Spraying Carvings without Drips

Advice on guns, tips, and methods for feathering in the finish on detailed carved woodwork. February 21, 2011

We have a job that involves spraying a lot of carvings with deep relief in some areas. We are using ML Campbell Clawlock primer and Resistant for a topcoat. We are having problems getting the finish into the low relief areas. We are using a Kremlin 10:14 pump and MVX gun with 09.11.2 tip. We also have available a Binks 2001 gun on a pressure pot and another 2001 gun on a siphon cup setup. Is there any advice anyone could offer on how to help with this problem?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor S:
If I recall correctly you can't really feather with the MVX, it's a full trigger gun, right? So by the time you get the recesses covered it is dripping off the high points? Your 2001 gun will allow you to dial it down till it acts like a small touch up gun. Go in tight and feather in all your deep relief first until you have it covered then finish as usual. Use the pressure pot so the gun can be moved fast in any direction. If you need the speed have another person follow with the MVX.

From the original questioner:
The Kremlin does not seem to feather well. I'll give the pressure pot a try.

From contributor U:
What are we spraying - doors, trim, panels? What approach are you using to spray? Are you spraying at an angle or straight on?

From the original questioner:
We are spraying columns with carved capitals and fascia that is deeply carved also. Yes we tried spraying on an angle and straight on but some of the lower relief areas received very little finish.

From contributor K:
We've had that problem on highly carved and pierced pieces. The favorite workaround has been to take a smaller touch-up style gun and hit those areas first from whatever angles minimize the air-trap. Then we come back with the production gun to hit the rest. Takes time but sure beats sanding drips.

From the original questioner:
I hear you about the drips! I do have a gravity fed cup gun I could try for the detail work. Here is a photo of the carvings we are having trouble with.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

Below is the fascia. The gravity gun works a little better then the Kremlin but still hard to get the low areas without having it running off the high points. Any other tips are appreciated.

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From contributor K:
Have you choked the guns back in the fluid flow dept? Think more misting from multiple angles than full wet first pass. Build the Clawlok - like on the fascia, pass tilted up, pass angled left, pass tilted down, pass angled right. If things look kind of wet, wait for the solvent to flash a little before the next pass. If you have air control, keep it as soft as you can to minimize the air trap.

From contributor G:
Are you trying to hide the wood grain?

From the original questioner:
Yes it is a pigmented finish. If it was mine it sure wouldn't be though!

Click here for higher quality, full size image

From contributor F:
I use a 06-09 when I need to go soft but considered buying a 04-09 tip for really getting around legs and carvings. Have you tried to reduce material on the pump and use a tiny tip? I can always break out the Sata and dial down the pressure, but I'm spoiled with tip changes on the Kremlin!

From contributor R:
Iím not sure if anyone else does this but I like to give a carving like that a real good sanding first before the finishing process. Pay particular attention to sharp edges as the sharpness will actually repel a finish and cause a bridging on the flats.

Sometimes the end grain can be an issue on a carving be it a machine carve or even a hand carving so if there is any sort of roughness, a good sanding will help yield a good looking finish.

From the original questioner:
I think if I buy another tip for the Kremlin I will need to hire a security firm to guard them all! I do have a 06-092 tip I have tried it and it is a better then the 09-112. I think I will try the gravity gun with the air down low first before looking at the 04 tip. I did sand a bit but maybe could break the edges of the fine details a bit more to open them up.