Max--jstslamd is a finishing pro and can give better advice than I can. Photos would be extra helpful.
One comment I could make is that some guns produce a hard edge (meaning the material is evenly distributed along the fan-spray) and some produce a soft edge (meaning it feathers out
toward the edges). A soft edge gun is easier to overlap for a beginner.
Another comment is that by mixing the tint weak enough to require three coats, you get plenty of opportunity to even things out as needed--just watch out for drips and runs.
An added benefit of a weak tint mix is you can darken your project a little at a time, until you get the degree of color you want.
jayHRC51 had good advice. If you go turbine, stick with a 4-stage. Something like this. Anything less than 4-stage will likely disappoint.
Joe--I still have the Harbor Freight gun. It's not awful, but I have others I like more, so I don't use the HF gun much, but I do use it. As for the compressor, if it weren't for the floor-space issue, I'd say check and see if your compressor can be converted to 220v and get a rough estimate on getting an outlet wired for it.
As far as SCFM requirements go, a Conventional Gun uses higher pressure and less SCFM than an HVLP. Also, an LVLP gun (Low
Volume, Low Pressure) uses less SCFM. There's also a Reduced Pressure
conventional gun, which uses less SCFM than a typical HVLP gun.
All that to say that nearly any non
-HVLP gun will use less SCFM and allow for a smaller compressor. As an aside for anyone who is less concerned about floor space, but saving money is an issue--you can use a "T" and combine the outputs of two or more smaller compressors, so their SCFM adds up. This is practical if you have enough circuits (outlets) in your garage for them, because the smaller ones often come up on Craig's List for pretty cheap.
Two websites that have great info on spray guns are WoodSprayGuns
. I haven't ordered from either, but they have a lot of good info on finishing equipment.
I hope this was helpful.