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Need an air compressor + LVLP to finish kitchen cabinets?
I'm building maple kitchen cabinets for my wife with a dark stain- sort of like vintage cherry. I've built two cabinets already for a part of the kitchen not used for cooking. I used pre-finished 3/4" 5-ply maple veneered plywood for the boxes and solid maple drawer fronts and frame/panel doors. My finish for the exterior involved 10 coats- including two blotch prevention coats of Charles Niel's blotch prevention stuff- followed by two applications of water-based dye, two coats of wipe-on oil gel stain, three coats of Enduro-Var waterbased polyurethane, and one coat of paste wax. The finish looks awesome but needless to say it took a while to apply.
Now I'm building the main set of cabinets. I purchased unfinished 3/4" 11-ply maple veneered plywood on sale- for about half the cost of the pre-finished stuff and with more ply layers. But now I have to finish the interior of the cabinets in addition to the exterior. I'm thinking of investing in a spray system and would like to spend about $600-$700 max. My logic- spraying the water-based dye would eliminate the need for blotch control and spraying the dye plus the polyurethane would be much, much quicker. I also could entertain using lacquer instead of polyurethane.
I own a small hotdog compressor for my nail guns but it is too small to run a LVLP gun. I am fortunate to have a dedicated shop which is wired for both 110v and 220v. Three or 4-stage turbine units would work well but their price seems to start around $800. So I'm looking at purchasing either a new or used 2 hp 20-gallon compressor (e.g., Puma on wheels) and a gravity feed LVLP gun or spend about $100 more and get a 3 hp 60-gallon compressor with a HVLP gun. I'm not a professional and would only use the compressor a few days per month. The only other air tool I can imagine running on my compressor is a die grinder for carving and both sized compressors can do that.
Not sure if I should splurge on the 3 hp 60-gallon compressor with HVLP? Is there any significant advantage to a big compressor in a woodworking shop over a 2 hp 20-gallon unit that I am ignoring? Same question for HVLP vs. LVLP? Finally, will the Enduro-Var poly be appropriate for the cabinets above the stove and below the sink or should I consider some sort of lacquer?
Thanks, I always appreciate the advice I get on this forum.