For the past 10 years or so, I have been using a Wagner Finecoat HVLP
sprayer with very good success. Most of the approx. 15-20 gallons I have
sprayed has been Hydrocote (water based) lacquer and polyurethane.
I recently decided to move up and bought the Turbinaire 1235 because I
will be doing a lot more finishing now that I am retired and it will
handle high viscosities. Problem is, I don't know how to use it. Have
tried varying the parameters and nothing I do gets away from orange
Some facts that might help. The diameter of the Wagner tip is 0.09in
(per my vernier caliper) which is a smidge under 2.5mm. The viscosity of
the Hydrocote poly that I'm spraying is 25sec. Room temperature where
I'm spraying is 70 F moderate low humidity (shop is in heated basement).
I have tried using the 1.0 and 1.5 mm tips ( per the viscosity charts)
on my Turbinaire and varying air and flow with no success.
As I'm writing this, it seems that the answer is that I should buy a
2.5mm tip for my Turbinaire and I just might be successful. But this
seems to go against what I've read about correcting orange peel and
doesn't make sense to me in the viscosity charts.
I would really appreciate critique from any of you experienced sprayers.
Hi Dennis. At least your problem is pretty easy to deal with. Orange peel
only happens from one cause - paint too dry. You need wetter coats. A
bigger tip may help that but only if it atomizes the material better. Your
best advice there is to go by the manufacturer's charts. More than likely
you can decrease the orange peel by either spraying slower to achieve a
wetter coat, or by holding your gun closer. How far is your gun from the
object you're painting now? 6" - 12" max is what you should be holding. I
generally prefer closer to 6" myself. Watch your spray as it goes on. Look
at it from a slight angle as you're spraying and imagine yourself pulling a
sheet of clear plastic wrap over the material. A nice even smooth covering.
Make sure you get a slight overlap on each pass so as not to have dry lines
with each pass.
Most sprays will handle a medium wet coat just fine. Practice on some scrap
and first try to achieve a wet coat. That's a coat that is so heavy that
it's *almost* ready to sag, but still does not. Once you achieve that, try
for a dry coat. That's a coat that just barely shoots an even coverage.
You don't want lots of space between the paint specs. Once you achieve that
you've identified the two extremes. You should be able to judge something
in between those two extremes. That would be a medium wet coat. Keep the
medium wet as your standard spray technique. As you develop skill you'll
move on to the point where your final beauty coat is a nice wet full flow
coat, but that's down the road.
Set your gun up per the manufacturer's directions. Spend the time shooting
it at scraps from the proper distance and observe the adjustments to the air
volume and the pattern adjustments. There's no substitute for learning your
Mike, while you are here....
Can't orange peel also be caused by water/moisture in the spray system?
I know this is highly unlikely in a closed system like one of the
turbine powered HVLPs, but on a pressure gun isn't water often a
culprit of fisheyes?
Hey Bob - no water won't cause orange peel. It will cause bubbles and
fisheye (oil will cause fish eye also), but orange peel is a result of dry
layers. You start with a bumpy layer caused by insufficient paint droplets
on the surface and as you build those up and start to generate a layer that
begins to lay down, it lays down on the highs and lows. It will never lay
down flat because of those droplets at the base of the film. It will flow
some which is what gives the orange peel effect, but it will always present
a bridging of the droplets, thus the orange peel.
I only spray shellac, but orange peel happens with shellac most often when
the mist starts to dry before, or as it hits, the surface.
IME, and on those dry days, you can usually minimize orange peel with
shellac by spraying closer, and thinning it a bit more.
What's maddening is, depending upon the temperature and relative humidity,
on one day a higher grade, anhydrous alcohol instead of the BORG's standard
"denatured", will minimize orange peel, while on another day it will make it
.... sometimes it's brush time.
And/or slow down your spray application. Get it on so that you don't have
too few paint droplets per square inch.
I've never sprayed shellac, so I'll ask you're experience on this... Does
shellac bite into the previous coat and flow together, or is it more like
poly and just lay on top? The notion of biting in assumes a second coat
applied at the flash, and not after cure. Dealing with dry coats is
somewhat dependent upon these characteristics of the material being sprayed.
Sometimes the simple identification of a problem does not always result in a
simple solution - as evidenced by the multiple approaches already posted to
this thread. But then again, this is a woodworking forum...
<<.... sometimes it's brush time. >>
I know exactly what you mean. I am going to put in a couple of new
doors in a house on Monday, and finish them on Tuesday. After much
consideration ( I really wanted to spray these things, and they have a
room for me to do it in) I have decided that I will brush the urethane
rather than spray.
I don't want to spend more time figuring out what I did if it doesn't
work right, and then sanding it all off and starting again than I would
from brushing to cleanup knowing there won't be a problem.
Mike Marlow wrote:
<<It will never lay
down flat because of those droplets at the base of the film. It will
some which is what gives the orange peel effect, but it will always
a bridging of the droplets, thus the orange peel. >>
OK, now that makes sense. With that explanation, I won't forget. I'm
not new to spraying, but >I am new< to problems solving with solvent
based spraying. Until posting my questions here, all I have been able
to get is a shrug of the shoulders and "sometimes that just happens,
I can ususally lay down the solvent based coatings correctly, but upon
reflection I am remembering that on any job of any size that went
really well I had someone else set up the gun/finish.
As for water based spraying (meaning latex paint) I spray away with my
airless with wild abandon. The paint brand, type, of use of paint...
none of it matters I have been doing that so long. And to me, spraying
latex is harder than spraying oil; but I have painted so many houses,
trims, doors, walls, etc. and whole buildings it doesn't take much
But as I am now appreciating more and more though, the key to good oil
solvent spraying is the setup, not the delivery. Today's latex paints
are so forgiving and work so well it is a snap to use them. It seems
on the solvent base materials there are a lot more variables to really
turn out good work.
As always, thanks.
Glad it helped. I'm just such a puddle of useless information and
irrelevant facts (ahem... the word "facts" is a loosely defined term in this
context) that it feels good sometimes when I stumble upon something that
actually works for someone.
That's right. I try to make it a point to encourage guys to really get to
know their gun. The best first step is to really read the manufacturer's
instructions on the adjustments with the gun and then to practice on some
scrap. Experiment with each of the adjustments - which is somewhat time
consuming since each adjustment interacts with the others. But... it's the
best way to learn about achieving a proper pattern, a proper flow rate, and
a proper application rate.
I don't know how effective it really is for other guys when they read it,
but the best I've ever been able to come up with is something that was
handed down to me and it's the concept of trying to spread a thin layer of
plastic wrap with your spray technique. It's amazing how much easier good
technique becomes with a well set up gun. Most guys need to really learn
the knack of watching the material going on as they're spraying. It just
doesn't seem to come naturally. I know it didn't for me. But man... what a
difference it makes when you see the coverage happening and you almost
instinctively know how to adjust your rate of application based on what
you're seeing. It's a break-through moment. That's when you can get to the
point that you can shoot it and ship it. No sanding, no buffing, etc. I
still end up doing more wet sanding and buffing than I wish I had to, but
it's generally because of dust nibs, spiders and/or mosquitoes (who seem
ever so attracted to clear coat), or some other issue not really related to
The coolest part about these threads is that there's always something to
learn. You shoot latex in your sleep and I'd be a disaster with latex. I
just never shoot it. Don't have the guns for it. Swingman shoots shellac
like he's some sort of East Indian Beetle and I'd probably screw that up in
a heartbeat as well. Never shot the stuff. Don't even know if my guns will
shoot it well. But - I picked up an interesting tid-bit from a post by
Swingman earlier today, about shooting shellac. May never use the
information, but it was cool to discover it.
OK now, Mike. You're gonna get me in trouble.
All I have is my little Binks knockoff which you know about. BTW, as
an update on that, I have found it works quite well with 32 oz can
attached - no undue strain on the gun frame as you suspected. I went
down to HF when we were talking about it in an earlier thread, and lo
and behold, there was a teflon lined cup for $5. So I bought the cup,
a 1/4 union, and then a 1/4 to 3/8 male/male connector and Frankengun
was born. So back to the lab I go with all my parts. I was afraid
that the little gun wouldn't have enough siphon power to pull the paint
up the larger tube and shoot a consistent finish. Completely
unfounded. Worked like a champ and save me a lot of trips to fill the
can while finishing up the burglar bars.
Now I had to finish the metal doors on the house. Hmm.... all white.
I know white will show every little problem, but I would be shooting
the same coating as before, just another color. So I mixed up 16 oz of
paint with 1/2 oz of Japan drier, and 1/2 of thinner. And it worked so
well I was actually, honestly surprised. I put the big can on it,
adjusted the fan out to about 6", and held the gun out about 8", and
turned the pressure all the way down to about 42 lbs. Shot a few long
runs on a piece of the old well painted wood door to set the flow, and
off I went.
The finish is gorgeous, as good as I have seen in a long time.
Certainly not as good I have ever seen, but everything lined up right
on this one. I did have to recoat one of the doors on one side,
though. With the finish juiced with drier and thinner, I couldn't even
touch up my starting area (one damn corner) when I was only half way
down the door. The touch up just sat on top of the paint. It was sure
sticky; but man did it set up. I was able to handle the doors in two
hours, and they were dry to the touch in less than four. So as I had
hoped, I was able to shoot two coats in the same day and still hang the
door that night (late) without fear of the vinyl weatherstrip pulling
off the new paint.
What a joy for me to do this. I pull the doors down and screw some
handle on them. I sand lightly as needed, then degloss for prep.
Spray one door both sides, set it aside. Spray the other door, set
it it aside. It isn't even lunch yet. Do the wood repair on on the
house as needed. Go to lunch. Come back, spray both doors. Leaving
the job at 6:30, I hang the doors and put on the hardware. I have
never been able to get more than one coat hard enough to hang the door
back the same day as spraying when using latex unless it was the dead
of summer when the temps are around 100 here.
<<Blasphemy Robert! Urethane shoots so nicely. Come on - take a
Life is so short... >>
Come on... can't you see the feathers on my legs?
But Mike, I'll bite on your post. Do you think the little Binks will
shoot urethane successfully? I don't know how to set it up. I buy a
couple of cans for small projects and cabinet refinish repairs, but 20
cans for a couple of doors is too much. For flat doors and surfaces, I
thin the urethane down about 10% and pad it on. You cannot tell it
wasn't sprayed. But one of the doors I am putting up is an old 15
panel wood door, so there is no way to pad it.
And even though I thin the oil paint down pretty far to paint with it,
I still don't know how it matches up to urethane as far as viscosity
goes.. Thin it? Don't thin it? Will I be able to put the door back
on that evening? Like I said, the temptation is awful as she has a
studio, detached from the house that is empty that she said I could
I am thinking that it will take me about an hour each side to coat the
door and inside all fifteen little raised panels and their trim
corners, etc. OR I could spray BOTH sides and clean the gun in 30
minutes. I could have finish on both doors and clean the gun in one
But I'm feeling the wind blowing through my feathers...
Nah - you're steppin' right out there. I see heat lamps and downpressure
booths in your tea leaves.
I know it will. I use my Binks 115 to shoot urethane all the time. Follow
paint manufacturer's directions for thinning, retarding, etc. as appropriate
and you'll be fine. I shot some gloss black urethane on a steering wheel
for a '51 Dodge I did last winter. It was a rubber over steel steering
wheel and a lot of the hard rubber had cracked and been broken away, so I
had to repair and contour areas around the spokes, etc. Got all of the
fillers finished down to what satisfied me, shot a little primer on the
whole thing and then laid on the urethane. I shot on really wet coats -
just short of sagging. I think I put on about 5 coats. The build up was
phenominal and it felt almost like plastic in your hands when it dried.
Smooth. Really smooth. Almost as smooth as a 21 year old's... ummmmm...
well, you can guess. Almost as good to hold on to as well. But not quite.
You'll be reducing urethanes. The best advice when you're getting started
is to pick a brand and stick with the products from that brand. When you
get into activators and reducers they are chemically somewhat critical. In
reality, you can mix and match products more than the manufacturer's tell
you, but you want to know what you're mixing and matching. Disaster can
result. So- to be safe, stick with the associated products from one
manufacturer and simply follow the directions on the can. Nearly fail-safe.
The one thing you'll like is that today's urethanes flash in 20 minutes or
so and you'll get better and faster coverage/completion with a nicer, harder
finish than you're used to. Lay on a nice coat, wait for it to flash, and
lay down another. Cleanliness does become a bigger concern though and
that's why I harp on keeping guns as clean as the day they were bought. Not
all of mine are - some of mine have primer streaks down the outside of the
cups, but all look like new on the inside and around the gun itself.
Someday I'll invest a day's worth of effort to clean up those other cups -
they just bug me. Some of the stuff I shoot does not simply soften up with
a little lacquer thinner though, so the cleanup is an effort after it's been
there a while.
A good indicator of this will be dusting on each pass. A right awful pain
in the butt.
If the paint does not look wet and does not look like a sheet, then you've
got a problem. Too much air and/or not enough material coming out of the
gun will give more of a dusting problem though than a real orange peel
problem. Some times it's a matter of semantics and people may use one word
to mean another. Classic orange peel is too dry a coat - too much space
between the paint droplets on the surface of the project. What you describe
above can make for a rough finish instead of a nice smooth one, but as long
as the paint is laid on heavy enough it can be sanded and buffed to a decent
finish. Orange peel can be sanded and buffed, but very often will result in
visible orange peel under the surface (especially with clears). The surface
can be made to be smooth, but you can still see the orange peel through the
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