I need to learn how to spray Lacquer, need Info please.

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Blog entry by Pete_Jud posted 05-09-2009 06:47 AM 33584 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I, by mistake a couple of days ago, tried lacquer for the first time. After all these years of using Poly and oil finishes like “Norm” does, I have found a lot of advantages for one of the produces that I build. I have a dedicated finishing room that I can add filters and venting to, and have clean compressed air in the shop as well. Just to many choices as to how to spray it. Any help is needed. ie, what type of gun, clean-up time between guns, ect.

Thanks in advance.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

8 comments so far

View tooldad's profile


665 posts in 4562 days

#1 posted 05-09-2009 06:55 AM

I use an Earlex HVLP sprayer for pre-cat Campbell’s lacquer. Was introduced to it 3 years ago after using poly since my first project. Haven’t gone back to poly since. Dries in about an hour or less. I can actually finish a project in an after school afternoon. Lots of fumes, need ventilation badly if using it, or you can try gambling with mother nature and doing it outside. Good results, however I am no finishing expert. Good luck

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 4600 days

#2 posted 05-09-2009 07:29 AM

I do have an old binks spray gun that I have not used in 30 years. But have not thought about spraying lacquer with it. I have some concerns about the solids in satin lacquer in the nozzle. Any thoughts.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View JSW's profile


5 posts in 4350 days

#3 posted 05-09-2009 07:47 AM

Lacquer is a great finish, I like it very much. There are many varieties, nitrocellulose(the basic), Precatalyzed, etc. I would recommend you visit a good paint dealer, one brand I have used and like is Magnalac (a precat lacquer) Use their thinner also when you mix it. Usually thin it with lacquer thinner by about fifty percent, no need to be too exacting about the ratio. In hot weather you may need to use retarder to slow the drying a little. Fish-eye preventer is something else you may have to add to your supplies if you run into this problem. Experiment with laying on a coat-it should be shiney but not so much that it runs. If you did not put enough on it looks rough. When doing adjacent surfaces try to keep a “wet edge”. You will have to develop a feel for the thickness of the coat and speed of your passes etc. Use the air presssure recommended by the lacquer maker on your regulator. If you mess up, wet a rag with thinner and wipe it off. Make sure you wear a mask designed for the spraying of lacquer. Give it a fairly light coat, let it dry and sand it with 220 or 320 wet or dry sandpaper. 400 and 600 if you want a silky feel. I take an ordinary spray bottle fill it with water and add several drops of dish detergent (read small amount) to lube the sanding. Don’t worry too much about the sanding, you are only knocking off the “nubs” between the coats. Usually two coats is enough but you will know when you see and feel it. A word of caution!!!—lacquer and lacquer thinner can be explosive so take precautions regarding electric motors on your compressor and other devices that can produce a spark(like a window fan used as a vent fan-NOT a good idea!). To clean your gun, empty out the finish, slosh some thinner around in the cup, spray the thinner through the gun, empty out the thinner and dispose of properly. Also between uses, take the nozzle and tip off the gun and drop them into a cup of clean thinner. Best of luck and I think you will impress yourself with the results.

-- Jon

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4853 days

#4 posted 05-09-2009 01:57 PM

Spraying lacquer is one of those things that cannot be learned from a book. It would be sort of like learning to juggle from a book. Because you really are juggling….pressure, viscosity, atomization, humidity, temperature, what parts to spray first, hand speed…all at one time. The good news is that once these all get grasped, its like riding a bike, you instinctively know how. Its truly an art that requires many a failure to properly figure it out.

One rule. Be a neat freak about keeping the gun clean and all parts in working order.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5161 days

#5 posted 05-10-2009 04:51 AM

I’m a big fan of HVLP gravity feed cup guns.

View a1Jim's profile


118134 posts in 4424 days

#6 posted 05-10-2009 06:54 AM

Another subject covered in detail in Charles Neils Finishing A-Z DVD


View John 's profile


261 posts in 4249 days

#7 posted 06-22-2009 11:42 PM

I’ve used HVLP’s and Convential Sprayers with no problem. Just remember to thin a little and you’ll be fine. The best part is the drying time. I’ve even brushed it on in a pinch. You can also use Tints-All to custom mix your own color.


-- John

View davidc's profile


43 posts in 4155 days

#8 posted 11-22-2010 04:49 AM

I guess I take the easy way out. I buy the spray cans of Deft lacquer finish. That avoids air compressors and guns
and clean-up. It’s like paint. If you buy 5 gallons of paint to spray, to get the same amount in spray cans will cost a fortune in comparison. I use it on my intarsia projects and I find it runs into the cracks well. Deft lacquer can be brushed on ok if you sand between coats. I just watched the u-tube video on making a chess board.
He used a paste wood filler, a wood sealer, a lacquer, and finaly a wax. I guess it depends on what you’re making.

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