Spraying Lacquer, how difficult?


How difficult is it to spray lacquer with a HVLP conversion spray gun? I have a 60 gallon compressor with a real 230V 3HP motor. It claims to have 14.9 CFM, but I have no idea at what PSI that is.
The doors in my three year old house were finished with lacquer. I have five additional doors for the basement that need finishing.
I would probably buy about a $100 HVLP conversion spray gun.
A silly question: Where does one purchase lacquer?
Brian Elfert
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Deft Clear Wood Finish.
Max D.
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Genreally rate at 90 or 100psi. Though, that seems like it might be a little on the high side for that size compressor so maybe the rating is at a lower pressure. It will always say the pressure that it's delivery is rated at, right in the delivery rating.

You can do pretty well with some of those. Suggestion - go to your local automotive refinisher supply house and look at aftermarket guns there. You'll typically find a better knock off gun there than you will at Harbor Freight or at HD or the likes. A lot of these guns really do work well and the automotive guys are not really in the market of selling to DIY'ers so the knock off stuff they sell typically does work. Price should be very close to what you're looking to spend. If you have a Keystone Automotive near you, give them a try.

See above.
Word of caution - talk to the counter help for application instructions. Lacquer typically likes a tack coat and then medium to wet coats. You can get into trouble simply applying wet coats when using lacquer.
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I looked at the manufacturer's website to get the CFM info. They only list the CFM for all of their models with no PSI listed.

There is auto store that specializes in paint nearby. I'll try them.
Brian Elfert
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Looks like you have gobs of wind. Most HVLP's run around 30 psig so you'll be fine.
Furniture refinishers in your area will tell you where to get lacquer.
A proper filter/mask, specifically for organic vapours is a must. Lacquer will knock you on your ass pretty quick... and it "done blowed up real good" too. Explosive.
Deft is a great suggestion, but boy does it stink.
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If you want to try something other than volatile fumes of lacquer - try some of the new waterbased sprayable finishes. I just spend yesterday spraying a cherry bedframe and headboard with a product called CrystalLac (from McFeelys.com) that I really liked using. While it's not a nitrocellulose lacquer, I was really impressed with it. Easy to use, low to no fumes, dried quickly for rapid recoating (30 minutes) and was easy to clean up (it's water based!). Really nice clear color and look from it. I use a Turbinaire HVLP and was really happy with the results. Only problem I had was having just a quart on hand that I bought for testing and I ran out too soon. Went back and ordered a gallon of it to finish the job and use for other projects upcoming.
My 2 cents - Gary in KC

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Could you keep us posted how that new coat adheres to the previous one (if there is an overlap)?
That is one of the reasons I have stuck to nitro based lacquer..I know the next coat will cohere to the previous one. With WB finishes, the outcome hasn't been that reliable for me. Mind you, that testing was done 10 years ago...who knows now, eh?
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I think the waterborne stuff has come a long way in the last several years. I don't see the "milky" look to the finish. I'm putting mine on top of some nice curly cherry with some panels of beautiful quilted mahogany veneer and inlays. The first few coats have popped the figure in the wood out nicely.
Rule of thumb on these seems to be if you coat within 24 hours you don't to scuff the surface for good adherence. Not sure about the CrystalLac though. I've got to level off the first few coats I put on before I do my next couple of coats to get some dust nibs and a few runs off. So not really a good test for the adherence. But I'll let you know what I do find out from this experience.
I love the look and ease of traditional nitro lacquers (I love the spray cans of Deft for small projects) but the fumes are just too much for big projects for me. So far, so good with the CrystalLac.
Gary in KC

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Brian, consider spraying water borne lacquer or poly in lieu of solvent based. Less toxic, not flammable, some WB poly's have good finish durability.
Dave
Brian Elfert wrote:

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Brian Elfert wrote:

Lacquer is one of the easiest finishes to spray. Get the hang of it on some prepared scrap, you'll be amazed. Make a mistake? Runs are easily removed with a sharp scraper, the next coat will melt right on. When you get good, the occasional run can be quickly dabbed off with a finger and immediately lightly resprayed.

I like Mohawk or H. Behlen's, which are pretty much the same thing sold in different settings. They are available from suppliers to cabinet shops, Woodcraft, and other retailers. Google the names. Look for "Nitrocellulose Lacquer". Most good paint stores either have or can get Parks, if you can't find the first two. Deft is OK, but I like the other three better. Also, pick up medium and slow drying thinners. You'll need the slow thinner if it's a warm, humid day to prevent "blushing". Blushing is a whitening of the finish.
Get a good respirator (Cartridge type, as in 3M, NOT a dust mask) and set up a good ventilation system. I usually spray lacquer in my garage, opening the roll-up door as soon as I'm done to purge the air. Shut off pilot lights, and don't smoke!
Get some material and practice on some test parts! <G>
Barry
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