SPRAYING POLYURETHANE: Critter High-Pressure Sprayer Review

You’re probably not a professional wood finisher, but if you’re interested in finishing wood well, you need to know about a very simple, inexpensive, reliable and effective spray gun called the Critter. I’ve used and tested many brands and types of sprayers over the last 30+ years, but this cheap little gun is excellent for small and even medium-sized jobs.

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The Critter is especially effective with thin finishing products such as waterbased urethanes. Besides the fact that you can operate the Critter with just the smallest portable trim compressor, this gun is dead simple to use and easy to keep clean. A standard mason jar holds the finishing liquid. Air flowing over an adjustable outlet pipe atomizes the liquid without it ever touching any needle.

The Critter loaded with waterbased urethane and ready to use in my shop.

Simply raise or lower the threaded, spring-loaded outlet to add more or less finishing liquid to the spray stream. Have you ever had trouble getting a smooth finish brushing on waterbased urethane? Of course you have. The Critter handles thin paint, but it really shines when spraying polyurethane, especially the waterbased kind.  It removes the one big problem most people face when applying waterbased urethane, namely the creation of brush strokes and hardened bubbles. Waterbased urethane usually dries so quickly that it’s easy to mess up.

The Critter has enough output to coat about 10 square feet in less than 2 minutes.Since the paint reservoir is a mason jar for making preserves, it’s also easy to store different paints and urethanes for future use.

The vertical brass part can be raised or lowered to adjust the amount of finishing liquid that gets drawn up and out of the Critter during use.

Are there any drawbacks to the Critter? Just a couple. Since this gun uses high pressure air to atomize the stream of finishing liquid, there’s more over-spray to cloud the air than with a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) gun. It’s not a big problem, but you should expect it. Also, the Critter isn’t the strongest gun around, so it can’t spray heavy-bodied paints or varnishes, either. Both of these drawbacks are minor in my book. That’s why the Critter is my go-to spray gun for small and medium-sized jobs with light-bodied finishes. And I’ve mentioned, it’s especially good at spraying waterbased polyurethane finishes.

Even with a spray gun on your side, it’s entirely possible that you’re wood finish doesn’t feel as smooth as you’d like. This is where buffing can help. Click here to learn about what may be the best kept secret behind wood finishing. This article and video is one of the most popular on my whole website. What you’ll learn has transformed the wood finishing of thousands of people around the world. You’ll be amazed at how simple and effective is it.

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