A Little About Finishing

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Blog entry by Chris Davis posted 08-06-2009 08:04 PM 1015 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had a LJ send a message about finishing. I thought maybe I’d post the question and answer here and let other LJ’s chime in on what they think or use.

I wanted to ask you if you use any kind of sanding sealer on your murphy beds and side cabinets before you spray them with lacquer…

My reply:
The lacquers that they make now doesn’t need a sanding sealer really. They are so easy to sand there is no point in keeping two products. The companies add a product to make is easier to use as a sealer. For the last 10 years I have not used a sanding sealer on lacquer. I use too.

Usually I spray two coats full strength, with sanding in between. If it is a very dry day, I may thin the last coat down or spray an extra coat that is thinned. If it is very humid and the finish starts to blush, I’ll spray a very thin coat and add a little retarder(slow drying) type of thinner in there to slow the drying time down.

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

5 comments so far

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3256 days

#1 posted 08-06-2009 10:03 PM

I have always used sanding sealer on most projects. I do because the brand lacquer I use doesn’t sand as easily as the sealer. That said, on my guitars, I don’t use sealer. I feel that the finish is somewhat tougher without sealer, so either way, it’s a trade off. I don’t have any scientific evidence to back this up, but I do have over 40 years experience spraying lacquer (I know, I don’t look that old—-I started realy, really young!) This works for me. Like you say, with other brands of lacquer, that may very well be true. I used Superior Coatings for years. I believe they merged with Gemini a few years ago. That’s what I use now, except on guitars. For that I use Behlens.
You know what they say—-That’s the way I’ve always done it! and of course—If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

Seriously, I am open to change. You’ve made a good point.——Thanks


View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3618 days

#2 posted 08-06-2009 10:18 PM

Thanks for bringing this topic up – it made me go and research on ‘sanding sealer’ – I’ve personally never used it – but then again, I’ve never used Lacquer either.

so from what I got, sanding sealer is used as an undercoat because it dries faster and sands easier then lacquer/poly sos it’s easier to get a smooth surface faster on which you can put your top/final coat with a protective finish such as lacquer/poly. is that the idea?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1560 posts in 3952 days

#3 posted 08-06-2009 10:22 PM

I agree with you that sealers may weaken the finish. It seems that one rep. actually said that is the purpose of sanding sealer it weeking it enough to make it easier to sand.

I love Gemini, I use to use it but now I use Sherwin Williams’ brand.

Alot of time the best finish is the one you know how to use and work. If it works for you and you get good results, then don’t change it.

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View Chris Davis's profile

Chris Davis

1560 posts in 3952 days

#4 posted 08-06-2009 10:25 PM

PurpLev, that’s the idea. Most lacquers do the same. I don’t use any poly., but I believe that is a little harder to sand, so a sealer may work better on those.

-- Watch live video from our shop.!current-projects/c3c1

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3528 days

#5 posted 08-07-2009 12:48 AM

I’ve also always used a sanding sealer before lacquer. I quess just a habit that I took from all the cabinet shops I have always worked at. They have always ud=sed sanding sealers. But I guess I need to look into the newer Lacquers and see what they recommend. I’m like Kent, If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…...............LOL

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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