Achieving a Satin Finish with Nitrocellulose Lacquer


What is the best way to achieve a satin finish when using lacquer? I plan on spraying the finish using Behlens Qualalacq lacquer. Should I use their gloss lacquer for all 3 - 4+ coats and then rub it out to the desired finish, or should I use their satin lacquer from start to finish? Or should I use gloss for everything but the final 1 or 2 coats and then switch to satin? Does it make any difference? Then only problem I can see with using satin for all coats is that it might not be as clear.
The gloss lacquer is in stock locally, but the satin lacquer will have to be ordered. There is no difference in cost, and the ordering process will not delay my project because I'm still at least a few weeks away from being ready to finish.
This will be my first time using lacquer, so I'd appreciate any help you can provide. By the way, I'm aware of the inherent risks associated with spraying nitrocellulose lacquers. I will be wearing a respirator and applying the finish in a well ventillated 3-car detached garage, so I think I have the safety aspects well covered. With that said, I welcome all comments.
Thanks, Mike Cypress, TX
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snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

clarity.
Dave
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On 21 Feb 2006 08:39:54 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

I prefer using gloss and rubbing it out with fine steel wool and a paste wax. It's just a matter of opinion.
Brian
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Brian Mahaney wrote:

details, grooves, beads, etc. That's when i make sure the last coat will be quite close to the final sheen the project needs to be, so that the eye won't catch a large disparity in gloss between different areas.
Dave
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Brian Mahaney wrote:

Make that two copies of this opinion.
If you rub the final finish out at all, you'll probably rub through the flattening agent. Matching the areas where there is a flattening agent to those where you've gone through it is a PITA. Since you almost always need to rub out at least a bit, just stay with gloss.
Barry
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B a r r y wrote:

coats in satin. I've been able to get some finishes to come out fine without rubbing the final coat, when the stars are all in alignment.
Dave
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snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

The sheen is adjusted by the addition of silica. The gloss lacquer is the purest and clearest. I use gloss all the way through till the last 2 coats. The first couple of coats, I add a little extra thinner for maximum penetration into the wood fibres. I start sanding after coat 2.
2 piss-coats 2 build coats 2 finish coats ----------- one day's work.
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On 21 Feb 2006 08:39:54 -0800, with neither quill nor qualm, snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com quickly quoth:

What kind of piece is the recipient of the finish? If it's finer woodworking, use clear for the buildup then switch to satin for the topcoat. If perfect clarity isn't as much of an issue, go satin all the way. There is a subtle difference, so if you can discern it, go with what you like.
P.S: Thank you for not just smearing some poly on the project.
--
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is to fill the world with fools.
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Basically gloss laquer results in the hardest finish . So I would shoot it with gloss and then rub it out with behlens wool wax to get a satin finish.....been there done that for the last 20 years
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Thanks to all of you for the input. To answer the question of what this project is...I am building some built-in cabinets for the arch shaped entertainment nooks on either side of the fireplace in my family room. Both of them have a base section of cabinets with 3 doors. The right two doors open into a cabinet, and the left door opens to expose 4 drawers stacked vertically. The top section of one built-in will house the TV and stereo equipment, so it has sliding pocket doors that can be closed to conceal the equipement when it's not in use (wife's request). The top section of the other built-in is simply shelves. The whole project is constructed of red oak (both 4/4 solid and plywood). Just to clarify - I said these are built-ins, but they are actually being constructed as stand alone cabinets out in the garage. They are SLIGHTLY smaller than the opening they will slide into, so I'll just make some small oak trim (~1/4" to 3/8" wide) to cover the small gap between the cabinets and wall.
By the end of this weekend I should be almost ready to begin the finisihing process. After all I've put into these beauties, I'd hate to ruin them by screwing up the finish. I have to admit that I originally considered poly as an option because of its durability, but these things are way too nice for that. I may never use poly again.
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snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

That's the beauty of lacquer. Mistakes are usually extremely easy to fix. <G>
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On 23 Feb 2006 07:04:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@houston.rr.com wrote:

I think most built-ins are constructed that way and trimmed in place to conceal the gaps. I know that's how I did my wife's shelving unit, which thankfully, does not smell of dog urine. ;) But damn, it sure does look good in place.
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