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Pre cat lacquer rub out

Phil Member

Hi ,

I am a finish carpenter by trade who installs kitchens. We make some of our own cabinets but most of the cabinets we use are manufactured elsewhere and sent to us to install. Ive been doing more and more of my own spray finishing since often we are missing fillers, fascia pieces , end panels , etc and being able to make them and finish them is sometimes preferable to waiting 3-4 weeks for a replacement to come in.

Most of my experience with spray finishing has been self taught and through trial and error so please forgive my relative lack of knowledge.

I've been using Lenmar's pre cat pigmented lacquer for most of my spraying recently . I am able to get a pretty good finish with my Hvlp but where I struggle is "finishing the finish." Everytime I try to sand out dust nibs or light orange peel , I end up just making it worse.

I am curious, what does a post-spray finishing process look like in a larger cabinet shop ? I've been doing 400 grit , 800 grit then polishing compound but haven't been thrilled with the results

Thanks in advance for any and all advice

3/14/19       #2: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
Leo G Member

Off the gun is what I do.

Only time I'm going to go through a rub out process is if it's for a high gloss.

If you are normally getting grunge in your finishes that you have to fix, you need to determine where it's coming from and eliminate it. You should be able to get a mostly nib free finish on most of your parts. Of course the occasional dust speck, bubble or hair will happen.

3/15/19       #3: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
Bruce H

Unless you have a spray booth or a fan exhausting the spray area you need to move the sprayed parts into a space where nothing can settle out of the air onto your part. Spraying and drying in the same room without exhaust is going to give you an issue. Don't know if this is your issue but something to consider.

3/15/19       #4: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
Bob Member

For minor denibbing Iíve had good luck with this tool:

3/15/19       #5: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
rich c.

Can't respond to a post finishing schedule since I don't know what sheen you are attempting. You're probably using the wrong tip or viscosity if you are getting orange peel. I'm no fan of precat in the kitchen. I've seen issues around the dishwasher, sink, and range hoods.

3/15/19       #6: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
mike j

I did check out the Lenmar products. Try using a white basecoat under a post catalyzed pigmented conversion varnish. Scuff with 320 between coats. Blow and tack off, before spraying. A dust free environment, with an exhaust fan..just some fan in a window, in a clean room. Be sure to reduce the conversion varnish according to the product info sheet. Not too much air at the gun. Gravity feed works great and is easy to clean. You should get a clean, hard, water resistant finish. Be sure to wear a respirator. We can make you a finish guy yet!

3/17/19       #7: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
Phil Member

Thanks for the responses!

I've been using pre-cat because that's what I can get at a local Benjamin Moore and because they can tint it to match colors for me. Usually I'm going for a Satin sheen because that's what the cabinets we use are finished in. For conversion varnish, do you guys tint it yourselves? And where do you get it?

When I'm spraying it I do put a fan an in the window and spray in front of that. I was using a 2.0 tip for the precat but just bought a 1.5. What tip size would you all recommend?


3/17/19       #8: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
Leo G Member

When I was spraying precats with an HVLP I used a 1.7mm tip, and a 2.0mm with primers.

Now I have a AAA pump and life is so much better.

3/17/19       #9: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
mike j

There are some paint stores that carry post catalyzed products. Lenmar, as you are already using their precat, or MLCampbell products might be where to start. I know I can get ML Campbell at the paint store or through the Atlantic Plywood Corp. Both outlets will tint the finish to match any color.

3/21/19       #10: Pre cat lacquer rub out ...
John Bishop  Member

Had similar problems years ago and when I looked closely at my set up I found it was just not clean enough. One problem was me; I had way too much dust and such on my clothes. I started wearing the very sporty throw away coveralls and made certain they were clean before I went into the finishing area.

So many people overlook other sources of contaminates. A very smart painter showed me this trick to find out what is what. Take a five gallon bucket and stretch plastic wrap over the top and let it set in both your booth and the finishing area in general. It was amazing what ended up on top of the plastic film. The same crap that was setting down in our wet finishes. Long story short we had to move our finish area further away from production.

Best of luck

D. John Bishop

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