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What is a Lacquer Based Paint?

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 6/29/2011

Lacquer is a colored coating that is frequently used to produce a shiny wood appearance. Lacquer types are nitrocellulose, and less often cellulose, which is expensive and produces an appearance that is not very attractive. Lacquer will be durable if suitable measures are implemented.

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    Basics Of Lacquer

    In a broad sense, lacquer implies a colored and a clear varnish that is dried by the evaporation of solvent during the curing. In generic terms, lacquer finish refers to any finish that produces a resinous surface layer on wood to enhance its strength, and ensure protection against moisture, and other effects. This resin is produced from the sap of a particular tree, and after refining, it is mixed with thinner to produce a suitable lacquer finish. Nitrocellulose lacquer is frequently utilized with lacquer spray paint to produce a strong and enduring lacquer paint finish that can be improved further by polish.

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    Lacquer Characteristics

    Lacquer has been long used to produce a water resistant and durable wood finish. Lacquers are produced by dissolving nitrocellulose and some other materials in a solvent, and subsequently pigment is added. It is fast drying, and can be applied by a brush or spray. Lacquer contains an important resin known as nitrocellulose that facilitates dissolving of the lacquer coat, with previously applied lacquer, to produce a hard and fine smooth surface. The characteristics of lacquer are as follows:

    • Lacquer contains several ingredients, including wood and cotton.lacquer finish characteristics  
    • Lacquer does not penetrate into wood, but only forms a thin layer on the surface.
    • As the lacquer coating is increased, the previous lacquer coats are merged into the later coats.
    • Since the lacquer drying is fast, there is not much concern regarding dust accumulation.
    • Application of lacquer can be done during all weather conditions by using suitable thinners and retarders.
    • Lacquer is adequately resistant to heat and water.
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    How To Paint With Lacquer

    It is essential to apply lacquer carefully and methodically to ensure that the finish produced is smooth and durable. Since the lacquerpaint with lacquer   solvents are flammable, and possess a strong odor, the environment should be sufficiently ventilated. Lacquer is mixed with a solvent, like thinner, in a suitable quantity. Use of a retarder will prolong the lacquer drying, preventing the moisture absorption. If the moisture is not properly prevented, it may develop into white spots on the surface. Lacquer coat should not be thick otherwise cracks may develop. Application of three or four lacquer coats can produce a fine surface appearance. Before the subsequent coats are applied, the surface should be rubbed with sandpaper.

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    Lacquer Preservation

    lacquer preservation   Lacquer is normally durable if adequate preservation is ensured. The main source of lacquer deterioration is the exposure to air and light, especially polluted air. However, a room where furniture is located is normally lighted and well ventilated, due to which the furniture is likely to be degraded with the passage of time. The aging can be prolonged by reducing the exposure to polluted air and strong light. The other important origin of degradation is the frequent use of oils and polishes, particularly those that include solvents. The solvents also produce chemical transformations that have a deteriorating effect on the finish. Lacquered surfaces can be maintained by regular dusting with a damp cloth. A mild solution of soap may be used to remove oil marks or stains that cannot be removed by dusting. Polish can be used to arrange a temporary clean and shine. However, frequent use of polish may cause a buildup of a dust layer that appears with the evaporation of polish.

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