Fly Speck Finish with a Spray Gun

Ways to tweak a spraygun to achieve the "fly speck" effect (small, dispersed droplets of stain).April 19, 2011

I currently flick a brush (loaded with glaze) but now have a large job where only small dots (uniform size) are wanted. I tried playing with a cup gun as advised but am not able to make it work properly.

I called up companies for a special gun but either they donít know what I am talking about and/or say they donít have it. What is the trick using a normal gun? Maybe itís not glaze? Who provides a gun for this?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor D:
The Knowledge Base article below may help you out.

Fly Speck Splatter Techniques

From contributor B:
I learned to use a tooth brush dipped in the material then you slowly flick the bristles away to produce the desired effect. Pretty low tech I know but the results were good. Perhaps for a larger scale a larger bristled brush may work. Practice on samples until you figure it out.

From contributor C:

If you have a pressure pot, turn the fluid way down (under 5 psi) and the air way up (60-90 psi) then remove the air cap and practice your technique on cardboard. Making small adjustments to fluid and air pressure you'll be able to fly speck anything very quickly. Practice. If you put down a wash coat first, anything that doesnít look right can be wiped off with naphtha or mineral spirits, assuming you are using a diluted glaze for your specks.

From contributor F:
Gravity feed guns will work for this as long as they have a big enough fluid tip for the material. If you are using glaze, a 1.5 or larger tip should do the trick if it's not too viscous, you may need to thin the material accordingly. Open up the flow and turn the air down to 5-10 psi or so, less air and more fluid flow equals bigger specks. Suction feed guns don't really do well unless they are the pressure assisted variety. Pressure pots really do work the best though and will give you the most control of your pattern density and speck size.

From contributor J:
I have used this method many times to do fly-specking with a siphon feed gun. I remove the cup from the gun/tube assembly (as if you are going to fill the cup). Flip the gun upside down and then fill the siphon tube with the material (usually glaze but stain works well too). This makes it gravity fed. Cut the air pressure down so that there is just a breath of air coming out maybe even less. Then cut the fluid volume down so that there is no fluid flow. Gradually increase the fluid knob until some material starts to sputter out as you pull the trigger. There should be barely any trigger pull and if you can hear the air as it passes through you have too much air flow. Play with these two adjustments until you have the speckle size you want. Test the pattern on a scrap piece of paper, cardboard or wood. More air/less fluid equals smaller specks and vice versa.