What is best technique for lacquered look?

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Forum topic by peteholzman posted 05-13-2011 03:57 PM 1420 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2598 days

05-13-2011 03:57 PM

In ten years of professional furniture designing/making, I have never painted the wood. I almost always use Tung oil and maybe a clear finish if it’s going to get some abuse.

However, I am now going to be making some art deco pieces that will require some color. What is the best technique for getting a perfect, smooth painted surface?? Is there a kind of wood that is best to start with? Primer?, etc.? I have an HVLP sprayer.

Thanks for any assistance.

-- peteholzman

7 replies so far

View dbhost's profile


5725 posts in 3256 days

#1 posted 05-13-2011 04:27 PM

I would say for starters, oak would be a WRONG choice. It is way too porous. But then again, you can fill pores with wood filler, sand it all smooth and no one will be any wiser as the piece will be painted. Yes primer will help, a lot.

You might actually want to see if you can find some youtube vids on auto refinishing. Aside from sealing the pores etc, and the fact you don’t want to wet sand wood, the methods should be similar. The trick of course is going to be making sure everything is smooth and clean prior to spraying your primer, and then smoothing the primer, going through a couple of coats there until it is all nice and glassy smooth, then repeating the process with a couple of color coats, and finally a clear coat or two buffed to a high gloss when it is cured…

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View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3313 days

#2 posted 05-13-2011 04:32 PM

if your gonna paint the wood try poplar it’s cheap and takes paint very well. The main part of getting a smooth finish is the surface prep the more time spent on that the better the finish will come out.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

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17 posts in 2597 days

#3 posted 05-13-2011 04:54 PM

My choice would be hard rock maple. If you want to produce a full fill finish try Polane from SW. or PPG 180 from Global if you paint first then use a clear coat.

Polane would be my first choice for an Art Deco piece that is colored.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3672 days

#4 posted 05-13-2011 05:54 PM

You have to fill the wood, bit obsessively, to get a smooth, glassy surface.

The wood fillers sold for guitar making have impressed me. They are
very fine-grained.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2717 days

#5 posted 05-13-2011 07:06 PM

I would echo Loren’s sentiments. I’ve applied luthier’s wood filler with a mud knife followed by 400grit block for dead flatness and not a pore to be found. Poplar’s definitely paint friendly. I’m sad to hear about you going from tung to paint but life demands these things:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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3259 posts in 2700 days

#6 posted 05-13-2011 07:29 PM

Maple, poplar and white pine are the woods of choice for painting. I am sure there are many more but these are readily available in most stores. I think you do want to wet sand but wet sanding wood and wet sanding a car is totally different. moisten the wood with a wet rag. Allow the surface to dry for about 30 minutes and feel the beard on the wood. You take that off with 220 paper then do it again until you are satisfied you have the problem taken care of. This usually only takes 2 or maybe 3 times. This give the good finish. If you don’t you will have the beard pop up when you apply your primer. Now you are ready for the filler to close the pores and sand to that smoothness you can’t keep from touching. Use primer and the better the quality the better the finish. Much of the quality of the final finish comes from properly preparing the surface for the finish. The remainder comes from the quality of the paint and your ability to apply it.

View peteholzman's profile


15 posts in 2598 days

#7 posted 05-14-2011 03:57 AM

Thanks everyone. Great help. Especially the bit about Polane. I didn’t know about it. I will follow all your suggestions and post a pic of how the pieces come out.
Not to worry Bertha, I will still be making plenty of tung oil finished items.

Thanks everyone!!

-- peteholzman

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