Airless Sprayers for Woodworking

I am a home woodworker looking to get into spray finishing. I've done some spray finishing in the past, but it has been about 20 years ago, long before HVLP and the latest advancements. I do about 4-6 woodworking projects per year. Most have been small, but I'm starting to get into larger projects. I am moving to a new house soon and it will have much more space.
I have used brushed-on polyurethane finishes almost exclusively in the past 10 years or so. But as my projects get larger, brushing has been a serious time investment. My current project is cabinets and shelves for the library in the new house. It would take me weeks to finish these with a brush! So I'm looking to go to spray finishing.
I have a 5HP, 25-gallon Craftsman compressor. This is large enough to run some of the low-air-requirement HVLP spray guns. I've been looking at the DeVilbiss GFG670 and the Sata RP. I can get either of these for about $270 or $350, respectively, at spraygunworld.com. Frankly, I'm leaning toward the 670 because of cost. I plan to use exclusively waterborne finishes with the sprayer. This is just for practical reasons. Putting up a spray room for oil-based finishes that meets local building codes seems like overkill for what I will be doing.
I know someone who sells Graco airless sprayers and believes I should just go with an airless sprayer. Specifcally, he can get me a Graco Magnum DX for under $200, which is less that a good gun for my compressor will cost. The appeal of this solution is that it can be used for other larger jobs, such as painting a house or rooms in a house. But I don't want to compromise my ability to do quality finishing of my wood projects. I am somewhat skeptical of using an airless sprayer for cabinets and furniture.
Can any of you seasoned veterans give me advice on this decision? Does airless make sense for spraying waterborne clear coats? Is a low-end airless sprayer like the Magnum DX a viable option? Or if I went airless, would I need to invest in a higher-end sprayer? I've read a couple places that the higher-end airless sprayers are far superior for clear coats. But, of course, they are very pricey.
Your advice on this would be much appreciated.
Thanks!
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HVLP will give a finer finish than an airless. Airless is great for painting larger areas. Great for whole-house painting. Furniture and cabinets benefit from the better atomization of HVLP and of course MUCH less overspray saves on pricey finishes.
I also have a 5HP, 30gal Sears unit but didn't want to be tied to the compressor and deal with moisture and marginal CFM, so I went with an HVLP recently. One of my best expenditures for my WW shop! I ended up with an Accuspray, but there are plenty of other good units out there. I got it because it's a non-bleeder and very comfortable in my hand. The price however, is STEEP!
dave
Lloyd Kurth wrote:

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Who sells Accuspray? Thanks

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Compliant Spray Systems, over the internet. They are in SoCal. I got mine from them after ordering it at the San Mateo WW show where they demoed it. I got the 4 stage unit so I can spray all the way up to latex if I want. Model 240K. I kept trying to find a cheaper alternative, and finally decided to quit bucking city hall, and handed over the Visa card. I've sprayed airless and high pressure guns before, but never HVLP. I had practically no learning curve at all to get a desk finished in near-flawless fashion with water based urethane and oil based poly. I also shot shellac on the drawers, and tried out lacquer just for grins on some scrap. Everything sprayed with no fuss. Same tip for everything mentioned - .043. I bought a .061 for latex but haven't tried it yet.
dave
Joe wrote:

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Thanks, Dave. That pretty much confirms my suspicions. I think to get a decent turbine system you have to spend at least $500 (or over a grand, like you did). That's a sizable investment for me. I think I'd rather ease into it and give the compressor/gun option a try. I have some glowing reports on the DeVilbiss and Sata guns I mentioned. My projects are still small enough that filling the can and all should not should not be too big an issue. If I become a pro at this, maybe I'll make the next step up.
Lloyd
Bay Area Dave wrote:

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About a month or so ago, One of the WWing magazines did a whole issue on HVLP and tested a bunch of units. I think it was "Wood" magazine.

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I am also looking into something for home use as I am getting ready to finish a large entertainment center. Currently, I have nothing better than a Wagner airless...
Has anyone had any experience with the Rockler offering? http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/showdetl.cfm?offerings_id 308&objectgroup_idG5&catidS
How can this be so inexpensive? $89 for HVLP seems too good to be true
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ANYTHING else is better than a Wagner. (I've got one, too. It's up in the attic, IIRC...)
dave
Scott Geyer wrote:

http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/showdetl.cfm?offerings_id 308&objectgroup_idG5&catidS
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I have bought or been given some crappy tools in my life and being a cheap bastard have a hard time just throwing them away. So I have variuos worthless crap in the shop or the attic. I threw my Wagner in the trash - it was worse than worthless.
Dave Hall
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Harbor Freight has this same exact model. They put it on sale in their stores for $69 regularly.

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On Thu, 18 Dec 2003 04:55:09 GMT, "Scott Geyer" <snip>

A friend bought one of these and I had a chance to try it. It sprays surprisingly well for the $$.

Once you see one you'll understand. Very cheaply made, almost 100% plastic, very lightweight.
The downsides: Short hose: fifteen feet sounds like a lot until you start using it on a bookcase or something in that size range, and have to move around a lot.
The hose goes in at the back of the gun instead of up at the bottom of the handle: For me this was a major aggravation, as the hose was always draped over my forearm and off on one side or the other, and this puts a real limit on your flexibility and freedom of movement.
Short life: Because of the cheap construction this one wont last very long. Ok for occasional use.
A nice touch: Built-in cup holder, a place to set the spray gun in between coats, etc. No worries about it tipping and much handier than clamping a long stick in the vise and hanging the spray gun on that. (my normal method)
Home Depot has (used to have, I dont know about now) two offerings in the $139 to $250 price range. Either of those would be a better choice than the Rockler unit.
Next step up would be the Fuji unit offered by Woodcraft, or something similar. About $600, but is a true HVLP system and works great.
And of course the aforementioned Accuspray system is up there near the top in quality, performance and price. (+/- $1000)
Be aware that the hose for a turbine powered HVLP system is large, looks more like ribbed 3/4 garden hose than it does air line. This can be awkward to get used to but after a while you wont notice it.
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Airless is great for latex paint but that's about all. If you're looking to save money, have a look at the Devilbiss Finishline III or II at spraygunworld.com. They're just over $100 and can be run from a compressor like yours.

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http://www.compliantspraysystems.com/accusprayfinishingequipment/compressed_air_systems.htm
wrote:

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Visit www.targetcoatings.com and see what makers of WB finishes have to offer. They have a forum for asking questions to boot.
wrote:

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I use a Sharpe-Cobalt-HVLP gun with my 3 HP 20 gal compressor.
http://www.sharpe1.com/gun-page.htm
The spec calls for a lot more air than I can deliver. but it's a non bleeder unit and I don't hold the trigger to spray constantly. You spray a bit, and then move around or move the piece you are finishing. I can think of only a couple of times where I needed to stop and wait for the compressor to catch up. I got the gun on sale for about $130 a few years ago.
Len ---------------------
Lloyd Kurth wrote:

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