Published at Friday, 10 August 2018. Air Compressor. By Debora Knox.
I returned to the job site with my new goodies and soon discovered that I had indeed made the right choice. The compressor started right up and was soon pressurized and ready to go. I hooked up the hose and gun, filled the reservoir with stain, and started systematically applying it to the siding. The portable air compressor was on wheels, and easy to maneuver. I could see the dry wood soaking up the stain and I was happy I'd opted for this method of application. I dreaded the idea of having to brush stain on for hours on end. Once I had the first coat on I let it set for a couple hours while I took a break, then went back out and applied a second coat. This probably would have been sufficient, but I had read that the very best thing to do when applying stain with a sprayer is to go back and brush over the job. Doing this really drove the stain into the wood and allowed it to fill every little pore.
Air output of a compressor is expressed in standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) or just cubic feet per minute (CFM). Not all 5 HP compressors put out the same volume of air per minute. This is a function not only of motor horsepower but also the efficiency of the air compressor pump the motor is powering. The higher the CFM, the less your air compressor will have to cycle on and off to keep up with the demands you are putting on it. A small compressor pump on a huge tank will produce no more air than on a small tank. The only difference will be in the number of times the compressor cycles on an off each hour and the time it takes to recompress the tank on each cycle. In the final analysis, you need to pay attention to SCFM (or CFM) more than you do motor horsepower or tank size. Air flow is the end product of any compressor and the CFM must be sufficient to the job at hand.
A portable air compressor comes in many shapes and sizes. We are only truly portable if we don't get too big. As long as we can be moved around easily and used where needed then we are considered truly portable. Once we get too big, then we are relegated to shop work and other stationary jobs. I pity these poor fools. It would be boring to just sit in one shop all day. I like getting out and seeing different places and meeting different people. I think it keeps me young.
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