Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 182, October 2020 Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodworking classes and seminars Woodworking articles and solutions Subscribe to Wood News
 
Finishing: Nitrocellulose Lacquers
By Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher

Since the early 20th century, nitrocellulose lacquers became the work horse of the wood coatings industry, while at the same time nudging shellac aside. Lacquer is a very hard, very clear and fast drying coating. It must be applied with spray equipment unless brushing lacquer is being used and that is another matter that I’ll discuss in a future tip.

Multiple coats of spray lacquer can be applied the same day and each coat “burns” into the previous one, thereby creating one homogenous layer of finish.

Nitrocellulose lacquers are thinned with lacquer thinner which contains acetone, methanol and toluene. This in turn allows acetone, methanol and oil based dyes to be added to the lacquer itself to create shades of virtually any color and combinations of color. Finisher's glaze can also be applied and locked in place by adding a coat of clear lacquer or lacquer shader over it for even more depth and interesting effects.

Gloss lacquer can be polished to a mirror finish and for the most part is a durable and repairable finish that will last for many years if cared for properly. It can be cleaned with a damp, soft dusting cloth but do not use any liquid furniture polishes of any kind over it. Instead, I recommend a coat of neutral shoe polish every few years for added protection and to minimize moisture transfer.

Click here to visit the Highland Woodworking Finishing Department


Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at alannoel@comcast.net.

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