HVLP spray guns

I am at the varnishing stage of my Guillemot Play, and am wondering if I should try using a HVLP spray system. On the last boat I was relatively successful using a brush, but am thinking that it would be great if I did not have to deal with brush strokes and can lay multiple layers down withing the same day. Any body have experience with these systems?


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RE: HVLP spray guns

I own an hvlp sprayer. Thought about using it, but ended up going with a brush. I've never shot varnish with the hvlp, only paint, and after working so hard on the wood and glass portion of the project, I didn't want to be experimenting with spraying varnish.

I made a tent in my garage to cut down dust, but it was pretty tight with me and the kayak in the tent. I don't think I would have had enough room in the tent to use the spray gun. 


RE: HVLP spray guns

I used an HVLP gun to paint my first boat, a 12' sailing skiff. It worked okay but clean-up was a real pain. I've used a foam brush on all three of my kayak builds. One was varnished; one has a painted hull; and the other was finished with Minwax marine urethane. The brushed finishes are all consistently better than the sprayed finish. The spray gun worked great on my garden shed, though, where I layed on three coats of oil-based stain in about twenty minutes. -Wes

RE: HVLP spray guns

I'll third the comments above. You'll probably be disappointed using HVLP to spray marine finishes. HVLP was developed in order to allow commercial auto shops compy with environmental regs. By law, the maximum tip pressure is 10 lbs and it just isn't enough to atomize the thicker marine coatings such as varnish and paint. I've got a Fuji 4 stage turbine gun and it produces OK finishes but I can do a better and quicker job rolling and tipping with a high quality bristle brush.

RE: HVLP spray guns

I guess this is the wrong thread to remind people that I have a brand new one for sale ;-). Can't get rid of the dang thing...oh well...live and learn


RE: HVLP spray guns

That's strange, I've used my HVLP to spray everything from Gelcoat, really thick, to clear coat, water thin, works for me. Are you guys use different air and fluid caps for each different viscosity of finish?

RE: HVLP spray guns

Not sure how spraying (vs brushing) allows you to do multiple coats in a day. I'm sure you can get it to spray OK if you thin the varnish, have at least a 3 stage turbine and big enough tip (a 2.0 oughtta do it). FWIW, I have a 3-stage Turbinaire, an air-assisted airless rig, and conventional (non-HVLP) guns, and I used the foam roller/foam brush method on both of my boats.

Dan, what setup are you selling?

Cheers, Pat

RE: HVLP spray guns


It's an Earlex spray station pro. I paid $300 for it with cleaning kit. Will consider any offer at this point. I live in the lower Hudson valley and will deliver it by kayak if possible, UPS or USPS, if not 

RE: HVLP spray guns

Thank you very much guys. I guess you have answered my question, as I was sure that you would. I will stay with brushing the finish on as I did before. I actually enjoy varnishing very much, but was thinking that the HVLP gun would be an improvement. Thanks, Barry

Will try to post pictures when finished.

RE: HVLP spray guns

I have an Earlex 6900 and I sprayed my varnish.  I found Schooner Gold to be way too thick and ordered some original schooner.  I found the best results were mixing 50/50 of the 333 and 216 thinners and used the thicker 2mm tip.  Best advice I can give is to not get greedy when spraying by spraying too much.  I didnt get too much in the way of runs, but if you spray too much on a coat, youll get a good bit of solvent pop. The final coat should just be a light dusting, maybe only 1 pass over the boat from end to end.  The finish came out beautifully though with the spray. I started off trying to brush schooner gold and hated it. I probably sanded most of it off just to level it back out since even thinning 30% was like painting with honey.  Good luck!

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