Last week I decided to help my Dad power wash the cedar siding on his house. It has been about 15 years since it was last done, and it was really showing signs of needing help. The mold and darkened surface was significant. Anyway, I decided to use a regular gasoline power washer to clean the wood. It worked like a charm, and before lone, the job was done and sitting there dry. Since it needs some time to fully dry out before applying stain, I had some time to consider how I wanted to apply it. Of course, brushing is probably the very best way to really get the stain into the wood, but I was also interested in saving a little time. I preferred to just use a sprayer to apply the stain. My search soon revealed that a portable air compressor was something I would "need". Funny how our wants and needs intersect at times, isn't it?
I found a nice air powered air gun at a local hardware store. At first it seemed just perfect. I was about to buy it when I noticed on the little description card that it was not recommended to be used with a compressor smaller than 6 gallons. Dang! The portable air compressor I had was only a small 2 gallon pancake compressor. That just wouldn't cut it. I had to buy a larger unit so that I could get the gun, so that I could finish the house project. See how this goes.
I looked over my options and soon settled on a 20 gallon portable air compressor that would not only adequately run this particular tool, but would also serve my needs going forward. You never know what use you might find for such a great machine. Being able to power up and use tools with pressurized air is clean, efficient, powerful, and fun.
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.
A portable air compressor is what made this job not only possible, but also enjoyable and satisfying as well. Who knows when I might use it again. I am, however, glad that I have what I need now to do all sorts of jobs I couldn't do before.
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