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Help needed for Lacquer Beginner

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Forum topic by CharlesL posted 04-01-2016 02:49 PM 540 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CharlesL

4 posts in 249 days


04-01-2016 02:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lacquer thinner finishing wood carving tip question

Hi there,

Just joined these forums, Looking forward learning and exchanging tips.

I’ve been painting and drawing on wood for a while and always used acrylic as finishing topcoat. Recently I moved to carving. So far, these have mostly been motifs and patterns. I recently started to experiment with lacquer to finish these since I am big fan of art deco ( e.g jean dunand) and the durability and shine seem very attractive (working on very nice light birch)

The first trials were as followed:
1. Sanding
2. Carving directly in the raw panel
3. Sanding
4. Sealing/Priming with 2 layers of thinned Gesso
5. Sanding
6. Spray Lacquer from aerosol

I was happy with results but because of the price of aerosols and because I need to save for a spraying gun, I bought a can and planned to brush in the meantime.

Thats where I encountered a problem which seems to be chemical and probably due to my inexperience, for which I would appreciate tips! I used the same steps but substituted spray for brush at 6.

The clear lacquer from can applied with brush went well. It dries fast and seems fluid enough. But the white lacquer from can seems super thick. One panel worked out well, no complaints. But the other would not dry and remained sticky forever.
The only thing I can think of is that for the first my brush was dry, and the other was wet (dipped in water after the finishing the first one). Is that why? is water chemically incompatible with lacquer? Is lacquer thinner what I should use to thin down the paint, extend drying time, clean and rest brushed between sessions? Could acetone be used as a substitute?
Also, do you recommend a mask at all time when working with lacquer? ( spray and brush)
Any other process/tips would be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks
Charles


10 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 694 days


#1 posted 04-01-2016 04:18 PM

Dont brush lacquer. I have only heard bad stuff about that.

As far as spray guns go I have a quart cup but bought a $15 gravity feed gun of Horror Freight and am quite pleased. Spraying lacquer is not hard and with a gun you get much better coating.

Clean
Your
Gun

When you are done. Residue will screw the thing up.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

828 posts in 686 days


#2 posted 04-01-2016 04:49 PM

The solvent/thinner for Lacquer is as you surmised, lacquer thinner. Water will likely mess things up in various ways.

My experience with cans of “brushing” lacquer is they really need to be thinned down (about 50%). I much prefer spraying over brushing, much easier to get a smooth coat.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4854 posts in 2276 days


#3 posted 04-01-2016 05:01 PM

The benefits of a spray gun over an aerosol can are numerous…
1. You get to choose the type of lacquer (I like Rudd, Magnalac, and Valspar pre-cat lacquers).
2. Thin as desired, usually 10-15% with lacquer thinner.
3. Constant pressure from compressor, vs. decreasing pressure from aerosol.
4. Improved atomization.
5. Better finish.
6. More consistent results.

If you have access to a compressor, try a gravity feed spray gun. They actually work great and are available for $15-20 at the low end.

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

View CharlesL's profile

CharlesL

4 posts in 249 days


#4 posted 04-03-2016 09:58 AM

Thanks for the tips, here are my findings:

The clear lacquer is actually water based, it dissolves, can be mixed, can be cleaned with water.
The white lacquer is oil based, it dissolves, can be mixed, can be cleaned with turpentine.

So after mixing the thick white lacquer to 10-20% turpentine, I got it to be nicely fluid.
I brushed it with a good animal-hair brush and literally got zero brush marks, it levelled by itself and because the turpentine acted as a drying retardant, i was able to lay the lacquer nicely until I was satisfied to let it dry that way.
did 2 coatings with sanding in between, it looked perfect.

Anyone knows about oil based clear lacquer? If i follow the rules of only oil based can go over water based and not the other way around, the clear lacquer would then not sit right over oil based colored lacquer?
I did the test and it works? but I m worried with time I get bad surprises like peeling etc…
Thoughts?
Cheers!

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2409 posts in 2385 days


#5 posted 04-03-2016 04:27 PM

Turpentine is not used with lacquer. It is used for oil based finishes. Only use lacquer thinner with lacquer. Yes, thin lacquer, even if brushing it on.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1642 posts in 1780 days


#6 posted 04-03-2016 06:56 PM

The clear lacquer is actually water based, it dissolves, can be mixed, can be cleaned with water.
The white lacquer is oil based, it dissolves, can be mixed, can be cleaned with turpentine.

- CharlesL

There is no such thing as lacquer that is compatible with water or turpentine. Lacquer is a specific type of finish that cures by evaporation of solvents (lacquer thinner). If those products are called lacquer but thin with water or turpentine, then you’re buying products from a company that puts more emphasis on marketing terminology than customer service.

It is also impossible for genuine lacquer to remain gummy forever. The solvents have to evaporate sooner or later unless you’ve sealed up the project in an air-tight container.

What you have isn’t lacquer. It’s some unknown type of finish with a misleading name slapped on the label. It’s not possible to give you advice if the product is unknown. If you give us the brand name and product name then it will be much easier to troubleshoot the process.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View CharlesL's profile

CharlesL

4 posts in 249 days


#7 posted 04-04-2016 07:08 AM

i see… thank you, yes that would be great since i m working from Vienna at the moment and my german is as bad as my lacquer experience.

here is the product for the white lacquer I think I’m using: http://www.obi.at/decom/product/OBI_Premium_Buntlack_Reinweiss_hochglaenzend_125_ml/1712454&position=25&pageNum=1&pageSize=72

here is the product for the clear lacquer:
http://www.obi.at/decom/product/OBI_Klarlack_Transparent_glaenzend_125_ml/5269618&position=1&pageNum=1&pageSize=72

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

828 posts in 686 days


#8 posted 04-04-2016 08:51 PM


There is no such thing as lacquer that is compatible with water or turpentine. Lacquer is a specific type of finish that cures by evaporation of solvents (lacquer thinner). If those products are called lacquer but thin with water or turpentine, then you re buying products from a company that puts more emphasis on marketing terminology than customer service.

- JAAune

True dat!

Kind of like water based polyurethane. Completely different animal versus the oil based.

View HokieKen's profile (online now)

HokieKen

1752 posts in 602 days


#9 posted 04-04-2016 09:01 PM

If google translated correctly, the clear “lacquer” is not lacquer but an acrylic top coat. So yes, it’s water based and no, it’s not lacquer. The first link is a solvent based topcoat but that’s about all I could glean from the link.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View CharlesL's profile

CharlesL

4 posts in 249 days


#10 posted 04-05-2016 06:56 AM

Asked a german neighbour, so what i got are not real lacquer products… the clear laqcuer (Klarlack) is an acrylic based lacquer impersonator and the white ’’Buntlack’’ is a resin colored varnish, which explains my experiences with water and turpentine…case closed, i got to get the real stuff. Thanks for flagging.

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