I'm not an experienced painter using my gravity-fed HVLP conversion gun yet, and I'm looking for any pros who can give me a few pointers. I'm spraying some cabinets at a friend's house and need to get things right. We're spraying Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel over top of wood cabinets primed with the recommended Sherwin Williams primer. The paint sprays fine without any thinning through the gun (the primer required 10% Penetrol to even spray), but is flashing dry with an uneven orange peel finish.

The gun is spraying a nice, evenly distributed fan pattern without spatters, drips, or large drops. The atomization seems perfect and there isn't much overspray. I'm not sure that there's an adjustment on the gun that I can make that will prevent orange peel from forming.

My thinking is that it's 110 degrees outside today here in San Antonio, TX, and that the temperature is causing some of the issues. I have mineral spirits, penetrol, and naptha that I can thin the paint with... but thinning the paint in theory makes it dry even faster. Is my problem the fast dry time in the high heat, or is the lack of thinning?

1 Answer 1


Probably both temperature and thinning are an issue, since you are at the extremes for both (very high temperature, and no thinning at all), but there are a LOT of ways to get orange peel, so eliminating it can be a trial and error process.

It sounds to me like the solvent is evaporating before the paint can flow together on the cabinets. This is usually a result of some combination of:

  • low air pressure or fan adjusted too wide
  • holding gun too far from the surface of the work
  • temperature is too hot
  • too little thinner

If your gun is adjusted properly and your technique is good, then I'd thin and try to work earlier in the day before it gets too hot. Mineral spirits would be preferable over naptha, because naptha evaporates more quickly.

  • Paint store guy said to thin it as little as possible, just so it would go through the gun... I did a little reading and decided to thin 10% with mineral spirits, and it worked perfectly. Now I just need to sand out all the orange peel that was in the primer! Aug 30, 2011 at 2:13

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