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My “Go To” Compressed Air Spray Guns

Air Compressor Spray Guns

Not sure if you saw it, but Doug F., posed a great question about CFM capacity for hobbyists vs. pros on Marty Schlosser’s article on “Choosing the Best Air Compressors for Your Shop.”

You can find Marty’s informative answer down in the comments section, here.

And speaking of questions…

I received a number of them asking which compressed air spray guns I recommend.

Here’s my answer…

Over the span of 30+ years, I have used a wide array of compressed air spray guns, ranging from conventional high-pressure types…

…to what was considered new technology at the time, HVLP and LVLP guns.

As HVLP technology became more widespread, I saw an improvement in both atomization quality, overall gun design and ergonomics.

Specifically, and most recently, the Fuji LX-20 compressed air spray gun has really caught my attention in both of these categories.

This spray gun offers excellent atomization qualities when spraying modern waterborne finishes. It’s light in the hand but still has a solid feel to it.

The LX-20 is designed for use in both production and DIY settings where compressed-air is available.

And here’s what I like  best:

The Fuji LX-20 is a great HVLP spray gun for use with all Emtech waterborne wood finishes!

It can handle all of our coatings when fitted with the right air cap set. I  typically recommend to set this gun up with
a 1.4mm air cap set, 600cc nylon gravity cup and a mini-air regulator gauge to get people pointed in the right direction to spray all Emtech clear top coats such as the EM6000, EM7000, EM8000 and EM9300.

Hope this was helpful.  And now I’d like to hear your thoughts — what are YOUR favorite compressed air spray guns?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying in the comments section below.

14 thoughts on “My “Go To” Compressed Air Spray Guns”

  1. I’m looking to replace my very old Turbinaire HVLP, I would like to replace with another turbin, most likely Fuji. Any suggestions? Not top of the line, but more like middle of the road price range.

    1. Larry – Thank you for your inquiry. The Fuji Semi-Pro 2 turbine and gun package is an excellent combo. I am confident that you will satisfied with the results. Feel free to give me a call to discuss in greater detail. 800-752-9922

      -JeffW-

  2. Have used the Binks 2000 for about 20 years, with 66ss fluid nozzle and 66sd air nozzle and siphon cup set up, spraying 8305. No problems and would be hard pressed to make any changes, but it is great to hear of others and new products!
    Thanks,
    Frank Fotheringham

    1. Marty Schlosser

      Glad to hear that the satin sheen conversion varnish is working out well for you, Frank. Have you tried adding our cross-linker CL100 to it, and if so, what level of additional durability did you sense?

      It’s pretty obvious that you’re taking good care of your equipment. Good for you!

      1. Marty,
        What kind of improvement should we expect if we used the CL100?
        I am a stickler for the finish people to clean the guns!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Through the years, the blue anodized finish has been “washed” off, and the varnish gun is bare aluminum. When I moved into the current building and just started to set up a Shop, I rented out the back room, which was in a rough state, but it was the finish room that we had at that time. The guy that rented it brought his own equipment and his cup gun was so dirty that he had to use his pocket knife to try and beat the cup lever to open. He ended up breaking his knife so I went into the shop area and brought back a hammer. I said “here, use this”. That story us told to everyone that does the finishing and I tell them that I DO NOT want the Shop guns to get anywhere to that level. After the finish people get done cleaning, I occasionally inspect it and either tell them that they have to do better or they are doing a good job with cleaning.
        You have to take care of your tools, they make a living for you!

        1. Frank — Great story! I have witnessed spray guns attacked with hammers to get them to come part as well as spray guns being used AS hammers in spray shop conditions that I would rather not recall…horrendous to say the least!

          To answer your questions pertaining to CL100 Crosslinker: CL100 Crosslinker is a chemical additive that is blended into the water based coating of choice to enhance and improve the physical characteristics of the resin when it is dry and fully cured. What is a physical characteristic? Well, scratch resistance, water and chemical resistance and adhesion are a few of the more important ones, as well as gloss and clarity. CL100 takes whatever physical aspects of the dry film formation is and bumps them up anywhere from 50 to 100% depending on the type of resin and what the percentages of that resin in within the base formula (yes, it’s complicated!…) Most modern crosslinker formulas take about 48-72 hours to fully activate and perform their chemical reaction. Introducing a low level of warmth to the crosslinked coating and to the parts after they have been finished with a crosslinked resin is a good way to make the reaction go faster.

          What a Crosslinker IS NOT is a catalyst. Catalysts have different functionality and are very short in pot-life and tend to be very toxic in both their liquid state and while in their activated/blended state within the resin before it kicks/converts to a cured film formation. An example of a water based catalyst is Blocked-Isocyanate. BI is very toxic and should not be handled without the proper PPE and excellent booth ventilation. BI has both short and long-term health implications if not handled properly. I strongly advise against the use of BI in small shop environments.

          I hope this information is helpful.

          -JW-

  3. I have used a variety of guns, from very expensive to total junk, over the years. I’m currently using a Harbor Freight detail sprayer ($13) as my go-to gun for small turning projects in the shop. It works well for the Target water-borne lacquers and it a very inexpensive way to get into spraying.

    1. Marty Schlosser

      Glenn, thanks for your thoughts. I’ve found that depending on the finish you’re spraying, even inexpensive guns can sometimes work quite well. (But if you get your hands on a really good gun, you’ll likely see a difference in performance…). Ensure that you properly clean it after each use, and lubricate the wearable parts. I’d highly recomment that if you haven’t yet looked at it, that you get yourself a copy of Jeff Jewitt’s excellent book “Spray Finishing Made Simple”. It’s THE reference book for anyone just getting into spray finishing; it covers cleaning, lubrication and so many others topics, very well.

      Good luck with your spraying, Glenn!

    2. Marty Schlosser

      Glenn, like you, I’ve had my fair share of spray guns, many of which were bargain-basement priced… and was sometimes pleasantly surprised! As mentioned to others before, there is a discernable difference in the performance of spray guns, which is most especially true with the higher-volume spray guns. But as you pointed out, detail spray guns seem to fare quite well, regardless of their price point. And of course, using the best water-based finishes on the market certainly helps out, too!

      Thank you, Sir, for letting us know what’s been working out for you. Good luck with your turning projects!

      – Marty Schlosser –

  4. I recently started using Fuji’s set ups and I have to say for 2 stage turbine the semi pro can hold its own. I bought it to get a feel for their quality before investing in something more suited towards production but I’ve been able spray pre cat epoxy primer and finish, shellac primer, Benjamin moore advance and a variety of other products and achieve results I didn’t think I would get. The stock gun comes in a siphon or gravity fed gun with a metal cup and an option to convert back and forth with an additional parts pack and can be dialed in better than most comparable stock guns. I wouldn’t suggest the semi pro as a dedicated finishing set up for a production setting but for smaller less frequent jobs it can hold it down. I’ll prob keep mine as a dedicated primer set up and go with their q4 or 5 with the t series gun. Sorry for the rambling post just thought I’d share.

    1. Marty Schlosser

      Corey, I recently conducted an evaluation of Fuji Spray’s 2-stage HVLP system, and my findings paralleled yours. It’s a terrific bang-for-the-buck system and perfect for anyone interested in seeing what spray finishing is all about without breaking the bank.

      I have a Fuji Spray Q5 Platinum (it’s my second one; my first one – a Q4, which was their flagship unit at the time – served me very well) and I really like it. The big difference between it and the Q-model one down from it, is the ability to dial down the turbine speed. In view of the two of them having very similar psi output, unless the turbine speed control is important to you (which it may or may not be), you may just wish to save your hard earned dollars and go with the 4-stage unit. Both of them will also support connecting to the 2-quart pressure pot, which makes those larger finishing jobs go more quickly. Oh, and by the way, by moving up from the 2-stage turbine, you gain a much higher-quality gun… which, incidentally, you can also use with your 2-stage turbine.

      Thanks for your thoughts, and I guess I’d better apologize to you for my rambling response! Have yourself a great day, Corey and good luck with your 4 vrs 5-stage system decision. They’re both terrific turbines, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be happy no matter which way you decide to go.

    2. Corey – Thank you for sharing your experience with the Fuji equipment with us. Everyone has their preferences and each turbine model has its minimum and maximum capabilities. It is important to research what these guns can/cannot do before such a solid investment is made.

      -JW-

  5. Jeff,
    Of course we all have our prefernces.
    I lean towards C.A. Technologies out of Colorado. Great guns…many to choose from.
    Aaron Hoffman

    1. Aaron – Yes, CA guns are an excellent choice as well. I have a Jaguar in my quiver of lab spray guns.

      -JW-

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