Thanks to HomeRight for sponsoring this post!
I’ve told this story before: how I spent a long time researching paint sprayers, got overwhelmed by all the information and choices, and then went to the Ace down the street and grabbed the first paint sprayer we saw in our price range. This turned out to be the HomeRight Medium Duty Paint Sprayer (affiliate link). Then we painted some beds with it, and that worked pretty well.
Then I talked to someone from HomeRight at Haven, and she told me that the medium duty sprayer is actually not the best one to use for small projects like furniture. It turns out this is exactly what the description on the website and Amazon and everywhere else you look says, too, but I didn’t read any of those because of the overwhelmed, if you’ll recall. I just figured, “it says ‘medium;’ it must be good for EVERYTHING!”
As I said when I posted about the beds, I didn’t have anything to compare our medium duty sprayer to, so when HomeRight offered to send me their new Finish Max Pro Fine Finish sprayer (affiliate link), I was pretty excited to test it out and see how different it was from the medium duty sprayer.
(I never got a nice picture of just my sprayer sitting around looking pretty, so here’s one from HomeRight’s website):
And? The Finish Max Pro is SO MUCH BETTER for small projects like painting furniture!
It’s almost as if it would have made sense to read the descriptions before picking out a paint sprayer or something.
Yeah, we’re pretty much in love with this new sprayer. It’s very easy to use, we got great results from it, and the clean up is super quick (I would compare the time it takes to clean the sprayer to how long it takes to do a really good job cleaning a paint brush, in fact. Of course, I usually do a half-ass job cleaning my paint brushes. But I know that I shouldn’t). Now, a lot of the reason the Finish Max Pro is so easy to deal with is that the paint comes out relatively slowly (relative to the medium duty sprayer). Which is fine when you’re doing something small like your dining room table, because it’s still WAY faster than painting with a brush, but you wouldn’t want to paint something like a fence or a deck with it. The moral of the story is that it turns out drastically different jobs call for different paint sprayers. So I’m still glad we have the medium duty sprayer, because it will come in really handy for, say, the day we finally get around to putting some kind of finish on our massive fence or on the swing set. But the Finish Max Pro is going to get more use overall around here, I’m guessing, because we do small interior projects more frequently than those kinds of big jobs.
To sum up: pick the Finish Max Pro fine finish sprayer if you want a really smooth, professional finish for your furniture/cabinet/other relatively small interior projects. Advantages: very easy to use, paint goes on great (no issues at all with dripping paint), quick clean up. Disadvantages: slow, relative to the more powerful sprayers. Pick the Medium or Heavy duty sprayer if you mostly want to use it on bigger exterior projects. Advantages: super fast! Disadvantages: more overspray and more time consuming clean-up than the Finish Max Pro. Because the paint comes out so fast, you have to be more careful about avoiding drips.
Okay! So a bit of background on this dining room table: my mom gave it and a set of black windsor chairs to us as a housewarming present (along with the buffet you see behind it there) when we moved in to this house. It was originally stained wood with a black base and apron:
I’ve been wanting to make some changes in the dining room for awhile now; I have a new set of chairs for this table that’s been sitting in my garage waiting and waiting and WAITING for someone to get to the painting and reupholstering. They’re next. But there was also an awful lot of stained wood in this room, between the floors, the table top, the buffet, and the big glass cabinet that you can’t see in this picture. So I wanted to get rid of some of it, and the table was the best candidate.
The chairs are going to be white, and I was originally thinking of black for the whole table. But then someone–I think it was Katja from ShiftCtrlArt suggested a deep navy instead–and I loved that idea. Plus I’ve been wanting to use Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy somewhere for a long time.
I’ll be honest: Hale Navy does not, on my table at least, look like I expected it to look. It’s much grayer than I was anticipating. But it’s still a really pretty color, and the Nantucket Fog on the walls also has a lot of gray in it, so they work well together (I’m a little worried because the fabric I have for the chairs is much more turquoise. But we’ll see how it turns out).
We went with Benjamin Moore Advance paint (in semi-gloss) for this project; it’s supposed to be a latex paint that acts like an oil based paint; it’s recommended for stuff like cabinets….I figured we use this table constantly (more for school stuff than for eating), so best to spring for the paint that has the best shot of holding up to a lot of abuse. I’ll report back on that after a few months!
We picked up gray tinted primer, too. Dave was a little shocked when they rang it up and it was something like $50:
“It’s a really good primer,” the Benjamin Moore guy explained. “It’s also the only kind we sell.”
Here’s the table all taken apart and ready to paint. Notice how much overspray is hanging out on that drop cloth from back when we did our kitchen chairs:
First we cleaned everything with TSP:
And then we….made a mistake. I can never decide whether to sand or not, so sometimes, like in this case, I do something like say, “well, let’s just give it a light sanding.” I did the same thing with the kitchen chairs, and it took me doing it two times to realize that this is probably why we ended up with a rougher, sort of textured finish to the paint with both of those jobs. Duh. We made the wood BUMPY and then painted it. We didn’t sand the base of the table at all, and it’s velvety smooth. Table top? Kind of bumpy. Which is too bad. I wish we’d just left it completely unsanded, because I think the paint would have stuck just fine. But if we were going to sand it at all, we should have used gradually finer sandpaper to get it smooth first. Lesson learned. Finally. [I just talked to Dave about it, and he thinks the big problem is that we used coarse sandpaper; had we done a light sanding with a really fine sandpaper, it would likely have been okay].
It was really hot and sunny when we were painting, so the coats dried really fast. We did two coats of primer and…..lots of coats of paint. Lots of really fine coats to keep everything smooth and drip-free. But it dried so fast there was pretty much no waiting between coats. We just kind of kept going until we had really nice coverage.
The sprayer comes with a viscosity cup: you time how long it takes your paint or primers to drain out of it and that tells you whether/how much to thin it:
Here it is after the primer. Pretty! We could have just left it like that:
And here it is all Hale Navy-ified (you can kind of tell from the pictures how much smoother the finish looks on the base that we didn’t sand at all):
Not much overspray!
Then we were all ready to spray the polycrylic on when it started raining on us. Boo! We had to drag the table into the garage and wait until the next weekend to finish. Weekends are too short.
But then we finally finished! We did a couple of coats of the polycrylic on the base and quite a few more on the top, since it needed the most protection. And then we brought it inside and put it together. Dave wanted to take a picture of the cool gear thing inside that you move to put the leaves in and out:
I’m a little sad that I had to put the windsor chairs back around it; there was a time when I was sure we’d just paint the chairs AND the table all in one weekend and I’d present the completely finished project all at once. But that was crazy. Anyway. Progress!
This post was sponsored by HomeRight, but all opinions are my own.