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Questionable finishing practices2/26
I have recently taken a job finishing at a custom cabinet shop. I only have about 6-7 years experience finishing cabinets and have done mostly latex paint and ngr stain with lacquer top coat on high end cabinets. I think the shop I started working uses some questionable practices and was hoping for some experienced finishers input.
That's called a tack coat. It allows you to spray a thicker coat that resists sagging. Going in the opposite direction when you spray the second coat is called a box coat.
All normal practices.
For what it's worth, using latex paint as a cabinet finish is a questionable finishing practice.
So this makes it acceptable to only apply one coat?
Yes, it does.
Primer has two functions. Bonding and filling. If you are only using it for the bonding purpose a thin coat is all that is needed. You can get away with this on materials that don't telegraph their grain, such as Maple and MDF, or if you are trying to achieve a "look".
If you are trying to get things flat then you can apply more primer and sand it back to remove grain and minor imperfections. You can apply many coats as long as you sand back to make sure you don't exceed the dry mil rating of the coating.
Conversion varnishes and other fast cure products can't be put on to thick or they can have problems later down in their lifespans. Most coatings are limited to 4-5 dry mils of thickness. Latex doesn't have this limitation and you can put it on as thick as you want.
Now if they are also doing this with the top coat then they might be chincing out on they topcoat. You should have at least two coats. Sometimes you can do three but that's when you need to be careful of some of the high build products mil limits.
Primer also can serve as a stain blocker for wood with tannins that can bleed through the finish coats. I work mostly with waterbased "laquers", and most are self-priming, so no primer is required. Not sure if this is true of solvent-based lacquers.
Ditto on the comments about latex. Slow drying, difficult to spray and inferior finish in almost every way. The only good thing is that it's available everywhere.
Two coats of primer, sand with 400, 1 coat of catalyzed lacquer.....done! You can always add an extra coat if you like, but the single coat does well.
For clears it's two coats catalyzed lacquer and done.
Latex in my opinion belongs on walls, certainly never on a "high end" cabinet.... in my opinion anyway.