Critter sprayers -- any good?

I'm looking for a sprayer that will be used primarily for water-based urethanes, and perhaps also some lacquer work. Does anybody have any experience using the Critter spray guns for either? Reviews on Amazon are generally good, but there's a few that make me wonder. In particular, one mentions it spits the occasional large droplet of finish, making it impossible to get a good finish coat. Has anyone else had this problem? Is it possible that this could be explained by viscosity problems or a misadjusted spray head, or is it most likely a design flaw of the gun?
I'm attracted to the Critter gun because of: 1, the low price; 2, easy cleanup; and 3, the fact that it uses regular mason jars for the cup (I have dozens of these lying around waiting to be used for something, so I could in theory have several quarts of finish ready to go at any given time!) However, I'm open to suggestion on any other sprayers I should look into. Thanks folks!
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It's not an Apollo, by any means, but I think I got my $50 out of it with the first use. I HATE brushing poly, particularly waterbased poly, extra particularly on drawers and kitchen cabinet insides, and extra special particularly on deadline. I used Minwax Polycrylic for the first batch, and Varathane Diamond something waterbased Gloss for the second. I preferred the look and application of the Varathane, for my purposes.
My neighbor has the Apollo 900(?), and we'll likely use that this spring, if I finally tackle my wife's kitchen remodel...
I don't do spray lacquer, except from rattle cans, and then, only sparingly.
Patriarch
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On Sun, 05 Dec 2004 22:32:09 -0500, Adam Diehl

I use mine for lacquer and shellac on a regular basis. I haven't tried waterborne finishes with it.

Once.
User error.
The Critter is limited to smaller items, I'd say an end table is about max. The pattern is round and not adjustable, so it won't work on details and into corners as well as an adjustable gun might.
I like my Critter and feel it's a good value and useful in the shop.
Barry
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Do you think it would be feasible to use it for bookcases and cabinet interiors, or would I just be asking for frustration? I'm planning on building a few smallish tables, some bookcases, a TV stand and eventually a desk. (probably in about that general order) At what point do you think I should think about moving to an adjustable sprayer? Thanks for all the info so far!
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On Mon, 06 Dec 2004 19:31:43 -0500, Adam Diehl

If there are simple details, and the finish is something very rubbable, like lacquer, it would work. You probably end up with some orange peel and over spray that needs to be rubbed out. The Critter dosen't spray as heavy of a coating as bigger units, so be careful rubbing if you're over stain. When in doubt, add another coat of clear before rubbing.

I own spray gear and often find myself using brush, pad, or wipe-on finishes, like Waterlox Original, a lot. Why? It's not the gear, it's the place to spray. Setting up a temporary booth, cleaning the floor, getting everything ready to spray, thinning the products, wearing a respirator and gloves, cleaning everything up... It's a pain in the ass!
If I'm doing a bunch of stuff in lacquer, it's worth it. If not, I'd just as well use a varnish and rub out dust nibs. On some pieces, I actually prefer the end look of a shellac or varnish finish anyway. If I'm doing built-ins and staining to color match, I'll spray from the washcoats up, 'cause rubbing out over stain leaves a lot to go wrong.
The spray area ties up a lot of space, so I can't do a whole lot of other stuff when set up. If it's raining, it's too humid to spray lacquer. With other finishes, I can add a coat just about anywhere, like the garage or another room, and go back to making dust in the shop.
Barry
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On bookcases and other things with backs Jeff Jewitt suggests spraying without the back installed to reduce spray bounceback, a great suggestion!
On Mon, 06 Dec 2004 19:31:43 -0500, Adam Diehl

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snipped-for-privacy@vcoms.net wrote:

Oooh, hadn't thought of that.. that would also make it much easier to get a good coat into the corners. Thanks for the tip!
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On Tue, 07 Dec 2004 21:11:12 -0500, Adam Diehl

Check out Jeff's books, they're worth the purchase price!
Barry
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I visit www.homesteadfinishing.com daily for the forums that are very helpful. I read many descriptions of French Polishing and had responses to posts asking about it also. One viewing of a Jeff video made all of it make sense.
On Wed, 08 Dec 2004 12:01:59 GMT, Ba r r y

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On Sun, 05 Dec 2004 22:32:09 -0500, Adam Diehl wrote:

I used my Critter to shoot water based Rustoleum paints a couple of times. Clean up was a snap and using standard Mason jars was convenient.
The round spray pattern takes a little getting used to, but left a nice finish. Until I figured out how to properly adjust the gun, I occasionally spit some blobs of paint, but this is attributable to OHI (Operator Headspace Issues). I toss a handful of stainless steel nuts into the bottom of the mason jar to allow more of the paint to be shot. Maybe my pick up tube was just the runt of the litter. :)
The Critter does bounce a bunch of finish, so you will have to deal with over spray. Having said that, I am happy with my Critter and will continue to use it for small projects.
Tim
--
No BoomBoom for me snipped-for-privacy@BoomBoomVerizon.net




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On Sun, 5 Dec 2004 20:32:09 -0700, Adam Diehl wrote

Spitting often can be traced to contaminants in the finish. Water based poly can easily get "boogers" after being opened. Use a paint strainer (looks like a paper funnel). also you need to watch for drying finish developing on the siphon hole in the sprayer. Small clumps often develop and blow loose on occasion.
-Bruce

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