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Spraying Lacquer With Nitrogen

Spraying Lacquer With Nitrogen

by Harry Coleman

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Data Sheet #64, 1978 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume One, 2000

There are several advantages of using compressed nitrogen for spraying over the more conventional air compressor. Air compressors, when pulling air right out of the atmosphere, also pull the moisture in the air right into the storage tank. Most of it can be filtered out, but not all. In addition, oil has a way of working its way from the piston assembly in the compressor into the air line and ending up on your work. Compressors are expensive and do break. You have to have a long enough air line to get the compressor out of the finishing room or a spark from the motor could blow you away. Long lines cause a drop in air pressure.

With nitrogen you are assured of 100% clean, dry “air.” Since there’s no motor involved, you can put the whole unit in the finishing room and use a shorter air line. The only disadvantage is that air is free, but nitrogen isn’t. You also have to take your tank out to get it filled. This is inconvenient, but the quality of the spray job makes it worth the trouble and expense, especially for a low-volume shop.

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