Spray Finishing: Where Readers Do It

It seems that more than a few eZine readers have, or have had, access to a spray booth for finishing their projects – much like Rob did, long ago, as he discussed in last eZine’s editorial. – Editor

“I’m actually setting up a small booth in the back of my (garage) shop for airbrushing and pouring lead. I try to make my own wood fishing lures and lead jigs. My wife thinks I should have ventilation for this. I also grew up in a cabinet/upholstery shop. My youth was more in the upholstery shop. When the economy slowed, we built cabinets and some back bars for a few. They are both in my blood, with a love for electrical.” – Jess Wingo

“I have a very small shop – 12×24 — so most of the equipment is on wheels.  I have a portable spray booth that I made with plastic and then use three box fans with filters on the front.  I use water-based finishes so there is no threat of fire or explosions.   Easy to set up and take down, and there is my spray booth.  I must add that it is not fancy, but it works and the best of all is that it’s cheap!” – Bryan Olsen

This reader provided an in-depth description of his spraying setup. – Editor

“During my 40+ years in cabinetmaking and general woodworking, I’ve found spray finishing a real timesaver on larger or multiple-item projects. However, with some of the currently available good wipe-on finishes, my sprayers are now only used occasionally. My setup is a home-built portable, located near an outside window at the back of my 20′ by 30′ shop. I used 1/2 inch PVC pipe and fittings to make a 6′ x 8′ frame. I strengthened the frame with pipes/fittings, spaced inside and perpendicular to the 8′ length. When done, I mounted the frame to my ceiling, with the window centered to its location. Mounting was simple, with the use of vertical pipe hangers at the corners, and others equally spaced around the perimeter. The frame clearance is 4″ from the ceiling

“A series of Dollar Store plastic shower curtains make up the walls. I suspended the curtains with standard shower curtain rings, using the suspended pipe frame as their mounting source. Curtains are mounted all the way around the frame, to also afford protection to the back wall. Back curtains are almost flush with the back wall. The rings ride in between the frame’s support hangers. Sides and front slide easily for desired entry and reclosure. Also, no cutting curtains to length. They’re 72 inches and the install was easy from my 7′ 6″ ceiling.

“A small window fan (easily removable) is used to exhaust spray and any fumes to the outside air. To protect the fan motor and blades from finish buildup, I attached a length of furnace pre-filter cloth across the width of the window frame. The cloth is available in rolls at most box stores and can be cut to desired lengths. It’s durable, fairly inexpensive, and most of the overspray sticks to the cloth, before entering the fan. When dirty, I just cut a new length for replacement. A small rectangle is cut out in one of the back curtains. The cutout is in-line with fan area only, extending to each side of the window frame. The edges of the cutout are wrapped with duct tape, to help prevent tears. During use, I secure the vertical sides of the tape frame to the window frame with tack pins. This helps to confine overspray and the exhaust pattern. Also, I partially open an adjacent wall window, which helps to maintain fresh air and aids in rapid exhaust.

“When done spraying, I roll up the curtains. Each length has a 3/4″ x 3/4″ wood strip stapled to its bottom width. The ends of the rolled curtains are secured to the pipe rails with Velcro strips. I do remove the fan and filter cloth and store it for future use, but it can be left in place. In the end, all is out of harm’s way and kept ready for the next use. Best of all, heavily soiled curtains can be quickly and economically replaced.” – Bob Hick

Some have made their own adaptations. – Editor

“I do not have a spray booth per se; I have hooks screwed into the ceiling in a pattern to extend a few feet larger on each side of my 4X8 torsion box assembly table. I then took heavyweight clear plastic slightly over 8′ wide, folded the top edge, then ran Gorilla Tape duct tape over that fold, making sure to cover both sides with a couple of thickness of the tape. I used an old school hole punch to make a hole for each hook. I numbered each of the four sheets so they would align every time I put them up. Each sheet overlaps the previous one by two hooks. I have a roll of brown builder’s paper mounted under the short back edge of my assembly table. I cover the top of the table with the paper, masking tape it in place, then go to spraying.

“ The time it takes to get the curtains put up is minimal. It takes longer to get them down, folded and put away for the next use. I would say that I use this setup maybe six times a year — counting on more frequency after retirement!”  – Rick Martin

And some told us about the spray booths they had once, or will in the future. – Editor

“I, too, used to have one, but we sold that place and moved to a home and shop without such amenities. I do not intend to put in a booth, but I just brush, roll, wipe or rattle can it nowadays.  I invested in a very nice polish setup with four heads; sometimes it is better and sometimes it doesn’t work at all, depending on the job.” –  Greg Thacker

“I don’t have one now, but will have an 8×10 dedicated finishing room in about six weeks. How often I spray remains to be seen. Looking forward to improving my shop at the new house.” – Bob Farris

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