Minimizing Overspray When Finishing Drawers

Advice on drawer-spraying technique, for a smooth finish and minimal material waste. July 17, 2008

I am using a Kremlin with ML Campbell Magnasand, then Magnamax for finishing drawers, about 20 to 40 a day. It seems like I have a lot of overspray. Is there a way to get less overspray from a Kremlin? What is an acceptable amount? I currently set the air on 1 and the lacquer on 30 to 35.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor L:
It is probably your technique for spraying them that is causing the overspray. The way I spray my drawers is, first I spray the bottom, let it dry. Then I position it so it is open box up. Then I will spray the front outside, the back inside, then spin the box and do the other 6 sides the same way and then the bottom. If you still have problems you may need some retarder. Are you spraying many boxes at once? Or just one at a time? If you are spraying many, you might be taking too long in between start and finish. That way the overspray has time to dry and doesn't melt back into the wet lacquer.

From contributor R:
I guess it depends on the depth of the drawer but I usually like to stand my drawers up so they are standing on the part of the drawer that goes into the cabinet. I like the bottom of my drawers to be smooth (kind of anal, I guess). I usually use a little MAK in my finish as a retarder. Spray the inside of the drawer last (this will be the area with the least amount of overspray if there is any). After they dry, if there is any overspray on the outside of the drawer, I just run a 2000 grit Abralon pad on my air orbital sander with a spritz of water and it comes out like glass.

From the original questioner:
I'm sorry - I didn't mean on the drawers themselves. What I was talking about was the overspray on the floor around my turnstile. I sweep up about a 1 gallon container a week, sometimes more.

My drawers come out like butter. I start on the inside front and side, then the other inside back and side. After that I spray the bottom, once east to west, once north to south (box pattern).Then I do all the outside parts. First I go along the top edge of one side and complete it, then the top edge of the front or back next to it and complete it, then the top edge of the other side and complete it, and finally the top edge of the last front or back and complete it.

It seems like the overspray I sweep up at the end of a day could be less. I'm not really sure. I've only been doing this 3 years. I am in charge of all the spraying of drawers and custom built furniture. I am trying to save money wherever possible.

From contributor P:
You have your air and fluid pressure set at the low end, so that will keep the finish from bouncing off the surface you're spraying. The dry spray you're getting on the floor sounds pretty normal, if not less than I'd expect from normal spraying.

You do always want to pull the trigger on the spray gun right before the starting edge of the piece and letting go right after the end. If you pull the trigger way before the front edge or keep it pulled well after you've gone off the far edge, then you'll be spraying more finish on the floor than you need to.

Setting your gun to minimize bounceback and good triggering habits are the two biggest contributors to reducing overspray waste. At times you may also have to make a trade-off between production rates and overspray loss. By setting the air and fluid to higher settings on the pump, you can move faster, but waste a little more finish.