Lots of woodworkers just love the super-smooth, uniform finish offered by a spray rig, but the cash involved in getting set up with an HVLP rig often makes the decision of whether or not to try spray finishing for us. Despite the fact that it’s often scoffed at however, aerosol finishes can be found in a wide array of products; from sanding sealers and shellacs, to polyurethane and lacquer. Better yet, most of these products can be had for well under $20.

There is of course, one caveat. Choose your projects wisely. Aerosol finishing falls short when it comes to larger pieces of furniture. Aerosols are applied in strips of finish which blend into one another (while wet) as the craftsman works his/her way down on the project. If you’re attempting to spray a finish onto a four-foot long blanket chest, you’ll soon find that the first strip of finish you applied has begun to dry by the time you get around to the adjacent strip, leaving you with a poor finish. For this reason, it’s best to stick with projects like boxes, small hanging cabinets, and the like. Leave that coffee table for your buddy with an HVLP rig, or better yet, consider a hand-rubbed oil finish.