Introduction to Spray Painting

Lucky Singh giving lessons in spray painting

I have been applying finishes by brush, rag and roller for years without problem. But when it came to finishing an apartment full of in-built cabinets, furniture, doors and windows, I thought it might be a good idea to acquire a spray paint system.

It was a big decision because the system involves getting an air compressor, a moisture filter, fittings and hoses, and finally the spray gun itself. I got a Metabo 50 litre compressor (about Rs 23,500 street price), filter (Rs 3,000), fittings (Rs 2,000) and a spray gun (Rs ,3000). 

The first compressor supplied didn’t work properly as its auto cut-off valve wasn’t functioning. The Japanese company Hitachi-Koki has taken over Metabo and seems to have brought its inefficiencies with it. For, it took Hitachi and its local dealer an entire month to replace the compressor. The customer isn’t king in India, not in the northern parts at least.

The Metabo compressor

PU for spray painting

At any rate, after the new compressor came in it took me a while to figure out everything and I probably would have blundered on for a long time had it not been for Manmeet “Lucky” Singh (whom I have written about earlier). 

The good man turned up one Saturday afternoon and set up the whole thing, fixed leaky fittings and adjusted the troublesome filter which had no manuals for the uninitiated.

A few woodworker friends turned up to have a go at spraying and in all it turned out to be great fun. The spray system once you get it working is a wonder. Spraying properly needs skill, however, as Lucky demonstrated.

A steady hand and eye is called for

Most of us managed a pretty uneven spray with stuff dripping all over the place. But Lucky, the professional finisher that he is, showed how a steady hand and eye could ensure a thin even coat.
The air compressor is a bloody noisy machine (at 93db) and will take some getting used to. The results however should compensate for the inconvenience.

One reason why I overcame my initial reluctance to get into spray painting is the lure of the many exciting new finishes (including stains and top coats) a few European companies have introduced in India. Some of the wood stains are pretty stunning and good results are only to be obtained through careful spraying.

I also plan to experiment with polyurethane and polyester paints that are far more durable than regular emulsions. These paints also can be applied with various effects (most of them pretty hideous or odd, to be sure) some of which can be quite pleasing or even stupendous.

But that’s for the future. In the meantime, plenty of practice for steadying the blinking eye and shaky hand.

Indranil Banerjie
27 February 2018


  1. Ah! the look on their faces.. I guess you've got something great going on. And congrats on your new machine.

    I'm looking for advice on coating/finishes that are suitable for outdoor use, I'm building a wooden paneled gate here in Kerala (tropical weather). The wood i'm using is Aini or Jungle Jack, what type of coating do you recommend?
    This is my first outdoor project & the only product I've seen in the local market is an exterior grade Polyurethane coat under the name of 'Sleek' .

    1. Exterior grade polyurethane is your best bet. In the West you get something called spar varnish which is used for exterior wood surfaces including boats which I believe is polyurethane mixed with some oils. This is not available in India as far as I know.

  2. Nice blog nice content.


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