Lacquer in a hvlp?

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Forum topic by TheLostTexan posted 03-01-2017 11:09 AM 1236 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TheLostTexan's profile


6 posts in 1068 days

03-01-2017 11:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lacquer lacquer thinner acetone lacquer retarder hvlp spray ratio finishing

I have been flopded with so many different optuons of spraying lacquer I dont know what to do. Is it Lacquer to lacquer thinner, lacquer to acetone, lacquer to lacquer thinner and acetone, lacquer to lacquer thinner and reterder, lacquer to acetone and retarder, lacquer to acetone lacquer thinner and retarder. And at what ratio?

-- There are two types of woodworkers builders and finishers. Which one are you?

6 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3292 days

#1 posted 03-01-2017 11:37 AM

I do the vast majority of my finish work with an airless

Lacquer…..straight up…no cutting

Lacquer retarder….straight up… needed to slow blending on newly sprayed finish coat.

When ido use hvlp…. I do cut lacquer a bit with thinner….and add a touch of retarder on humid days.

Acetone,,,, almost never….cleaning only….and or used to clean a surface to allow better bonding of sealants.

Your individual situation dictates the mixtures, additives, etc.

View Bumpy's profile


40 posts in 964 days

#2 posted 03-01-2017 11:41 AM

I have sprayed a lot of lacquer in my shop over the years in a HVLP cup gun. My best results come from using a pre-catalyzed lacquer from ML Campbell. I spray a lot of clear, but also a fair amount of black and other custom colors.

While my system may not be “text book”, it works for me and there have not been any complaints from customers.

-Proper sanding, followed by a tac cloth
-Thin the lacquer by not more than 10% with lacquer thinner
-Air pressure at 38 PSI
-First coat, dry time about 10 minutes
-lightly sand with 320, then wipe witha tac cloth
-Second coat, dry time about 10 minutes
-lightly sand with 320, then wipe with a tac cloth
-Apply the third coat, let dry at least 20 minutes.
-Clean the gun with lacquer thinner

I thin the first 2 coats by 10%, the 3rd by about 5%

Setting the spray pattern and the flow has to be leaned, trial by error. I have found that a medium width pattern and reduced air flow while spraying at a moderate rate works better than a heavy flow sprayed faster.

All three coats must be applied within a time frame of about 2 hours for proper bonding. Air temp at 50 or above works best.

Good luck

View TheLostTexan's profile


6 posts in 1068 days

#3 posted 03-01-2017 11:53 AM

Thank you both for the advice. The only reason I brought up the acetone was there were a few youtube vids that they added it. Bumpy thanks for the step by step instructions. Again they both cleared the fog for me.

-- There are two types of woodworkers builders and finishers. Which one are you?

View Woodbum's profile


883 posts in 3549 days

#4 posted 03-01-2017 12:02 PM

Lacquer cut with 15% lacquer retarder in an Accuspray HVLP. For the local climate and humidity, that is what works best for me. A minimum of 4 light to medium coats with sanding only between the second last and last coat with temps above 50 degrees or so. If you have 10 woodworkers spraying lacquer, you might have 10 different methods; like almost any other process in woodworking. Learn the basics of air/ fluid mix and practice your spraying pattern techniques. It is not hard, it just takes some trial and error and practice. The most important thing though is to learn to clean your gun properly and completely. You will never do a good job with dirty equipment. I use Watco or Deft canned spray lacquer for real small jobs where equipment setup and cleaning are not worth the effort. Good Luck, Work Safely and Have Fun.

-- "Now I'm just another old guy wearing funny clothes"

View Rich's profile


4842 posts in 1073 days

#5 posted 03-01-2017 03:34 PM

It takes a lot of solvent to thin lacquer for spraying. Acetone is added partly because it’s less expensive than lacquer thinner. Lacquer thinner itself is a mixture of multiple solvents. My standard recipe is 50% Deft brushing lacquer, 25% lacquer thinner, and 25% acetone. I’ve also experimented with xylene, but didn’t see much difference.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View pintodeluxe's profile


5975 posts in 3296 days

#6 posted 03-01-2017 03:59 PM

If you start with lacquer meant for spraying (buy it at a paint store, not a big home center), you will have a much easier time.

Thin pre-catalyzed lacquer with 10-15% lacquer thinner until it sprays well. There is no need to use any other chemicals. Lacquer dries fast, and that’s why I like it. I don’t use any retarders or other solvents.
I have never had a compatibility problem with straight lacquer finishes, and durability is really good.

I like Rudd Duracat 550v best, but ML Cambell Maganalac is good too.

Thin lacquer with lacquer thinner.
Thin latex paint with water.
Thin stain with mineral spirits.
Thin shellac with denatured alcohol.
What is acetone good for? It is great for removing nail polish, and it will really clean the brake pads on your mountain bike!

Good luck with it all.

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

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