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Lacquer or poly recommendation needed

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Forum topic by Pyro posted 01-16-2018 01:47 PM 561 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pyro

34 posts in 155 days


01-16-2018 01:47 PM

Hey guys!

In the past I have mostly been using poly. My understanding is that poly is what one would want to use when durability is a concern. Lately I’ve heard that lacquer is mostly just as durable but my experience with it is limited so I have some questions.

My biggest concerns are time, ease, and money. Ideally I want to spend as little time as is needed waiting for a piece to dry (don’t we all?). I also want something that isn’t too temperamental to apply. I have a sprayer that I don’t like cleaning but I find some water based polys clean up real easy. Lastly something that doesn’t cost $30 a quart and has decent to excellent durability.

I don’t like the dry time on oil based poly. I live in California and have been told that what made oil based products good have mostly been taken out with the VOC laws here and so I have started using water based poly more and more. I find water based poly has a pretty reasonable dry time but I always feel like having to apply quite a few coats. I’ve heard there are water based lacquers that are worth considering as well. Supposedly lacquers offer a less “plasticy” looking finish (?).

I’m not unhappy with poly but being a beginner and having received so much good advice here, I thought it might be prudent to get this info sooner rather than later.

Thanks guys


17 replies so far

View sakle2k's profile

sakle2k

22 posts in 2023 days


#1 posted 01-16-2018 05:27 PM

You may want to give Target Coatings a try. They make water based lacquer that sprays easily, levels well, dries quickly and is durable: https://www.targetcoatings.com/product/emtech-em6000-wb-production-lacquer/

Target always has coupons for their products and I found a 25% off code on their Facebook page (Code DJ25).

Good luck!

-- Les

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4981 posts in 2487 days


#2 posted 01-16-2018 05:49 PM

In almost all cases there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”. They are both primarily acrylic resin finishes, but some manufacturers have latched onto to the fact that the word “poly” is like magic, makes finishes sell better. So they drop a dollop or urethane resin into the mix and call it “poly”. There is a new breed is waterborne called “modified oil” finish (I haven’t been able to find out much about the chemistry behind them) but they may be even more durable than the common waterborne finishes. So my advice is: use a good quality waterborne (Target is very good, as is most of the GF stuff) and don’t worry too much about whether the manufacturer calls it lacquer versus “poly”. BTW, I think the GF Enduro var is one of those “modified oil” finishes, and it is very durable.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

942 posts in 810 days


#3 posted 01-16-2018 05:57 PM

I can’t say anything about water borne finishes but I can guarantee you that lacquer and polyurethane are not the same chemically and they are not the same as far as application goes. I have used a lot of both. I strongly disagree with Fred.

View John_H's profile

John_H

173 posts in 1700 days


#4 posted 01-16-2018 06:17 PM

Pyro, when I read your post, this comes to mind: (pick two)

General Finishes makes an excellent line of water-based finishes. Take a look at their ‘High Performance’ or even their ‘pigmented poly’

https://generalfinishes.com/compare-our-products

https://generalfinishes.com/search?search=pigmented+poly

Dry time is around 2 hours for their poly and I would agree that lacquer and poly are basically not the same

View Drew's profile

Drew

350 posts in 3094 days


#5 posted 01-16-2018 08:14 PM

Lets talk waterborne topcoats for a minute.


In almost all cases there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”. – Fred Hargis
This is simply false!

I have shot 99% waterborne topoats for the last 6-7 years. I spray 70-80 gallons every year. I’ve shot almost everything from General Finishes and Target coatings, Ilva 1k and 2k, Milesi 1k’s and 2k’s even M.L. C and I guarentee everyone is very different!

The truth is there is no such thing as a waterborne lacquer, only lacquer is lacquer. There is no waterborne conversion varnish. What there is are waterborne topcoats that are designed to act and perform like those products on the label.

Here is a quick list of what I shoot and why…

Milesi 2k, post-cat self sealing poly
Very nice top of the line product with max waterborne durability. Expensive and doesn’t like to be sprayed over GF water based stains.
I use this when I need the best

Milesi 1K self sealing poly
Much like the 2k but cheaper and a little less durable, although still top notch durability

EmTech 8000cv, self sealing conversion varnish
My go to finish for table tops and counters. Very good all around product with a great feel and good look.

EmTech 6000, self sealing lacquer
Very water white. I like this on furnishings that don’t take the abuse of table tops or when I want clear on top of paint. Almost everything I paint gets 6k!

EmTech 1000, sealer
A sealer I sometimes use. Usually on oak and walnut.

GF Enduro pre-cat lacquer
I love this stuff! Shoots great, dries super fast and is cheap. Not very durable. I mostly shoot this on wall cladding and cabinetry. Very much like shooting lacquer.

GF Enduro-Var
I don’t care for this stuff, but I have a large client that loves it. I doesn’t shoot great, isn’t as durable as other products and it cost a ton. It does have a great look and feel though!

Took me a lot of years to figure all this out and I’m sharing it with you. I am constantly trying new products so I’m sure things will change through the years to come.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

View sakle2k's profile

sakle2k

22 posts in 2023 days


#6 posted 01-16-2018 08:18 PM



Lets talk waterborne topcoats for a minute.

In almost all cases there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”. – Fred Hargis

This is simply false!

I have shot 99% waterborne topoats for the last 6-7 years. I spray 70-80 gallons every year. I ve shot almost everything from General Finishes and Target coatings, Ilva 1k and 2k, Milesi 1k s and 2k s even M.L. C and I guarentee everyone is very different!

The truth is there is no such thing as a waterborne lacquer, only lacquer is lacquer. There is no waterborne conversion varnish. What there is are waterborne topcoats that are designed to act and perform like those products on the label.

Here is a quick list of what I shoot and why…

Milesi 2k, post-cat self sealing poly
Very nice top of the line product with max waterborne durability. Expensive and doesn t like to be sprayed over GF water based stains.
I use this when I need the best

Milesi 1K self sealing poly
Much like the 2k but cheaper and a little less durable, although still top notch durability

EmTech 8000cv, self sealing conversion varnish
My go to finish for table tops and counters. Very good all around product with a great feel and good look.

EmTech 6000, self sealing lacquer
Very water white. I like this on furnishings that don t take the abuse of table tops or when I want clear on top of paint. Almost everything I paint gets 6k!

EmTech 1000, sealer
A sealer I sometimes use. Usually on oak and walnut.

GF Enduro pre-cat lacquer
I love this stuff! Shoots great, dries super fast and is cheap. Not very durable. I mostly shoot this on wall cladding and cabinetry. Very much like shooting lacquer.

GF Enduro-Var
I don t care for this stuff, but I have a large client that loves it. I doesn t shoot great, isn t as durable as other products and it cost a ton. It does have a great look and feel though!

Took me a lot of years to figure all this out and I m sharing it with you. I am constantly trying new products so I m sure things will change through the years to come.

- Drew

Great info Drew, thanks for sharing!

-- Les

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1665 posts in 1984 days


#7 posted 01-16-2018 09:30 PM



In almost all cases there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”. They are both primarily acrylic resin finishes, but some manufacturers have latched onto to the fact that the word “poly” is like magic, makes finishes sell better. So they drop a dollop or urethane resin into the mix and call it “poly”. There is a new breed is waterborne called “modified oil” finish (I haven t been able to find out much about the chemistry behind them) but they may be even more durable than the common waterborne finishes. So my advice is: use a good quality waterborne (Target is very good, as is most of the GF stuff) and don t worry too much about whether the manufacturer calls it lacquer versus “poly”. BTW, I think the GF Enduro var is one of those “modified oil” finishes, and it is very durable.

- Fred Hargis

Fred, the limited info Ive been able to find on wb finishes has primarily been for Target’s products. Ive never found any actual chemical info, only test results by the mfr that showed poly was significantly more scratch and abrasion resistant, indicating something different in the formulas.

Im not trying to be insulting, but do you have any info or evidence supporting the claim that the formulations of wb finishes are all mostly acrylic, and a little urethane is added to the poly for mktg purposes. Ive read what mfrs say, and some of the “finish experts”, but have never found any specific info concerning formulations that support most of what gets passed around as fact.

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

942 posts in 810 days


#8 posted 01-16-2018 10:28 PM

You can’t help but be insulting when you call into question statements made by someone who is spreading so much misinformation.

Im not trying to be insulting, but do you have any info or evidence supporting the claim that the formulations of wb finishes are all mostly acrylic, and a little urethane is added to the poly for mktg purposes. Ive read what mfrs say, and some of the “finish experts”, but have never found any specific info concerning formulations that support most of what gets passed around as fact.

- OSU55


View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5654 posts in 2807 days


#9 posted 01-16-2018 11:28 PM

Pre-cat lacquer is my choice, as it lays down very nicely. The second coat melts into the first making for a very smooth finish in two coats.

Durability has been excellent for me, from cabinets to daily-use tables, lacquer wears very well. I have furniture that was lacquered years ago and other than a few dings, looks like brand new.

See if Rudd Duracat 550 VOC is available in your area. It is a non-yellowing pre-cat lacquer that I’ve had great luck with.

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

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

927 posts in 489 days


#10 posted 01-17-2018 12:13 AM



Lets talk waterborne topcoats for a minute.

In almost all cases there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”. – Fred Hargis

This is simply false!

I have shot 99% waterborne topoats for the last 6-7 years. I spray 70-80 gallons every year. I ve shot almost everything from General Finishes and Target coatings, Ilva 1k and 2k, Milesi 1k s and 2k s even M.L. C and I guarentee everyone is very different!

The truth is there is no such thing as a waterborne lacquer, only lacquer is lacquer. There is no waterborne conversion varnish. What there is are waterborne topcoats that are designed to act and perform like those products on the label.

Here is a quick list of what I shoot and why…

Milesi 2k, post-cat self sealing poly
Very nice top of the line product with max waterborne durability. Expensive and doesn t like to be sprayed over GF water based stains.
I use this when I need the best

Milesi 1K self sealing poly
Much like the 2k but cheaper and a little less durable, although still top notch durability

EmTech 8000cv, self sealing conversion varnish
My go to finish for table tops and counters. Very good all around product with a great feel and good look.

EmTech 6000, self sealing lacquer
Very water white. I like this on furnishings that don t take the abuse of table tops or when I want clear on top of paint. Almost everything I paint gets 6k!

EmTech 1000, sealer
A sealer I sometimes use. Usually on oak and walnut.

GF Enduro pre-cat lacquer
I love this stuff! Shoots great, dries super fast and is cheap. Not very durable. I mostly shoot this on wall cladding and cabinetry. Very much like shooting lacquer.

GF Enduro-Var
I don t care for this stuff, but I have a large client that loves it. I doesn t shoot great, isn t as durable as other products and it cost a ton. It does have a great look and feel though!

Took me a lot of years to figure all this out and I m sharing it with you. I am constantly trying new products so I m sure things will change through the years to come.

- Drew


Drew-

Can you expand on why you like the Milesi so much’? That is the one product you listed that I have not tried yet.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View Pyro's profile

Pyro

34 posts in 155 days


#11 posted 01-17-2018 02:06 AM

Wow. This is exactly what I wanted. Really appreciate you guys sharing all this info you have distilled over the years. Very humbling.

Drew, I’m going to look at all those. Maybe I can send you a few questions in the future? Thanks again for your generosity.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4981 posts in 2487 days


#12 posted 01-17-2018 12:32 PM

Here you go, guys…From Flexner’s book (2005)
Page 106: ” Water base (finishes) are often called “lacquer” or “varnish” for marketing reasons…....Water base is also called “polyurethane” for the same reason when some polurethane resin is added is blended with the usual acrylic resin.

Page 173: “Causing even more confusion, water-based finishes are sometimes labeled “lacquer”, “varnish”, or “polyurethane” with no indication in the name that they are different from the traditional, solvent based lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane finishes. All water besed finishes, no matter how they are labeled or which resins are included, have far more in common with each other than they have with traditional lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane.”

For the record, Jeff Jewitt in his book does not state the info the same way but does say the water bsed products use primarily acrylic and urethane resins. He goes into the chemistry a bit more than Flexner.

Disagree if you want, but I think I got it right. That said, the waterborne chemistry is changing at a very fast pace (like the introduction of “modified oil” finishes) and this may be evolving.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Drew's profile

Drew

350 posts in 3094 days


#13 posted 01-18-2018 06:36 PM


All water besed finishes, no matter how they are labeled or which resins are included, have far more in common with each other than they have with traditional lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane.”

Well of course, but this doesn’t mean “there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”.”
There is a big differance between EVERY waterborne topcoat I have ever sprayed!
There is a bigger difference between various waterborne products than there is between various lacquers or varnishes…. or even polyurethanes.

The thing is, I’m not quoting something I read in a book. I’m quoting myself. Years of shooting a crazy amount of the stuff.
Flexner knows a lot about finishing, no doubt. Probably more than I do, but after reading a lot of his info through the years I can guarantee I know more about finishing furniture with watreborne topcoats than he does.


Jeff Jewitt in his book does not state the info the same way but does say the water bsed products use primarily acrylic and urethane resins. He goes into the chemistry a bit more than Flexner.

- Fred Hargis

This is mostly true, especially for the non-european products, but there is a million ways they can mix these products, and lets not forget countless resins, along with the different ethers, to come up with different versions.

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

1665 posts in 1984 days


#14 posted 01-18-2018 06:55 PM



In almost all cases there is little difference between a waterborne product labeled “lacquer” versus one labeled “polyurethane”. They are both primarily acrylic resin finishes, but some manufacturers have latched onto to the fact that the word “poly” is like magic, makes finishes sell better. So they drop a dollop or urethane resin into the mix and call it “poly”.

- Fred Hargis

The issue I have are your comments as quoted above, Fred. These read distinctly differently than what Flexner and Jewitt actually say, so yes I do disagree with the hyperbolic comments you make which put things in a completely context vs the written words from these guys. Like Drew, my experience is that there are distinct differences in the wb products.

View Drew's profile

Drew

350 posts in 3094 days


#15 posted 01-18-2018 07:40 PM


Drew-

Can you expand on why you like the Milesi so much ? That is the one product you listed that I have not tried yet.

- TungOil

They have much stricter standards in Europe and have for a while. Milesi is years ahead (as is Ilva) of American maunfacturers.

Their products lay down so nice and durability is top notch! It is pricy though! But you also get more product for your money too. 5 kg vs 1 gallon

-- TruCraftFurniture.com

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