A method of applying thermal barrier coating systems to a metal piece having a cooling hole extending along a central axis through the piece from a first surface of the piece to a second surface opposite the first surface. The method includes spraying a bond coat and a thermal barrier coating on the first surface at an angle and to a thickness to prevent the bond coat and thermal barrier coating from entirely filling the hole. The method also includes spraying a high pressure fluid jet from an elongate nozzle assembly having an orifice configured to direct the jet laterally away from the nozzle assembly toward the hole and in a direction generally parallel to the central axis of the hole.
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