Lacquer, Enamel, Acrylic, Urethane, Alkyd, Nitrocelulose, etc… can someone provide a FAQ?

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
I’ve done it, I’ve bought an unfinished body. :O Maybe it was Aaron’s videos that pushed me over the edge or maybe it was too many nights watching Brad Angove’s channel. In any case I’ve got Basswood body on the way that I am hoping to paint.

As I research different paints and steps I am getting a bit confused by all the descriptions in the title. I have a feeling that there is a lot of overlap there. All Nitrocellulose is Lacquer, but not all Lacquer is Nitrocellulose. I’ve seen Acrylic Lacquer, is there Acrylic Enamel? Is Urethane always an Enamel? Is there a Venn Diagram to sort this all out? :)

(I’m thinking of sticking with DupliColor Lacquers for this body. Grain fill, then primer, solid color and clear, followed by a sand and buff)
 

Byron

New member
Messages
5
Paint and finishes can get confusing. Not all brands or types are compatable. Lacquer coats will melt in and bind to the under coat, unlike poly or enamel paint which requires a sanded undercoat for the fresh paint to hang on. Wiping varnish like Truoil works the same way as enamel. Prep your body more an you think is needed. Stay with one brand of product. Apply more clear then you think you need. It would be smart to get a board to practice on or paint at the same time for testing.
 

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
It would be smart to get a board to practice on or paint at the same time for testing.
That’s a tip that I think should show up anywhere a finish is being discussed. If you can’t perfect it on a little sample board, what are the chances of nailing it on the target piece? :)

Other than the obvious advice to use products from the same manufacturer and family, I’m still curious about my questions above regarding Lacquer (nitro vs acrylic), enamels (alkyd vs acrylic and the solvent vs oil based), polyurethane vs everything else…

Some people like to know just what they need to know to complete a project, I like to fully understand a subject before I attempt it. Since it’s just a hobby the extra time to learn is no impact to anyone but me. :)
 

Spud

Senior member
Messages
1,268
Aside from poly or high gloss" teak oil varnish" I always stick with the same brand of rattlecan primer and finishes and prefer Rustoleum. Krylon is too dicey for me. The Rustoleum "proffesional primer is high build and dries fast for sanding smooth IMO. No longer have and HVLP or real spray area so no laquer for me.
 

Byron

New member
Messages
5
I ended up buying the book "under standing wood finishing" by Bob Flexner after I made all my mistakes. I failed big time with Duplicolor then repainted with Stewmac spray cans.
 

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
I ended up buying the book "under standing wood finishing" by Bob Flexner after I made all my mistakes. I failed big time with Duplicolor then repainted with Stewmac spray cans.
That might be right up my alley, thank you!
 

Michaelga

Senior member
Messages
146
There are also 2K finishes (2 component) thermoset polymers (can you tell I work with plastics?) that will cure to the point where they should be inert and compatible with any other finish. Epoxy primer and polyester and polyurethane topcoats are all examples of this. Tough finishes, but you definitely need to read about applying them as they can be quite toxic and require good ventilation and maybe even a respirator.

Michael
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,247
Congratulations. All 5 of My Warmoth bodies were ordered unfinished. But I pay a professional painter to paint them (except for the most recent one that I am finishing myself) with 2-stage polyurethane. He gives me a good deal since we're friends. Less than Warmoth charges.
 

Byron

New member
Messages
5
Congratulations. All 5 of My Warmoth bodies were ordered unfinished. But I pay a professional painter to paint them (except for the most recent one that I am finishing myself) with 2-stage polyurethane. He gives me a good deal since we're friends. Less than Warmoth charges.
It's good to have friends like that. I had a body painted by a guy I knew in a body shop. Looked like fresh blacktop. That was the first fail on the project.
 

PFDarkside

Senior member
Messages
109
So after reading more, at I correct in thinking that an Acrylic Lacquer like Duplicolor Perfect Match is a good place to start for a beginner?

Which paints are more forgiving in terms of environment, temp, humidity, dust, aka garage painting? My thought was the lacquer dries quicker, can be worked in terms of sanding and can be easily layered for repair, hence my thought to try it first.
 

Byron

New member
Messages
5
So after reading more, at I correct in thinking that an Acrylic Lacquer like Duplicolor Perfect Match is a good place to start for a beginner?

Which paints are more forgiving in terms of environment, temp, humidity, dust, aka garage painting? My thought was the lacquer dries quicker, can be worked in terms of sanding and can be easily layered for repair, hence my thought to try it first.
On a basswood body paint would look the best. If you had a fancy wood, a film finish like truoil would be easier. Temp and humidity may cause a problem with lacquer. Dust is bad with anything. I watched a three part video on the stew mac channel on youtube that may be helpful. Keep it simple on your first paint job.
 

NedRyerson

Senior member
Messages
451
Temp and humidity may cause a problem with lacquer.

Yup. Even just a little bit that you think will be so quick that it shouldn't harm anything....right?

My impatience has been the bane of my projects at least twice now. First one wasn't so bad. Just got some blush when I went out too early in the day. Temp was around 55°F (too cold) and humidity was pretty high as it was still first thing in the morning; lots of dew in the air and on the ground. That one, I was able to repair later in the day when the air warmed up and dried out by lightly spraying some more lacquer on the blush spots to remelt and let out the trapped moisture.

Second one was bad. I scratched up a bit of black lacquer on the body I was working on, so I thought, it's too small for me to put up the paint booth set-up again just for this one little bit. I'll step outside the back door, do one little spritz, and come right back inside. It'll be quick.

Wrong move.

Not only did that one spot I was trying to fix get ruined because of cold/humidity-related cracking, all of the lacquer on the body started cracking. Even spots I didn't just spray. But it did it because I'd been spraying lacquer on it that week, so it was still far from cured even though it felt dry to the touch. It was unrecoverable. I was very mad at myself because the only reason this happened was me. I've since sanded that body back down to as bare wood as I can get it so I can start over.

So the lesson here is patience. You see people preaching this everywhere. It's annoying. It's hand-wrenching, because you're staring at this project that you can't do anything with for weeks at a time and you just want to do something. It sucks. It's why I now tend to have 2-4 projects going at the same time, so that I can keep myself occupied with something while waiting for chemicals to dry, cure, and set. And I feel that the only real way to truly understand the preaching of patience is to ruin a project or five due to impatience. You can read about waiting and cure-times all you want but you won't truly internalize it until you encounter what happens when you don't wait.
 

Byron

New member
Messages
5
Yup. Even just a little bit that you think will be so quick that it shouldn't harm anything....right?

My impatience has been the bane of my projects at least twice now. First one wasn't so bad. Just got some blush when I went out too early in the day. Temp was around 55°F (too cold) and humidity was pretty high as it was still first thing in the morning; lots of dew in the air and on the ground. That one, I was able to repair later in the day when the air warmed up and dried out by lightly spraying some more lacquer on the blush spots to remelt and let out the trapped moisture.

Second one was bad. I scratched up a bit of black lacquer on the body I was working on, so I thought, it's too small for me to put up the paint booth set-up again just for this one little bit. I'll step outside the back door, do one little spritz, and come right back inside. It'll be quick.

Wrong move.

Not only did that one spot I was trying to fix get ruined because of cold/humidity-related cracking, all of the lacquer on the body started cracking. Even spots I didn't just spray. But it did it because I'd been spraying lacquer on it that week, so it was still far from cured even though it felt dry to the touch. It was unrecoverable. I was very mad at myself because the only reason this happened was me. I've since sanded that body back down to as bare wood as I can get it so I can start over.

So the lesson here is patience. You see people preaching this everywhere. It's annoying. It's hand-wrenching, because you're staring at this project that you can't do anything with for weeks at a time and you just want to do something. It sucks. It's why I now tend to have 2-4 projects going at the same time, so that I can keep myself occupied with something while waiting for chemicals to dry, cure, and set. And I feel that the only real way to truly understand the preaching of patience is to ruin a project or five due to impatience. You can read about waiting and cure-times all you want but you won't truly internalize it until you encounter what happens when you don't wait.
I have a tear in my eye reading your post. My second fail on the same body was finding out the color coat did not adhere to the primer. I found that out after I dropped the body and damaged the edge.
 
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