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One of my first very visible projects will be to build a vanity for the bathroom I am renovating.  The wife would like it painted white.  I've used brushes and rollers to paint things like that, and i didn't like it.  I was reading about HVLP sprayers, and wondering if this group had any personal experience using them?

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I have used both the wagner power sprayer and power roller I was impressed by both of them, But {seems like there's always a but} depending on the size of the vanity your building I might consider a spray can or two instead of the power sprayer. The power sprayer would probably take more time to clean after you used it then the time you would actualy spend painting
Ah, but then i wouldn't have it to play with :)

ray vile said:
I have used both the wagner power sprayer and power roller I was impressed by both of them, But {seems like there's always a but} depending on the size of the vanity your building I might consider a spray can or two instead of the power sprayer. The power sprayer would probably take more time to clean after you used it then the time you would actualy spend painting
Thanks for all the options :)

Phillip said:
A key thought here is that finishing is a subjective thing. What you like the next person would never accept. Some guys will strip the finish off and start over a few bubbles.

I have used both HVLP with the compresser and the traditional styles of finishing. I will be buy a real HLVP, either a Turbinaire or the Fuji brand. The real HVLP is about $800 to $1600 depending upon the brand and options. Like Ray noted the cleaning of the unit is lots of time. Seriously, if you do not invest the time you will have equipment mess. Spray heads and guns are more maintenance than any other tool in the chest. If you are not doing a lot of finishing, or reselling the work you might want to consider your other options.

If you are not happy with the finish get some books from the library and read up. Knowledge is your best tool. Like you I was never happy with the finish and later learned there are flow agents, to help with the finish. There are brushes then there are "real" brushes. I would not have believed there can be a difference in the finish but there is a huge improvement with a clean high quality brush. Natural hair works better with enamel, and that sort of choices that you need to know about, not just price. Rollers are the same thing. The length of the roller, needs to match the surface texture and the finish type. Latex needs a different nap and composition than oil based. I am telling you these things -- not to discourage you -- but to encourage you to read up. You can invest a pile of money -- even the Earlex or Rockler HLVP cheapest models on the market are $125. + . Not trivial money that anyone wants to throw around casually.

If you go the way Ray suggests -- I use rattle cans for lots of projects -- get a really good brand. Try a couple of the better ones, and build a primer base on some scraps, then makes some sample tests at angle (test for runny paint) and hiding. You may like the finish better, not only because it is sprayed, but it is oil based, which is harder and lasts longer. At the very minimum consider cans of spray for the primer coats. You will get a fast dry, and smooth base go build a final finish coat on. If you are going with white, and it is only a vanity (meaning low square foot to cover), you will gain nothing over a rattle can, or roller / brush combination. HVLP units really are needed for someone using lots of hard colors to paint with, like black, burgundy, or clear finishes. My son has a sign company, and I help him out with the wood signs that we have to clear coat. Otherwise we would not even consider it. Hard to justify the $$$'s.

I hope my comments help. They are just my perspective and nothing more. If you really WANT the HVLP I can understand that, and no disparaging remarks from me. :-)

Phil B.
I have not used any HVLP sprayers, because when I researched them, the cheaper ones had bad reviews on other web sites and I did not want to shell out the big bucks for the better spray units ranging $500 and up. I have used the Wagner electric airless sprayers and was not at all satisfied with them. Tempurature and viscosity of the paint was too critical and had problems with tails on ends of spray pattern when not just right.

I have been using conventional air spray guns for years and have had very little problems. Right now I have 3 guns, a Devilbiss model MBC spray gun with a qt. cup with a #30 tip, and 2 Harbor Freight spray guns with cups and get good results with them. The biggest problem is overspray. One secret to control overspray with these types of guns is to keep the viscosity low and the air pressure low. The DeVilbisss gun sprays a better pattern than the harbour Freight guns, but the gun, tip and cup will set you back $350 and up, the Harbour Freight guns sell for $40.

I agree with Phil, "If you are not happy with the finish get some books from the library and read up. Knowledge is your best tool. Like you I was never happy with the finish and later learned there are flow agents, to help with the finish." This also applies to spray finishes.

Just another option.
Alan. Some important points from my own research.

It is logical and desireable to switch to HVLP. With the lower input pressure (23-27psi) and the
lower output pressure (10 psi), you have a resulting condition called 'reduced reflection'. This
simply means that the bounceback of the product is very limited and much cleaner. You spray
6-8 inches away from the surface, so tight areas are easy. Naturally, keep the spray a constant
flat stroke, not arcing, but we all know that, right?

Buy an anodized body only. This will look painted inside and out, and is a surface treatment of
the aluminum that hardens the alloy, and is the only long term way of using water-based finishes.
Water-based are desirable because of low organic compounds. The gravity feed cup, if that is
how you lean, price-wise, should be synthetic or stainless. The only time you would use an
aluminum cup is if you use liners inside, separating the paint from the container.

Buy a model with several interchangable fluid tips, this will let you deliver most of the products
that pertain to woodworking and metalworking. And of course, practise on cardboard and scrap.

BUT...Do your homework. HVLP is really popular, and with that, a host of crapola brands are
out there insulting your intelligence. Kit packages with multiple guns, and fantastic claims can
be had for a song. Look the other way, my friend.

Critical to HVLP is a big set of lungs on your compressor. This will be your single hurdle to
doing it right. Compromising here will sideline your otherwise happy results.

The best-case engineering on a perfect reciprocating compressor will yield 3-4 CFM per
horsepower of motor/engine. You know that CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute from
reading the Sears tool catalog on the back of your toilet. Then, after you reduce the wild claims
of horsepower from bargain compressors, factor in piston ring and cylinder wear, slipping bels,
plugged air filters, low operating voltage, etc., and overly long and undersized hose lengths, you
should be conservative about the real air delivery of your windbag. A three horse compressor
will yield a maximum, in a perfect world, of 12 CFM. This WILL NOT serve an HVLP, except for
fairly brief bursts, which, in the case of your bathroom, may be just enough.

So, if you're looking for a compressor as well, forget the notion that small will end up being a
happy companion. And, logically, a larger compressor means a larger electrical supply, and the
picture may look gloomy, but you'll be so proud of your planning when you do it properly.

There are lots of other factors, I think you can find out much more with almost no effort. Like every
else in life, the fundamentals shouldn't be taken lightly. Good Luck.
Try Graco turbine model HVLP 3800. You can find this and more models ay I've been very impressed with these people and the quality of finish for furniture is great. good Luck. Jim
While I was with the fire department, I painted houses as my second job on my days off. Things I learned about painting include: Most non-professional painters tend to dip a brush in the paint, then, scrape the paint off the brush on the lip of the can. Professional painters dip the brush then tap the brush on the inside of the can. This loads the brush with paint. A lot of brush marks are the result of not enough paint. You only scrape the paint off the bristles occasionally to keep if from running down the handle.
Rollers are the same way. If you listen to the roller you can tell the difference from when you first touch the wall with lots of paint and when the rollers needs more paint. It almost has a scraping sound when it needs more paint. That's why professional painters use a bucket with a paint screen rather than the little dinky trays. Rolling is a lot like brushing. You have to put the paint on the surface, but you have to pay attention and watch for drips or runs.
I think there is a difference in the brushes you buy at a paint store compared to the paint department at Lowes or Home Depot. They cost more, but they last longer. The brushes you get at Home Depot look the same, but they don't seem to clean up as well and are only good for a very few uses.
The Wagner type spray guns that have the motor built in the handle are only good for outdoor spraying of wrought iron.
The HVLP are more of a finish sprayer and great for stains, polys, and latex enamel (semi gloss or gloss) for painted cabinets. If you are going to re-paint cabinets, take the time to do a little sanding and completely prime the cabinets with a product like KILZ before you apply the new paint. The wood whisperer has a good video on a comparison of two HVLP sprayers.
Don't know if this will help, but I hope so. Good luck.
I have a Graco 4900 HVLP Turbine...once the learning curve was climbed over, it has been the best thing going. I have both the remote pressure pot as well as the smaller gravity cups that mount to the gun head-for smaller poly and varnish jobs. Not only have I sprayed everything from latex primers (Kilz) to lacquers but have even shot a friend's car with it-another learning curve there-orifice and needle size are viscosity specific, luckily most of the manufacturers publish guidelines for the correct size. Bottom line, I cannot think of a better system than a turbine hvlp. In my research I found that most of the HVLP guns required a massive compressor to run-in the magnitude of 14 or better cfm (Binks). With the turbine you don't have that, and with the model I have, there is a built-in compresser to manage the remote pressure pot. And cleanup is not much more trouble than any other maintenance. It will only work as well as you maintain it. Hope this helps...
Hi Alan I have two hvlps I use one for painting and one for poly. The key is with hvlp is that you got to keep the gun about 10 to 12" away from you project and have good side to side motion.
Hello, again, Alan.

There's obviously a strong knowledge base in this group from which to help make your decision. If I
had the money, I would have both a turbine-style HVLP, and a compressor. But in my case, with
a wide range of home and yard activities over the years, and quite a bit of stuff to maintain, a compressor
was a fact of life. It let me clean tools and vehicle parts, inflate tires, run my air tools, and paint with a
conventional type spray gun, for years now.

If I had life to redo, I would still need to start with a compressor, only now I would have started over with
a five horsepower instead of three. Only for the sake of HVLP, though, because the three horse has
met my other needs. If I offer a point of view on gravity feed, non-turbine units, it is because that is what
I had to choose to do with my circumstances. Actually coating a finished project has meant wishing I
had both a shop and a turbine, and in the absence of both, I have always made do with what I had.

If you''re going to use and maintain any system enough, then it is probably an investment you're ready
for. Otherwise, I'd say hire an experienced painter to apply the product if it's just one room's worth of
project. I have a Devilbiss FLG3 anodized unit with three fluid tips, at about $250 after taxes. That
could go a long way towards a turbine instead, I have two conventional guns as well, one designed for
latex, and one for automotive finishes. The combined value is around what a base-model turbine
would have cost, but I've bought these gradually, and wasn't facing your choice.
I have a campbell housferd brand and it dose a great job. You will need to thin the paint some and give your project more coats but it will cover great . Harbour freight has a nice one that is not to high priced.
Doing bathroom vanity and other bathroom cabinets as we speak! Black with HIGH gloss! BUT,, I'm using black gesso,, and the doors and drawer will go to the auto body shop for automotive clear. I'm using cans of automotive clear for the face frames. Wipe on poly for the interiors since ambering won't matter much on black.

Used a Wagner for all the kitchen doors & drawers and yes it took longer to clean than paint!

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