Fuji Spray HVLP Systems - Revisited

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Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
I am late to what is now a closed thread on Fuji Spray system questions started by Chris C. Unless it breaks protocol, I am reviving the topic here.

I opted for the Fuji Mini-Mite 3 about 3 years ago. I wanted to try HVLP on a Hoosier-style cabinet I built for my daughter. There are some images in my gallery.
The MM-3 with the T75 gravity gun seemed to offer a nice balance of features, power and quality for my needs. So far, I have used it on 5 projects and would still classify myself as a nervous beginner to HVLP finishing.

I bought the system from Phelps Finishing. They were very helpful and set me up with two air-cap/needle sets (1.3mm and 1.8mm) to fit my needs for spaying the Hoosier cabinet with several coats and layers (colors) of General Finishes faux milk paint (1.8mm) and top coats of GF Enduro-Var (1.3mm). Phelps recommended the Fuji whip hose. I took their advice and am glad I did. IMHO, it’s the only way to go with a Fuji system.

I spray outdoors when conditions allow. Thus, the portability of a turbine-driven HVLP system makes perfect sense for me. Yes, it is loud, but working outside and for relatively brief periods of time, the noise, which mimics a shop-vac, isn’t really a serious-issue.

I chose Fuji-Spray and Phelps because of their reputations for first-rate customer service. Neither has disappointed in that regard. Both have been responsive and helpful.

I’m still actively working to improve my spray finishing knowledge and results, but remain satisfied with the decisions I made. I tend to scour the interweb each time I reach the point in a project where spraying will be called for. I happen to be at that point now, nearing the final stages of a cherry end table build. In this instance, I’m virtually certain that the project’s finish will consist of:


  • Some careful time in the sun to hasten the initial darkening of the cherry.
  • A hand-rubbed coat of diluted boiled linseed oil to pop the grain and impart some additional amber hue. I’ll let the BLO sit for a week or more to cure.
  • Three or so coats of General Finishes Enduro-Var satin, sprayed with the Fuji MM-3 and a 1.3mm air-cap/needle. I’ve had reasonably good results thinning the Enduro-Var slightly (5-10% distilled water) and adding a teaspoon of 90% isopropyl alcohol to each gun cupful of thinned top coat material (as recommended by Charles Neil.

I admit to having run into some orange peel issues on a previous spray, but I think they were attributable to my gun adjustments and technique—as opposed to the Enduro-Var, it’s thinning and/or the air-cap/needle setup. I can only hope that my thoughts on this are correct.

Clearly, none of this is offered from an expert perspective. It’s simply what I’m up to. If anyone has related experiences and/or alternative recommendations, I’m all ear and would welcome sage advice. I’m very eager to reach a point where my HVLP finishing results are more predictable and less stressful.

Carry on.
 

Pop Golden

Pop
Corporate Member
I have an older Fuji Q3 turbine. +++ on the whip hose. I've had a very good relationship with the Fuji folks. Customer service is top notch.

Pop

 

Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
As I understand it, with water-bourne top-coats, the alcohol combats water's natural surface tension characteristics which helps the material level more quickly and effectively.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
I also use a Fuji mini mite 3 stage but I have a cup gun. I've used it on half a dozen projects I would estimate including a previous house full of plantation shutters. I've used mainly Resisthane, both clear and white tinted. I also sprayed primer made by the manufacturer of Resisthane on the shutters.

Before getting the Fuji I used a Wagner conversion gun and a small compressor. I get MUCH better results with the Fuji but I did several projects with the Wagner. I was surprised with how fast my Fuji can lay down finish. I emptied my one quart cup in less than 10 minutes spraying a queen sized bed for my daughter. My spray pattern was too big so I adjusted the gun and got done before I ran out of finish.

For me, orange peel is essentially inevitable for vertical surfaces. I console myself that it is better than sags. Horizontal surfaces I can sometimes do better. I try to keep the surface smooth and don't worry if there is a bit of orange peel. I've also sanded down a horizontal surface or two and buffed the back out. It's a fair bit of work but I think it is the only way to get a perfectly flat and smooth surface. But normally my off the gun surface is OK for us on the horizontal.
 
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