Applying lacquer

Lacquer is one of the easiest finishes to apply. There are two types, spray on and brush on. To brush on lacquer you must use a bristle brush, preferably a natural bristle brush. The surface must be clean of any grease, oils, or dust.

Remember not to apply lacquer in direct sunlight or in areas with extreme air movement. Flow on the lacquer, with the brush, moving in the direction of the grain. Make sure to brush quickly and do not over work the lacquer. The lacquer will dry to touch in 30 minutes and will be ready to re-coat in 2 hours. You don’t need to sand in between coats unless the surface feels rough. A minimum of 3 coats is recommended and give the surface a minimum of 24 hours to dry before it is subjected to normal use.

To apply lacquer with spraying, you follow the same first few steps of brushing lacquer. First you make sure the wood is clean of oil, grease, dust and debris. Then you apply a heavy coat of lacquer with a brush. After a few seconds you wipe off the lacquer with a clean towel. Keep wiping till the surface is smooth and dry. Make sure your final wipe uses a towel that is dampened with thinner. Give the lacquer about 30 minutes to set, then buff with super fine steel wool.

Now that your wood is primed, you can begin your first coat with your sprayer. Thin your lacquer by another 30% and adjust your air pressure settings. Always test on a smooth piece of scrap,wood first before spraying your project. Make any necessary adjustments to achieve the desired look and feel of the finish.

When spraying on the first coat of lacquer make sure you get a even layer, but don’t apply to much where your lacquer will start to run and produce “fish eyes”. Let the finish dry for at least 2 hours and the buff with superfine steel wool. Apply three more coats with buffing with steel wool in between each.

After all those coats are finished, do your final buffing with the super fine steel wool.  Now its time to prep for your final coat. Thin the lacquer to a 2:1 ratio, thinner to lacquer. Apply two successive coats no more than five minutes apart. Allow your project to dry for at least two days. Buff lightly with steel wool to remove any rough spots, dust, or debris that may have landed in the finish.

Wet sand your project with a 1000 grit sandpaper, then 1500 and lastly 2000 grit. Finally polish the surface with pumice and a piece of felt or balled up t-shirt. After that polish the surface with rottenstone, lubricated with water. Then polish again with rottenstone, lubricated with mineral oil.