Automotive Spray Guns for Wood Finish

A few thoughts on how guns like Iwata and Sata compare with air-assisted airless spray setups. February 15, 2015

Has anyone tried the Iwata spray guns? Does anyone have experience spraying conversion varnish and lacquer? Iwata and Sata are often argued as to which is the top automotive spray guns for cars. Their web site indicates they use very little line pressure, 16lbs to the gun if I am reading it right? Other forums are saying they're off the gun finish is so good they don't have to cut and buff. Cars always seem to be high gloss high build. I’m just wondering if applying wood finishing products it would make any difference. With their LVLP and low pressure it should have less overspray? Maybe save on product. I have an AAA and love that. I don't know if I am missing out on something for smaller jobs that is also superior?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor N:
I'm pretty sure that 16 psi is at the gun with the trigger pulled. Depending on your compressor and the diameter of the air hose you're using that can be a ways away from 16 psi in the hose. I'm a self-confessed spray gun addict (one man shop and more spray guns than I have fingers and toes) and I've owned a few Iwatas (LPH 400) and still have three Sata's (1000K RP, 2000B RP and a 3000 mini HVLP and yes, they are amazing spray guns, the best I've used.

I prefer a pot and gun set-up for WB's with the 1000K RP for pressure feed and Devilbiss CVI for Gravity fed being my go to guns for WB clears and in my experience I get a better finish with them than with my AAA when using WB. But when using solvent CV or pre-cat I notice no difference in the finish when compared to an AAA, which of course gives a huge edge to the AAA. Less over-spray, a lot less compressed air to run, gets in smaller places and it's faster. Not that you shouldn't have a few gravity guns in the shop (or seven as in my case) they're great for making samples and finishing forgotten items and since good tools are a joy to use, get the best you can afford. Not only would I look at what Iwata has to offer but Sata and Devilbiss too, and don't forget CAT, Binks and Asturo.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for your detailed response! Sounds like for solvent the AAA has less overspray than your Iwata lph400? Most of the work I do is re-finishing with solvent on-site. So overspray is a huge concern. I’m always looking for that top quality finish off the gun, no buffing.

From Contributor M:
"Other forums are saying they're off the gun finish is so good they don't have to cut and buff." You can maybe get a decent gloss off the gun but never as good as a buffed finish. We use 2K urethane and you always get some orange peel when you spray it no matter what gun you use or how you thin it. Any custom car shop buffs all their paint and it isn't because they can't spray. For production wood work finish in lower sheens you can get a beautiful off the gun finish with any system as long as you use it properly and keep it clean.

From Contributor S:
For onsite work the air-assisted airless makes the most sense versus a regular gun (hooked up to a compressor):

•less overspray
•quality atomization
•smaller compressor
•portable, easy transportation
•sprays many coatings unreduced
(I read that AAA might contribute to microfoam bubbles when spraying 2k polyurethane because it shears the paint?)

Next on my list is a 3 stage or 4 stage turbine paired with an Accuspray turbine gun:
•clean dry air
•portable, easy transportation
•no compressor if you use an attached cup
•tiny compressor if you want a remote pressure pot
•easy setup/breakdown
•as loud as a vacuum cleaner

A turbine will yield more overspray than an air-assisted airless and it's slower in terms of how fast you move the gun on each pass. You might be thinning your finish to get a decently low viscosity so that you lay down a smooth coat (it's dry mil thickness will be thinner than an unreduced finish).