45 – Music to My EARlex

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earlexThis video covers my initial impressions and experience with the Earlex Spray Station 5000, an HVLP turbine. To sum up, I thought the Earlex did a darn good job spraying pretty much everything I put in it, including oil-based poly, water-based finishes, lacquer, and latex paint. I would probably recommend purchasing some of the smaller tip sets though, since they will increase performance on the water-based stuff. The 5000 does lack some of the spray controls typically found in higher-priced 3 and 4-stage units, but sometimes those extra features are just unnecessary. I found the simplicity of the unit to be refreshing. In fact, there were a few occasions where I needed to spray and I found myself gravitating to the Earlex primarily because of its simplicity. Now the unit has only been in my possession for about a month so I can’t comment on its longevity. But from what I’ve seen so far, I think the Earlex represents what many of you are looking for: a low-cost way of getting into the spraying game, without scarifying the quality of your finish.

I would also like to thank Charles Neil for his help “behind the scenes” on this video. You can see his video on 2-stage turbines on Youtube.

***UPDATE (10/5/09)*** Its been well over a year since I first used the Earlex and I am still very happy with the unit. I have sprayed everything from water-based to lacquer and many variations of stains and dyes and the performance has been excellent. I did have a problem with the gun at one point, when the small nut that holds the lid to the gun actually cracked. One phone call resulted in an immediate replacement and I was back in business in no time. My concerns about the longevity of the unit were based on the housing being primarily plastic, and the hose being a little stiffer and “cheaper” than I was used to. As a result, I diligently wrap the hose up after every use and I am careful not to step on it. Taking these precautions, I have had absolutely no problems with the hose. This unit is still a highly-recommended purchase.

Categories: Finishing, Reviews


  1. Thanks for the review Marc. A spray unit is definitely on my list. You’ll have to keep us posted if, over time, this still is your (mostly) go to gun. I’m always leery of getting “a good deal”. I’ve found buying the best first saves me money.

    • Ken July 6, 2009

      I’ve used it for wb poly and works great! however, with nitro lacquer I have heavy orange peel. Is that because its too thick (daft thinned about 5 percent)? Also, do I need to sand orange peel before applying additional coats or will the lacquer self level? thanks

        thewoodwhisperer July 6, 2009

        I would definitely sand down the orangepeel. Lacquer can self-level, but if you have significant orangepeel, that’s asking a lot of it. So I would flatten it down by sanding.

        As for orange peel prevention, there are a number of possibilities out there. Here’s one good discussion.


        Just do a Google search and you will see lots of opinions and different ideas to try.

  2. Mike March 28, 2008

    Just when I thought I didn’t need any more tools . . .

    Thanks for demo and your thoughts on the Earlex. I’ve been eyeing this but have yet to commit to buying it because I have not been able to try it out – your video has helped me decide.

    Thanks for another great video, Marc!

  3. Keith (http://) March 28, 2008

    Marc, thanks for opening my eyes to this product. It seems to be a winner for the “cost conscious” of us out there.

    – Keith

  4. The Darkness March 28, 2008

    Very nice Marc.
    Definitely going to get into spray finishing after seeing this.
    Thanks a lot and keep up the great work!


  5. Bill March 28, 2008

    Thanks for the review, Marc. I’ve had one of these for several months now, and think its a great unit. How about a video or tips on how to properly adjust the spray to get that glassy smooth finish?

  6. Kip from Nothern Illinois March 28, 2008

    Marc, very informative. I am curious about spray systems that run rom shop air. What manufactures handle that equipment.

    Maybe the same guys?

    In my head I think that would be cheaper to just get a pot with a gun.

    Like I said just curious.

    Thanks for the really stupendous video.

  7. wilbur March 28, 2008

    Hi Marc,

    Regarding the differences in noise levels between the Fuji and the Earlex (82 dB vs. 99 dB), going up by 10 dB actually represents a doubling of loudness. So a 17 dB difference between the two means that the Earlex is a little more than 3 times louder than the Fuji, which I wouldn’t describe as a little bit louder.

    Also, to put things into perspective, 99 dB is about as loud as a helicopter flying 100 ft overhead, or hearing a jet approach before landing, or a chainsaw. (http://www.rcaanews.org/noiselev.htm).

  8. Paul Comi (http://) March 28, 2008

    Marc, I enjoyed your review of the Earlex a lot. As you know I bought an Accuspray 23k and I’m envious of those convenience features like the way the gun stows in the unit, and how the hose and power cord wrap around the body of the unit. As a newbie to finishing, simple is better and I would have bought the Earlex for sure if I didn’t already have my hvlp. Those features would make it easy to store in my small 2 car garage size shop and transport when doing built in’s etc offsite. I too would appreciate you doing a follow up video on spray finishing technique.

  9. Kids… don’t experiment with needles like Marc did. :D

    Good non-review. It just shows that you don’t need the biggest or the best to turn out some good products.

  10. Germain March 28, 2008

    I think this TWW segment demonstrates your talents very well, Marc. You presented an excellent demonstration of a tool many woodworkers consider, but aren’t sure about. Your practical approach as a very knowledgable, but down to earth, source works well. You certainly went over everything I would want to know about the Earlex spray station.

    Unfortunately, most tool demos these days are just polished pitches tired as the proverbial door to door saleman and filled with irrelevant hype. Like the door to door saleman, we tend to disbelieve and ignore anything we hear from such demos. Your demos and reviews are quite the opposite; informative and credible.

    Thanks, Marc. I really liked this episode of TWW and found it very useful.

  11. Wish I would have had this when I was putting the water based clearcoat on my wife’s table. This is on my short list of tools to get. Thanks Marc!

  12. Marc,
    If you spent 500 hours on a piece would your pull out the Fuji or would you use the Earlex? I was left with the feeling that maybe you would use the Fuji. That could have been just my reaction for some unknown reason. We where unable to really see the finish on the video, I think the one you showed us was sprayed with semi gloss with a bright reflective light on it , but again could not really see the finish. You have been right on and very straight forward and honest on your show and that weighs in heavily as I am at the crossroads of purchasing the very two guns that you where demonstrating. This has me leaning toward the Earlex but the FWW #194 article is still in the back of my mind but much less so. If money was not an issue I would go with the sure thing and get the Fuji but currently the money difference is a large factor. Thank you for presenting the facts as you see them and I’ll keep you posted.
    Ron Graziano


    Hey Ron. I didn’t really “show” the finish simply because I didn’t think I would be able to show you what you really need to see. My hope was that you would simply trust my judgment from my observations.

    Charles Neil holds the same opinion and that guys has a lot more spray experience than I do.

    To answer your question about the 500 hour piece, I would probably struggle more over which finish to spray rather than which gun to use. I think the hesitation you saw was the fact that I paid $700 for a turbine and I feel a little guilty when I actually enjoy using the Earlex more. lol.

    Look, there is no doubt the Fuji is the better machine. But for most finishes, I think you would be extremely hard-pressed to tell the difference between a finish that comes off the Fuji and one that comes off the Earlex. And for most small shops, the Earlex would do just fine. So maybe what I am saying is that the Fuji is perhaps a little overkill? Not sure as it is still a little early to make a definitive call.

    Now in a pro shop, I think the Earlex might get a little beat up and could very well fall short. The plastic hose might be the first thing to go as it gets stepped on. And Im not really sure about internal parts. So if you are spraying every day, you might consider a unit that would be up to the task (although I have no evidence that says the Earlex would not hold up under these conditions).

    And concerning the FWW article, I suggest reading this:

    And the rumor mill tells me to expect a complete re-test to be published in April’s FWW issue. I think you will find a very different result at that time.

  14. Marc, an excellant video and presentation of the Earlex. Sherri absolutely loved the way you presented it.

    When I am teaching my on-sight finishing classes, this unit always wins with the students and they have the opportunity to use over 18 different guns and units as well as types of spray equipment during the week. I personally use it on occasion but for the most part still rely on my Kremlin system, things are a little different when you are doing it to make your livin’

    Billy, my apprentice/helper has learned to spray with this unit in the past six months and he has no interest in moving to the other equipment that is available here at my shop because he finds that the HV5000 fits his needs for his projects, it does a good job.

    Just one last note to everyone, there is NO system that can be taken out of the box and lay down the perfect finish, as Marc explained so well, you will still need to get the feel of the flow and spray patterns and adjust accordingly to be successful laying down that perfect finish.

    Once again Marc, great video!

  15. Ytsejamr March 29, 2008

    Very cool! Does Nicole know that you painted the side of your house?? :-)

  16. Germain March 29, 2008

    The folks at Earlex should be thrilled their product has been recommended by both Marc Spagnuolo and Charles Neil.

  17. Jerry March 29, 2008

    Marc, thanks for the Earlex review. I have a Fuji 4 stage and find viscosity a key issue in spraying. I was very curious how you would deal with it in your review and was disappointed when you didn’t go through the process of timing your flow from the viscosity cup. In reading various web wood-working forums I know I am not alone in my quest to find the viscosity holy grail. Please consider a future episode on this subject, I think there are a lot of folks who would appreciate the info.

    I enjoy your web site and videos, thanks for helping us fellow woodworkers learn about new -to us- techniques and twists in our favorite hobby.

  18. Chris March 30, 2008


    Wilbur’s maths was a little out but his point is pretty valid.
    Every 3dB represents a doubling of sound pressure, therefore the 18dB difference represents a 6 times increase in sound pressure.
    Hearing damage begins at 85dB.
    Most experts advise less than 15 minutes exposure per day at 95dB and this thing is even louder.
    Given these figures your quick demonstration on video without ear protection could have damaged your hearing. If you are going to use this product please use hearing protection, if you can’t be bothered with hearing protection then use the Fuji.


    • Jeremy October 28, 2012

      While every 3dB represents a doubling of power in a raw physics sense, it is generally accepted that humans don’t perceive a 3dB increase as “twice as loud”. This is where the 10dB number comes from. (most people perceive a ~10dB increase to be twice as loud). This may be irrelevant when it comes to hearing damage though, so hearing protection is definitely a good idea. Also, given that every 3dB is a doubling of power, an 18dB increase actually represents “6 doublings of power” which equates to 2^6=64 times more power. Using the 10dB rule, this would sound about ~3.48 times louder to most people.


    Thanks for the details Chris. Although I didn’t wear protection for the video, I personally consider it appropriate to wear hearing protection with either unit. I suppose that’s why I didn’t think the difference between them was dramatic. Neither unit is “comfortable” to be near while its running and I hope everyone will take the necessary measures to protect themselves.

    As for that short demo damaging my hearing? lol. I spent 6 years in highschool and college playing the drums. I have already made my bed. ;)

  20. Gatorbait (http://) March 31, 2008

    Thanks for the ‘review’. I’ve been looking for a unit for a while. I didn’t have a lot of $s to drop on one so this fits the bill for me (I snagged it off of Harbor Freight – interesting that the ‘other’ stores sell it for a whole lot more). I’m not a pro and don’t have a pro shop. I’ve followed your advise through your shows and you haven’t steered me wrong yet. I have several of the products (either from your shop or from your recommendations) and have been happy with all of them. I don’t have a lot of disposal income to drop of power tools so I like to get it right the first time. Thanks for taking the time to provide your opinion on this. I hope you get a kick back or at least a few freebies from these guys. These companie are making a killing off of your shows.

  21. Velbloud April 1, 2008

    Hi Marc, thanks for your insight. I was wondering if you ever had a chance (or will) to test the other HVPL system that is sold by places like Harbor Freight, Rockler or Woodcraft. It’s the grey one with a plastic gun. The Earlex seems similar (at least in principle) although higher quality but costs more than 3x as much. I have heard some good things about the grey HVLP system and would be interesting to see it compared to Earlex. I do understand that you cannot go around and test every single cheap piece of …equipment. Just curious.

  22. Dean May 1, 2008

    Marc, have you tested the Earlex on a horizontal surface? Does tilting the gun down 90 degrees affect the paint flow?


    Hey Dean. The Earlex works great on both vertical and horizontal surfaces. I must say I didn’t test the latex paint on a horizontal surface though. I can’t imagine that would create any problems though.

  24. Luis May 10, 2008

    Hey Mark, great video on the Earlex.
    I am curious, have you tried this hvlp:http://www.rockler.com/product.....ct=Details

    This unit has a 1000w motor that outputs air at 4 PSI through a bleeder-type spray gun. Any feedback you can give is greatly appreciated.


    Hey Luis. Although I have not had any time with that unit, it certainly looks capable. But without testing it in the shop, I can’t really comment on whether or not its a good buy. If you do make the purchase, please let me know what you think of it.

  26. Bas May 12, 2008

    Hi Marc – you mentioned needle sizes a few times in your podcast. The unit sold at HF comes standard with the 2.0mm needle. I plan on getting the 1.5mm, any thoughts on the 1.0 and 2.5mm sizes?



    Hey Bas. The 2.0mm needle was pretty capable on all the finishes I tested. If you are going to get one more set, I would go with the 1.5 or 1.0. You will probably find yourself using the smaller one more on water-based finishes. I personally wouldn’t have much use for the 2.5 set.

  28. Daniel Berlin May 13, 2008

    Hey, do you have a link to the disposable filters you buy in bulk?

  29. Jim May 15, 2008

    Nice review Marc. For those curious, I have been using the grey/black unit from Rockler for about a year and a half. I’ve sprayed BIN, shellac, thinned/conditioned latex, and a good WB lacquer with that gun.
    The grey gun is a good introduction to HVLP. It lays down a decent finish. It comes with two tips. The larger tip I tried once and never used again, it doesn’t really atomize well, large droplets and a very orange peel finish. The smaller tip/nozzle set is the only one that gives any decent finish with enough thinning and conditioning of latex. It works well with WB lacquer, but the gun is limited in that in order to spray lacquer I’ve got the flow needle adjusted all the way in, and I wish it would go even further for better control.
    The hose wears out. It becomes brittle and hard over the heating/cooling cycles it goes through. And when stepped on it compresses and doesn’t come all the way back.
    The gun is a bleeder. I believe it’s an Apollo gun, the 6000 budget series, looks identical to the black gun I have. It’s limited in what it can do, and I find myself bumping up against the limits of the gun now that I’ve got some experience.
    I connect the blower unit to remote ctontrolled outlet, and clip the remote to my pocket, I shut the unit down when I’m not spraying or spinning the piece on my turntable to cut down on blown-around dust, and while I entering/leaving my makeshit spray booth. This also allows me to have the blower unit in the next room and just run the hose through the door ( my make-up air for the fan comes from that room anyway) to cut down on the noise factor.
    From what I know now, I’d be more inclined to try the Earlex 5000 seeing what features it has vs. what I’ve been using. It actually appears worth the extra money from having owned the Rockler one. The gun appears to be of a much higher quality.

  30. Dave Rogers May 21, 2008

    Mark, I want to thank you for the fantastic demo on the Earlex. Your straight out of the box test is basically how I and I assume most others try out a new piece of equipment. I currently use every imaginable spray type available with hard to achieve good results. I just have not commited to spending around a thousands bucks for a turbine that may or may not really be suited to my occasional finishing projects. But my finishing projects are very important after putting in so much effort and expense on a wood project. I was wanting better results and SIMPLICITY. I have to say the first thing that attracted me to the Earlex was the paint gun storage. I have several dented and damaged guns and pots due to the obvious. I now see the Earlex will work great for me because of your demo. Thanks again.
    Dave Rogers

  31. Jeff May 29, 2008

    Loved the review, Marc. In fact, it gave me the final nudge I needed to buy the Earlex Spray Station Pro. I was a bit concerned about its ability to spray water-based finishes, but watching you actually spray that stuff (even latex paint!) with the Earlex allayed my fears. And after a few months of waiting for the right sale or coupon, I saw that Woodcraft just took $50 off its price and is now selling it for $274.99. That sales price is effective through June 30, but that didn’t stop me from buying it as soon as I saw the deal last night! As an added bonus, I got free shipping when I bought it through the web site (although I’m not sure if that deal is still in effect).

    I should also mention that Woodcraft includes both the 2.0 mm and 1.5 mm needles with the Spray Station Pro. I believe that some retailers only include the 2.0 mm needle.

  32. Trent February 16, 2009

    Marc, thanks for Earlx review.

    What size tip do you recommend for spraying dye?

  33. Greg I April 12, 2009

    Thanks Marc,

    I just ordered the Earlex unit today and you confirmed the research (and tire kicking) I did on the unit.

    I plan on returning to your web site in the near future for your opinions and advice.



  34. james May 25, 2009

    howdy, will this 5000 enable me to spray masonry paint on to a pebble dash surface?

    thank you

      thewoodwhisperer May 25, 2009

      Hey James. I’m gonna give you a firm and confident, “I don’t know!”, lol. I imagine you might have some of the same issues I had using regular latex house paint. The finish wasn’t all that smooth. I will admit that I didn’t give it much more experimentation but I had much better results with an airless Wagner.

  35. Jonathan Crone June 1, 2009

    Quick one: Up here in the great white north, one of the nationwide tool equipment outfits has the earlex on sale,
    so I’m thinking of giving in and getting one.

    I do a fair bit with Aniline dye (water diluted)
    Given that you’re basically spraying distilled water, I get the impression from your review and comments that using
    the 1.0mm tip is the best for something that will
    be so dilute and fine…

    That make sense?

    Also: did you spray any shellac with the earlex? What cuts did you try (1lb etc?)

      thewoodwhisperer June 1, 2009

      Hey Jonathan. I agree. The 1.0mm should be fine for what is basically colored water. And I did spray shellac. I never tried anything more than 2lb cut but that seemed to work just fine.

      HOpe that helps.

  36. Bill Arnos June 16, 2009

    Can you leave the paint or whatever in the gun while you wait for the first coat to dry without clogging the tip.

      thewoodwhisperer June 16, 2009

      I did. It seemed to be ok but I would try to recoat as soon as possible. It just doesn’t take much for that latex to start curing.

  37. Carol Pittam August 23, 2009

    Can you spray enamel paint with this for wrought ironwork?

      thewoodwhisperer August 23, 2009

      To be honest, it might have some trouble pushing out enamel. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure. My judgment is based on my experience with thinned latex. It sprayed ok, but not great. So I suppose it really depends on the viscosity of the mix you have. But if you plan on spraying any kind of pain a lot, I might recommend a more powerful unit. Earlex now has their 3 stage unit on the market and it seems to be a good one.

  38. Gary Kerr September 30, 2009

    Hey Marc,

    Thanks for another informative video… Thought I would add my comment for HVLP sprayer use. I’ve been using them for 10 years and found that having separate spray guns for water-based and oil-based materials goes a long way to preserving the unit. While it may seem more expensive to buy two sprayer guns (not the turbine), you will actually save money by not switch between chemistries on a single gun. As it turns out, contrary to what logic may dictate, the water-based materials are harder on the spray guns and their parts more so than VOC or oil-based material usage. This is due to the corrosive effects of water in the gun’s internal parts. It’s a good practice to dry run the the gun with air after cleaning to dry the internal parts before stowing. So pick up a second gun and mark them WB and OB and get more longevity between rebuilds and gun replacements.

  39. Gary November 24, 2009

    Whats up Marc!?

    I’ve had a really hard time spraying thinned latex from this gun. Thats primarily why I bought it (the wife likes a lot of painted PB type furniture). I have the 1.5 and the 2.0mm tip. I’m getting a spatter regardless of the Floetrol & thinning ratio I use. I was wondering if I’m using the wrong ratios, but I’m going based on viscosity. Earlex says 25-60 seconds for water-based paint. I’ve tried both ends of that scale, and I can’t seem to get good results. I loaned it to a WW buddy of mine who is building a crib, and he did some test sprays, and got the same results. I dont know if it is my gun, or if I need to sell this bad boy and maybe step up to the 6900 if I’m going to be shooting a lot of paint or not. Would oil-based get better results?

      thewoodwhisperer November 24, 2009

      Hey Gary. Sorry to hear that man. If you are going to spray a lot of paint, I would probably recommend moving up to a more powerful unit (at least 3-stage). I don’t spray a lot of paint and I only did one or two test runs with this particular unit. Like I mentioned in the video it went on a little orange-peely but then leveled OK. I didn’t really put it through serious testing with latex. But in general, I see most folks who know what they’re talking about recommend going up to at least a 3-stage unit if paint is on the menu.

      • Erick November 25, 2009


        Quick question. Could you tell us what a 3 stage turbine offers over a 2 stage product?


          thewoodwhisperer November 25, 2009

          Power. That’s really about it. More air flow which means it has an easier time pushing out a more viscous product.

  40. Stuart November 26, 2009

    Hi everyone

    Does anybody have experience of the Earlex 4900? Apparently it replaces the 5000 and can spray much thicker paints (120DIN/min). My main requirement is for water based varnishes.
    The 4900 is also cheaper for me in Europe.
    The 4900 also comes with a 2.5mm and a 1.5mm needle.

    Any thoughts?

  41. Jim Viviano April 7, 2010


    Great information! I’m a hobbiest woodworker considering the Earlex for some projects this year. My immediate challenge is I am replacing all the base molding in my house. So, would you recommend spraying 752 feet of base or brush it? I’m planning to use Sherwin-Williams Pro Classic semi gloss. Latex if I brush it and am wondering if the oil based version would spray better. BTW- I will paint it before installation. Thanks!

      thewoodwhisperer April 7, 2010

      Unfortunately, paint is not my area of expertise so I can’t really advise you all that well. But if I had that much material to cover, I would certainly consider spraying to speed things up.

  42. Joe April 7, 2010

    Hello Marc,

    Perhaps I’m not literal enough in my reading, but General Finishes recommends using a .043″-.051″ tip with their Enduro Pre-Cat Urethane (water-based) finish. Does the 1mm tip sound about right for the HV5000?

    1mm = .040″ BTW



  43. nNeill June 17, 2010


    I know I am coming in kind of late in the game, but I just wanted to let you know that I purchased the Earlex 5000 based on your review. Woodcraft sells it with both a 2 & 1.5 needle which seems to cover most applications.

    Other than spray cans, this is my first experience spraying. I sprayed GF milk paint thinned with some water and Floetrol although GF advised that I only needed water. It came out great. I need to work on my technique a bit but I impressed myself with how well it turned out.

    Cleanup was very easy. Again I followed your video but also briefly glanced at those instructions you so carelessly tossed aside. (<:

    Thanks for a a great website and reviews that we layman can appreciate.


  44. Steve December 27, 2010

    Will the Earlex handle a spar urethane?

  45. John C (http://TWW) April 27, 2011

    For those that are looking to spray latex paint with this or any HVLP system I have a suggestion – Use a waterborne pigmented lacquer such as ML Campbell Agualente, SW Kem Aqua, Valspar Zenith, Target 6500. You do not need to worry about reducing and flow, and you will achieve a awesome glass like finish. The material used has a massive effect on the spray process and finished product, no it will not spray itself and you need to practice good form but it will sure make even an average sprayer look great

  46. Too bad none of these are available anywhere.

  47. I meant all the waterborne finishes mentioned above, ML Campbell Agualente, SW Kem Aqua, Valspar Zenith, Target 6500.

  48. Joe May 1, 2011

    A finish that I think looks pretty decent is to spray a latex finish, level via sanding, and then topcoat with a poly of your choice. I chose satin. I chose this on one piece because I wanted the added durability of poly and I can control the level of gloss my liking.

  49. Marc,
    as always your a big help! I just bought this unit from Highland Woodworking on sale for 250.00. it was because of you and Charles Neil I took the plunge. I had the one from rockler and felt it was time to upgrade. Thanks for taking the time to let us woodworkers hear and understand how this machine works. I look fwd to getting mine.

    Keep up the great work!

  50. My HF sprayer started to fall apart after a year of spraying so I bought another. Much cheaper than getting into the earlex. And it came with 2 year replacement warantee.

  51. Stu May 2, 2013

    Good Morning,

    I saw your very thorough and informative review of the Earlex Spray Station 5000, an HVLP turbine. I was wondering if the Earlex you reviewed would also be powerful enough to spray on a colored stain/sealant for a deck/fence. I was in the market for an inexpensive HVLP for my woodworking and wondered if it could also be used to stain and seal my deck/fence. Any light you could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my questions.

  52. MolokMot August 20, 2013


    I saw your review which is what oringinally made me want this unit. I am looking at the 5500. A friend of mine is buying as payment to have me spray his drums a nice Candy Apple Red. Have you ever painted drums? Any advice?


      Never painted them myself, but my advice would be to get yourself a lazy susan style setup. Elevate the shells on the platform and rotate the drum as you spray. That would stack the cards in your favor for a smooth and even application.

  53. Chris November 19, 2013

    After several tries to get a nice smooth finish with amber colored water based dye on bigger pieces birch plywood, I gave up and invested some Money in this unit.
    I bought the unit from Woodcraft because it was on sale and they added a 1.5 mm needle for free. Knowing from Marc’s review, that I will probably need a thiner needle than the one (2mm) that normally comes with the unit, it was an OK deal. Because my plan was to spray water based dyes, first thing I changed the standard needle to the smaller 1.5 mm which was pretty easy.
    While my spray paint experience is virtually not existent, as a student I had used some color from rattle cans to cover the rust on my old car, because the rust was what’s holding the pieces together, I started my experience with just water in the can trying the horizontal and vertical spray pattern and different needle openings on some card board.
    Encouraged by my water test results I loaded the can with some of the real stuff and sprayed it on a test board which came out nicely. Then I prepared another board just the same way I will do it with the real ones and sprayed a water based dye and the top coat. I was impressed, the finish looked very smooth with an even color distribution and after I applied the top coat I had a very smooth and shiny surface. I used the dye right out of the can and did the same with the top coat. The top coat appeared to be much thicker (lower viscosity) than the dye but it seemed to work fine with just opening the needle a little more. However, after some test pieces my impression was that I needed to much of the top coat to get an even surface, thus I will thin this in the future.
    The apparatus himself has a kind of cheap appearance and the noise from the fan/engine (whatsoever) is just horrible, wasn’t there something with decibel, like a 10% increase will be perceived twice as loud ? Anyhow….
    The power cord is short, but the air tube is long enough even though it is a little rigid and therefore also somewhat restive. The spray gun seems to be good quality, (did not equal the rest of the unit) easy to handle and even with my “no experience” easy to disassemble and clean.
    If I will use this more often I will probably purchase the next bigger device from Earlex because of the noise. For the beginning this is really OK and I am happy that I made the decision to get one. Not least because of the review here on the side, so thanks for the great and quite unbiased review.

  54. Bruce November 19, 2013

    A year after this I got a Fuji 3 stage turbine and gravity gun. Way better to work with than Earlex. All the turbines are loud. I have my turbine outside the finishing room which is much quieter.

  55. Jim February 1, 2014

    Have you sprayed General Finish Arm-R-Seal? If you have what tip worked best? What were the results?


      Yes and I didn’t enjoy it. Frankly, I no longer spray ANY oil-based finishes. I just never got good results with them. So now I stick to fast-drying finishes like lacquer, shellac, and water-based.

      • Jim February 2, 2014

        As a follow-up what about latex paints with the Earlex. Tip size that worked best and how much thinning?

  56. Steve October 8, 2014

    THANKS!!!! I have been making some pretty decent cabinets and other wood projects but have never mastered finishing. I have been in a small panic here as a customer has ordered unfinished doors and wants me to finish them for him. Stain, no problem but putting a “commercial” quality clear on has evaded me. I thought I could just use my standard compressor based sprayer until I saw that the majority of the poly went all over the shop, not on my wood! I could buy spray cans from the store but at $7 per can I would be paying to do the job! I hopped on the net and found your video which was very detailed and simple and straightforward enough that even I could understand it. I ran down to Rockler and bought the Earlex 5500. wow…I am still tapdancing around the house with glee (and relief)! Just like you said, this thing is a breeze to use and produces a perfect finish. Thanks to you and my new Earlex I feel like a real finisher now!!!
    great video man!!!Thank you…:)

  57. Marcel December 13, 2014

    I will be buying one of these shortly. I found your video to be very informative and well presented. Keep up the good work!
    Thank you;

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