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Rattle Can Minwax Lacquer Leaves Rough Surface

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Forum topic by JohnnyBoy1981 posted 06-21-2017 10:19 PM 4625 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JohnnyBoy1981

209 posts in 274 days


06-21-2017 10:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lacquer rough finish

Hi, I’m trying to use some clear gloss Minwax lacquer from an aerosol can to put a nice finish a project I’m hopefully close to completing. The wood I’m using is softwood, mostly 2×4’s, which I sanded to 220 grit and applied two coats of a Minwax gel stain. Because of odd angles, I went the rattle can top coat route. I thought it would be easier than brushing on a poly. I estimate I’ve sprayed about 5 coats of the lacquer on my project. I noticed I was getting white/clear nubbins popping up, and the finish overall had a rough feel to it. I took some 0000 steel wool and lightly smoothed the surfaces out, then applied one more coat. 1. How do I know I didn’t accidentally scrape off too much of the dried lacquer, compromising the finish? The finish isnt as glossy as I thought it would be. 2. What caused the roughness and nubbins? I’ve read that spray distance plays a part. So can humidity (it’s currently in the ‘90’s and extremely humid outside). I was hoping for a nice warm finish, but can’t get there yet.

-- Mistakes aren't mistakes if you still have all of your fingers!


41 replies so far

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Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#1 posted 06-21-2017 10:45 PM

Raw 2×4 lumber will drink that lacquer right up. Starting with a sanding sealer and sanding that smooth after it dries would give better results. High humidity can cause lacquer to blush, leaving a cloudiness in the finish. Finally, if you are spraying from too far away — particularly in higher temperatures — the lacquer will dry before it hits the surface, leaving a dust coat that you can feel. Fortunately, lacquer is forgiving and going back over with a wet coat will dissolve that since it is solvent based.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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JohnnyBoy1981

209 posts in 274 days


#2 posted 06-21-2017 11:52 PM

Thanks, I just went back and sanded the project down with some 400grit sandpaper. It kicked up all kinds of gray dust, but it left the surface smoother. In the right light I can see some places where the lacquer has left a ‘wet’ look on the project, but it looks dull in other spots. Should I just sand off the lacquer and the stain, and start over with a sanding sealer at this point?

-- Mistakes aren't mistakes if you still have all of your fingers!

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Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#3 posted 06-22-2017 12:15 AM

I’m afraid I can’t offer much advice on that since I can’t see what you’ve got. Eventually, the lacquer will build up, but in the future, some sort of sealer will save you time and money.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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pintodeluxe

5466 posts in 2650 days


#4 posted 06-22-2017 12:20 AM

Lacquer works fine as its own sanding sealer. You don’t need a separate product.
Plan to scuff sand with very fine sanding sponges between coats. For the final coat you can wet sand with a 1000 grit or 1500 grit soft sanding sponge and water.

The sanding sponges I like best are 1/4” thick and perhaps 4” x 6”, and you can find them at Woodcraft etc.

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

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Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#5 posted 06-22-2017 12:28 AM


Lacquer works fine as its own sanding sealer. You don’t need a separate product.

On 2×4? I disagree. Also, why would you sand the finish on a 2×4 to 1000 grit?

He needed to use some sort of sealer, whether shellac, or GF Enduro, to get a surface he could spray efficiently.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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JohnnyBoy1981

209 posts in 274 days


#6 posted 06-22-2017 12:48 AM

Is the sealer I should have used a sanding sealer? Would that be applied before the stain like the pre stain sealer Minwax sells for soft woods?
I do have a tiny can of shellac. It’s clear. I assume the shellac is best applied after the stain? And should be unwaxed?
I hate to strip this thing and start over…

-- Mistakes aren't mistakes if you still have all of your fingers!

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Rick_M

10623 posts in 2217 days


#7 posted 06-22-2017 12:48 AM

Sanding sealer is just thinned varnish. I sand back the first two layers of lacquer or shellac until baby butt smooth.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#8 posted 06-22-2017 01:08 AM

The pre-stain conditioner is intended to reduce blotching of the stain, it’s not a sealer — it just soaks into the soft grain to resist the absorption of the stain. It’s hard to explain what to do with 2×4 lumber. It’s not the best wood to be staining. Consider a pine board though. Pine has early wood and late wood. The early wood is lighter colored and more porous and absorbs stain more easily. The late wood is darker, denser and does not. You’ve probably seen pine that was stained without a conditioner where the grain appears to have reversed itself. It’s because the light early wood becomes very dark due to excess absorption, and the darker late wood absorbs less and stays lighter.

Does all of this solve your problem? Nope, but the questions you are asking are the subject of much longer and more thorough explanations that I can give here.

Videos help. Check out Charles Neil on youtube. He has provided a generous collection of videos that discuss blotching, sealing and much more.

Books help. Everyone knows about Bob Flexner’s Understanding Wood Finishing, and it’s a good book. Two more I swear by are Great Wood Finishes by Jeff Jewitt, and Foolproof Wood Finishing by Teri Masaschi.

Finally, and maybe I’ve mentioned it before, but I can’t stress enough — do test boards, as many as you need to get confident that you can achieve the result you want on your final piece. If you had taken a foot long hunk of the wood you are using and done all of your sanding, staining and spraying with it, you would have realized early on that a different approach was likely going to be needed.

I specifically mentioned GF Enduro Sanding Sealer because it’s easy to use, water based, and is heavy-bodied so it builds well. That’s the sort of thing you need on wood like you’re using. You can continue to apply it, let it dry, and sand it until you get a smooth surface.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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JohnnyBoy1981

209 posts in 274 days


#9 posted 06-22-2017 01:22 AM

Point taken. I was so focused on the build, I didn’t think about finishing problems outside of potential stain blotching (hence the use of gel stain).

I brought the piece inside out of the heat and humidity. I opened a bunch of windows and turned on some fans. I resprayed some lacquer with the can in a bit closer than I had. The finish is now very smooth. Since the lacquer melts into the previous coat, I’m not sure if I still need to do a final sanding. It seems redundant.

-- Mistakes aren't mistakes if you still have all of your fingers!

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jbay

1857 posts in 736 days


#10 posted 06-22-2017 01:23 AM

When spraying lacquer, you can use it as the sealer. Doesn’t matter that it’s a 2×4.
Preconditioning before staining is to control blotching which is another topic.

The problem you are having is from over spray and possibly holding the can too far away.
The trick to using lacquer is to keep a wet coat as your spraying.
Spray in rows overlapping enough to keep from getting voids in between each row.
Usually overlap about 50%, you have to control your speed and watch the finish as you’re spraying to keep a wet edge and make it all even.

You can’t go back over spots without the over spray dulling or roughing up the finish.
Always try to keep your over spray off of the finish on a previous side or surface.

Sand lightly with 220, or finer, in between each coat. You should be able to sand what you have and re-spray without having to do anything else. Don’t strip it and don’t use shellac, just sand and respray.

EDIT: Just read your last comment, good job.
4 coats from a rattle can would be good. No need to sand your last coat if you are happy with the sheen and feel.

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#11 posted 06-22-2017 01:38 AM


When spraying lacquer, you can use it as the sealer. Doesn’t matter that it’s a 2×4.

One more time. Sealing is one thing, but he was seeking a smooth finish on a very porous wood. So, is it better to use a heavy-bodied sanding sealer like GF that will build up the surface quickly and then spray a topcoat, or to spray endless coats of lacquer? Remember, he’s using Minwax, not pre-cat. It’s thin stuff and soaks in easily..

Either one will get you there, but one will get you there quicker and more inexpensively.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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Rick_M

10623 posts in 2217 days


#12 posted 06-22-2017 01:46 AM

Sounds like unnecessary effort. I pick one finish and stick with it unless there is good reason to do otherwise. The time to seal it is before you stain.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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oldnovice

6428 posts in 3204 days


#13 posted 06-22-2017 01:52 AM

Not to change the topic too much …..
The only rattle can lacquer I use is Deft as all the others have given me a differeent sets of problems!
It also seems to be expelled in a much finer mist and drys very fast.

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

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bc4393

57 posts in 979 days


#14 posted 06-22-2017 01:53 AM

The heat and humidity did you in. You should get some melting and some flow before it dries. I did the same thing in Houston here. It was hot as sin in the garage ( and humid as it always in in Houston) when I sprayed my last box and it came out like garbage. I was questioning my technique, how wet I was getting it, the distance, everything. I almost set it on fire I was so ticked. I talked to my dad who was a shop teacher for 30 years and he said he used to get up at like 4 in the morning in Michigan to go in and spray kids projects in the spray booth to get a good finish. I ended up sanding it back smooth with up to 800 grit, got rid of the high spots of the fish eyes and it was butter smooth to the touch then gave it another coat when ii was not hot out. It was still humid so I immediately brought the piece inside where its about 50% humidity and 74 degrees or so and it did it’s thing and came out beautiful.

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Rich

1980 posts in 426 days


#15 posted 06-22-2017 01:58 AM


unless there is good reason to do otherwise.

Bingo! I rest my case.

-- No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery.

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