Polyurethane VS Lacquer

I have been doing woodwork since I was a teenager in fact the bedroom suite I still use today I made in High School wood shop. When I made this furniture in school the way we finished it was an Oil based stain with two or three coats of clear lacquer sprayed over the top. We would go over the lacquer with a wet sanding with 600 grit after it was dry then compound and wax it. Even to this day almost twenty years later this furniture still has a finish that is as smooth and shiny as glass. This brings me to my question. When I look at Lowes or Home Depot all I can find is Polyurethane. I bought a spray can to try it as a test and I can not seem to get a good finish with it and it takes forever to dry even though the can I bought says fast drying. Can you not buy good old fashion Lacquer that dries almost as fast as you spray it anymore? If you have used poly are you having good results with it? If you have used both which do you like better and why? Joe
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<snip>
: When I look at Lowes or Home Depot all I can find is Polyurethane. I : bought a spray can to try it as a test and I can not seem to get a good : finish with it and it takes forever to dry even though the can I bought says : fast drying.
<snip> : Joe
Local climate has a LOT to do with dry time and cure rate -- and the effect seems to be accentuated with polyurethanes -- and especially with water-based finishes (of any type).
Perhaps you live somewhere in the east where it's cold and wet ...
Here in The Sonoran Desert (during the "Spring" & "Summer" months) it's either: Warm & Dry, Hot & Dry, or So-Bloody-Thumping Hot-That-Hell-Would-Be-An-Improvement -- and Dry.
May & June Temps in the 95-115F range with RH levels about 6%-12% are the norm. (The Dew Point is rarely above freezing). July-Sept is another story.
Water-borne poly finishes can be a Royal B**** to use -- they can literally dry on the brush!! If you sprayed the stuff, you'd likely punch holes in the work piece with all those tiny BBs smacking into it :-)
Oil based poly finishes take a wee bit longer to dry "to the touch" (maybe five or ten minutes) but they'll be deodorized and shock-cured rock-hard by the next day.
Right now (mid July) we're on the cusp of the annual Monsoon (when the prevailing winds shift direction and come at us from the south and east). There's been an 18-day siege of 110+ days, the RH has hovered near a muggy 15% and the Dew Point is rising into the 40s -- it's "yucky" enough to make even a place like Texas seem half-way pleasant. (And THAT'S a STRETCH!)
"Tis The Season" when you throw the mfr's directions in the trash and just wing it.
Steve www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/ Mesa, AZ Penury Is the Mother of Invention
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AlaJoe wrote:

and a brush. I'm not thrilled with how it goes on (compared to the solvent based poly), but it is possible to get a nice finish. Put down a coat, wait a few hours, block sand, another coat, repeat 4-5 times.
J.
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