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Behlen Quart Can Mileage


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  • 11 months later...

I figured I'd bump an old thread instead of starting a new one since I have essentially the same question. I just bought myself a spray gun and I'm trying to gauge my progress. So far I've used an entire quart of lacquer (thinned 50/50) on 6 clearcoats. They're building ok, but not super fast, and I'm not applying real thick coats. I've used more lacquer so far than I thought I would, so I wanted to see if y'all think I should be getting more mileage from a quart.

One other thing. Yesterday the coats seem to be going on a little dry, so today I dropped to pressure to about 45 PSI and adjusted the fluid control almost all the way open. The lacquer is going on wetter now and seems to be building a little faster, but I think I may want to adjust the fan so it's a little narrower. The lacquer seems to be going on a bit orange peel-y, but by the time it dries it levels out to a pretty nice surface. Just to give an idea, this is the gun I'm using. I know it's cheap, and I'm not expecting super awesome pro results, but I think that with a little practice and the right setup, I ought to be getting some decent results.

So my basic questions are, does it seem like I'm going through lacquer too quickly, and does anyone have any comments on my technique or equipment adjustment? I know a need to learn this stuff for myself, but a little push in the right direction is always helpful.

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Yikes. A full quart to do one guitar, and only so few coats? I'm used to my HVLP gravity feed (SATA MiniJet 3) now, but on a very bad day I get about 2 guitars out of a quart of lacquer. My worst was one guitar out of quart, but I first shot a boatload of test panels, different colours, different tints, refinished three times before getting the coloration right, and we're talking shooting it straight out of the can, unthinned here. A pint should be enough for a bit of experimentation and a full guitar body and neck.

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Hmm... looks like I'm way off the mark here. Any ideas on what the problem might be?

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've got this figured out now, I think. Basically just user error.

The manual came with my gun is utter garbage... completely worthless. When I first got the gun, I noticed it had a knob on the side to control the spray pattern. One side said round, so, thinking that I wanted a flat pattern, I cranked it all the way open. Turns out that knob mostly controls the fan width, and I had just set it to the widest setting. Now my coats were building slowly and going on dry, so a started opening the fluid control valve and backing off the pressure. Eventually I ended up with the fluid control all the way open, and I was spraying from about 5 inches away just to get a decent build. The spray pattern was mostly overspray. You guys that have been spraying for a while are probably rolling your eyes, but I had no idea what a proper spray pattern looked like.

Anyway, my neighbor lent my his spray gun (a Binks 37) last week. I immediately noticed how much better the pattern was on his gun, and I started playing with the knobs on mine to try to match it. Now I've got the spray pattern almost fully closed (which produces about a 6 inch fan from 8-ish inches away) and the fluid control about half closed. The coats are building better, flowing out nicely, and I'm using about half as much lacquer. By my estimate I should be able to get about 10-12 coats out of a quart now. Probably inefficient by many people's standards, but at least I'm getting better. I was spending a fortune on lacquer before (I had even contemplated buying a gallon just for the bulk savings), so I'm pretty happy about getting these adjustments right... it's real cash savings that I can see immediately.

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