High-tech sprayer on a budget

Lay down a quality spray finish at a fraction of the cost

By Gord Graff


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Does size really matter? Yes, it does, when it comes to operating a conventional spray gun on a small, portable compressor. You need a large, pricey compressor producing a lot of air to run a conventional spray gun. The small, portable (and inexpensive) compressor that most of us have under our workbench just can’t deliver the needed volume of air. But if you thought that you wouldn’t be able to produce a fine-looking spray finish without splurging on a big-ticket compressor, you’d be wrong.

The Wagner Conversion Gun is a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) gun designed to operate off compressors as small as 1 1/2 hp and lay down a quality spray finish at a fraction of the cost of a turbine unit or a large compressor and gun.

In the tests I ran using my 2-hp compressor, I sprayed oil- and water-based polyurethane, shellac and lacquer. The Wagner performed flawlessly.

The gun comes equipped with a projector set that includes needle assembly, fluid nozzle and air cap, which was ideal for spraying polyurethanes, shellac and lacquer. Other projector sets are available for spraying a host of other finishes, stains, adhesives and paints.

Instructions were straightforward, but didn’t say what air pressure at which to set my compressor or the gun’s regulator. (A call to customer service told me to start at 30 lb. and 12 lb., respectively.)

The adjustments for material and air flow on the gun were very easy to use. I found the finish went where I sprayed it and didn’t leave my shop covered in overspray. With its three spray patterns, I was able to spray an area of finish as small as 1/4″ diameter all the way up to 12″ in diameter. This gun did a fine job of atomizing all the finishes I sprayed, resulting in a soft finish.

For woodworkers who have ever wondered if they could get a beautiful spray finish with a small compressor-yes, you can. With the Wagner Conversion Gun, I’m a believer.

The tool costs about $205. For more information, visit wagnerspraytech.com or call 800-328-8251.

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