Spraying lacquer

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Forum topic by fladdy posted 07-05-2011 05:19 AM 5466 views 2 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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93 posts in 3013 days

07-05-2011 05:19 AM

Topic tags/keywords: finishing

I’m about ready to finish a project that I started a long time ago. I’ve never done this, but I want to spray lacquer on it for finish. I’ve sprayed poly before and I really like spraying. I’m just wondering what types people have for using lacquer? I have gotten the retarder so that I have a longer working time with it.

-- Fladdy

12 replies so far

View remi1023's profile


18 posts in 2807 days

#1 posted 07-05-2011 05:58 AM

I use Mohawk finishes…precat.. I like to stay all with Mohawk products…retarder, fish eye drops and lacquer…i wouldnt mix brands.. ML Campbellls is good as well…..i would accually use it more if the supplier was closer to me. In extreme emergencies…Sherwin Williams…they stay open later than my usual supplier
good luck hope i helped

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Steven H

1117 posts in 3060 days

#2 posted 07-05-2011 06:49 AM

View DrDirt's profile


4424 posts in 3742 days

#3 posted 07-05-2011 10:26 PM

I have been spraying the Deft Brushing lacquer.
Since it was made for brushing, it already has lots of retarder in it so it levels really nice. You have to really be trying, in order to get orange peel.
Drying time is longer between coats, but i also like it because it is inexpensive and I can pick up a gallon at the big box store for 28 bucks.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Earlextech's profile


1161 posts in 2690 days

#4 posted 07-05-2011 10:50 PM

Mohawk – excellent!

Deft – excellent!

My personal favorite is all waterbase everything and great support!

HVLP is the best way to spray!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View rusty2010's profile


150 posts in 2557 days

#5 posted 07-05-2011 11:40 PM

I learned how to spray from a furniture refinisher in 1981. I’ve changed equipment but never the process. I’ve sold a lot of furniture and yet to have a compalint on the finish, so let me give you some insight
By far Deft is the best laquer out there. The can now says it’s a brushing laquer. I called the company and they said it’s the same as always but due to regulations in california they had to change the label and instructions.
Deft dries slightly slower than conventional laquer. This is good. It dries from the bottom up where as laquer from the top down. Have you ever seen rings from where a cup has sat on a table. This happens because moisture is trapped when using laquer, Deft dries slower and allows the moisture to escape.
When you sand Deft there will be a white powder residue. Do not remove. Spray over it, the next coat will melt it and become as one. This helps in the build up. Semi-gloss is my preference. You decide on that. Too much shine shows more imperfections.
You do not need retarder when spraying Deft. cleanup is easy with laquer thinner.
Hvlp is the best system out there. If you have the meens, I highly recommend it.
I have mostlly switched to a waterborne conversion varnish from Target Coatings, see Jeff Jewitt. Waterborne is safer and very durable, there is a learning curve tho.
Best of luck and if you need any more info feel free to ask

-- check, recheck then check again

View adam77's profile


39 posts in 3477 days

#6 posted 07-06-2011 12:38 AM

I just started using a water based laquer from Target coatings. I also used their water based stain. The stain is a little difficult to use but the laquer is awesome and theres no smell and clean up with water is also a plus. I was against water based for a long time but now Im a believer.

View fladdy's profile


93 posts in 3013 days

#7 posted 07-06-2011 01:02 AM

Thank you for all the replies and tips so far. I bought the Behlen Lacquer from Woodcraft. The website says it’s a nitrocellulose base. I have a book about finishing but right now I’m living with my in-laws and have no idea where that book is now. I’m using a HVLP cup gun on an air compressor. It’s made by Husky that I got from Home Depot. I did some spraying years ago in a custom cabinet shop, but I didn’t have to set the gun up. I’ll have to take some time to set up the gun and spray on a couple of test pieces to get the fan pattern correct.

Are there any definitely do nots that the a beginner should be aware of?

-- Fladdy

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2675 days

#8 posted 07-06-2011 04:55 AM

Do not forget to practice. Do not get in a hurry. Take it a coat at a time. don’t rush it. Lacquer is very forgiving. make it work for you. You have got it down.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3286 days

#9 posted 07-06-2011 06:29 PM

I only use retarder when it is really humid to prevent blushing. I’m not sure why you need a longer working time for spraying?

Use the right tip on your gun and thin properly. A professional paint store usually is more help for that kind of information.


View Earlextech's profile


1161 posts in 2690 days

#10 posted 07-06-2011 07:12 PM

You can change this slightly to suit your needs but, set the compressor at 45psi, set the gun at 10psi. Anything over 10psi is not considered HVLP. Using a 1.5 mm needle (or equivalent) be sure to spray evenly across the project, pulling the trigger before you are on it and releasing after you are off it.
Also, practice with water in the gun first and spray on cardboard, so you can see the pattern and adjust the fan and flow rate.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3547 days

#11 posted 07-07-2011 05:17 AM

We lacquer all of our kitchens with the same set up you are speaking of. Blushing was already mentioned, but to speak more on it… if you are spraying in hot humid condition your spray finish may appear to be “cloudy” in apppearance because the lacquer dried so fast it trapped water under finish. When you exp this cloudy look, just splash in retarder in your lacquer mix. Then spray another coat over the cloudy finish and the moisture that was trapped will be released and the retarder mixture will allow the finish to dry quickly enough while not trappping moisture, leaving you with a nice finish. I find that i often get much better results when using retarder when humid.

I buy our lacquee from Sherwin and routinely get excelllent results. I always mix my gallon to about a 55/45 or 60/40 lacquer to lac thinner ratio. I open the new gallon, pour contents into bucket, then refill that empty gallon can to about 80% full of thinner and then stir thoroughly to get all lac mat that may have been left in the can mixed into thinner, then pour this thinner into bucket and then i do a slow thorough stir of lac and thinner, thereby producing about 1.8 gallons of lacquer mixture. This mixture always works very well for us.

We also utilize a sand/sealer step before the final lac finish us applied that lets us hand sand to very soft smooth feel.

I spray with compressor set at 40 lbs more or less. Exp some with your setting to see what will properly atomize your material. Ensure your compressor is up to task. No less then 4 gallon tank and probably no less then 4 cfm at 90 lbs rating. Smaller then what i just recommended and your compressor will fall behind. An insufficient compressor will allow you to spray good for a small window of time but then when you are not realizing it you end up getting orange peel from insufficient air flow. Just a pitfall to avoid.

In short:

1. Cloudy look is moisture trappped, correct with retarder mixture.
2. Orange peel look or looks like you are spraying texture, air flow setting needs adjuated or gun needs to be cleaned out thoroughly.
3. The gun may tend to clog some when used extensively and may require periodic cleaning as needed.

-- .

View fladdy's profile


93 posts in 3013 days

#12 posted 07-08-2011 03:42 AM

Thanks again for the tips. I will be spraying in a humid environment that’s why I got the retarder. My compressor is a 2.5 hp with a 33 gallon tank. The tip on my spray gun is 1.4mm. Thanks for the tip about spraying some water on cardboard to get the gun set up. I hope to be able to spray in the next few weeks. My daughter is almost 3 months and I’m trying to sell my house which is a few hours away, so I don’t get much time on the shop.

-- Fladdy

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