A Carpenter’s Life by Larry Haun. Thank you for sharing, Mr. Haun!
I have always done house painting by hand and I enjoy the process for the very most part. But I have a tendency toward rotator cuff flare ups from lots of painting and this year I finally tried a paint sprayer for the bulk of the siding work.
Earlier this year we actually bought a paint sprayer, a Graco model with a lot of good reviews. Unfortunately, it had several drawbacks, the biggest to me being the multiple steps in cleaning. This model required cleaning and priming before even using it for the day! Then it required breakdown and a lot of cleaning after the job and also needed to be stored in cleaner. The cleaner was toxic, to boot. I also was a bit spooked by all the warnings on the sprayer about accidentally spraying yourself with the painter. Sounds kind of funny till your realize that at that pressure, serious injury is involved. If you doubt me, look up paint sprayer injuries on google. It’s horrible!
I decided to check out the Wagner line of paint sprayers after talking with friends who have remodeled many houses and had very good words about the ease and good performance of their Wagner. I found this one on Amazon (and the price has come down $15 since I bought it, grrrr!) :
It’s called the Wagner 0518080 Control Spray Max HVLP. Not a name that clings to your memory so my thanks for the copy and paste function on the computer!
Here’s what I like about the machine.
It looks like a baby vacuum cleaner and makes about as much noise. The air compressor has a really long hose attached to it, which is wonderful because you can get around with it.
IT DOES MORE THAN PAINT
It’s good for several different kinds of paints AND stains. You can thin the paint/primer to the specifications of the manufacturer, but I found that with freshly opened water based paint, this wasn’t necessary. If you strain your paint or use fresh paint you will likely have no issues with clogging, even when using for a long time.
IT'S EASY TO CONTROL
There is very little overspray. I was concerned that with the paint being aerated, it would spray all through the air and end up on cars and other things I didn’t want it on. It didn’t end up anywhere but on the wood, and a little bit on my work shoes and the gravel of the driveway when I was spraying between boards. So Control Spray in the title seems to be well earned.
IT'S PRETTY DARN SAFE
You can adjust the rate and pattern of spray easily by turning the knob where the paint comes out. Don’t do that while the paint is spraying, but one more benefit of this sprayer is that it isn’t super high pressure, so not dangerous. Yet, it worked very efficiently. imple safety equipment is all you need to operate. I found it noisy so wore ear plugs and obviously used eye protection and wore a respirator.
IT'S COMFORTABLE TO USE
Perfect for home use. The sprayer comes with two size paint containers, one plastic and a bit larger, one metal and a bit smaller. The plastic one was perfect for my needs, as I was doing dozens and dozens of boards. I used the smaller vessel to keep some soapy water in in case I ran into clogs. Then I could just swap out the containers and clear out my blocks. If you are doing a lot of painting, you’ll have to refill your container pretty regularly, but it’s a nice change of pace, really.
IT ACTUALLY WORKS
The paint goes on smoothly and while it sometimes looks beady when being applied, it dries to a smooth, even surface, almost magically.
YAY- IT'S EASY TO CLEAN!
Lastly, clean up is a dream. The instruction manual gives clear guidance on how to break the machine down.
There aren’t very many parts and there are no microscopic parts to fall, a la Murphy’s Law, into the gravel or down the sink thus rendering your machine useless. I do recommend getting a small bristle brush for some of the cleaning. We had one on hand (for cleaning metal drinking straws) and it was just the right size for getting into little parts without having to use a ton of water.
The machine is simple, low tech, works as promised, has minimal hitches and they can be remedied by simple methods. Clean up is easy and requires only soap and water if you are using non oil based paints. It is so easy for a complete (and nervous) beginner to use. I have nothing but good words for this little sprayer and highly recommend it.
this ho-hum dewalt fan
I admit I'm not a big fan of DeWalt having had quality issues with their tools, including a smoking drill that freaked me out while building in Maine. I was reluctant to pitch in with DeWalt again for a framing nailer, my first one ever, and a battery operated one at that. Since we were building from the ground up, even installing our own temporary power, which we knew could take weeks or months, we opted to try out something that didn't require a direct electrical connection, and DeWalt had just the tool.
Several cordless framing nailers caught my eye too but every one of them required disposable gas cartridges along with a battery component. The waste was a bit disturbing to start; and then came the additional costs of the cartridges themselves; and, finally, despite many excellent performance reviews I was turned off on the alleged exhaust odors. On this last point, many reviewers reported the exhaust fumes were often as malodorous as their work trucks!
In steps the DeWalt 20V Battery Framing Nailer
I eventually stumbled on the DeWalt cordless nailer and guess what? It doesn't require anything but a li-ion battery! No cartridges, no smells, just a simple battery. Ok, I was willing to give it a try and bought one from the Tool Nut (may the Force be with you guys...) for $479 + free shipping and a $50 gift card.
The nailer arrived in about a week inside a sturdy case. It was in good shape with a well written manual that allowed me to put it to the test pretty quick. I fired a single nail and was impressed a battery tool could actually (mostly) sink a 16d nail. Wow! Then the tool sat quietly in its case until we started up our current building project out here in Friday Harbor, Washington (San Juan Island).
So how did it perform in the field, on the job site? It didn't do well up against douglas-fir to start. It could only sink 16d nails to a depth of about 3" at best. I grant the tool that douglas-fir is hard stuff and I wasn't actually surprised to see it struggling. I honestly think it would perform much more effectively in other parts of the country (or with cedar) where pine or spruce are the primary lumber for framing. This would have been good for framing in our old haunts of New England or up in Canada where the wood for our previous two building projects originated.
Okay, so it didn't help us with framing but that was cool, I tend to frame by hand with my hickory Dalluge most of the time anyway, and didn't expect to use it for framing but sheathing. I wasn't offended. I was confident it would be there for us when we started up the wall sheathing...and wow, it was just awesome. I think this tool could be marketed solely as a sheathing nailer because it works amazingly well with all the sheathing we could throw at it all the up to 1-1/8" sturd-i-floor. The tool was consistent, easy to handle, the battery life just great, and the recharge as fast our our lunch. I don't recall any jammed nails and only the occasional half sunk one. We carried on blissfully sheathing walls, roof and floors, moving onto our small house and never missing a beat with this little nailer.
Until it breaks...
Oh, until that sad moment. I had just - and I mean just - said to my wife working next to me as we were sheathing up the last wall of our main floor how much I "love this little nailer," that it was really "a great investment" when, clunk...the driver (or something) died. I was utterly flabbergasted. My wife stared at me in confusion, What?! We tried another nail and nothing but a click. My shoulders sank and my wife stared at me in disbelief. The nailer would go no further that day.
One garage and part of a house into its life and it had broken. And for no clear reason. Having moved out of an extremely small town to the thriving metropolis of San Juan Island, which actually has a DeWalt dealer, I was hopeful I could at least get it repaired quickly. How wrong I was. The local dealer informed me that they could service DeWalt tools but not DeWalt battery tools and that I'd have to take it into an official DeWalt Service Center, the nearest one being Seattle. I was told I could bring it into them and pay them to send it to Seattle for repairs. That sounded like pretty glum service so I contacted DeWalt directly in the hopes that they'd send me a shipping label or something. To no avail. I was told that in my warranty that I was responsible for paying the freight on the tool. I checked my warranty information and didn't actually find these terms but it wasn't to be. They did offer to send it back to me repaired at no cost.
Dewalt's so-so warranty
Right now I'm sitting with a nearly $500 nailer, one that I liked a lot but clearly suffers from either a rare defect and/or subpar quality control, and mediocre warranty service. It brings to mind two previous tools I owned, a Bosch and a Festool, that required servicing and it cost nothing and the work was prompt. I want to say I have buyer's remorse here but it's at the risk of maligning my little yellow friend that had performed so well until all of a sudden.
The Hitachi replacement
In its stead I've placed a Hitachi pneumatic and have been happy enough. I needed something right away as I'm in the middle of a building project. But ask me if I miss my DeWalt. Go ahead...ask me. Yes, I miss my little friend. He gets such rave reviews online I find it bewildering that mine ran into issues with such light work - even being spoon fed a diet of purely DeWalt nails. I hope to have him repaired at some point to take back onto the job site. I don't build for a living, per se, so I don't know when I'll have the opportunity to do so but if I do I'll be sure to follow up with an update.
It took $14 in postage and two weeks building time to get my DeWalt serviced and returned under its warranty. Not horrendous, I confess, but considering I'm working to beat seasonal weather two weeks, TWO WEEKS, without a framing nailer just wasn't a possibility so I bought a replacement. The costs add up but that's the way it goes, sometimes.
The DeWalt was useful when it worked but I wouldn't buy it again.