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Rattle Can Lacquer: What Am I Doing Wrong?

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Forum topic by gfadvm posted 01-10-2012 01:05 AM 4241 views 3 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gfadvm

11372 posts in 1414 days


01-10-2012 01:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: orange peel with rattle can lacquer

I’ve been wanting to try other finishes so I thought I’d spray lacquer on my latest box. It was sanded to 600 grit and very smooth. Sprayed rattle can lacquer. First coat looked OK then orange peel began to develop and worsen with subsequent coats. I sanded with 400 grit which seemed to remove almost all 4 coats of lacquer. Is this really this difficult or am I doing something wrong? Help! I WAS really proud of this box. Now its looking like wood stove material.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm


29 replies so far

View DS's profile

DS

2132 posts in 1144 days


#1 posted 01-10-2012 02:00 AM

First off, 600 grit on raw wood is probably too fine for lacquer. 180 should be good, 220 at most. It needs the fine scratches for adhesion. Higher grits will work for subsequent coats.

To avoid orange peel, the material needs to atomize a little more. Try holding the tip further from the workpiece and spray lighter coats. Clean the tip after each use by spraying it upside down for a few seconds.

Also, temperature seems to be a factor. If your project, the spray can and the ambient temperature are very far apart in temperature, that can also cause problems. Let them all come to the same temperature before starting.

You can’t thin or reduce a spray can, so it is made to operate at more ideal temperatures. Too cold or too hot will end up with poor results.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7151 posts in 2027 days


#2 posted 01-10-2012 02:18 AM

what they said, ive done very light coats and have not had a problem, sorry andy, try what these guys are saying, dont burn it, it will work out…

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11372 posts in 1414 days


#3 posted 01-10-2012 03:30 AM

That helps. I was probably too close and too heavy per coat. So now do I sand til all the orange peel is gone and start over again or what? Shop, can, and material are all 60-65 degrees. Should I use the ROS now or hand sand? The brand is Rustoleum.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1158 posts in 1487 days


#4 posted 01-10-2012 04:27 AM

I’ve had the same thing happen to me. Either the object was to cold, or the laquer was. Ennyway – instead of sanding, I used laquer thinner to remove the finish. Lot easier than sanding!

-- *Arachnoleptic Fit*: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidently walked through a spider web.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1364 days


#5 posted 01-10-2012 04:33 AM

Andy, don’t sand the orange peel with grit (400) more coarse than the original sand finish (600). The beauty of lacquer is that it will burn into previous coats, so you can level the surface with future coats.

The following is exactly how I do it and comes from Reranch:

Spray lacquer in “passes”. A pass is one spray pass. A coat is a number of passes from 1 to ? to result in a wet coat… just not all at once. In the technique used to develop these pages, a coat is typically three passes. Sometimes two will sufficiently wet out a small area and sometimes four will be used. Five approaches foolhardiness. Six will almost always guarantee a run.

Start with two light spray passes. Follow by allowing the lacquer to dry to touch and then three more light passes. Now you have a good base. Let the lacquer dry at least three hours.

For the first wet coat (after wiping with the tack cloth) make three passes and stop. The surface will probably not appear very shiny as it dries to touch. (If it does the coats may be too heavy). Now let this first coat dry at least three hours. Tack cloth the finish and make three more passes. As you proceed, wetter passes become safer to make so you may want to slow down the guns movement as you spray. These passes will appear wetter as the finish gets deeper. Let this coat dry at least three hours. For the last coat of the day, tack cloth, spray three passes and let dry until morning.

Before spraying the next coat, wet sand the finish to remove any runs or particles that may have settled onto the finish. Start lightly with #400, #600 and end with #800. Let the surface dry and repeat yesterdays schedule. I.e., three passes, let dry three hours then repeat and then repeat. Let to the finish dry overnight and sand as you did the first day.

The third days spraying is a “re-repeat”. Summing up this spray technique, spray three passes to make a coat, allow each coat to dry at least three hours and spray no more than three coats a day for at least three days. Hence, “The Rule of Threes”.

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

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David Grimes

2072 posts in 1364 days


#6 posted 01-10-2012 04:37 AM

...and to add to the post-lacquer final finish, wet sand by hand or ROS with 1200 grit only until the surface is uniformly smooth (but will not be shiny). As a matter of fact, the shiny spots mean you aren’t done sanding yet. Now machine polish with 3M Finessit II and see yourself in the mirror.

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

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1158 posts in 1487 days


#7 posted 01-10-2012 04:40 AM

David – Thanks for the info. Guess I’m in to much of a hurry to finish whatever I’m working on Patience is not one of my virtues.

-- *Arachnoleptic Fit*: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidently walked through a spider web.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

11372 posts in 1414 days


#8 posted 01-10-2012 04:42 AM

Thanks. That’s a lot of information. I was under the misimpression that lacquer was quick and easy. Not so! If I ever get this one fixed, I think shellac will be my next experiment. David, Your advice makes a lot of sense. I thought the lacquer would level itself with subsequent coats but it was getting worse instead of better so I thought maybe sanding would help.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View vonhagen's profile

vonhagen

495 posts in 1089 days


#9 posted 01-10-2012 05:52 AM

first sand to 150 then use sanding sealer then spray your laquer, do light coats and make sure the temp is at least 70 degrees. if you sand to fine the laquer will not stick as the surface is polished you can go to higher grits after your first few coats. i wet sand with 320 in between coats as the laquer will stick because the solvent in the laquer is melting the previous coat. try using deft, it sprays very well and is solvent based and thining is not required when using a cup gun, get a cup gun from harbor freight they are 18 bucks and i can do a exelent finish with that gun , its called the industrial model and holds 1 quart. the problem with shaker cans is you cant get the fan or volume to do a good finish and the spray cans are expensive. i have done a piano finish with a harbor freight gun. frazee, vista offer great laquer products and i prefer a laquer finish over anything else except polyester but its illeagle in the us and i am certified to spray laquer and conversion varnish here i use conversion varnish mostly because of epa regulations as we are monitored very closely how much we spray. another advantage of using laquer is that once dry you can re melt it using laquer thinner for easy cleanup. keep trying you will get it and once you do you wont use any other finish because you will be hooked. at 75 degrees i am sanding betwwen coats every half hour.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

1733 posts in 1646 days


#10 posted 01-10-2012 06:07 AM

When spraying using a rattle can of any type I immerse the can in hot water for 15 min before use. I do this winter or summer and it does help to get a nice even coat.

-- In God We Trust

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5218 posts in 2032 days


#11 posted 01-10-2012 06:33 AM

I have sprayed about 50+ boxes with Deft can lacquer and have only had a problem with the first one and that was because it was the first one and i was not familiar with using it. Most of my boxes are sanded up to 320 grit by hand. I find that the lacquer works best when very light passes are used and the can is held about 12” from what I am spraying.I dont always find it necessary to sand after each coat…usually after each second coat works for me. I buff it after the last coat. It is usually about 70 deegrees in my shop.
I find it to be a very easy finish to use once you get the technique. Don’t get frustrated…just practice on some scrap pieces of wood that you sand the same as your work.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpieceā€¦ because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View tom427cid's profile

tom427cid

294 posts in 1194 days


#12 posted 01-10-2012 07:42 AM

I might add that after one or two sandings with finer grits-400 can be pretty agressive- but will be more manageable if you “wet”sand.I use mineral spirits and generally don’t ever go much beyond 600. The issue with sanding is that you never quite seem to get an even sanded surface. That said I will rub out the last sprayed coat with 0000 steel wool. It will blend the high spots and the low spots. then if you are looking for a real shine use a mildly abrasive car wax/cleaner and then a paste wax.
Hope this helps.
tom

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1364 days


#13 posted 01-10-2012 08:04 AM

On small or intricate sanding chores, make a mini-sanding block by wrapping your abrasive around a small square something (old cellphone battery is what I use on the guitars) so that your hand and fingers don’t make pressure furrows. Always sand wet if you are after a truly mirror finish with no forgiveness.

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

View rance's profile

rance

4147 posts in 1884 days


#14 posted 01-10-2012 08:20 AM

Andy, Looks like you are going backwards. I’m trying to get AWAY from rattle can Lacquer and you are going TO it. FWIW, I’ve had the same orange peel experience. Same suggestions as others. I talked to a guy that had phenominal finishes. He says there’s no reason to sand more than 220. His finishes are my goal.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2072 posts in 1364 days


#15 posted 01-10-2012 09:07 AM

Not to disagree, but I don’t see how 220 is fine enough. I can easily see 1200 grit scratches with the naked eye. Truth be known, I have and use flexible 4000, 6000 and 8000 grit for impossible to machine buff spots. And I find that they are necessary. I’m going to put a guitar buff on the little box I started to see what happens. It may turn out to be so shiney I won’t be able to see it ! We will see.

BTW I am shooting the Behlen vinyl sealer, then the Behlen lacquer (both) with a Preval unit. That’s close to a rattle can… just no rattle.

Is this like the orange peel you want to be rid of ?

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

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