Toned and Clear Pre-Cat Application

Finishers discuss the fine points of toning, thinner, and retarder ratios in pre-catalyzed lacquer finish applications. September 14, 2006

Accidentally added 20% Microton to Magnamax instead of 10%. Color sample has already been approved, job built, ready for finish. Wondering if any of you have had satisfactory/unsatisfactory results with spraying 2 10% tinted topcoats to achieve same depth/color/clarity? I have yet to try adjusting the stain or toner coat underneath, as 2 tinted topcoats would be the quickest remedy. As well as yet to check with supplier... Just wondering if this is a definite no-no!

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor M:
Two 10% coats should be fine. Just know that in this heat, the Microton (which is their dyes thinned with acetone) will cause solvent pop at 10% if the temp is much more than 80ish in the shop.

Some Flow Enhancer #2 will do the trick, probably 5-10%. Will make spraying vertical surfaces a bit trickier.

By the way, I do not use Microtone in a full coat of lacquer. I always thin my Magnamax by 50% and add the proper amount of Microtone (no flow enhancer). This is then sprayed on an item ready for its final coat. Scuff sand the previous coat with 320.

I hose on the max/thinner/toner cocktail to the look I want. I then allow that to skin over for 20-30 seconds. I then pick up a second gun loaded with only clear Magnamax and perhaps some flow enhancer or thinner if it's hot, and lay my final coat while that 50/50 toned coat is still chemically wet, but almost dry.

This is how I was trained to do it by Campbell and it has given me great looking results. Perhaps you can lay two of the 50/50 thinned coats, allowing the previous one to skin over, hose the next one, let it skin over, and then hose the topcoat.

From contributor D:
There are two major problems with all the above. First, introduction of retarders like suggested will not allow your lacquer to properly harden up, maybe ever. Second, with too much dye in your lacquer, it will be near impossible to not streak too much color as you spray. Putting a thinner color in each coat allows for variance; overlap marks won't show. Results are a better looking finish.

From contributor M:
Flow Enhancer #2 only slows the curing time. It does not by any stretch impede the lacquer from hardening as it is supposed to. The product does exactly what it is supposed to do. Magnamax will harden just fine - the flow enhancer will prolong that time because it's a bit slower on the evaporation, which is what it's made to do. I've used FE #2 on dozens of kitchens in our hot shop and it works great.

I was not suggesting using Flow Enhancer 50% in the thinned tone coats I mentioned. Note that I suggested that he only use FE 5-10% and that's if he's using unthinned lacquer with the toner (i.e. toning a bonified topcoat).

Thinner does help with flow-out - that's why I suggested he tint a 50/50 mix of thinner and lacquer as his tint coat, let it skin over, and then shoot a full coat over it. This is how MLC trained me how to do that. No lap marks when using the 50/50 mix.

From contributor A:
I would have to agree with contributor M. That's exactly how I do it.