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Im spraying some cabinets and doors for a desk I built. I have started by sanding everything to 220 and then spraying a primer coat mixed in a 2:1 ratio, lacquer to thinner. I have sprayed a couole of coats and have sanded each coat with 320 grit. Its really smooth after I sand it, but the next coat of lacquer isnt as smooth. I would like to be able to spray the primer before I do the final coats with the high gloss lacquer. There seems to be some orange peel texture right now. What am I doing wrong, and how do I fix it?
Thanks for the help.
Nick
 

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Orange peal usually is a result of not having enough thinner in the finish. Try thinning it a little more and see what happens. Sometimes it's the thinner you use especially if it is hot when you are spraying it. There is fast drying thinner and slow drying thinner. The difference is the slow drying thinner has some retarder thinner added. You can also purchase retarder thinner and add to your finish batch by batch. The retarder thinner slows the drying time of the finish enough for it to flow out. Lacquer if it dries too fast pretty much dries on contact and is why it ends up being rough.

Sometimes it's the way you adjust the sprayer. If the gun is spraying too wide a pattern it goes on too dry and dries on contact. Sometimes you can adjust the guy where it sprays a more narrow pattern and ends up laying the material on wet. This is what is really needed however you can achieve this. Lacquer should be laid on wet almost to the point of running. What ever you need to do to achieve this is what you need to do. You don't want to over thin the lacquer either. There is a point where you thin the finish so much it ruins the finish. If you can't work out the formula to thin the lacquer for your gun you might purchase a viscosity cup so you can actually measure the right mixture for your gun.
 

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Thanks for the reply, I will give that a shot tomorrow or over the weekend. Can I use any retarder for the lacquer, or is it best to stay with the same brand?
 

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Thanks for the reply, I will give that a shot tomorrow or over the weekend. Can I use any retarder for the lacquer, or is it best to stay with the same brand?
To answer your question it's best to use lacquer thinner and retarder thinner made by the same company that makes the lacquer. Really as a rule of thumb with any finish it's best to use the same brand of thinner as the finish. The reason being is lacquer thinner isn't one chemical, it's a blend of chemicals and the chemists which make the lacquer know best which blend is best for their lacquer. I don't know of anyone that does that though. This week I've been using Sherwin Williams lacquer with Klean Strip lacquer thinner from Walmart and Retarder thinner from Mohawk Finishing Products. The Klean Strip lacquer thinner I knew was way too fast for what I was doing so I added the retarder thinner to it to make it work right.

According to Wikipedia lacquer thinner contains alkyl esters like butyl or amyl acetate, ketones like acetone or methyl ethyl ketone, aromatic hydrocarbons like toluene, ethers such as glycol cellosolves, and/or alcohols. You just don't know what or how much of the solvents are contained in a gallon of lacquer thinner you buy. You buy brand x and it may not contain something that would make your lacquer work better.
 

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Sometimes you can get orange peel due to air pressure being too low to atomize properly with your particular gun and lacquer mixture. Some guns atomize great at lower pressure but others simply need more pressure to achieve the same results.

David
 

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I do not sand between coats of lacquer and have no problem with roughness.

I assume that you noted that there are 3 different possibilities on how you get orange peel. One of those was air pressure. Low air pressure could also be the cause of the roughness of your finish.

You need to experiment to determine proper application methods.

I do not thin the first coats very much. However, each progressive coat is thinned until the last coat is mostly thinner. I will put on at least 5 coats on each project.
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George
 

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I used to see orange peel in enameled parts- too much air pressure or spraying too close to the part. For this, a bit more thinner sounds like a solution.
 
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