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Hi everyone. I'm looking for some advice on a "starter kit" so to speak for spraying lacquer.

Some background - I worked in a finishing shop for a summer, spraying lacquer finishes on high-end woodwork. I learned a lot, but I am still an amateur at this. Fast forward to my hobbyist years, and I am enjoying building small projects - jewelry boxes, watch charging stands, night lights, letter openers, etc. I love the lacquer finish, but I am having trouble getting good results with the rattle cans.

I have just purchased a small HVLP "touch up" spray gun from amazon (here), and I am going to try my hand at some spraying. My question is this - can anyone recommend (1) a good lacquer product for these types of woodworking projects (e.g., jewelry boxes, etc.), and (2) provide any very rough starter instructions for spraying (e.g., PSI, relative amount to thin, etc.). I am definitely capable of tinkering with the air pressure and fluid flows to find the right coverage, etc., but it would be helpful to have a few starting points to help get me on the right track.

Also I'm open to any other suggestions, like if the above spray gun isn't what I should be using (e.g., nozzle size, etc.). Thank you in advance.
 

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I have been using Minwax Helsman Spar urethane in a rattle can for small jobs and I'm happy with the results. It sprays on evenly, dries quickly and is available in gloss, semi-gloss and satin. I have used HVLP sprayers, and still do for larger projects, but I like the convenience of just grabbing a can for the little stuff.
 

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I have been using Minwax Helsman Spar urethane in a rattle can for small jobs and I'm happy with the results. It sprays on evenly, dries quickly and is available in gloss, semi-gloss and satin. I have used HVLP sprayers, and still do for larger projects, but I like the convenience of just grabbing a can for the little stuff.
Thanks for the advice. Does that require sanding between coats?
 

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Hi everyone. I'm looking for some advice on a "starter kit" so to speak for spraying lacquer.

Some background - I worked in a finishing shop for a summer, spraying lacquer finishes on high-end woodwork. I learned a lot, but I am still an amateur at this. Fast forward to my hobbyist years, and I am enjoying building small projects - jewelry boxes, watch charging stands, night lights, letter openers, etc. I love the lacquer finish, but I am having trouble getting good results with the rattle cans.

I have just purchased a small HVLP "touch up" spray gun from amazon (here), and I am going to try my hand at some spraying. My question is this - can anyone recommend (1) a good lacquer product for these types of woodworking projects (e.g., jewelry boxes, etc.), and (2) provide any very rough starter instructions for spraying (e.g., PSI, relative amount to thin, etc.). I am definitely capable of tinkering with the air pressure and fluid flows to find the right coverage, etc., but it would be helpful to have a few starting points to help get me on the right track.

Also I'm open to any other suggestions, like if the above spray gun isn't what I should be using (e.g., nozzle size, etc.). Thank you in advance.
Probably the easiest way is rattle can spray lacquer. Deft makes a pretty good product. As you know, lacquer is extremely forgiving. As for the gun you purchased, I would think that would be fine. It says the 1.2 tip is for med. to heavy bodies, but that has not been my experience. When I had a standard HVLP conversion gun I sprayed at 1.1 or 1.2 setup. I now use a hvlp turbine and spray at 1.3. I think that gun would be fine.
 

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Probably the easiest way is rattle can spray lacquer. Deft makes a pretty good product. As you know, lacquer is extremely forgiving. As for the gun you purchased, I would think that would be fine. It says the 1.2 tip is for med. to heavy bodies, but that has not been my experience. When I had a standard HVLP conversion gun I sprayed at 1.1 or 1.2 setup. I now use a hvlp turbine and spray at 1.3. I think that gun would be fine.
Thanks. Yeah, I had trouble with the deft rattle can - specifically the gloss, even though I had good results with satin and the sanding sealer. Here's the "orange peel" I got with the deft gloss rattle cans.
423845
 

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Lacquer is a very forgiving product to spray. Just about any spray gun will work. I have even used a cheap air brush once when I was redoing the inside of my El Camino. I have also used it on other small projects like jewel boxes.

George
 

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I have brushed and sprayed lacquer - it has enough solvent to 'flow' well. Minwax gloss is my current favorite. I've found good lighting and ventilation is a must. I sand to 220 then spray with water to raise the grain and hand sand lightly with the white scotch brite to cut the raised grains. I go slow and all the way off either end of the piece I'm spraying before changing directions. I overlap 1/3 on each pass. I do two coats and tend to put it on heavy. Wait 20-30 min and hit it again with two coats. Wait 20-30 min and hit it again with two coats. This usually yields a good finish. If not then sanding is in order - not too much or you'll sand through and other unhappiness will occur.

Best to experiment to develop your 'touch'.

Flexner's Understanding Wood Finishing' is a great book about all areas of wood finishes and finishing.

Russ
 

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For rattle cans, I've tried them all and have had the best luck with Mohawk products. They offer a sanding sealer besides the normal choice of sheens. The sanding sealer works well for the first coat as it has more fillers in it. I don't care for Deft, or Minwax. For spraying small projects with a gun, ive had good results from the small finish gun's with the trigger lever on the top. You can get the money at Lowes. I thinned the lacquer about 10-15%. The trigger gun's allow you Tom adjust the spray pattern from about an inch wide up to about 8" wide. Be careful where you spray, don the do it in the house. Imspray in my shop in the good weather with the overhead door open. In the winter, my direct vent heater hasn't a sealed combustion chamber and no open ignition sources. Even with that I limit my spraying to small projects in the winter.
Mike Hawkins
 

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David
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I get some orange peel with Deft but the tip is very good on those cans. It's rare for me to use rattle cans, though, just if I have do something small and quickly. Most of my finishing is with HVLP and Nitrocellulose lacquer and a small percentage is French polish with shellac that I make from flakes.

Stay away from the big box store finishes if you want a really nice finish; go to a paint store and buy a gallon of sealer and a gallon of gloss lacquer along with some lacquer thinner. I spray at 28lbs. with my HVLP setup and get a very nice finish. The sealer and gloss lacquer are less than $30 per gallon and last a long time, especially if you're spraying small pieces.

David
 

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We've used solvent based lacquer and conversion varnish for years until someone said we needed to spend $15K to upgrade our spray booth with explosion proof everything including the toilet. We switched to all water borne lacquer, stains and die's and we'll never go back even if we could. Target Coatings is a good place to start but I prefer SW KemAqua and ML the Campbell WB stuff.

Agree with a previous post regarding the Mohawk spray cans. Great stuff for smalls when you don't feel like making a gun dirty.

As a personal hard and fast rule; I never uses oil based top coats/film finishes. The longer it takes to dry, the more imperfections you will have in a finish.
 
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