Tinted Shellac with a Clear Topcoat

      Tinting shellac can give you a great pastel finish. June 17, 2009

I'm just starting to learn how to apply finishes. Most of my work is interior trim, but lately I have been doing a lot of built-ins on my trim jobs. I deliver them unfinished and the GC's painter takes it from there. Lately I have been experimenting with different products and techniques. I have a Fuji Q4 Pro hvlp.

Here is the question. I like to use Zinnzer BIN pigmented shellac primer to prime, fill grain and MDF pores. I like it because it dries fast, doesnít raise grain, and sands super easy. Is it possible/acceptable to have BIN tinted to the desired final color and topcoat with a waterbased precat lacquer or urethane? This way I would be able to color and prime at the same time. Also, I am assuming that a local paint store could do the tinting?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
I did a cabinet in my shop with two coats of Binís, followed by two coats solvent precat lacquer and it looks fantastic. I would also like to spray Waterbourne lacquer over it, I havenít tried it. The Binís was tinted to a yellow color.

From contributor J:
I have done this a lot with regular Zinsser primer; tint it then clear coat with WB clear. It works great and looks amazing too. I put a thick sock over the cup for extra insulation. Make sure the surface that you're spraying is not too cold either. Like in an unheated room overnight before you spray.

From the original questioner:
I've been looking around on the net about this. It looks like Zinsser only recommends 4oz of tint per gallon. They say it's only possible to do pastel colors with it. Are you guys heating the material to help it flow out instead of thinning? I was actually spraying some samples today in a 60-62 degree space, thinned about 20%, and it looks really good. That's why I like this stuff, it seems hard to screw it up!

From contributor M:
You're right about the 4oz. There is a deeper base you can use to get dark colors. I have never needed that though. The heating helps with flowing. I spray it through an HVLP Apollo without thinning though. You will need to do a couple of coats an if use any filler for nail holes, etc. Be sure to use it in between coats. 60-62 is fine for the primer, it doesn't seem to be too particular about the spray booth conditions, however when you go to spray the WB clear make sure everything (air temp and surface) is as warm as possible.

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