Is 30 degrees too cold to spray lacquer?

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Forum topic by George M posted 12-10-2011 01:09 AM 13296 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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George M

118 posts in 2734 days

12-10-2011 01:09 AM

I live in Colorado. Is 30 degrees too cold to spary lacquer? Humitity is low.
Also the lacquer I purchased for my last project is semi-gloss. If I do not stir the lacquer and pour off of the top of the can, will that be gloss?

-- George, Parker Colorado

14 replies so far

View Bill Davis's profile

Bill Davis

226 posts in 3893 days

#1 posted 12-10-2011 02:00 AM

This low of temp will slow drying considerably. You can possibly compensate by using a fast thinner.

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2938 days

#2 posted 12-10-2011 02:26 AM

Better to get gloss for a gloss finish, the sediment is fillers and other stuff I don’t fully understand. You will be left with all that in the bottom of the can as well, what will you do with that?
Can you get any heat in your workshop while the lacquer dries?

View cabmaker's profile


1723 posts in 2778 days

#3 posted 12-10-2011 05:40 AM

George, I don t know of any sprayable materials that are happy at 30 deg. I have sprayed in pretty cool settings but have always one way or another applied some type of temp. control to the mix. Your flash time will be affected as well as the cure time. The material also will not like that portion you speak of being poured off, it needs to be stirred in. Also there is no way youll get a gloss out of the semi-gloss. That is the reverse: start with gloss and once thinned you can expect to see a semi-gloss finish. Your product should have temp. ranges on the label. Good luck with it, Oh and what are you spraying with ?

View jumbojack's profile


1674 posts in 2593 days

#4 posted 12-10-2011 05:55 AM

Even here in California it does not get that cold, but recently I did some lacquer spraying. I started out with my project in the house, took it out sprayed it let it sit for a few and then brought it inside. it was right at 50 degrees outside. My lacquer said not to use under 50. My project came out flawless.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View willie's profile


533 posts in 2423 days

#5 posted 12-10-2011 06:28 AM

I don’t spray below 55 degrees. Takes too long to dry, does not flatten out. Ideal temp for lacquer is 70-75, 50% or less humidity. I pretty much use lacquer exclusively and find it easy to use, repairable, dries quickly and doesn’t give a “plastic” looking finish. I use mostly semi-gloss or satin. If you buy your lacquer by the gallon or larger, buy satin or semi-gloss. If you want a high gloss finish, pour off the top of bucket but DO NOT STIR!! All of the additive to dull the finish will be settled on the bottom. If you don’t disturb it you will get high gloss from the same can. If you don’t do this too often you won’t have a problem with too much additive left in the can. This will not affect the finish. The only thing missing is the dulling agent.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2609 days

#6 posted 12-10-2011 06:54 AM

Don’t pour off the top. Mix / shake well. Add lacquer reducer and 5-10% retarder (to keep it from blushing).

Warm the lacquer by immersion of the can or vessel in hot water.

No feeze worries. It will dry slow. Keep passes light, especially on verticals.

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

View willie's profile


533 posts in 2423 days

#7 posted 12-10-2011 07:04 AM

While I don’t make a habit of pouring off the top, in over 20 years of doing this I have never had a problem. If you stir it well the day before and let it settle out overnight it will be glossy and the other ingredients will still be sufficiently mixed to not prevent problems. I was shown this “trick” by an old cabinetmaker that I used to work with. This was professional experience I have with lacquer and have seen it done by many shops. It may not be the perfect solution but it will work.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View George M's profile

George M

118 posts in 2734 days

#8 posted 12-10-2011 04:58 PM

Thank you all for the information.
It looks like the forcast is for temps to be in the mid 40s this weekend. If I set up my propane mushrooms heater about an hour before I spray ad then shut it down, I should be able to get my shop up to around 50. It isn’t insulated so it wont last for long but should be long enough to get the spraying done.

The lacquer is already warm. I keep it in the house. I think I will forget about taking from the top. The reason I was concidering it was an article I read about using gloss for the first few coats will give you more depth. In the future I’ll just get a can of both.

I have an HVLP gun that I have used before hooked up to my compressor. However I was concerned that the air coming from the compressor in lower temeratures would be too cold and humid so I picked up a Rockler HVLP spray unit to use.

-- George, Parker Colorado

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2431 days

#9 posted 12-13-2011 06:34 PM

where do you live in Colorado? I am in Denver, and there is always a weekend that 50 degrees and sunny, in fact I was priming and painting a piece outside this weekend. I tend to store pieces that needed finidhed ntil we have one of those nice sunny days….. I will be spraying poly on this end table soon, and I have no problems spraying in 50 degrees, and in Colorado is dries fairly quickly…

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3201 days

#10 posted 12-13-2011 06:51 PM

The lacquers I have seen say not to apply below 55 deg F…

If you want a gloss, use a gloss…

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View George M's profile

George M

118 posts in 2734 days

#11 posted 12-14-2011 05:12 AM

BLarge, I live in Parker. I did the spraying last weekend. With the warmer weather I just ran my mushroom heater for about an hour and then my shop was plenty warm to spray.

dbhost, I came to the same conslusion.

-- George, Parker Colorado

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2324 days

#12 posted 12-15-2011 09:11 AM

I was spraying last week in the thirties, high thirties, but thirties none the less. It severely slows drying time, and you want to greatly reduce your retarder, I think I used a thimble full just to avoid clouding. I sprayed outside, and once the pieces “fumed out” I brought them into the shop where I had a heater going. But if you try this approach don’t blame me if you blow up from bringing it in too early, as they get it wrong on the label, it’s not flamable, it’s explosive.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3863 days

#13 posted 12-15-2011 09:43 AM

retarder “slows” the drying process…………

the viscosity of lacquer will not atomize coreectly with air……..and like some one said…….yer gonna get snot balls

in short……..Noooooooo

if you dont stir the bucket………….high gloss that may never cure……..test it first

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2324 days

#14 posted 12-15-2011 10:01 AM

Yes, it slows the drying process, and slows the tacking process, which allows the humidity to escape…
And of course you stir the lacquer, before you pour it into the pot or the cup, but see, unless you are using precat lacquer, you thin the lacquer, then you stir that together. Then it atomizes properly. The problem is if you let your lacquer sit out in those conditions, or if you try to dry it in those conditions. I have totally forgoten the freezing point of lacquer, but when it does freeze it doesn’t have the desired effect.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

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