Plywood: Paint and Lacquer

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Forum topic by sakumar9 posted 10-31-2013 04:28 PM 2959 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View sakumar9's profile


3 posts in 1791 days

10-31-2013 04:28 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello everyone,

I make cabintes (wardrobes, desks, side tables etc) using commercial plywood (not water proof). I would like to paint them (oil based or water based). Here is what I am thinking:

1. Sand the surface by 80 grit sandpaper.

2. Apply filler/putty.

3. Sand again by 180

4. One coat of Primer

5. Sanding by 180

6. First coat of oil paint (using spray gun)

7. Sanding by 220

8. Second coat of oil paint

9. Sanding by 320

10. Lacuqer by spray gun.

Reason I want to use lacquer is to give gloss and to make paint more durable. I don’t want my paint to be easily scratchable. Am I going the right way?



6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5002 posts in 2522 days

#1 posted 10-31-2013 04:48 PM

No, I don’ think so. I would never sand plywood with 80 grit paper, the veneer is just too thin for anything that aggressive. I think I would first start with a smooth grain plywood, like a good quality maple. Sand it 150, then prime with Zinsser BIN. Sand that smooth and paint, maybe 2 coats. I think that will give you the gloss you want, I have always used an oil based enamel for the paint, but it’s getting harder and harder to find…I’ll be trying an waterborne acrylic enamel the next time As for the lacquer, it’s loaded with some serious solvents (guessing you refer to NC lacquer) and it’s anybody’s guess what will happen to the paint if you apply it. Besides a good paint is much more durable/scratch resistant than NC lacquer. The unknown to me is whether the gloss will meet your expectations. All this, of course, is only my opinion. One other thing, if the smooth surface is the key point, try finding some prefinished plywood. The coating on it is incredibly tough and very smooth. With you would only need to put on a coat of dewaxed shellac (to insure adhesion with your paint) and then finish.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2390 days

#2 posted 10-31-2013 07:19 PM

1. Sanding the plywood is not necessary.
2. Apply a sparse coat of flat acrylic wall paint in your color choice with roller or brush. I use Behr Ultra.
3. Knock down the nibs and smooth the surface with 220 drywall sanding screen.
4. Apply one or two more full coats, without sanding unless there’s roughness. The final coat should be smooth enough without sanding to top.
5. Top with waterborne poly or spray solvent lacquer. I use Sherwin-Williams CAB acrylic.

See my Projects for a couple examples.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View CharlesNeil's profile


2411 posts in 3899 days

#3 posted 10-31-2013 07:32 PM

If you put lacquer anything over an enamel paint its going to lift the paint, you can put enamel over lacquer but not the reverse, a definate NO NO .

I am with Clint on this one, also Sherwin Williams has a water base product called Kem Aqua Plus , Its an acrylic , and tough as nails, I have used it alot and no issues, I have also tested it in every way I can think of , it has passed with flying colors . In my opinion, it is better than any Poly I have ever used,.

View lazyoakfarm's profile


144 posts in 2826 days

#4 posted 10-31-2013 07:44 PM

Prime with ZInsser BIN, top coat with your favorite waterboarn product. I use Sherwin Williams Proclassic.
The Kem Aqua is even better, but I cannot get it in my area. Boo.
Protect your paint with General Finishes High Performance. Its gloss and smooth.

Lacquer over anything else is a bad idea. every time i decided to try it, it just curled the paint under it. If you go Lacquer, use nothing but Lacquer. You will get an automotive finish but hard to touch up.

View CharlesNeil's profile


2411 posts in 3899 days

#5 posted 10-31-2013 08:30 PM

lacquer will work over a latex paint, just let it dry well, but not an oil base enamel, been doing it for about 40 years, never an issue

View JustplaneJeff's profile


263 posts in 1932 days

#6 posted 11-02-2013 02:21 AM

Just started using Kem aqua myself, real happy with the results so far

-- JustplaneJeff

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