Why thin lacquer?

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Forum topic by wwbob posted 1038 days ago 4532 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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107 posts in 1500 days

1038 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: finishing hvlp spray lacquer thinning

I’m spraying lacquer for the first time with my new Earlex 5500 HVLP spray system. Following the Earlex instructions, I checked the viscosity of the Deft lacquer. The lacquer was viscous enough without thinning. Prior to this I used an HVLP conversion gun and my instructor said a 25% to 33% dilution with lacquer thinner was the way to go.

I’m confused as I sprayed unthinned lacquer on a test case then the counter top with no problems AND much less fumes.

It was explained to me that the thinner will help the lacquer “flatten out.” Any other reasons?

Bob, the perpetual beginner.

-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

9 replies so far

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 1693 days

#1 posted 1038 days ago

Lacquer dries so quickly, that some thinning may be necessary, but you should try it without thinner and see how it goes, before you thin it. It will probably take you a while to get all dialed in with your new gun.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View a1Jim's profile


112008 posts in 2202 days

#2 posted 1037 days ago

When you spray with any gun or system there is always a bit of trial and error involved. Guns very according to how they atomize the material your spraying. It also has to do with what size needle your using and the air pressure , temperature and humidity that’s present.

-- Custom furniture

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 1981 days

#3 posted 1037 days ago

I never thin lacquer when I spray with my conversion gun.I usually spray SW precat

View Grandpa's profile


3073 posts in 1300 days

#4 posted 1037 days ago

I think a lot of this depends on the temperature and climate you live in. I see that you have listed Mesa AZ so you should try a little and thin if you need a smoother finish. Typically laquer dries before it can lay down so you thin it to give it that little bit of extra time. Do what works for you.

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 1981 days

#5 posted 1037 days ago

If it is very warm out I think retarder would work better than thinning.

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2697 posts in 1911 days

#6 posted 1037 days ago

Jim was right, but to take it a step further, not all lacquer is created equal. There is not a standard formula for thinning lacquer. Some brands require more thinner while others don’t need any.

Experience will teach you the difference. I never even read the can anymore.

-- She thought I hung the moon--now she just thinks I did it wrong

View wwbob's profile


107 posts in 1500 days

#7 posted 1036 days ago

Thanks for the suggestions. I finished spraying today. I learned I was moving the spray gun too fast. I did not do any thinning. Here in the Phoenix area, it was warm and dry allowing for recoating in as little as 15 minutes. I need to learn more about spraying, but can’t seem to work up the energy to do a bunch of testing.


-- "I like the quiet I hear." - Channing, age 4

View Earlextech's profile


958 posts in 1315 days

#8 posted 1036 days ago

I’ve found that the Deft lacquer sprays great right out of the can. The most important thing is to make sure it is stirred up well before you put it in the cup and before you spray. I use a 1.5 needle set when using lacquer of any kind.

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

View tom427cid's profile


294 posts in 1095 days

#9 posted 1036 days ago

Not having a viscosity gauge/meter years ago I resorted to counting the number of drops that came off the “homemade” stir stick I had. I still have the stick and I still count drops.
I have tried various brands of laquer and as was said earlier not all are equal. Some are pre-thinned and can be sprayed right out of the can. Others need to be thinned as much as 25% according to my “calibrated” stir stick

-- "certified sawdust maker"

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