The Critter Spray Gun - what it can/can not shoot

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I have had this thing for a while but the only thing I have really used it for was to "hose down" a few outdoor benches with a oil based stain.
It works well for that sort of thing.
It is "slow", but again...it works.
I now need to do a few directors chairs with something that has some higher solids in it(ie:latex or enamel paint).
Does anybody have any suggestions on a starting point or even a product that would be suitable for this gun ?
By a starting point, I mean how thin do I really have to get to ?
Since this thing is a basically a air brush, what has been other folks luck with shooting the heavier stuff ?
For those who don't know:
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p 048&cat=1,190,43034&ap=1
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Just my opinion here, Pat. But remember, one man's ceiling is another man's floor.
I have seen many claims about this gun, but never seen results first hand. By the design of its sprayer and spray nozzle I don't see how it could be used for a lot of finishes.
By design to make the gun work properly they limit the nozzle/needle size, and of course the air. When you have those limitations, you can see how it worked well with your oil bases stain. The stain is high viscosity so it shoots well from this gun. In the same light, I have heard from a reliable source that the critter shoots lacquer well, but with it thinned to almost water consistency.
I think it is a pretty spiffy little gun within its limitations.
But I think by the time you get to the point where it would shoot heavy varnishes (especially the ones with flattners) and the like you would face problems with your material desegregating in the cup.
By the time you get latex thin enough, you will definitely see the difference in your final product. When you over thin latex not only do you ruin its ability to wear, you will also wind up with another color! DAMHIKT.
I <<think>> the needle size on the critter is something like 1.00 to 1.2 mm. I don't know for sure, but I do know its small. A good all around tip size is 1.4mm for shooting oil based enamels, shellac, sealers, lacquer, varnish etc.
I cannot get latex to hang well and retain its color with anything less than a 1.7mm. Optimally, I would like a 1.8 - 2.0 mm for latex for a small project gun. Larger nozzles/needles/aircaps mean less thinning, more product on the project and less coats with less chance of runs or sags.
As always, just my 0,02.
As a sidebar I am looking at starting a small project to see how it will float that will have me making display cases for high end goods. If I do that, will probably buy a Critter for the exact purpose you found it useful. All the display cases will be made from maple, but stained, then finished.
If I have the Critter set up, I can keep all my stains in jars and then just screw the head on the color I want and go. Sounds pretty easy.
What brand of stains are you shooting from your Critter? Are you thinning any? How many psi are you using with the gun to shoot the oil based?
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

In addition to what Robert said, another limitation of this gun is that it can only spray a round pattern. In this day and age even most of your better $3 spray cans will spray an oval pattern, and I wouldn't have much use for a spray gun that couldn't do the same.
--
Repeat after me:
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Over the last 3-4 years, I have used several "outdoor" stains from Flood,SW,etc on gliders, picnic tables,benches,etc,etc.
As you know, deck stains have some sort of solids in there, but not a lot. I did not do "any" thinning on any of the products.
The Critter does most of these oil or water based stains fairly well. I fooled around with the psi and "around" 20-25 psi seems to work the best.
Be aware that it is a fairly slow process.
The volume this gun shoots is fairly small, but really fine stains should go pretty quickly.
It does handle lacquer and shellac fairly well, but only on very small projects and cut "fairly" thin. It takes "forever" to get a base built up.
I also wondered about trying something like this: http://www.zinsser.com/product_detail.asp?ProductID  but I don't know if outdoors is going to be a killer on this stuff.
Any other suggestions on something other than paint ???
I suppose I could always go to rattle cans....
Your views are always excellent in my opinion.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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As a follow up, this contraption has always been poorly received by all, but I have wondered if it has gotten any better/worse ?
http://www.wagnerspraytech.com/portal/5_4_wideshot_spray,295917,747.html
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"Pat Barber" wrote:

http://www.wagnerspraytech.com/portal/5_4_wideshot_spray,295917,747.htmlI threw mine in the garbage.Lew
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All I had to see was www.wagner and I realized it was not worth looking any farther. Burn me 3 times, yes again no. ;~)
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Three times ????
Leon wrote:

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3 different products.
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Man... I thought you were a glutton for pain for a while there.
As Robert pointed out, you can get them to work with a little extra effort. I'm not sure I want to go that far for a few directors chairs.
Leon wrote:

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I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, Leon. I had two and took them both back. I NEVER would have tried another one if that guy hadn't had one in his garage.
#1, they don't operate the way they say they will. You do have to thin to spray
#2, they don't turn forgive a grain of material in the system. It clogs over the smallest stuff. For me, it just pissed me off. For someone that doesn't take extra care to keep their materials covered and sealed all the time it's a disaster
#3, they don't leave the kind of finish that makes their use worthwhile. And since they are pretty inefficient in spray pattern and material application, that makes their best use latex paint in open areas.
#4, the only reason to have a low capacity cup (1 qt.) is to do small projects or fine finishing. These guns are adept at neither.
On reflection, I am thinking that probably the only reason that guy's gun worked out (sigh... he bought me one as a bonus on for painting his shop so fast on short notice - it hasn't been out of the box in 3 years) is that I was spraying outside with new paint I bought, thinned and put in the satchel carry pack and sprayed all at once.
Not much of an endorsement, eh?
Robert
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wrote:

I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, Leon. I had two and took them both back. I NEVER would have tried another one if that guy hadn't had one in his garage.
Robert I bought a Wagner spray gun in the early 80's and took it back, I never even used it past trying to get it to work. A few years later I bought the Wagner Power roller to paint the outside of my house. I did a little inside painting first and the thing seemed to do the job pretty well. Then I tried it outside and apparently did not sterilize every itsey bitsy teeny weenry part after the previous use. I could not thin the latex paint down enough for the pump to push the paint through the hose. After a couple of hours of thinning the paint finally flowed but poured out of the roller, uncontrollably. I then proceeded to go into a fit and slammed the roller into the outside wall there by changing it's shape for ever. ;~) It did not help but I felt better. It then went straight into the trash can. A few years later, you guessed it, I bought the Wagoner "Paint Stick" The syringe style paint roller. It worked pretty darn well for several years, then a buddy showed me one of those tall paint buckets to dip your roller in and I tossed the Paint Stick.
"I've learned my lesson well, do- da- dodo".
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in
Tall paint bucket? I suppose I should know what/which you are referring to, but I don't. Got a link?
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wrote in message

Similar to this, http://paint-and-supplies.hardwarestore.com/47-248-paint-pails-plastic/wide-boy-paint-bucket-170589.aspx
I get mine at Home Depot. The Home Depot one is "orange" and looks more like a square waste basket with a handle. The HD bucket will only handle the regular 9" rollers and easily holds 1-2 gallons of paint. Also the HD version is much cheaper, less than $10 IIRC.
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Thanks, I should have figured it out. When you said "tall" paint bucket, I was trying to envision a paint buck that you'd dip the end of a roller into.
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If you want to spray, then you might try a good interior/exterior polyurethane in gloss. No flattners in gloss, and you can get them tinted. Polyurethane is sneaky stuff as it seems a lot more viscous than it should be. Since the gloss stuff is almost all resin/carriers and solvents, I am thinking that you could thin it enough to get it sprayable with that gun without compromising your finish.

I read once what rattle can paint cost compared to a quart can... nasty. Besides, unless your project is really small, you won't get a lot of material on anything with cans anyway. For director's chairs, you would probably use 3 - 4 cans a chair to get a nice finish on them.
In an industry publication I read a couple of years ago, it was estimated that the average rattle can delivered on 35% of material to the target. How's that for inefficient? I still use them on really small stuff or in a pinch, though.

Thanks, Pat. I appreciate that.
Here's something to look at concerning the Critter gun. I noticed that they weren't too critical overall as they are selling the same gun in their stores:
http://www.woodcraft.com/articleprint.aspx?ArticleIDi9
I saw the reference in this thread to the Wagner gun. I actually used a Wagner Power Shot Professional (model number unknown) and it worked great for me shooting latex paint.
I was finishing up a workshop for a client, and he was worried about getting his Hardie plank painted before a large group of storms were to hit. He and his son were to do the painting, but that was a project slated for several days away. I told him I couldn't do it as my airless was tied up on another job (big shop!) and rolling cement plank was not a good use of time.
He told me he had a sprayer as well. He went into the garage and pulled out one of those Wagners that had a slingpack for the paint feed as well as the quart cup. I wasn't interested. But he made me an offer I couldn't refuse (hey.. I'm not made of stone!) so I decided to give his gun a whirl.
I was spraying Glidden deep tint base paint in a deep brick red. The gun acted up a lot and sputtered and spewed. It was as bad as expected. I goofed with it a bit, then watched as my client looked broken hearted when I announced that the gun didn't work.
I got to thinking, I remembered that years ago I had a painter work for me that carried one of these around. He only took it out of the truck if he had a lot of latex enamel to spray on doors, or if he had louvered doors. His work always looked presentable.
So I cleaned the gun thoroughly, which was easy. I cut the paint by 10 - 15%, and loaded it up again. It performed flawlessly. I put on two coats of paint on his entire shop, and shot about 7-8 gallons of paint through it. No problems at all, and the finished product looked nice.
A few things I found out about the Wagner gun. First, buy the most powerful one they make. The others are a joke. Second, the gun MUST be kept scrupulously clean. And I cannot stress how important it is to have your paint as clean as a freshly opened can. This gun clogs easily and the filters just don't work well. Third, make sure you thin, no matter what the baloney says on the box about not needing to do so.
I have used mine now and then in a pinch, and have no qualms about using it. I only use it for latex application, interior and exterior, enamel and flat wall. But I have better equipment (airless, cup guns) for latex application, so it is rarely used.
Like the Critter, they have a place, you just have to practice a bit with it and decide what that place is in your repertoire.
I think personally if I were in your shoes and wanting to use your existing equipment on the director's, I would look at a tinted poly in your Critter gun.
Robert
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I am forever learning stuff when you do one of your posts. I'm sure the rest of the crowd does also.
I didn't know there was such a thing as interior/exterior polyurethane. I also didn't know you could tint the stuff.
I don't think you are talking about garden variety poly by Minwax are you ???
Who makes this product ???
I'm more than willing to be a test subject on something new. I'll even do a few pictures.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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Don't think you are alone. Almost no one I know realizes there is a difference, and I have had more than one lunch purchased for me up providing proof. The interior stuff tends to dry harder, and is more scuff resistant. It has no UV protection.
The exterior is just the reverse. Being outside requires that the finish be more flexible to accommodate the expansion and contraction of the substrate in climate changes as well as UV resistance.
You should be able to get a lunch bet our of someone on that one, Pat!

There are several manufacturers of tinted poly products. Minwax is certainly there with their polyshades, but ZAR, Varathane and others make their own as well just to name a couple. I think that Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams will also tint gallons of their stuff for you if you have a commercial division batch mixer in your area.

Excellent!
These tinted coatings are made for speed, no necessarily for fine finishing. I think deck chairs (and anything that needs a fast, better than average finish) and the like are the market in which these products shine.
They aren't designed for fine finishing.
Here's a tip I learned with tinted lacquer. Apply a first coat as evenly as possible. Apply a second coat to even out the appearance of the first coat.
If the sum of your two coats is even in appearance, make your subsequent top coats clear so that you won't have to worry about the color blending as well as the actual application.
One more comment. These colored finishes work best on naked wood. If you sand previously finished wood down and apply them over it, you take a huge risk of color blotching. Most of the finishes on store bought furniture are some kind of UV treat related lacquer or a catalyzed component finish of some sort. Your colored finish will skate right over these, with the more sanded areas grabbing more finish and color while the less sanded give the new finish no traction to adhere.
Better to clean the surface, sand it, then apply old faithful Bull's Eye sanding sealer over it before starting. Sand only enough to even out the surface, not exposing any raw wood or old surface material. Doing this will even out the texture of the surface and in turn even out the application of the colored material.
I will be looking for pics where we all can see them on photobucket, imageshack, etc.
You're committed! <VBG>
Robert
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Thanks Robert...
I'll make a visit down to the commercial Sherwin Williams place in the next few days. Do you happen to know if you can do this in pastel colors like blue,white,green,etc,etc ???
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