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    Help with spray on lacquer

    I’m fairly frustrated here. So I’ve tried to spray lacquer from a can on some small pieces and for some unknown reason I get the below result. Also the lacquer flakes off on similar pieces when I reapply a second or more coats. Yes, I rough up the surface either with 120g sandpaper, steel wool or a scouring pad prior to applying another coat.

    Any suggestions or troubleshooting is appreciated.
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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    What brand of rattle can lacquer are you spraying? Are your pieces vertical or horizontal when you're spraying them? It looks like you're not finishing the sweep left to right beyond the end of the board and the area pictured has little finish that's also spotty and pitted.

    Lacquer is soluble in itself and subsequent coats melt into the previous coat so there's no reason to rough up the previously coated surface in between coats. What's the green stuff to the right of the problem area?

    Also the lacquer flakes off on similar pieces when I reapply a second or more coats.


    I don't understand that. If you're sanding have you removed the dust between coats with some mineral spirits or naphtha?

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    I agree with Jeff. The right way to spray is to start the flow off the workpiece, move steadily at a pace which deposits the right amount of finish on the work (established by trial) on the work move the spray pattern over the work. Keep the distance to the workpiece constant. Move your arm, not your wrist. Overlap at the next location (usually around 50%). Too much finish may initially look great but sags or runs. Too little finish gives a very rough appearance. Better to be a little rough. Being too far away will also allow a quick setting finish like lacquer to start setting up before it hits the surface making it impossible to get a smooth coat.

    You don't have to be perfect at this but there is a window of acceptability to get good results.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Gents ... I have experience with spray painting and have not seen anything like this. Yes, I am completely sweeping across the surface before laying down the next overlapping ‘stripe’. What’s in the pic shows, after laying down a perfectly smooth coat, the lacquer somehow beaded up and receded like oil on water. And yes I’ve wiped any surface with paint thinner prior to application. Would wax or perhaps oil (BLO) cause the lacquer to do this?

    It it is extremely frustrating ...
    Last edited by Dorm; 04-10-2018 at 08:00 PM.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Although it doesn't look like fisheye, what you describe sounds like fisheye. Probably caused by some contaminate on (or in) the wood. Silicone containing compounds are a frequent culprit. I have fixed the problem just like this with a cleaning/light sanding/cleaning followed by a coat of dewaxed shellac....Zinsser spray shellac is dewaxed as is seal coat. After thorough drying of the shellac, then v. light scuff and try another coat of lacquer.

    good luck

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorm View Post
    Gents ... I have experience with spray painting and have not seen anything like this. Yes, I am completely sweeping across the surface before laying down the next overlapping ‘stripe’. What’s in the pic shows, after laying down a perfectly smooth coat, the lacquer somehow beaded up and receded like oil on water. And yes I’ve wiped any surface with paint thinner prior to application. Would wax or perhaps oil (BLO) cause the lacquer to do this?

    It it is extremely frustrating ...
    You could have told us about your spraying experience and technique up front as background information to begin the discussion and avoid reinventing your wheel, but nonetheless...

    What species of wood are you working with? Did you use BLO (and allowed it to cure) before spraying? You still didn't say which rattle can lacquer you're using.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorm View Post
    Gents ... I have experience with spray painting and have not seen anything like this. Yes, I am completely sweeping across the surface before laying down the next overlapping ‘stripe’. What’s in the pic shows, after laying down a perfectly smooth coat, the lacquer somehow beaded up and receded like oil on water. And yes I’ve wiped any surface with paint thinner prior to application. Would wax or perhaps oil (BLO) cause the lacquer to do this?

    It it is extremely frustrating ...
    What brand lacquer did you use and what was the paint thinner you wiped with? If it was mineral spirits, that would do exactly what you posted.

    Weird, I have never had problems with lacquer, but then again I have never used aerosol cans.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Dunno why folks have to assume people are idiots but anywho...

    Definitely some form of wax or oil contaminent. That's a headache right there.
    Happiness is a direction not a destination. ~Athena Orchard

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Quote Originally Posted by Wyatt Co. View Post
    Dunno why folks have to assume people are idiots but anywho...

    Definitely some form of wax or oil contaminent. That's a headache right there.
    Who's assuming and why are they assuming? The OP could've given more complete information and background to begin his thread but he didn't so many could've assumed he's a spray finishing newbie.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Dorm, I would sand the whole surface back to 150, a tad more tlc on the contaminated part,wipe everything off with lacquer thinner so all is clean and re shoot it

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Kinda hard from the pic for me see the problem, but...
    When lacquer separates from the surface as you described its got to be a wax/oil/silicone on the wood. Whats the end grain look like? Could it have had anchorseal on it? That's a wax base product used for end grain. Any problem with lacquer finish on the end grain. I am assuming you didn't use any stain on the wood, no oil based stain that could be still wet. Did you blow off the dust with air from a compressor? Compressed air can have oil in it.
    As skymaster wrote. Sand it down to remove the last finish. I would really sand it down to bare wood. Then put the wood in the sun a while to warm it, then Lacquer thinner with a rag and spray on finish.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Well, to all reply's ... thank you. And no I am not an idiot , but I am somewhat new to this type of finishing. I've built cabinets in a previous home and spray finished these with paint. So yes ... I know how to spray - I've just never done lacquer and don't know the idiosyncrasies with the process. I assume this is like a lot of things wherein - it's easy once you know what you're doing.

    I think the culprit was I probably wiped the wood down with mineral spirits. It was either that or paint thinner - I don't remember. Also, the brand of the spray lacquer is a Rust-O-Leum, clear high lustre.

    I do have a few questions:
    - do a lot of the sanding pads have silicone such that it contaminates the wood? I bought 50ct packs off e-Bay and likely came from china.
    - does wiping down the wood with lacquer thinner remove the silicone
    - is there a particular brand of lacquer thinner with the best results
    - would lacquer thinner possibly soften the epoxy pour on the wood
    - does the finish coat get lightly sanded/scuffed between coats
    - is there a brand of spray can lacquer that gets good results - if not what I'm using now

    Thanks again ... Ciao - Dorm

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorm View Post
    Well, to all reply's ... thank you. And no I am not an idiot , but I am somewhat new to this type of finishing. I've built cabinets in a previous home and spray finished these with paint. So yes ... I know how to spray - I've just never done lacquer and don't know the idiosyncrasies with the process. I assume this is like a lot of things wherein - it's easy once you know what you're doing.

    I think the culprit was I probably wiped the wood down with mineral spirits. It was either that or paint thinner - I don't remember. Also, the brand of the spray lacquer is a Rust-O-Leum, clear high lustre.

    I do have a few questions:
    - do a lot of the sanding pads have silicone such that it contaminates the wood? I bought 50ct packs off e-Bay and likely came from china.
    - does wiping down the wood with lacquer thinner remove the silicone
    - is there a particular brand of lacquer thinner with the best results
    - would lacquer thinner possibly soften the epoxy pour on the wood
    - does the finish coat get lightly sanded/scuffed between coats
    - is there a brand of spray can lacquer that gets good results - if not what I'm using now

    Thanks again ... Ciao - Dorm
    1. Silicone in the sanding pads: Probably not. I have used cheap ones before and the main defect was losing the grit off the sanding pad very quickly. Possible but probably not the source.
    2. Silicone is very hard to remove because it doesn't dissolve into a solvent, Usually requires mechanical removal. Best to sand past the contamination, dry brush, tack rag, or blow it off, and then wipe it well, picking up the wet solvent with a clean rag before it dries.
    3. Brand? Don't know. I have used thinner from an auto paint supply store that has been blended to suit the humidity/temp, more for blush prevention (moisture in the coating) than anything else. That said, I have also used thinner from the big-box stores when weather is nice.
    4. The lacquer thinner should not affect the epoxy unless you soak it for a long time.
    5. The fresh coat of lacquer will dissolve into the top of the previous coat as long as its applied as a wet coat. Sanding is only needed to remove any defects such as dust nibs, dry overspray, or to level orange peel caused by too heavy or spraying at too high of a viscosity. If you are going for a mirror-smooth finish on wood, you will have to sand between coats until you have filled all the low spots caused by the grain.
    6. I have used Deft spray can lacquer with acceptable results, but mainly for drawer interiors, etc. I haven't found a spray can that can be controlled as well as a spray gun for large, flat surfaces.

    When spraying lacquer, best results are usually achieved by spraying many light coats (but needs to fully wet the surface) as opposed to fewer heavy coats. Another trick is to put a scrap piece prepped the same as your work piece (called a coupon) next to your work so that it gets sprayed exactly the same. The coupon is used to test the dryness between coats. When it is dry to touch and not soft, you are ready for the next coat. With lacquer the elapsed time is usually measured in minutes, not hours.

    Another cause for the fish-eye is contaminated air from a compressor that has oil and/or water in it. However, if that was the problem here, it would most likely affect all the coating, not just the end. The culprit was more likely some oil/contamination that was picked up by the solvent and pooled at the end, and didn't get picked up with a clean rag. If you don't pick up the wet solvent with an uncontaminated rag, you are just moving the dissolved contaminants around, instead of actually removing them.

    Hope this helps.

    Go
    Last edited by Gofor; 04-13-2018 at 11:08 AM.
    Practicing at practical woodworking

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorm View Post
    Well, to all reply's ... thank you. And no I am not an idiot , but I am somewhat new to this type of finishing. I've built cabinets in a previous home and spray finished these with paint. So yes ... I know how to spray - I've just never done lacquer and don't know the idiosyncrasies with the process. I assume this is like a lot of things wherein - it's easy once you know what you're doing.

    I think the culprit was I probably wiped the wood down with mineral spirits. It was either that or paint thinner - I don't remember. Also, the brand of the spray lacquer is a Rust-O-Leum, clear high lustre.

    I do have a few questions:
    - do a lot of the sanding pads have silicone such that it contaminates the wood? I bought 50ct packs off e-Bay and likely came from china.
    - does wiping down the wood with lacquer thinner remove the silicone
    - is there a particular brand of lacquer thinner with the best results
    - would lacquer thinner possibly soften the epoxy pour on the wood
    - does the finish coat get lightly sanded/scuffed between coats
    - is there a brand of spray can lacquer that gets good results - if not what I'm using now

    Thanks again ... Ciao - Dorm
    Dorm, Lacquer is by far the easiest finish to spray compared to everything else out there. What happened in your case is the mineral spirits was trying to evaporate out of the wood and had nowhere to go, so it lifted the lacquer.
    I would wipe that down with acetone and leave it overnight. From there you should be fine.
    Not trying to run them down, but I stay clear of Minwax, Rustoleum products available from the hardware stores. Do yourself a favor and order Deft online, or go to one of the paint stores or Klingspor and get either Gemini, Mohawk or Lenmar. Those will work every time and they will work with just about any lacquer thinner brand.

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    Re: Help with spray on lacquer

    Dorm
    I will try to answer a few of your questions
    -I have never used sand paper that had silicone in it, the pads I use come from Klingspor and I have never got contamination off them.

    - If its indeed silicone you have in your wood then... When I worked with fiberglass some times we got silicone contamination and the only way I was sure to get rid it was sand it off to bare glass. But then again not many products have silicone in them. In my mind your problem is more likely wax or oil contamination. Did you use a "tack rag" before spraying? they have wax in them that can bead up a finish if the tack rag was wiped to hard. To be sure you would get everything wax/oil out for sure you would clean with enough thinner hard enough you would damage the surrounding finish. If the piece is not that large say a few bad words then sand that baby down to bare wood and start over with the finish.

    - I have used lacquer thinner from Lowes/ Home depot/ Sherwin Williams/ Klingspor and truthfully I have not seen any difference. Maybe someone who paints on 20 coats of lacquer on their street rod would see a difference but for what I do they all work.

    -Once the epoxy pour you used is fully dried its pretty tuff stuff. If it was dipped in thinner it could be softened, but just wiping the thinner over it, I do it all the time and never had problem. I have cleaned epoxy off tools with lacquer thinner but it takes a LOT and I mean a LOT of scrubbing. Don't get me started....

    - Do I sand/scuff between coats Interesting question because of so many variables. For me I lay down 2-3 coats and I might wipe off with a lacquer coated rag to take off surface dust. I wipe very lightly and the rag is barely damp. I don't sand as I want to get some build up of finish. Before final coat I sand with between 220 to 400 grit paper, then final coat. Good thing about lacquer is it dries pretty fast which helps with dust. Lacquer will melt in to previous coat so no need to scuff for adhesion.

    - I have used maybe 3 different brands of spray can lacquer and they all worked fine so I can't recommend one brand over another.

    - When I use lacquer finish I only touch the wood with lacquer thinner. When I use a finish thinned with xylene, I clean and wipe dust off the wood with xylene. etc...

    Good luck Let us know how you finish goes

    _

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