How to Spray a Cabinet Door

Basic advice on spraygun settings and spray patterns for an even, consistent finish on a raised-panel door. May 7, 2007

I'm using an Astro gravity feed to spray Target's gloss USL. My final coat is satin. With the door on a lazy-Susan, I'm adjusting the gun for a 1" circle, spraying the edge and the opposite lip and rotating for the next edge. When I've done the edges, I adjust for a fan and spray the face.

My problem is starting the pass for the opposite lip… If I trigger while approaching the frame, I spray an extra coat on that section of the frame. If I trigger while approaching the panel, I reduce the area with two coats, but there seems to be a heavier double coat on the frame at the trigger point. What technique do I need to learn? Is there a basic book or video to consult on using or manipulating the gun rather than choosing and maintaining a system?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor S:
Do not dial in anywhere! 1. With your fan open, make a pass over your door in one direction (across grain). 2. Spray your four outer edges (allow coating to tack). 3. Pass over your door in opposite direction (with grain). 4. Repeat step (2). Most call this box coating. When using this technique, material flows evenly into routered, detailed, and shouldered areas.

From contributor J:
That’s the way I do it too. On passage doors I use an airless sprayer with a 6" pattern. I do the edges, then spray straight from top to bottom overlapping 50% each pass. The wide pattern gets the profile edges.

From contributor R:
Are you talking cabinet doors? I'll usually spray the inside edges before doing a full spray as described above. I think your fluid is too heavy. I close down fluid by about 2/3's and fan by about 1/2. If the inside edge is square (no edge detail - like a shaker flat panel door), I'll close the fan down completely (spot pattern) and fluid open only 1/4 turn or less.

Another option is to spray the outside edges with a reduced fluid and fan (but not spot), then reset the gun and spray a full spray with and against the grain as described by others, but angle the gun slightly as you spray the rails in one direction and then the stiles in the other direction.

From the original questioner:
Thanks all, you've given me two approaches to try. Sorry for the lack of detail.

These are on cabinet doors with a Shaker panel and no routed detail to ease the corner. But eliminating the adjustments would speed things up. I'll try that approach.

Contributor R, you were spot on. And although I did dial my fluid way down when I reduced the fan to a 1" circle, I used the same adjustments for both the exterior edges and the inside edges. I'll try reducing them even further for the inside edges.

From contributor M:
I spray using a Kremlin AAA and have also used the equivalent CAT AAA and both get great results with the following (keep in mind there is little adjustment you can do to the pattern on these guns). Be sure your material, particularly pre-cats and conversion varnishes, are at around 25-30 seconds from the flow cup.

1) Spray all edges, basically head-on (not using a 45-degree angle) either using the swivel like you mentioned, or by reaching around the door if it's small enough.

2) Spray the face. I keep the gun a fairly solid 12" from the door, which gives a great atomization pattern and even distribution. Lap each pass 50%. You should get plenty of material in all the nooks and crannies unless spraying a really messy route pattern. Spray 3 or so wet mils. I do not double-pass. In my experience this just produces more overspray since you are making two quick passes rather than one standard pass.

Also make good use of retarder or flow enhancers if your lacquer is drying too quickly and causing tiger-stripe lap marks. Beware of how much you use; any more than 10% will cause a really slow drying coat.