What the heck is HVLP anyway? Before now I never really knew but I suspected it was some sort of social disease, or maybe some new computer software site that I was missing. Turns out it stands for High Volume, Low Pressure, as in a paint sprayer. Well, so what? Let me explain.
Awhile back I bought a name-brand high pressure airless sprayer and it works well, but I am about half scared of it. When I opened the box, it had more warnings than you have ever seen about the pressures involved. This thing operates at something around 2000 psi. There is actually a little plastic card to take with you to the emergency room if you happen to stick this thing in the palm of your hand and pull the trigger. The little card instructs the surgeon who to call and warns that paint injected into your body with this thing can only be removed by amputating the affected part. What if you shoot yourself in the head with it? Are you kidding me?
Enter the Earlex 2900 HVLP paint sprayer currently available only at Highland Woodworking. They loaned me one to try out for a few weeks and I like it. I felt great relief and relaxation when I was using this thing. When I first turned it on and it was blowing this gentle breeze from the nozzle, in spite of all my negative instincts, I very gingerly stuck my hand in the air stream. Nothing!! When I first filled it, I used a bottle of water because I didn’t want to clean it. In the past I have spent upwards of two hours cleaning my high pressure system and if this sprayer was going to take that long to clean, I wasn’t interested.
When I sprayed it, the water went out about two feet in a nicely formed spray. No trauma, no high pressure, no fear, no amputations. I played with it enough to use up the bottle of water and then I figured I would try some real paint. I had a new quart of interior white latex and thought that might be a good test. Without any fine furniture underway that I wanted to paint white, I had two metal sawhorses that I very much dislike at the shop, so painting them white seemed to be ample revenge for all those pinched fingers while setting them up. After using the viscosity cup as directed in the instructions, I wasn’t satisfied with the results, so I thinned it down a little more and tried again. Now those nasty metal sawhorses have never looked so good. I put two thin coats on, had most of the paint left in the cup and was ready to paint anything else I could find.
I got done painting, all the while dreading the cleanup. I took the cup to the kitchen and rinsed it out in about two minutes. After that I filled the cup with clean water and sprayed that through the system and it was done. I kept looking for something else to clean, but I couldn’t find it. I was going to take the gun apart and clean it, but it didn’t need it. I was going to take the hose off and clean that, but no paint goes there. I was going to take the needle out and clean that, but it was already clean. No more than ten minutes max and it was done.
This really fine Earlex sprayer is available from Highland for $149.99 including a book on spraying and a demo DVD. Get your wife one of these for her birthday and she can stain the deck next time it needs it. Shouldn’t take her more than ten minutes to clean the sprayer after she finishes.