I'm sick of sanding poly to kill the gloss and get a matte finish so I'm
thinking of switching to catalyzed lacquer (like the stuff used on kitchen
I know there are basically two types, pre catalyzed and post catalyzed (you
add the catalyst yourself).
I can see the pre catalyzed stuff is readily available most everywhere in 1
gallon cans, but I hate the idea of having to use the stuff up within a year
(or less) before it turns into a goo-ball. The post catalyzed stuff seems to
only be available in 5-gallon buckets. Anybody know where to get 1-gallon
cans of the post catalyzed stuff?
On a related question, how much it typically used (sprayed on) for a typical
4-foot wide dining room hutch? I might do a project of this size once in a
year or two. A five gallon bucket seems like something I be passing on to my
grandkids where as a gallon would be about right for two years worth of
On Fri, 5 Mar 2010 20:02:42 -0700, Sonny wrote
Getting a gallon of the 'pre' isn't a problem, it's finding a gallon of
'post'. I agree that I should just buy some of whatever kind and get a feel
for what my consumption is based on how I apply, thin, etc.
I don't know what changing from poly to lacquer will do to control the
sheen. There are low sheen lacquers available, but there are no
"matte" finish lacquers that I know of anywhere. If it is matte you
want, why not go to a lesser sheen in your poly selection?
Try Sherwin Williams. I don't know the name of the product line, but
they do sell their lacquer in one gal buckets and you buy the catalyst
(different choices of those) that you want for your application.
If you are thinking that the post-cat products have some enormously
long shelf life, think again. It is indeed longer than the garden
variety coatings out there, but they too have a surprising short shelf
If someone tells you it is "indefinite", find someone else that knows
what they are talking about. Once you open the can on any of these
products, the clock starts ticking.
Some manufacturers (like SW) have started to put date stickers on
their products so you will know when you bought them. My favorite SW
techie tells me 3 years <<unopened>> on their post cats before the
product starts to deteriorate. My salesman told me 5. I'm going with
the tech guy since I have to provide the warranty.
Proper storage has a lot to do with maintaining the integrity of the
product. Putting your good stuff in the garage is a mistake. Cold in
the winter, hot in the summer, just the environment to degrade the
For a little project like that, why don't you spare yourself the
hassle and just go down and get a couple of quarts of good finish at a
real paint store? Post cats are not really a hassle, but there are so
many good products out there now unless you need that extra finish
hardness for kitchen/bath cabinets, there isn't much reason for post
The reason being if you won't be using the finish you bulk buy for
another 2-3 years, it will likely be compromised anyway.
It has always seemed to me that one of the downfalls of the home
finisher (besides being cheap!) is that they hang onto old finish
FOREVER. And just because it looks good doesn't mean it is good.
(The favorite comment is "hey, I just added a little thinner to that
stuff just a couple of years ago and it seemed fine when I used it.
Buy only what you need. The idea of buying finish for use a few years
from now is.... well.... just not smart at all.
On Fri, 5 Mar 2010 20:50:34 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote
'Matte' may have been a tad extreme, perhaps I should say I'm after more of a
low-gloss/satin finish. Poly uses basically sand (silca) to reduce gloss.
It's still the same poly, just cloudier. Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but
I know of no way to reduce the surface gloss of poly without sanding (steel
I know of some ways to get the same effect with lacquer chemically. Basically
use over sprays (and avoid the sanding). This is assuming that I still need
to reduce the gloss more that what comes out of the can.
Bingo! Thanks. I saw on their web site that they had gallons of
pre-catalysed, but not the post. I'll give them a call.
I'm looking at this from my car painting days where the mixed up Imron had a
pot life of hours versus years unmixed.
This would be fine. For myself, the line to cross (use the pre-cat within six
month versus post cat within three years) screams 'post-cat'.
That was just an example to get an idea of coverage.
Are you implying that there is a hardness difference between the pre and
post? I assume that selection of the post hardener can have some influence
(i.e. more flexibility in getting what you want than with the pre-mixed), but
isn't the fundamental difference between pre-cat and post-cat just that they
added the catalyst for you at the factory (base lacquer is the same)?
Understood, but typically I have enough small projects to use up what I have
(eventually) so it's not just 'use some, let it sit for a few years, use
some more', but more of a ''use it up over two-three years".
And just because it looks good doesn't mean it is good.
Sometimes it is!
Two 1-qt. cans of a finish can often cost nearly the same as a gallon. If I
know I need 2 qts. for a project, but there is the slight chance I'll need to
crack open a third qt., I'll buy the gallon.
I see what you are saying about keeping/using old stock, but you have to
consider the number of small 'un-planned' projects that come along and need
My philosophy is to buy a bit more that I 'know' what I'll need, keep it
until it is no longer viable, readjust my safety margin for the next purchase
to have less waste. I also have the problem that if I need more of something,
I need to either mail order it or drive 100 miles one way to pick some up.
Kinda kills a Sunday afternoon....
So in this case I know that a 5-gallon bucket of post-cat is way more than
I'll -ever- use (certainly within 3 years), but a gallon (or two) fits into
my philosophy. If it's three year shelf life post-cat, then all is good. If I
can only get pre-cat in gallon sizes, then I'd follow the 'buy what I need at
the moment' rule and either let finishing projects pile up until I make a buy
or deal with the potentially higher amount of waste and expense (my lack of
an appropriate crowbar for my wallet).
Thanks for the reply!
Poly manufacturers use different materials but essentially, it is
sand. About the consistency of the finest rottenstone you have ever
seen, it is all different kinds if clear silica (specifically a
quartzite) that has been ground to a specific size.
Varying amounts give different reflectivity, thus controlling the
I personally don't like oversprays as they can easily give hotspots,
low sheen spots, and I think they compromise the finish of lacquers.
If you want a lower sheen, try the old trick of applying clear gloss
for as many coats as you want, then make the last coat a lower sheen.
You won't have the problems with the cloudiness since you won't build
up the light diffusing materials in the low sheen products with your
build coats, but they will work fine over atop coats giving you the
desired sheen. Make sure you don't change manufacturers, though.
Make sure you talk to the right guys about the catalyst. They have
(3?) different catalysts that do different things to each product.
For example, they have one that dries really fast. Great for
production work. They have another that dries slower but harder,
great for heavy use cabinets like restaurants. Etc., etc.
Imron is a much better product than just about anything they sell for
wood. At 4X the price of "the good stuff", it should be!
The SW post cat CAB product has a reported shelf life of 6 months
after mixing, so in that respect it isn't like Imron or others. That
seems like a long time, but they are confident with that number. I
only keep mixed up stuff that is a quart or more, so the longest it
has ever hung around for me is 3 months. It was fine.
No implying. Depending on the product and its selection of catalysts,
they can be made to dry harder. Ever wonder why the thin lacquer
surface on a pre finished cabinet is harder, holds up better to wear
and cleaning than the lacquer you apply at home?
Almost without doubt it is a post cat CAB UV or heat curing lacquer.
Some of them are more abrasion resistant than a good poly.
The fundamental difference is the experienced finisher has the ability
to tailor the coating to their application machinery, shop, finishing
conditions on site, and to the project itself.
This is achieved by the choice of catalyst and the amounts used. The
pros and cons of pre v. post would fill a post the size of a phone
In essence, precat (off the shelf) gives you a perfect product every
single time. You can do your own tinkering to come up with a finish
you like knowing that every single time you pick up a can of "that
finish", you are getting exactly the same thing. So you know what to
expect in the end. You can learn how to thin it cold weather, how to
spray it with your machines, or when it might be too hot to allow
proper adhesion. You can learn the product because if its
This comes with experience, and since you start at the same place
every time, you can accurately record your experiences and expect
repeatability every time.
Postcat products are similar, but they will change as you change the
catalyst and the amount you use. On a 77 degree day with no wind, 25%
humidity, and no sunlight, an idiot can spray post cat. Start
monkeying with the conditions, and things really change. I have found
it to be less forgiving than the precats.
Rarely. At the personal price of stripping or sanding off old finish
that won't cure out right, shrinks too much, or leaves a bad finish
behind because it is too old, I would rather pay whatever I need to
I can't afford to apologize to folks and tell them "I don't know what
happened - it *should* have been fine..."
Worse, I don't want to have to explain my lack of workmanship by
telling a story to everyone that sees my work why the finish is
That's only smart. But take a marker and write the date of purchase
as well as the dates you use the product on the lid. It will help you
keep track of age and how much of a daredevil you are being. I
learned this from experience!
You can do some good work searching on the net for different products
and their shelf life. Personally, since I started using different
precat products like conversion lacquers, I don't do any post cat
stuff. Since I often spray on job sites, I like the precat products
since they are almost completely predictable once you are familiar
with them. The only thing I see lacking is abrasion resistance, but
even with that in mind, I have never had a client complain.
On Sat, 6 Mar 2010 11:26:03 -0700, email@example.com wrote
I've tried that and agree that for a 'clear' finish, apply the gloss (no
added sand 8^) then use the low gloss for a top/final coat. My beef is that
it still has a sheen that bugs me (maybe I'm a bit too picky). Look at the
finish off-axis and it will still have the glassy look. I typically use 0000
wool or 400 grit (wet sand) so the surface is physically roughened. This
kills most of the off-axis glassy look.
Yup. I remember paying about $100/gallon back in the early 80's. I'd guess
it's a tad more expensive now...
Your referring to catalyzed vs. non-catalyzed right? I've used the nitro and
loved it, but would hate to see what I spent all that time on have a drink
set on top.
I've sprayed gallons of acrylic lacquer (cars again) and am familiar with
choosing the 'speed' of the thinner. Fortunately my area is pretty tame WRT
humidity swings. Tweaking a finish is actually part of the 'fun', but I
certainly respect the advice to 'try it first' before committing it to a
Good advice. If I was doing work for others I'd be far more paranoid and
If that happened to me I wouldn't even apologize, the project would be a
do-over. With my own stuff I can accept 'issues' with a joint or finish but
work for others has to approach perfection. I'm sure this is more a
personality thing as I have seen 'professional' work that really sucked and
the craftsperson really didn't seem to care (or notice)
Thanks Robert. I'm not a zombie but some brain picking always sheds light.
Yes, but it's basically a sand additive that reflects the light differently,
not really something that puts a micro texture on the surface like steel wool
I like the hard finish, but not the surface prep required to get the finish I
am after. I'm not lazy, it's just some times there are too many nooks and
such to make some form of mechanical surface post-finishing practical.
I am thinking about experimenting with 'fogging' fresh finishes with various
solvents to see if that works, but if lacquer can do the same without the
fogging, so much for the better.
From your local cabinet guy/gal, buy a gallon of mixed, which is/was
meant as "post-". Maybe I should have expanded on that better than I
did. Sorry for the confusion, if any.
My local cabinet guy/friend tells me to use what I mix within 6
months, or that mix may become to "bad" for excellent results. That's
being conservative, but I usually don't mix any more than I need, for
the moment, anyway. The Sherwin Williams, here, puts a "date of mix"
on the cans, also, and doesn't hesitate to give good, similar advice,
as does the SW for/to Nailshooter.
I don't usually deal with paint details (except to specify quality/etc.
in bid specs) and let my paint contractor of years deal with what he can
get the best results with, but this last house I built out of town I
ended up establishing a relationship with Sherwin Williams, mainly in
order to be able to purchase product/supplies via remote control and
centralize the process for the more than one painting contractor used on
I was impressed with their personnel. Very pleasant to deal with and
they did business the way I wanted/needed to.
Very professional outfit, at least in this instance.
SW is an excellent company to deal with in this area. Benjamin Moore,
however, has a store in this city which employs a guy with an
extraordinary ability to match stains. Restorers from all over come
see this guy. He made me laugh one time when I pointed out that the
result didn't quite come out as expected. His response? "Wait a couple
of years, it will be fine." The customer did, and it was. THAT is
Unfortunately, Benji is pricing themselves out of the market. Behr
from HD quality is way up and SW never faltered. For the most part, we
leave it to the client who they want to deal with.
On a spec reno/home, I tend to spec SW.
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