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White lacquer finish (without HVLP sprayer)

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Forum topic by Jack_Isidore posted 1132 days ago 10534 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1480 days


1132 days ago

I have always seen nicer white furniture and cabinetry advertised as “lacquered” so, I’m assuming there are good reasons for choosing this over enamel.

Is the spray Rustoleum or Krylon white lacquer any good? The piece I’m using it on isn’t going to be a masterpiece or anything, but want to avoid drips, runs, or otherwise poor finish. This is for a second-hand credenza that has some dings I am going to fill in first. I’m also open to suggestions on a filler. I’ve only used sawdust and superglue for knots and small dings on furniture I’ve made myself, but of course I’m not concerned with matching color here.

Is there better/cheaper lacquer available from Sherwin Williams or the like that someone would recommend over the Rusto or Krylon from HD?

I do not have an HVLP sprayer, and although I may in the future, don’t want to invest in one now for this project. Hopefully that isn’t a prerequisite for getting a decent pigmented lacquer finish…


22 replies so far

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Jerry

2180 posts in 2173 days


#1 posted 1132 days ago

We have done white lacquer finish with Sherwin products and cheap cup gun from lowes and a air compressor, but with my exp and doing white more then a few times i would opt for oil based or a high quality water based enamel product. The only can product we use is deft clear lacquer that we use for touch up.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1480 days


#2 posted 1131 days ago

I take it a cup gun is really cheap, and wouldn’t be considered a good permanent setup?

Why would you opt for an enamel product given your experience? What I read was that enamel will not have the flexibility provided by lacquer, and through the natural expansion/compression of the wood will cause it to detach, bubble and flake off. Maybe that’s outdated and newer enamels don’t have the same issues? What’s a high quality oil or even higher quality water based enamel?

I’ll give Sherwin Williams a call, but I suspect they will say they have an enamel more suited for this project, regardless if that’s true or not.

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SteveN

21 posts in 2869 days


#3 posted 1129 days ago

Knowing the properties and characteristic of a particular type of finish helps one make a better choice based on how the object will be used. You can achieve the same “look” with different types of finish. But selecting a finish based on the type of exposure it will receive (light, chemicals, water, etc.) and ware it receive during normal use is a more prudent way of selecting the “right” finish for the project. It translates into how long the finish will stay looking good and how long it will protect the wood it is covering.

Here is a link that will help in making your choice.
Finishes for Furniture

I do not like using spray cans for finishing projects. They are very slow building do to the fact they are thinned to work properly with the small nozzles. You can get a better job even with a cheap spray gun.

Lacquer is used because it is easy to work with, easy to repair and dries fast. Slow drying finishes often come out ruff due to dust in the air and then require rubbing out to achieve a good look and/or smooth feel.

-- Steve Nearman, FurnitureRepair.net, ProRestorers.org, Fredericksburg, VA

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#4 posted 1129 days ago

Lacquer does not wear well. If you want a shiny white finish, you look into high gloss oil-based paint. Sherwin Williams has the Pro Classic Alkyd interior enamel that we use regularly. Porter has the old reliable Glyptex. Both of these are non-yellowing. This can be brushed if you have the skill (white china bristle or ox hair brush recommended).

If you insist on can spraying, get the Rustoleum Universal Gloss White. I have used it on numerous jobs where it is white and involves priming and re-spraying old (usually failed lacquer) cabinet doors and drawer fronts. It dries very hard. It sprays like a dream at any angle and dries very fast.

I just sprayed a desk top gloss black for a customer. It will have trim edges added and brushed with black paint. This top will have a sheet of clear glass over it for desk use.

Good luck.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1480 days


#5 posted 1129 days ago

The few projects I want to use lacquer on will not be surface tops or anything that needs high durability. High gloss is desired. That’s why I thought lacquer would be a good finish for them. I’ve read on furniture pieces, an enamel finish doesn’t have the flexibility to move with the natural movement of the wood as it goes through environmental changes. Maybe that isn’t a concern in the real world.

I am beginning to change my stance on not wanting to get a spraying setup anytime soon. I am going to look into HVLP versus airless setups. It seems an HVLP setup can be configured to spray lacquer as well as latex and other paints. Then again, if you use HVLP (as opposed to airless) for lacquer you may need to retard the lacquer, which lowers it’s advantage of being a fast drying finish, so I don’t really know. Need to do some research.

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SteveN

21 posts in 2869 days


#6 posted 1129 days ago

More than 90% of furniture made in America from 1920 to 1985 is finished with NC lacquer. It was the next step (an improvement) in the evolution of finishes that provided better ware ability, alcohol and water resistance then shellac with easy of application compared to oil varnishes. In the 80’s a new era of finishes came to the market – water based finishes in both lacquer and urethane, CAB acrylic, pre and post catalyzed lacquers, conversion varnishes, and epoxies. The US has been behind the europeans with Polyesters and UV cured finishing.

Simply put there is no bullet proof finish. Choosing the right finish is a balance between use, application, cost and desired look. All finishes have their pluses and minuses.

There are many positive reasons why lacquer have been the finish of choice with furniture manufactures and restoration shop for almost 100 years.

-- Steve Nearman, FurnitureRepair.net, ProRestorers.org, Fredericksburg, VA

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SteveN

21 posts in 2869 days


#7 posted 1129 days ago

A good cup gun is an excellent choice for applying finish for the weekend finisher or small shop if you already have a compressor. If volume picks up most of these guns can be converted to work with pressure pots. Except to pay $150 and up for a good siphon feed cup gun which is more versatile and will give you better results than a cheap HVLP. Good HVLP systems or airless systems will cost $400 plus. If you do not have an air compressor then the cost to purchase a HVLP or airless set up may be less expensive then a good gun and compressor. Both HVLP and airless guns can produce great finishes. You may need to get a few different air caps and fluid nozzles to accommodate the thinner or thicker paints.

-- Steve Nearman, FurnitureRepair.net, ProRestorers.org, Fredericksburg, VA

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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1480 days


#8 posted 1129 days ago

I do not have a compressor. I occasionally could use one though, so I’ll have to consider if I want to spend more for the conversion setup with a compressor that serves other purposes or not.

Do you have any manufacturers of either conversion guns or complete systems that I should consider? My quick search indicated I’d spend about $400-500 on a decent complete system.

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SteveN

21 posts in 2869 days


#9 posted 1129 days ago

I am not familiar with all the brands and models available today to make a good suggestion. There are dozens to pick from. I would look for a used system on line or at your local pawn shop. Many small and large shops have closed do the the recession. You should be able to pickup a top end system for the cost of a low end one. I have seen a lot of good airless units at pawn shops. HVLP will be a little harder to find. Go with a national brand name so you can get new air caps and fluid nozzles if/when needed. Check what they recommend for the finish you will be using.

-- Steve Nearman, FurnitureRepair.net, ProRestorers.org, Fredericksburg, VA

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2180 posts in 2173 days


#10 posted 1129 days ago

This has been a good discussion with some very knowledgeable input. Your doing your homework is good. I do not come from any woodworker/finisher background. So i have been self taught meaning i have learned the hard way a lot. We are suc’essful in what we do and we are one of a very few shops out there that will actually do our own finish.

90% of what we do with our kitchens is natural finish with a lacquer finish. I have done white successfully with our kitchens. We have also had problems spraying white even on a recent project. So i can only speak from personal exp and what works for us. I have done white lacquer but had some issues achieving the desired gloss finish i was looking for. Using oil hard enamel has given us great reults. You can see some of our white projects on my site at www.topqualitycabinets.net. look under “products”.

Retarder was mentioned, it is great stuff to use with lacquer when there is issues with drying to fast. Retarder in lacquer does not slow the drying time any amount that is really discernable, actually lacquer still dries fast with retarder mixed in. The retarder only slow the dry time just enough to allow moisture to escape timely in order to achieve a good finish.

As far as equipment. I use a high output dewalt air compressor that does 5.4 cfm at 90 psi. We use a simple gravity feed, either a kobalt, or a husky or a inexpensive gravity feed gun from woodcraft. My long term plan is to add a devilbiss true hvlp gun and pressure pot, for around 400-500.00. And we will add a 80 gallon compressor with a 20 cfm output so i can start using pnuematic sanders down the road. Our current set up is more then adequate for very high quality finishes, but improvements are always planned.

And i want to highly recommend the dewalt compressor we use. It is awesome and keeps up with the spray gun like it was nothing. The compressor has plenty enough output to run spray guns and nailers or most anything you would need and is very portable with pnuematic tires and weigha only 83 lbs, fits nicely in my small nissan sentra. Plus at 299.00 at home depot, lowes or either home depot offers to beat the other by 10%. That is excellent value for the dollar and our air compressor is the most utilized tools in our shop. For being a smaller air compressor it actually does not run much at all whenever i spray. And a good gravity feed gun will only cost 50.00 or less. Consider the air compressor is a multiple use tool. For less then 350.00 you could be set up similar to us and we spray finish on a weekly basis and we rely on professional quality finishes in order to feed and house our family.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

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DrDirt

2407 posts in 2369 days


#11 posted 1129 days ago

I have loved my simple Harbor Freight HVLP compressor driven gun.
I only have sprayed lacquer with it – which cleans up super easy with Lacquer thinner even if you “accidently” leave some finish in the gun because you thought you would be right back…
35 bucks, but for sure get the one with the regulator guage on the gun handle.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

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Jack_Isidore

89 posts in 1480 days


#12 posted 1128 days ago

Thanks for the input yall.

I read through Taunton’s spray finishing book last night. Near the end of the book it occurred to me, he kept talking about how far HVLP has come, how far water based finishes have come, etc. So, then I noticed it was published in the mid nineties. Hard to believe a book can remain completely relevant for 15 years when the finish and equipment technology is changing still. Just ordered their more recent book (2010 I believe) so I’ll give it a read through.

What I gathered from the book is that I personally would be better off buying a turbine HVLP. I don’t have a large compressor, nor the space or electrical hookup for one. It sounded like I could get away with spraying latex with a quality HVLP turbine system even if it isn’t the best option. I would imagine that case may have been strengthened with newer systems since then. I don’t plan on spraying furniture with latex, but if I am going to invest ~$500 in a spray system, I would love it if it can be used to spray interiors once every few years or so.

All the different types of equipment was really confusing me. Simply biting the bullet and reading a book on the subject was exactly what I needed to do.

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#13 posted 1128 days ago

We have the Earlex 5000 and it is a good machine. Before that, for several years we had the Wagner version of the turbine drive HVLP. It did a great job and still works to this day. Either of these (and others) will do you a fine job.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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DrDirt

2407 posts in 2369 days


#14 posted 1127 days ago

Turbine is ideal – but if you have a compressor already, just getting a gun saves the $$

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1266 days


#15 posted 1127 days ago

Ironic, but we start a high gloss white cabinet door and drawer replacement and re-finish job in about a week. It will be 1/4” beaded inserts and shaker panels on all doors, then slab drawers. It will be a combination of spray Rustoleum Universal (new doors and drawers) and hand brush SW Pro Classic alkyd with ox hair Purdy’s. The paints will be color matched to each other, of course. The HVLP’s will remain in their boxes for this job. The last one we did this way turned out perfect. No lacquer required or desired.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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