Poly vs lacquer - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-31-2020, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Poly vs lacquer

what's the +/- for refinishing?

thanks

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post #2 of 15 Old 03-31-2020, 08:22 PM
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Refinishing what?


Please give more information.


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post #3 of 15 Old 03-31-2020, 10:30 PM
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I'm a lacquer guy all the way. In 45 years or so of doing woodworking I don't recall ever using poly. Lacquer dries quickly, finishes beautifully, and is easy to touch up and repair. Each coat blends into the previous coats and I find it very forgiving and manageable.

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 07:44 AM
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I first discovered DEFT Brushing Lacquer back in the late '70s.
started spraying it in the late '80s.
I never used any kind of Polyurethane until about 10 years ago.
I guess it comes down to whatever you are comfortable with and
the space you have to spray (finish or refinish) any kind of product.
if I was using much of it now, I would use the Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer and spray it.
but be aware - it only has a 6 month shelf life once it is mixed at the factory.
tell us a little more of what projects you are wanting to finish or refinish
and your shop area to do this.
more information in your question will always get you the most accurate responses.

.

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post #5 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Just the 4 legs of this project, top area I'm going with poly. Lacquer because I have spray can and think it would be better choice vs brushing?
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 07:57 PM Thread Starter
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Did the legs in lacquer.... think I will use more
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 10:20 PM
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The lacquer in spray cans is lacquer. The difference between that and the stuff you spray out of a gun is that the gun spray is much thicker and therefore more protective. The lacquer that comes out of an aerosol can is very thinned out so it can come out of an aerosol can. you will need several coats of the aerosol can to equal one coat out of a spray gun.
If you like the finish and the fact it dries so quickly, you might want to consider a spray set-up. If you have an air compressor of 21 gal or more size, you can get a cheap gun from Harbor Freight for around $20 on sale.
Nitrocellulose lasquer has become passe. Its more modern version is pre- catalyzed lacquer and is far superior the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association no longer recommends the old nitrocellulose lacquer.
Most pre-catalyzed lacquers are pre-mixed at the store location by one of the staff. They will put a label on the can and date it when mixed and the expiration date. The expiration can be anywhere from 6 months to a year, depending on the brand name.

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post #8 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 10:37 PM
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I still use the passé Nitrocellulose lacquer - works great for me.

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post #9 of 15 Old 04-01-2020, 11:09 PM
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Poly tends to be more plastic in touch and feel than lacquer.
Poly will be more durable when compared to lacquer.
Lacquer is more easily repairable than poly.
You can put down 3 or 4 coats of lacquer per 8 hour shift. You probably should wait 24 hours between coats of poly.
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-02-2020, 09:12 AM
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I really admire the glasslike clarity you can get with lacquer, but poly is what I use for its durability. The nitrocellulose that difalkner uses is made to be sprayed and has to be modified to be brushed due to the extreme volatility of the thinner which is also a concern for its toxicity. Poly is formulated to be brushed and needs to be thinned to atomize well. As it is thicker, I find it works better in a pressure pot. Poly has adhesion problems over some finishes and cure issues on some tropical woods. Lacquer is delicate, and poly is tough. Lacquer cures fast, and poly cures slow. If you are going to build a finish with several coats of poly, you will need to sand between coats for best results. Not sure how that works with lacquer. There's a narrow range where a wet coat of thinned poly will hang on a vertical surface without sagging.
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post #11 of 15 Old 04-02-2020, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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First coat satin poly, will sand with 320 and do another coat...

Going to leave mid section as-is
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post #12 of 15 Old 04-02-2020, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGi View Post
I really admire the glasslike clarity you can get with lacquer, but poly is what I use for its durability. The nitrocellulose that difalkner uses is made to be sprayed and has to be modified to be brushed due to the extreme volatility of the thinner which is also a concern for its toxicity. Poly is formulated to be brushed and needs to be thinned to atomize well. As it is thicker, I find it works better in a pressure pot. Poly has adhesion problems over some finishes and cure issues on some tropical woods. Lacquer is delicate, and poly is tough. Lacquer cures fast, and poly cures slow. If you are going to build a finish with several coats of poly, you will need to sand between coats for best results. Not sure how that works with lacquer. There's a narrow range where a wet coat of thinned poly will hang on a vertical surface without sagging.
Couldn't agree more, John. I like the delicateness of lacquer and how it bonds to each previous coat. I can spray it thin, thick, with slight orange peel (on purpose), so that it flows wet and smooth, etc. just by changing a few settings or viscosity of the mix. Poly looks like plastic coating to me and I have never taken to that look. That doesn't mean it's a bad finish, it just doesn't appeal to me.

And curing fast is important for me - less opportunity for dust to attack your finish, quicker to get jobs out the door, probably more reasons but those two come to mind first. I can spray sanding sealer, wait 10 minutes, and begin sanding for the next coat of sealer or the first coat of gloss lacquer. I don't think you can do that with poly.

All of these reasons are why I also like a French polish finish with Shellac - thin, delicate, each coating bonds and melts into the previous coats, quick drying, easy to repair, etc.

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post #13 of 15 Old 04-04-2020, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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What I have noticed is on the 2nd coat I would see brush marks as poly not flowing out level... and thinking thinning would prevent it? If so how much should I thin the poly?

Finished and thanks for helping
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-05-2020, 07:58 AM
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I use minwax mineral spirits based poly. I thin it 10% for spraying--take 3 oz out of a quart can and replace it with thinner. Thinned this much it can't be brushed. It flows too freely, and it is almost impossible to avoid drips and runs.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-05-2020, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by difalkner View Post
I'm a lacquer guy all the way. In 45 years or so of doing woodworking I don't recall ever using poly. Lacquer dries quickly, finishes beautifully, and is easy to touch up and repair. Each coat blends into the previous coats and I find it very forgiving and manageable.

David
I agree 100%. I have had to change my setup with the newer low VOC lacquer. I'm now using Gemini Precat satin 275VOC. I used to spray with a pressure pot, Now I have changed over to a CA Technologies 14:1 AAA, with the Bobcat gun.

Never underestimate the power of observation..
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