Fly-Speck Application Techniques

Finishers suggest half a dozen ways to make quick work of a fly-speck finish. August 21, 2006

I am about to finish a large group of cabinets that will have an old antique look. I have glazed the cabinets and I am ready to add fly specking or splatter look to them. I usually just stick a toothbrush into black paint and flick the specks onto the cabinets. It works well but is too slow, especially with all the cabinets that I have to do. Any quicker methods would be greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
If you put your glaze for specking in your HVLP gun and fiddle with the air and fluid a bit you can get a pretty consistent speck - like orange peel but a lot less fluid.

From contributor B:
I like to use an airbrush or detail gun; however a cup gun would probably work as well. Just break a paint stir stick or use a small piece of laminate and hold or tape it to the end of the gun at as close to a right angle to the tip as possible so the gun sprays onto the stick first and then blows the paint onto your project. The closer to the gun the laminate is the smaller the speck the farther away the larger. I would mix my fly spec with VM&P naptha and UTC and if I don't like the look I can wipe off with mineral spirits before sealing. Most spray gun manufacturers also make speckling tips and fluid nozzles you can buy, or I also used to just tape over the airholes on a conventional gun to get a similar effect.

From contributor C:
Seems to me that Mohawk makes (or made) a spray bomb just for this application. It came in a black and a Van Dyke Brown color. It was a spray can with a long red tube that plugged into the front of the spray nozzle. From what I remember the can was quite a bit smaller in size than the regular spray cans. It did a great job and only cost a few dollars. Iíve tried many ways to apply the fly specks and I found a cheap paint brush trimmed to an inch in length to be the fastest and most efficient way to lay down the specks.

From Paul Snyder, Finishing Forum technical advisor:
There are guns made just for flyspecking and spatter effects but I use an external mixing nozzle with my Binks 2001 gun. I usually use the nozzle with textured coatings like Polomyx, but found that by removing the nozzle tip and adjusting the fluid flow/pressure I can get a wide range of flyspecking and spatter effects. With this setup I can spray the flyspecking as fast as any other colored finish (e.g. toner, shader, sap stain, etc.).

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From contributor D:
I use a Kremlin M21 gravity gun, but I would bet any gravity gun would do. I turn the fluid almost off and the air down to next to nothing. I end up using the fan knob to adjust the speck size. Play with it. It is much faster than the toothbrush method.