Application Advice for Pigmented Lacquer

Advice on application and touch-up methods for pigmented pre-catalyzed finishes. November 29, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I try and stay away from doing 100% pigmented/ painted finishes but more and more my customers want a pre finished product. I have had good luck in the past spraying latex paint but wanted to switch to something more suitable as a cabinet finish. I use a Chemcraft lacquer for all my clear finishes and thought I could give their versa pigmented lacquer a try. I use a Graco Monarch AAA for spraying and all airlines are through a dryer and filter. Now the finish laid down nice is most spots but there was some fish eyes and on the edges and vertical pieces I could not get a nice flow out and or coverage without it sagging or dripping.

My first question is: has anyone ever traced back fish eyes to the wrong sandpaper or sanding technique. Everything is blow off of coarse after sanding but un-sanded areas seemed never to fisheye and the versa primmer laid out perfectly on the raw wood.

My second question is on the job touch ups (miters, nail holes). This lacquer was near impossible to brush and I can't spray on the job. Is there something I could add to make it more brush able? Now not to digress but what are other people using for pigmented finishes - white to base three darks? I am not stuck on lacquer and currently experimenting with CV and General Finishes polys as well. Any advice will be appreciated!

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor T:
Yes some papers can cause fish eyes. What paper are you using? Try out Chemcraft Varicure and Variset precat. Varicure for black colors and vibrant colors and Variset for a white base. Varicure comes in a ready to spray consistency which you can tweak a little, maybe up to 5 % thinner but you should be fine in a AAA set up. Variset needs to be thinned 15-20% maybe a hair more. When switching to pigmented coatings and solid colors one of the most important things is your technique. Do not try to apply all the material in one shot. Use tack coats or spray an almost dry coat first . Some refer to this as a binder coat. After two or three minutes apply a medium to heavy coat over your tack coat. The light tack coat binds the heavier coat and will allow you to spray a good wet vertical coat without getting as many runs. That is how we spray almost all of our pigmented coatings Ė pre-cat, CV, 2k. Water base products have come a long way but are still difficult to spray vertically. I spent my first ten years spraying primarily water and switched to solvent. I couldn't believe how easy spraying solvent was after fighting with water for ten years. For touchups look into Mohawk finishes if you don't already use them. They have the widest variety of products that cater specifically to that area.

From contributor R:
Pigmented finishes are something most small and a lot of medium size shops struggle with. Whatever you do, find someone that can tint/color match and get product to you quickly. Then you have to choose between the hardness and short pot life of CV and the reparability and ease of use of pre-cat. I won't speak to waterbase lacquers, maybe someone can sway you to that but. You might need to thin the product some more. Pigments come in a lot lower viscosity. We don't have troubles using our airless but with AAA you will probably need to thin. If youíre simply using the same product but in pigmented form and you aren't getting sandpaper troubles in the clear you won't get it in the pigment. I prefer pre-cat and get my supplier to send rattle cans taken from my batch of finish for touch-ups for $8 each. Lastly, decide to caulk or not to caulk now where the frame meets the panel. You might as well as discuss religion or politics because guys have strong beliefs on both.

From Contributor B:

Try Target's WB products. They can be used indoors and touch ups are easy.

From contributor A:
We have used general finishes poly for years with good results. Itís very easy to touch up on site, with HVLP or even brush on if necessary. You donít have to worry about any fish eye or contamination (ever).

From Contributor U:
In regards to touching up sprayed on lacquer finishes, using the right brush will be a big help. While it is impossible to get a perfect touchup, using the wrong brush will pull the solvent from the finish, creating a gummy mess. We use to get horsehair brushes from either a hobby or art supply store and it makes a world of difference in achieving an acceptable job.