I have tried practically every method of finishing, but waterborne finish technology continues to evolve, keeping me on my toes. Clients recently requested flat panel cabinet doors and end panels to replace their existing ones, but they wanted lacquer-like smoothness with an environmentally friendly finish. Balancing all of the variables like cost, durability, ease of application, I attempted to find a way to use latex paint and apply it in a super smooth finish. Brushing was clearly out, and I even ruled out foam rollers. Thankfully, I discovered the Graco TrueCoat II handheld electric airless sprayer and have been thrilled with the results. At about $200 bucks, this sprayer is a bargain.
The sprayer is capable of holding one pint of material at a time, and can handle the heavy body of latex and other thick paints. As with every finishing system, the TrueCoat II has its pros and cons. It laid down a super smooth finish (I strained the latex paint before applying) and FAST! I coated this 36” x 96” refrigerator panel in less than 20 seconds! The gun is not too heavy, even with the paint loaded in the canister. The TrueCoat II can spray un-thinned stains, primers, latex and durable water-based acrylic-alkyd enamels as well as clear finishes. It has a replaceable tip and multiple tip sizes are available for different finish viscosities.
It is also capable of super nimble spraying. Finishing this chair was a breeze, taking less than 30 seconds! While incredibly fast at applying material to almost any surface, the downsides to the sprayer are worth mentioning. The gun has a wide fan and big overspray. Note the huge tarp! I would recommend using it in a dedicated spray booth, outside with tarps covering anything valuable, or in new construction where entire rooms are masked off. As with most sprayers, the gun is a bit of a chore to clean. After pouring unused material back in to the paint can, the gun takes 8-10 minutes of flushing to totally clean, and after that, a blue ‘pump-armor’ liquid must be loaded to protect the inner, moving parts of the gun. In my estimation, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Even including cleaning, the gun produces a better finish and is faster than rolling or brushing, and the larger the project, the more efficient the gun gets. I’ll admit, once the paint is flowing, using the TrueCoat is addictive. After my primary projects were painted, I started looking around my shop for more stuff to finish!!
Graco TrueCoat II Electric Handheld Sprayer, $200.00
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