Friday, November 30, 2012

Q & A :: spray guns revisited

Q:  I'm not getting a smooth finish with my spray gun.  Do you have any recommendations for an inexpensive replacement?

A:  The answer to orange peel doesn't always lie with the gun itself, but the tip you're using, the paint you're spraying or the amount of pressure your compressor supplies.

Most 'at home' and 'weekend warrior' painters use some sort of water based paint (usually latex), which by nature is very thick.  In order to spray something so viscous you need a large tip to be able to move the paint through.  If you have a smaller tip, you're paint needs to be thinned considerably.  Spraying tinted lacquer or a clear coat require a smaller tip because they're thinner.

Because I spray oil and waterborne oil, I use a 2.5 tip - suuuper huge in the gravity feed world.  They're hard to find because most gravity feed guns are designed to spray clear coats and thinner materials like auto paint.  It's quite hard to find a gravity feed gun designed for thick, pigmented paints.

My old gun had a 2.2 tip and that worked as well, but I still had to thin my paint a little.  It also came with a 1.7 tip for clear coats.  I can't imagine getting a glassy finish spraying latex or oil with a 1.7.

If you've looked for a gravity feed gun, you've probably noticed that most come with 1.3, 1.5 or 1.7 tips.  This is because most are designed for spraying vehicles and auto paint is like water.

Some spray companies have different size tips available to purchase separately.  Look for those.  

Extra tips for my gun are a whopping $250!  So I use my old Porter Cable gun (it's discontinued) for lacquers.  Because my tips and gun are so expensive I baby them by spraying them down with WD-40 every week.  Water isn't good for the metal and WD displaces it which prevents rust and corrosion.  (Did you know the WD stands for 'water displacement'??)

Any other questions for me???  Email me at  You can find the previous spray gun Q & A here.  

1 comment:

  1. that was super helpful, thank you. and your spray guns are like works of art! beautiful photos. but i think finding out what WD in WD-40 stands for is the best part of reading this post. :) Off to quiz my hubby...