Fine Tuning Spray Gun Technique

By Bernie Bottens | Posted: 07/02/2013 9:00AM


Bernie Bottens how to finish wood The last two weeks I have written about transfer efficiency. Transfer efficiency or T.E. is part of gun technique because, to improve it, one needs to know how to use the gun correctly to increase it.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to talk more about how to improve your technique. This is going to be a challenge because I need to write clearly on a subject that is difficult to describe.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the booth teaching gun technique to students. Admittedly, I have seen some really good gun slingers…but I’ve also seen some that really needed to practice.

Again this week, I am going to mention one of my favorite “Bernieisms.” Anyone who has been exposed to the discipline of sports or any number of academic disciplines has heard this from a teacher or coach. It’s a waste of time to practice bad habits.

When you pick up the spray gun, you need to concentrate on correct habits, concentrate on your hand-eye coordination, and continue to do so long after muscle memory kicks in.

I ride a motorcycle. That’s not as safe as driving a car or truck. You hit something while driving a car or truck and chances are reasonably good that you won’t be killed or injured. Not so with a motorcycle. If you go flying off that thing or flying into some immoveable object, the chances are much greater that physical damage will occur to you. When I took my beginning motorcycle class to get my license endorsement, the teacher made us promise to do things a certain way…the correct way. I encourage you here to also do things the correct way while using your spray gun and not allow yourself the freedom of practicing bad habits.

Look for tips on how to improve your spray gun next week as we look at the importance of speed and distance.



About the Author

Bernie Bottens

Bernie Bottens ( and teaches on the subject of wood and wood finishing in industrial woodworking. He and his wife, Carol, live in Vancouver, WA. Bernie has been teaching wood finishing to shop owners, shop foremen, spray technicians and finishers all over Oregon, southwest Washington, and northern California for the past 9 years. Prior to that, he owned his own cabinet shop. His shop credentials include apprenticing and becoming a journeyman exhibit builder. Before that he taught in the public schools for 20 years. Bernie is the owner of Kapellmeister Enterprises, Inc. and Kap Coatings Consulting. Reach him at

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