Excellent Water-Based Lacquer

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Review by TheDane posted 04-04-2011 09:46 PM 27216 views 19 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Excellent Water-Based Lacquer No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been using wipe-on poly on all of the Mission/Arts & Crafts, until the most recent project ... Click for details

This project was built in a class I was taking at the local tech college, and they will not allow polyurethane finishes in the finishing room in the shop. Most everything that comes out of that shop is top-coated with pre-catalyzed lacquer, which students have to buy from local sources. The finish supply stores around here carry only gallons and up, nobody else in the class needed any, and with a pot life of 3 or four weeks, there was no way I would use that much, so I would just be throwing it away.

I decided to try something different, and ordered EMTECH EM6000 from Target Coatings … . When I start spraying in my own shop (I recently acquired an Earlex HV5000), this is the stuff I will be using.

First off, you can’t beat water-based finishes for easy cleanup … no solvents, thinners, etc., so cleaning up the HVLP gun at the end of the evening was no more difficult than helping my wife with dishes.

Viscosity, out of the can, was perfect for the gun I was using, so there was no need to thin it.

The self-leveling properties and fast-drying time (20 to 25 minutes in my case … their finishing room has an excellent air filtration/circulation system) made it possible for me to build a terrific finish in a very short amount of time. Including sanding between coats, I got 6 coats of lacquer on my project in something under six hours … no runs, no sags.

Another thing I like about this stuff … I called Target Coatings, and was informed the ‘pot life’ is one year from the date it is opened.

Here’s the manufacturer’s description:

EMTECHâ„¢ EM6000 Production Lacquer (EPLv8.0) is an ultra clear, water-based acrylic lacquer that utilizes advanced polymer resins and HAPS-Free solvent technologies to provide a unique, self-leveling wood finish designed for commercial and industrial applications. Formulated for use in furniture, cabinet, interior architectural and custom woodworking applications, EPL provides a fast drying lacquer system with exceptional clarity, outstanding adhesion qualities and a nitrocellulose-type appearance and performance in a Ultra-Low VOC (ULVOC), 100% water-based system. EMTECHâ„¢ EM6000 Production Lacquer features a unique adhesion characteristic that allows it to bond to a wide variety of properly prepared substrates such as synthetic wood panels, carbon-fibre, PVC, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. This feature gives great latitude of use for the finishing professional when working with EM6000 Production Lacquer.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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33 comments so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 04-04-2011 10:32 PM

Great review Gerry. I’ll echo your comments about EM6000 and also add that EM2000/EM8000 (WB varnish) are excellent products as well. After using EM2000 on kitchen cabinets which after almost two years look as new, I have used Target almost exclusively for spraying because the stuff has been easy to use, easy to clean, and looks fantastic.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3501 days

#2 posted 04-04-2011 10:35 PM

This is a very helpful review and I’ll be noting it. I dread the cleanup side of finishing, which is why I dread finishing. I’m anxious to learn about any quality aqueous products (which seem to be increasing in quality). I’m taking by your rating that you saw no whitening or opacification. Thanks again!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4471 days

#3 posted 04-04-2011 10:47 PM

Al—No problems, whatsoever. It went on a little milky, then flattened and dried perfectly clear.

The instructor for this class had never used water-based lacquer before, so he was real interested in how it went. He was impressed, and this guy (with 30+ years as a professional woodworker) ain’t that easy to impress


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View 747DRVR's profile


199 posts in 4164 days

#4 posted 04-04-2011 11:13 PM

Is it crystal clear like WB poly or does it add a little amber like solvent lacquer?

View Les 's profile


201 posts in 3498 days

#5 posted 04-04-2011 11:21 PM


Thanks for the update. Not sure what kind of sprayer you used at the class, but with the earlex 5000 Target recommends a 5% reduction. I also make sure the product temperature is at least 75 degrees. Just drop the container you mixed in in a hot water bath and monitor. It is great stuff!! Take a look at the night stand project in my projects, they were done with em6000.

I only sand after the 4th coat and then do the rub out after another 4. The amazing thing is you can do the rub out with a ROS, it sure makes it a lot easier.


-- Stay busy....Stay young

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5829 posts in 4471 days

#6 posted 04-04-2011 11:57 PM

747DRVR—Crystal clear … I don’t see any amber.

Les—The gun I was using was not an Earlex … don’t know for sure whose it was.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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Steven H

1117 posts in 3868 days

#7 posted 04-05-2011 12:54 AM

The company claims it can burn into the previous coat like lacquer. Do you see that true?

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4471 days

#8 posted 04-05-2011 01:44 AM

Steven H—Couldn’t say.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View pintodeluxe's profile


6177 posts in 3621 days

#9 posted 04-05-2011 02:00 AM

Nice review. I have only used standard pre-cat lacquer, and it actually has a very long shelf life. I have used it months later and it works and wears just like new. Maybe some brands are different?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4096 days

#10 posted 04-05-2011 02:10 AM

great review, I might give this stuff a shot. I just got some new spray guns myself binks 2001-model#7 and this stuff sounds like it’s right up my alley.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 3448 days

#11 posted 04-05-2011 06:08 AM

Good to hear about more and more excellent wb finishes. I have been on to the urethanes for years with very good results (both floors and wood work). it has been awhile since I had a Rexthane headache !

We also have the Earlex Hv5000 Spray Station Pro, but have not used it with wb materials yet. Also good to know that was part of your success.

Thanks for the review !

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

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4471 days

#12 posted 04-05-2011 03:39 PM

pintodeluxe—I think it depends on the product and when the catalyst is added. One local finish supply sells a two-part product where you add catalyst when you use it. The shelf life on their product is much longer.

747DRVR—The hall table I used this product on is the last of 9 pieces I built (the others are a Morris Chair, ottoman, 3 end tables, a coffee table, entertainment center, and a display shelf) for our living room. They were all built with the same species, and stained with the same Watco Danish Oil. The other pieces were all top-coated with wipe-on poly. Last night, I did a white-light comparison, and the there is a slight detectable difference in that the other pieces have a little bit of an amber cast, while the piece with the EMTECH WB lacquer was truer to the original appearance of wood after staining.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 4174 days

#13 posted 04-05-2011 11:31 PM

Can you hand apply this stuff? I do not have a sprayer


View 308Gap's profile


337 posts in 3811 days

#14 posted 04-06-2011 01:51 AM

There is a ) at the end that prevents the link from working.

-- Thank You Veterans!

View TheDane's profile


5829 posts in 4471 days

#15 posted 04-06-2011 03:10 AM

Domer—Couldn’t say … haven’t tried brushing or wiping it.


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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