Lacquer spray issue

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Forum topic by mahdee posted 01-05-2016 01:00 AM 477 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mahdee's profile


3454 posts in 1185 days

01-05-2016 01:00 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question mahogany finishing

I am spraying right from a can and seem to get these uneven depression marks on the surface. I sanded them off and used 4×0 steel wool and sprayed again and boy, it screw it up even worse. Is it the steel wool causing this by making the surface too finished that the lacquer can’t grip to anything? Should I sand it flat with 220 and spray again? It seems the 220 leaves streak marks after spray that I am trying to avoid.


12 replies so far

View jbay's profile


697 posts in 317 days

#1 posted 01-05-2016 01:10 AM

Each lacquer coat melts into each other, therefore there is no mechanical grip between coats.
Hard to say without seeing it but I wouldn’t use steel wool. I normally use 220 between coats, but am spraying from a gun not a rattle can, so the heavier bodied lacquer melts out any scratches from sanding.
Could be maybe you are to close to the surface.
Maybe you could post some pics, or somebody else may be able to help.

-- Many times my “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct.--

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1387 days

#2 posted 01-05-2016 01:12 AM

When I did my scroll saw projects recently I had a similar problem Mahdee. I sprayed another coat and it seemed to resolve itself. I figured since the coats burn into one another I could get away with it

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View pintodeluxe's profile


4824 posts in 2231 days

#3 posted 01-05-2016 02:39 AM

I would recommend getting a spray system. If you already have a compressor you can get an inexpensive gravity-feed spray gun. Another option is a turbine driven HVLP system. Rockler has one on sale.

That way you could thin the lacquer, and control the spray pattern. I think 90% of common finishing problems could be solved with a good spray setup.

As far as sanding between coats I like to use 350 grit soft sanding sponges. Then I wet sand the final coat with a 1500 grit soft sponge.

Good luck!

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

View jordanp's profile


1086 posts in 1358 days

#4 posted 01-05-2016 03:06 AM

Here are a few things I do that help my rattle can finishing woes.

1. Sand and clean surface with mineral spirits
2. Make the first coat shellac
3. Let dry thuoughly
4. Sand lightly 220
5. Spray with lacquer
6. Sand
7. spray second coat and so on….

the temperature and humidity can also effect your results..
So if you are having issues and it is in a cold environment, you might try it when it is warmer.

-- J. Palmer Woodworks - Rockwall TX -I woke up this morning thinking “man, I really hope someone posted some soul scarring sh*t on LJs today.” -- - Billy

View cracknpop's profile


190 posts in 1766 days

#5 posted 01-05-2016 03:36 AM

As jbay mentioned above, pictures may be helpful in seeing what you are calling “depression marks”. Without seeing it, I can only offer a few guesses…

Are you wiping down the surface with anything prior to spraying? While ‘fish eyes’ typically occur as small round depressions due to small spots of oil on the surface, I have seen streaks occur when not cleaned properly before spraying. Because of the variable concoctions sold as mineral spirits, I do not like to use it to clean the surface before spraying lacquer.

Not worked with mahogany before, but I have seen lacquer sprayed too thick on porous grain wood, like oak, leave streak like depressions over the grain. Not that big of a deal because it looks like the grain of the wood.

Not sure what lacquer you are spraying from the can, but check on the recommended recoat times. There are some types of spray finishes that will tell you to recoat within (time) or wait at least (time). I know “someone” that didn’t read the instructions for a particular finish, only to see the second coat of the exact same product ‘lift’ the first coat.

Keep us posted.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View mahdee's profile


3454 posts in 1185 days

#6 posted 01-05-2016 03:55 AM

Thanks a bunch guys for the input. I am spraying with def. I have a spray gun but this is a small box and thought the can would be a better choice. Not sure if the pictures capture the problem as it is only visible when held at a certain angle to direct light. I have tried to spray over it but obviously it just makes it thicker with the bumps still visible. Temperature may have something to do with it.


View woodbutcherbynight's profile


2295 posts in 1826 days

#7 posted 01-05-2016 03:57 AM

I have seen this with the cheaper versions of lacquer from the box stores. While weather and such do play a role I quit buying them and went with some more expensive brands and had much better success.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7678 posts in 1798 days

#8 posted 01-05-2016 04:40 AM

I can’t see it in the pics but how big are the depressions? Could it be open wood pores soaking up additional lacquer leaving a depression? If so, the problem will right itself with more coats.


View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 838 days

#9 posted 01-05-2016 04:47 AM

Well, from experience, def is a low grade lacquer. It works ok if you can get your project pieces level, especially out of a rattle can. IMO, The best lacquer I’ve found is put out by Watco. Rattle can & spray gun. But first things first. Did you spray lacquer on bare wood, or use shellac first? If not, lacquer on bare wood has a tendency to want to dimple, show depressions, scratches, etc., in the wood. From what I see, it looks like you may have had a damp spot where you wiped it down w/MS? And yes, I agree. Temperature plays a big part in the application of lacquer, also. When you’re sanding between coats, how “deep” are you sanding? You need to just smooth the surface, & no more. My suggestion would be to use an air hose & blow the dust off after sanding, then use a tack cloth & wipe the complete surface down. The cleaner the better.

-- Sawdust703

View oldnovice's profile


5642 posts in 2785 days

#10 posted 01-05-2016 05:41 AM

I had been using Deft, and some other brands, but always liked the Deft better.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View mahdee's profile


3454 posts in 1185 days

#11 posted 01-05-2016 11:58 AM

sawdust703, The wood pores are completely filled. It is happening when I spray it on lacquer. I have some Watco cans as well and will try it this evening. I might have a bad batch. I have been using Deft for a long time and never have had this type of issue with it.


View Don W's profile

Don W

17870 posts in 1985 days

#12 posted 01-05-2016 01:32 PM

Talk about different experiences. The last can of Watco I had It threw away it was so bad. (Hopefully it was just a bad can) Believe it or not, the best experience I’ve had is with Rustoleum from Home Depot. I can’t help with your depressions though. I haven’t seen that before.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

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