On-Site Finishing Setup

Equipment and formula considerations when finishing on site. May 11, 2006

I recently found this site and it seems to be a treasure trove of great practical information. I do most of my finishing in the shop, but I have some built-ins to finish on site. The finish is somewhat involved. It's a distressed, rubbed-through that's going to require multiple layers. I have 1 and 2 qt cup guns and AAA in shop. On site finishing seems to require a different set up. My preference is to use waterbase products with oil base stain underneath. Is there any system that you know of that is good for achieving fine finishes without a compressor? A conventional airless just isn't good enough.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
Airless air-assist works very well for on-site work. Most will run off low CFM (contractor type). This will yield low overspray and increased speed. Second choice is HVLP turbine system (electric). Stick to waterbase if you can.

From the original questioner:
I would tend to agree with using the AAA. However, my concern is with contaminating the finish with moisture or oil from the compressor. Can you really get a portable setup with the AAA and compressor that will effectively filter that stuff?

From contributor B:
I do lots of onsite finishing and use mainly waterborne lacquers and urethanes. I have found that AAA and turbine HVLP work well as does a 2 qt (I use a 3 gallon pot for bigger jobs) remote with a pressure feed HVLP gun for an exceptional finish.

You may want to consider using waterbased stains as well for their increased dry times, non-flammability and higher compatibility with waterborne coatings. We have had great success using these types of products for fast, high quality results on both commercial and residential architectural projects.

My favorite waterborne stain product that has a linseed oil stain that is waterborne is Oxford WR Stain System from Target Coatings. This product produces results that are identical to regular oil based wiping stains and it dries in 2-3 hours.

From contributor A:
As long as your compressor is in decent shape you should be ok. Most will generate moisture as they heat-up. If there is oil in your air you have a faulty compressor, you can buy in-line filters - most spray gun manufactures make them.

From the original questioner:
I do worry too much, itís just my nature. Iíve been finishing for almost 20 years, and just in the last 3 years I've gotten involved in more high-end cabinet stuff. Thereís a lot to know and I like to cover myself. I appreciate the help.

From contributor B:
You should be able to pick up a desiccant dryer from any place that sells air tools and automotive finishing products. An inexpensive unit will run about $125 with a higher end model at $300+. You probably donít need a high end one unless you have many hundreds of hours of spraying planned or like me you like to have the best equipment available for the job. You can attach the dryer to your compressor or have it on a mounting board so it stays vertical. Drain the dryer regularly and make sure you drain your tank on a regular (daily) basis.