previous post. You can read all about it, plus tips on how to use it, clean it, and properly store it by clicking here. I really liked this gun, but the motor is only good for about 50 gallons of paint, so I burned through a few machines rather quickly and decided I needed something that would last a lot longer. If you are just going to do a few projects around the house I would recommend this gun. If you plan on going into the business of painting you will want to invest in some different equipment, which I’ll talk about a little latter in this post.

In my opinion there are pros and cons with the Graco True Coat:

 PROS- The best thing about this gun is that it requires no thinning, ever.  All types of paint can be poured directly from the can right into this gun and all will get a perfect spray, everytime. One thing I really like about this machine is the easy clean up. Switching from one paint color to the next is a breeze, which is also a great feature. It has a nice wide spray pattern that quickly covers large surfaces; great for big pieces of furniture. The wide spray pattern makes it very easy to get a perfect smooth finish on a large flat piece of furiture in seconds.

CONS- One thing that I don’t like about it is the fact that it only sprays when held up right, so in order to paint the top of a table or dresser you have to lay the furniture on it’s side or back. The other negative thing about it is that it uses a ton of paint. It gets great coverage and looks beautiful, but goes through more paint than necessary. Because the paint goes on so heavy it makes for long dry times. The large spray pattern, which can be great in many instances, creates a ton of overspray and waist when painting small items like dining chairs.

The gun that I currently use is  a Husky Gravity Feed HVLP Spray Gun. I purchased this one at Home Depot for $49.98. This gun requires an air compressor, which can be a big purchase. An air compressor can easily cost you hundreds of dollars and is a pretty large piece of equipment to store. Well worth it if you are serious about getting into painting and plan on doing so long term.

There are also some pros and cons for the Husky HVLP spray gun:

PROS- This gun will spray side ways, up side down and, of course, right side up. This is great when painting things with spindles or curves because it allows you to get at it from many different angles. Because this gun has a gravity feed you can paint up until the very last drop of paint in the gun; not wasteful at all. Because it uses air the material being sprayed is autamized, or reduced into a fine spray. Layers of paint go on thin and smooth reducing dry times greatly. With this gun there is very little overspray and I use a fraction of the amount of paint I did with the Graco. Clean up with this gun is also incredibly easy, as is changing out to a new color. Adjustments can be made on the gun to change the spray pattern from small and round, great for small details, to thin and wide, which is great for larger pieces and big flat surfaces. This gun gets a really smooth gorgeous finish.

CONS- I have found that every paint needs to be thinned with this gun. Because each paint is different there is no specific ratio of water to paint (I use water based paints). Each time I use a new paint I add water a little at a time, do a test on a scrap piece of wood, and continue to add water until I achieve the desired spray pattern and consistency. This takes a bit of patience and can add a little time onto the job.

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