Pigmented lacquer finishing help

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Forum topic by PhillipRCW posted 11-03-2015 08:21 PM 348 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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382 posts in 682 days

11-03-2015 08:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question spray gun finishing

I am looking at adding some extremely glossy bits of color to some projects coming up. The plan right now is to use a pigmented lacquer and spray multiple coats on those areas and then spray on a clear finish coat of lacquer over the whole project. Is there a particular step I need to follow after this to make sure the color is as bright and glossy as possible or should the lacquer be enough?

Also, would the pigment lacquer be the best way to achieve what I am looking for or does anyone else have a better recommendation?

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

4 replies so far

View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2230 days

#1 posted 11-03-2015 09:00 PM

Tinted finishes are one of the hardest to get right. The process differs from the typical routine of applying dye or stain first, then applying a separate topcoat. Common problems with tinted finishes include uneven coloring, and concentrated color in runs and drips. Mistakes are hard to fix with tinting.

I suggest you look at dye for the coloring phase, then topcoat with lacquer in a second step. The colorant itself doesn’t need to be glossy, because the lacquer will add gloss and depth for a beautiful finish.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Mark Kornell's profile

Mark Kornell

1057 posts in 1948 days

#2 posted 11-04-2015 02:23 AM

A pigmented lacquer is tinted in a manner similar to a household paint. As long as it is thoroughly stirred before use and enough coats are laid on to ensure complete coverage, there won’t be color variation in the finish.

Runs and drips are another issue – you need a good spray technique. But the same can be said for spraying a glossy clear coat, although you probably know that already.

Depending on the lacquer you choose, you might not need a final topcoat. Most are designed to be the final coat and are available in various sheens. If you really want “extremely” glossy, you might need a true gloss topcoat – several layers – that you can polish out. I did an experiment on a couple of panels for a client and found that the tinted lacquer off the gun looked better and was just as glossy as adding a clear gloss topcoat.

I’ll suggest looking into tinted conversion varnish. Catalyzed, so it is cures harder than a typical lacquer. A bit more work as you need to mix in the catalyst at a specific ratio. And somewhat more hazardous due to the acidic nature of the catalyst so PPE and a good booth are important. Otherwise, sprays the same a lacquer.

pinto’s suggestion of dye or stain for coloring is fine, but it is much harder – if not impossible – to get pure color saturation.

-- Mark Kornell, Kornell Wood Design

View PhillipRCW's profile


382 posts in 682 days

#3 posted 11-04-2015 02:08 PM

I want a solid color in certain areas. No grain showing through. I have read to use a sanding sealer to fill the grain and then sand it off at 220, then spray the lacquer. I believe the pigmented lacquer and then just clear lacquer over it will give me enough of the glossy look I am going for. I don’t think anything more complicated would be for me though. Not that I can’t do it, but in a home shop with kids around I’d like to limit the amount of chemicals I have, and I also don’t have a solid spray booth. This will probably be shot in the driveway or the garage with a plastic wrapped makeshift booth and a box fan/filter going.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1407 days

#4 posted 11-04-2015 04:17 PM

Depending on the wood, preventing the grain from telegraphing through and showing in a glossy finish, after several months of sitting, is probably your biggest challenge. I have yet to be 100% successful. I think your plan with pigmented lacquer followed by clear gloss is sound. Do some searches for piano finish. You will probably find several approaches to grain filling.

If your are concerned about chemicals with kids around, you might look into waterborne finishes. Lacquers, poly’s, conversion varnishes, etc are available. My personal choice is Target Coatings.

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