Crackle lacquer: How-to

      The basics for applying crackled lacquer finishes. March 26, 2000

I have a cabinet that I'd like to try some crackle lacquer on.

Does anyone have any advice as to technique, pitfalls, etc.?

The cabinet is stained a dark mahogany and has glazing.

If you have spray ability, then you have your best shot at getting the best results. If not, there are many hobbyists who frequent recreational woodworking resources on the Net who can give you great advice on how they finish their projects using crackle lacquer. They may be hobbyists, but they have tried-and-true methods that are quite suitable for them.

If you are capable of using solvent-borne materials, there are a few companies that make some very good products, but these must be applied with a spray gun. You did not say what level of proficiency you have when it comes to finishing.

Jeff Jewitt's latest book, "Great Wood Finishes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Consistent and Beautiful Results" is a great resource and a very good place to start. The photos are excellent, as well as the text. Two thumbs up.

Thanks for answering. We run a commercial cabinet shop with a full-time paint room.

We played around with the lacquer until we came up with something that looked pretty good to us, applied as follows:

We put down one coat of regular lacquer and then the crackle lacquer. We let it dry well, and rubbed it down with Scotch Brite pads until it looked about right. We finished up with an overcoat of flat lacquer.

I wasn't sure about whether to apply the last coat, but everything looked O.K.

Does this sound about right to you? I guess what I live in dread of on things like this is the call in a year that says something's wrong with the finish.

Topcoating your crackle lacquer with a clear coat is a good thing to do. Using a solvent system gives you more control over the crackle process than the commonly used hide-glue procedure.

Using a solvent system for a crackle finish is dependent on operator technique to a very large extent, assuming you have the right materials to work with. The look is totally controlled by how you apply the materials, so there is some learning curve needed, as your people have just experienced. I need to go through that process myself, as I am not yet good at it.

You must always topcoat a solvent crackle system or there will be no durability and the finish would wear very quickly. Plus, that topcoat "locks down" the crackle.
Bob Niemeyer, forum moderator

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: General Wood Finishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Finishing: Refinishing

  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2019 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article