Paranoia setting in about spraying lacquer help please

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Forum topic by Goatlocker posted 01-12-2013 12:56 AM 1610 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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58 posts in 2120 days

01-12-2013 12:56 AM

Ok, so eI have 3 good coats of shellac on my project for my sisters house and now I am gettign paranoid about spraying laquer in the garage. It is going to be real cold up hear in MN tomorrow but I have plenty of heat in the garage so that is not the problem. I will heat up garage then shut off all heat sources and spray the laquer then have to air out garage before turning the heat back on to avoid blowing myself up. Am I over thinking this one? Should I just put on a different finish? Any help is appreciated. I am trying to finish it this weekend since I am leaving town with it on Thursday. These pictures are from after the first coat. I have sanded out the orange peel and resprayed for a much cleaner finish

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

21 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18373 posts in 3824 days

#1 posted 01-12-2013 12:58 AM

I don’t know about the garage, but a friend blew himself out of a garbage can lighting a cigarette lighter to see how his paint job was coming along!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2440 days

#2 posted 01-12-2013 01:11 AM

Although I’ m not a chemist, it is my understanding all spray paint (can & spray) are highly volatile, and lacquer is one of the most volatile. So, no, you’re neither being paranoid nor over thinking it. If it were me (and I used can lacquer last week end), I’d make sure there are no open flames in the area, open the area up, spray, and use an exhaust fan to remove all fumes before shutting back up and re-lighting any pilots. And, thank you for your service.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View waho6o9's profile


8429 posts in 2725 days

#3 posted 01-12-2013 01:48 AM

Looks great, maybe finish with wax and bronze wool and call it a day.

You’re wise to think safety first.

View Goatlocker's profile


58 posts in 2120 days

#4 posted 01-12-2013 02:31 AM

I have also been thinking wax but never tried it before. Guess I could experiment on some of the scraps I have been treating the same as the table

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2838 days

#5 posted 01-12-2013 02:44 AM

What a nice table! Your finish looks good right now. Shellac is more durable than you might think and is one of the easier finishes to repair. I usually poly or Spar tabletops for more durability (I wipe it on) but shellac may be sufficient depending on the use/abuse it receives.

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

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2623 days

#6 posted 01-12-2013 02:59 AM

In order for you to blow yourself up you need to reach a certain concentration of solvent/lacquer in the air. You would probably pass out before you reach the explosive level. You should be more worried about using a proper respirator than blowing up. Specially if you are spraying in an enclosed space.

Let me put it this way, unless you have explosion proof lighting, your light bulb can cause the explosion. So, as you posted, turn off the heating (after all the spray CAN catch on fire if you have open elements heaters) spray your table and then a couple of minutes of airing should take care of the airborne concentration.

Nice job on the table by the way.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2396 days

#7 posted 01-12-2013 03:16 AM

When I use rattle can finishes I bring the piece right to the edge of the garage door, barely outside and spray toward the driveway; not the garage. I have a set of moving dollies that I put a 3/4” piece of plywood on so I can roll it and not worry about touching the wet finish.

Jorge has a good point though, however if you are (and you should be) wearing a good respirator with an organic vapor cartridge (usually charcoal), you won’t be overcome by fumes. A respirator designed for dust and other particulates may do more harm than not wearing one at all. It will concentrate the vapor and you will essentially be huffing it.

It’s more about concentration than flash ignition unless you have open flames or heating elements. If you can’t get it outside, get some box fans exhausting out so you have some air movement that will not blow dust all over your work.

Edit – off topic but somewhat relevant since lighting was mentioned. When I was a field engineer (IT) one of our customers was a major pharmaceutical company. They did have explosion proof lighting in the labs. We were upgrading their phone system to voice over IP. I had to install analog telephony adapter switches for the labs. They had special explosion-proof phones in there.


View Goatlocker's profile


58 posts in 2120 days

#8 posted 01-12-2013 01:47 PM

Thanks for the advice guys.

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

View Ross's profile


142 posts in 2120 days

#9 posted 01-12-2013 02:13 PM

While I’m not sure how long Shellac takes to cure, before applying a wax to the finish you want to make sure that the finish has cured. I have applied the wax coat in haste and payed the price for it. With poly finish I wait a week before the wax application. With lacquer 3 days is usually sufficient. (ambient temp. 50 degrees or higher with 55% relative humidity)

-- "Man Plans and God Laughs"

View jim C's profile

jim C

1472 posts in 3246 days

#10 posted 01-12-2013 02:25 PM

How about a minwax polycrillic spray?
I have had great results on cabinet doors. Smooth and silky without any elbow grease.

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3433 days

#11 posted 01-13-2013 01:07 AM


What type lacquer where you thinkiing of putting on your table? If it’s a straight nitroceleous lacquer there wouldn’t be much more durablity then your shellac. A pre-catalyzed or post-catalyzed lacquer would give you much more protection from moisture and wear-n-tear.

You’re not getting paranoid about not having any type open flame in your shop when spraying. Cross ventilation is best when spraying, both for you and and the shop in general. (pulling fresh air into your shop and exhausting the overspray. (just don’t have a fan blowing directly on your project when spraying lacquer, good way for it to blush)

Beautiful job on the table. Looks great.

-- John @

View carlcarew's profile


1 post in 2108 days

#12 posted 01-13-2013 01:23 AM

I have sprayed lacquer for over 25 years you are on the right track but two very important things to remember first many of the posts mentioned ventilation, be very careful about this ventilation can be the source of ignition if you are using a fan it must have a explosion proof motor, these guys cost many times more than a regular exhaust fan. If you don’t have explosion proof then don’t turn a fan on just open doors windows etc and wait. Second wear a respirator designed for vapor not dust, these are not expensive $30 or so will set you up with one with replaceable canisters, you can get a set for dust when doing regular work but you need vapors when spraying, they will last quite a while, and are definitely worth it.
great looking project.

View Goatlocker's profile


58 posts in 2120 days

#13 posted 01-13-2013 03:07 AM

update, so I have decided to forefo the laquer and just stay with the shellac due to my own paranoia and deciding I may put wax on it. It is looking great and after the final coat I will post some pictures. Thanks for the advice, it is going in the knowledge column as I will most likely be using laquer on my next project just so I keep trying new finishes.

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2396 days

#14 posted 01-13-2013 03:29 AM

Nice! Shellac has fallen out of favor as a finish, but it really is quite beautiful. As huff pointed out, nitro doesn’t really offer much more protection. Be sure to post pics of the final product.


View Goatlocker's profile


58 posts in 2120 days

#15 posted 01-14-2013 12:14 AM

So hear are a couple of pics with it almost complete. I still have to decide if I am going to add a coat of wax or not but it is still great looking IMO.

-- All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent - Thomas Jefferson

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