admin on August 14th, 2008
You might have noticed that I usually really like my tools. With very few exceptions, I research my tools carefully and then love them dearly. This is one of those exceptions.
The story goes something like this: I was painting a piece of furniture and started with a little foam roller. After several coats of paint with the roller, I was frustrated by texture differences at the roller edges. Even I think that sounds absurd now. For some curious reason, I decided that a brush might do better. I think my logic went something like, “Sure there will be brush marks, but those add character! As long as all the brush marks are in the same direction, it’ll look great.” Wrong. The brushed surface looked much worse than the roller, and so I sanded. Rather than go back to the roller, I began looking for a sprayer.
Good HVLP sprayers are pretty expensive, and I’m pretty cheap. Air sprayers require a pretty healthy compressor, which I currently lack (See “pretty cheap”, above). Whilst at Home Depot one day, I saw the apparent solution to all of my problems: a $60 all-in-one self-contained paint sprayer! What could be better? I can’t remember now if I bought it on the spot or thought about it for awhile, but I now own a “Wagner Spray Tech Power Painter – Home“.
My first adventure was with straight, uncut, black latex paint. While I can’t say I ever had great luck with the “Power Painter”, this was especially bad, and I deserved it. Apparently, anyone who knows anything about paint knows that you can’t spray pure latex paint, and you’re supposed to “cut” it with “Floetrol” or the like, which sounds like something you add to a sports car, a toilet, or a senior citizen with an enlarged prostate, but it’s not. You can read all about what Floetrol actually does at the link above, but my take is that it thins the paint and helps it stick somehow. The good news is that Floetrol really does help and results in an almost usable “Power Painter”. Almost.
Even after lots of experimentation with Floetrol mixtures and different paints, I never got a single satisfactory coat of paint out of this sprayer. For a few seconds, things would be looking great and then, without warning, a big loogie (I really couldn’t think of a more effective description) of paint would sail out the nozzle, splat onto the workpiece, and immediately start drooping. I’ve recently noticed similar complaints for other Wagner Power Painter models.
As you might have guessed, all of this resulted in lots more sanding, hand wringing, and eventually rolling again with the little foam roller.
I suspect that somewhere out there, someone is about to start painting a fence or outbuilding for which the Wagner Power Painter would be just dandy. For furniture that you plan to look at, not so much. I’ve read other reviews that end with someone smashing the tool in question with a big hammer to celebrate the end of the test, but I’m holding off. Someday I might just have a fence or outbuilding that needs painting…