To Turbine or not to turbine

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One of my many goals in life is learning how to finish a woodworking project without making myself completely crazy.
In order to further this goal, learning how to shoot a finish with a spray gun ranks waaay up there.
I know a few of the folks on the list own and use turbines of various flavors and I have noticed a slight decline in the cost of turbine outfits.
I found a low-end Turbinaire unit for $569 and a slighly better one for $697.
I might even find a used unit on Ebay... who knows ???
I have a large air compressor but after doing a fair amount of research, these turbine packages seem to be a much better solution.
There is no concern of air quality, no moisture issues, no junk in the air lines, no concern of air quanity, large CFM numbers, etc,etc.
The overspray even seems to be a non-problem with the HVLP technology.
Is this all hype or is this turbine the real answer to getting a decent finish with a spray gun ???
I also assume a fairly stiff learning curve on spraying.
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Pat Barber wrote:

Not hype at all.

Depends on the finish, but not as stiff as you'd think. Many of the basic techniques apply regardless of gun, and even apply to spray can finishing. Can you get a good finish with a can?
I use a Fuji Mini Mite 4. This is exactly the same turbine as a Q4, four stage unit, minus noise reduction features for a very reasonable price.
This guy is great to deal with: <http://www.phelpsrefinishing.com/MM4.html and useful for the tech support that places like Amazon can't even begin to provide.
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I'm 'fair" with a can, but I'm getting better.
There is very little info out there on spray finishing, so it appears to be a D.I.Y. for most folks.
I see a lot of info on the Fuji systems.
Turbinaire also seems to get a lot of press.
I assume they are all "very" similar in operation and costs.
B A R R Y wrote:

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Personally, I still use rattle cans if the job calls for it. The only two things I don't like about them is less than 30% material transfer on target (which makes them cost much more than you might think!) and the low quality nozzles they put on most cans.
> There is very little info out there on spray

Not at all. There is a lot of info online, and there is a lot of information in print by different finishers. (Google "hvlp technique", "hvlp application", "hvlp method", etc.) There are some good softback books out there that appear from time to time in Barnes and Noble, and at some of the used book stores.
You can also search this group through Google and find a lot of information on technique, thinning protocols, material usage, etc.

Excellent system. Like Barry, I have one of the Fuji "X"4 systems. I have the Q4. I have used it a lot, and it is pretty bullet proof. When I bought mine, the Mini Mites weren't being widely sold or I might have bought that one as it is more affordable. I shoot stains, dyes, enamels, polyurethanes, and lacquers with it. This unit will put out a lot of cfms making sure you can apply just about any coating, even more than other 4 stage units. I don't know how, because something like 90% of all actual turbine assemblies for serious hvlp systems are made by the same company.
The kicker is the support for the product. The link Barry posted is where I got mine a couple of years ago, and Roger knows that product frontwards and backwards, and you can call him anytime. He won't teach you how to spray or apply, but he can tell you immediately if your problems are in product or machine.

I almost bought the Turbinaire because of the gun. Well made, balanced in the hand, and great fit and finish. It has is the only true turbine hvlp gun that has a fully adjustable pattern (not just a fixed detent position aircap) that works just like a high pressure paint spray gun.
That is because it IS a converted paint spray gun. I went to a Benjamin Moore sponsored event a couple of years ago to try this gun out (OK... and eat some barbecue) along with some other guns. I really liked the overall system, but Fuji won hands down on product support and consumables affordability. You can buy everything from Roger. And when I needed to speak to Roger, I found he always answered his phone, one time while walking his dog.
I have this thing about support after the sale since I have been drilled pretty hard a couple of times. After I got the info from Turbinaire at the demo, I went around the corner and called customer service on the phone. >>No one<< could answer my questions about cfms, using a whip (extension) on the hose, or where to get the unit fixed when it broke.
After I bought a Fuji system from Roger, I needed another aircap to spray some really thin material. When I received a rusty aircap/needle assembly from Roger, I was REALLY pissed as I needed it to finish some cabinets immediately after receipt. Roger used to be a finisher himself, so he knew what was riding on the deal. He sent me a new aircap via 2 day FedEx at his cost. All I had to do was to email him a picture of the rust on the aircap. When I called make sure he got the picture, he had already had the package picked up and it was on its way.

Probably true. Some of the guns are really different though, and that makes all the difference in the world on your final finish. You need one that is comfortable in your hand, has a variety of AFFORDABLE aircaps, filters, one way valves, etc. readily available for it. It should be easy to break down and clean. Fit and finish is important as well as the rougher finished guns tend to be harder to clean.
Depending on what kind of spraying you do and where you do it, you may want a non bleeder or bleeder gun. I have both and prefer the non bleeder, although the bleeder is just fine for 99% of my needs.
Good luck on your purchase.
Robert
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snipped, refer to his post.

I concur completely with Robert (nailshooter41) I have that Fuji Q4 and have had great results. I sprayed this recent project with it and my gold colored pick-up was less than 20 feet away....no overspray on the truck. http://tinyurl.com/3duj9t
Max
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NICE looking router cabinet there, sir. Are you going in the cabinet business or the finishing business?
I looked at the other photos. Good work all around.
Was that a Freud 17xx router I spied under that top? If so, do you like using it?
Robert
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That's a Milwaukee 5625-20, 3 1/2 HP. It works grrreat!!. I also have 2 Hitachi M12V routers that I acquired well before the Milwaukee came on the market. I was pleased with them but the Milwaukee is even better. Now I can put a panel raising bit in the Mil., a rail bit in one Hit. and a stile bit in the other and really get after it on cabinet doors without changing bits.
Max
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wrote:

Wondering if I should pick up the revamped version or something else.
jc
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Those Hitachis are both the old style. I have heard/read some...uh.....unkind comments about the new style but I don't have any first hand experience with them. I can't say enough about that Milwaukee though. It has a "T" handle that allows height adjustment through the top of the table. No need for a "router lifter". It has power to spare. "2 wrench" collet. (some people don't care for that but I think it's easier to squeeze 2 wrenches together to tighten or loosen the collet instead of holding a shaft lock with one hand and a wrench in the other)
Max
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Nothing to talk about. Those Milwaukees rule! I much prefer the two-wrench set-up also.
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"Robatoy" wrote ... On Mar 3, 10:50 pm, "Max" wrote:

The only thing I don't like about the little Bosch Colt is the shaft lock ... the air turns blue every time I use it. All my other routers use two wrenches.
(This thread has me dreaming about upgrading my HVLP ...)
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Swingman wrote:

My older Bosch laminate trimmer also has a shaft lock. I definitely prefer two wrenches.
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is that the bosch where you stick one end of one wrench in the top of the housing to lock the shaft? I have that one and I think I prefer it to a 'true' shaft lock. It's still two wrenches, just not two wrenches on the collet. Unfortunately, the plastic base on it cracked and getting it replaced is going to be almost as expensive as replacing the router >:-(
jc
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wrote:

is going to EXPLODE?!?!?!
just kidding. Very nice job.
jc
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wrote:

Thank you, Sir.
If I ever have an EXPLOSION, I will be one embarrassed dude. I'm a retired Deputy Fire Chief.
Max
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Robert,
I picked up the Apollo 4 stage for a relative bargain, but haven't had the time to fiddle with it yet. Do you have any experience with it? How does it stack up against your fuji?
I'm going to follow up on a couple of your info suggestions. I really need to get on the learning curve on this thing with the end goal of an off-the-gun finish.
jc

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I liked the Apollo a lot. At the time though, I had it in my mind that bleeder guns were not a good thing, and at that time that was all Apollo had. The fit and finish were a little bit better than the same on my Fuji, and they delivered an excellent finish. I was sure though, that the bleeder function of the gun would get me in trouble. I had this picture of spraying away and laying down a nice coat then moving the gun to one side and kicking up some dust.
Apollo has their following and I think they are a top notch system. I wouldn't concern myself with the air bleed aspect of the gun. Just be careful where you point it! I was interested in them since they have been around forever and always get really solid reviews.
All I did was demo one, though. I listened to the saleman's pitch and he let me spray as much as I wanted to. It layed out a nice finish with no problem at all, and I was spraying unthinned latex enamel paint!
I haven't done a kitchen or anything like that. But my opinion is you will probably love it. I might be able to help you if you are talking about spraying paint, enamel, poly or lacquers, all <solvent> based stuff.
For the water borne products, "ping" Barry and see if he is around.
> I'm going to follow up on a couple of your info suggestions. I really need

jc - that's where it's at. Speed, dash and accuracy win the day in finishing. ALL of my finishing is 'off the gun' unless it is for me, or they clients are paying to have it rubbed out.
Keep a good journal of what you are doing, including temps, material, amount of air to the gun, etc. Like high pressure spraying, yo u will need to thin from time to time, so don't forget to include that in your notes. For me, one of the hardest things to do was to turn down the pressure/air flow. You can literally shoot as much material and make as much drift as a high pressure gun if you don't have it adjusted right.
I finally got the hang of it by turning the pressure to the gun OFF. Completely. Then I opened up the valve a half turn until it sprayed the way I wanted (then I wrote that down) and started from there when I sprayed that finish.
Feel free to post any questions here as there are a lot of experienced finishers on this ng.
Robert
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Will do, thanks again for the help (so far ;-) )
joe
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Pat Barber wrote:

I think all of them use the same Ametek Lamb turbine.
I learned some basic things from this book, like spraying into my own overspray: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
My ML Campbell dealer gave me a printed copy of this: <http://www.mlcampbell.com/secured/woodfinishprobs.pdf
Jewitt has some tips in his general finishing books. Roger Phelps has some video on the Phelps site. I've learned lots from Robert (nailshooter) and Mike Marlow, right on this forum.
The most difficult part for me was recognizing the different problems. After that, the Campbell document is a great resource to have handy.
Even with spraying, some finishes need a light rub out. There are some differences in technique, depending on the product in use. For instance, some finishes need defects to dry before repair, but you can often wipe drips away with lacquer on the spot. Some finishes like a "tack coat", others like full, wet coats. When in doubt, _let the finish dry_, then troubleshoot.
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I have a turbine HVLP spray unit. It leaves a beautiful finish, and it's easy to use. But I only drag it out for really big finish projects. It's so much trouble to clean up that I use wipe-on finishes for smaller projects.
DonkeyHody "We can't all be heros because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by." - Will Rogers
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