Questions on using white tinted lacquer on raw maple cabinets and cabinet doors versus waterborn pai

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Forum topic by SweetTea posted 04-02-2018 11:40 AM 7623 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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478 posts in 1991 days

04-02-2018 11:40 AM

Ok guys so I have been contracted to build a set of kitchen cabinets that will be painted white. The face frames, cabinet doors and drawer fronts will be made out of hard maple. In the past I have used waterborn Valspar or Sherwin Williams paint shot from an HVLP gun. I am hearing some folks talk more and more about using white tinted lacquer instead of water borne paint. I have never used this stuff and was hoping that you guys could give me the low down on it? My questions are:

1. How does it compare coverage wise to standard latex paint? Does the white lacquer still need two coats after primer?

2. What kind of primer is best used under white lacquer? Will any primer work? What is the most optimal primer that you guys would recommend?

3. Do I sand in between the coats of white lacquer? If so, is normal 320g sand paper optimal? I normally sand the primer when it’s dry and sand the first coat of paint with 320g in between each one.

4. Should I use a clear coat after the second coat of white lacquer? Or would that be completely unnecessary with the tinted lacquer?

5. Where is the best place to get white tinted lacquer? The only local paint suppliers that I have are Sherwin Williams, PPG, and Ferral Calhoun. I am open to ordering it online though if it saves me money, or if it would provide a better product.

6. Are there any other tips, tricks or suggestions for shooting these raw maple cabinets, cabinet doors and drawer fronts with tinted lacquer?

Thanks to all that reply!

5 replies so far

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

347 posts in 3793 days

#1 posted 04-04-2018 01:33 AM

Good thread, good timing.

I have a client that wants this base and upper cabinets of piece for his office in white- I recommended that we skip melamine because it looks low end, and he agreed. So I built the piece in high quality maple plywood, and plan to spray white lacquer on this piece. a few thoughts:

- I have this idea of using dewaxed shellac as a sealer before I apply the lacquer- on a previous project i used zinser or bin primer and it worked great- but I love to use shellac, its so darn easy to apply and I thin in out a little and slap it right on… then sand flat, and what ends up a perfect sealed surface to spray on… I cant see any reason why shellac would be a problem, maybe others feel differently? I know manufacturers make primers designed for their lacquers, but until my shop is done being built its rttle can misery for this guy.

You ?’s:

1- I have given up on latex paint for color, and will only use tinted lacquer- its a color and finish in one…paint you have to apply, sand flat, recoat, sand flat, then top coat with a topcoat finish… f that, its a darn pain… only issue, is latex has TONS of color variety.

2- if you HVLP spray pre-cat/ cat lacquer, they have primers designed for them. My plan is shellac and white lacquer from rattle cans- I have gotten great results with these cans before, but Id rather spray in a booth of course.

3. lightly abraid between coats- 320 if what I use.

4. I think thats the benefit of the tinted lacquer, no need to top coat- unless someone suggests otherwise.

5. Mohawk Coatings is what we have used in the past.

6. Safety- mask, ventilation, quality spray booth and equipment if possible.

View cracknpop's profile


540 posts in 3680 days

#2 posted 04-04-2018 02:50 AM

Logan gives some good advice above.

I just finished spraying Sherwin Williams’ Sher-Wood Hi-Bild Precat lacquer, low gloss white on a vanity cabinet. I used it straight but it can be tinted.
I sprayed Zinser shellac based primer (thinned about 10%). Let it dry at least overnight. Sanded smooth with 180 grit.
Sprayed clear lacquer sanding sealer (I used Kwik Kleen that I had left, but have used SW’s in the past as well)
Lightly hand sanded with 220.
Sprayed 2 coats white topcoat.
With lacquer, you do not have to completely sand between coats as it melts into itself. The only time I sand between topcoats is if dust/dirt/bug lands in it before it dries.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View CWWoodworking's profile


2311 posts in 1510 days

#3 posted 04-16-2018 03:37 AM

contact your SW store Manager and ask him about conversion varnish. This stuff genereally has some nasty stuff in it so be careful. But for kitchens, it is the standard. I just did my kitchen with a PPG product called breakthrough. while a nice product, its not CV.

View SweetTea's profile


478 posts in 1991 days

#4 posted 04-16-2018 10:46 AM

Ok so let me give you guys an update. I contacted my local Sherwin Williams rep and he recommended that I use their tinted white, water based pre/cat lacquer in their Chem-Aqua line. He said that it’s not an actual lacquer (chemically speaking) but they call it lacquer to avoid people not understanding the science behind as its a bit tricky he said. He said it sprays and lays down just like lacquer when shooting it on with an HVLP gun. Plus, it dries within 30 minutes to an hour, just like lacquer. He said that since it’s a water based formula no need for solvents to clean up. He recommended that I use a water based lacquer “surfacer” in the Chem Aqua line up for the primer coat. He is supposed to stop by my shop today and bring me some samples to spray and play around with. He said that he would sell me the Chem-Aqua surfacer and the White Chem-Aqua tinted water based lacquer for $38 per gallon on each one.

View hkmiller's profile


247 posts in 1413 days

#5 posted 04-16-2018 11:58 AM

You want a non-yellowing product. The is a great product used by many high end cabinet makers.

-- always something

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