quality spray finish on cabinets?

sunroomguyFebruary 20, 2008

hello, i will be building all of the kit & bath cabinets for our new home. most will be hickory and some will be cherry. i have a well equipped shop and am a pretty good finish carpenter but a lousy finisher. i will also be spraying the paint on the mdf trim and masonite doors. i'm looking to invest in a spray system and need some direction. can anyone suggest a website or other source to help me learn about the different types of finishes and how to apply a high quality finish? which type and brand of sprayer should i consider? i did a google search without much luck. thanx in advance for your response.

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Here's a link to a good article from Fine Woodworking Magazine that compares various finish materials and their relative ease of use etc.

Most kitchen cabinet manufacturers today are using conversion varnish for it's moisture and chemical resistance. I think HVLP (high volume, low pressure)spray is the most popular method for hand spray. I finished my cabinets 32 years ago with regular nitrocellulose lacquer using airless spray and they held up quite well. A lot depends on the use and care. Nitro lacquer is the easiest and most forgiving to spray, dries fast and is easy to repair.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fine Woodworking on finishes.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Woodweb's professional finishing knowledgebase

Devilbiss ABC's of Spray Finishing PDF

Target Coatings Manual PDF


That ought to keep you busy.

Since you're DIY, it's probably safe to assume a couple of handicaps (besides lack of practice); you probably don't have a big industrial air compressor, and you probably don't have a commercial ventilation system. These handicaps will narrow your options and simplify some of the choices you need to make. A smallish compressor means you need a gun that doesn't consume much air, so you're looking at HVLP (high volume, low pressure) or LVLP (low volume, low pressure). A marginal or non-existent ventilation system means you need a gun that produces minimal overspray (again, HVLP or LVLP) and also means that you need to avoid finishes that are dangerous when atomized, so you need to look into waterbase finishes. Target Coatings is as good a brand as any.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 5:38PM
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A system I just started using in my shop, outside of my spray booth, is an air assisted spray system. This is an airless pump with a separate air only line to the gun. The airless gets the paint to the gun at fairly low pressure and the air assist atomizes the paint at the tip and helps control the pattern. This works very well for using water based stains and lacquers.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:17PM
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