Any old timers out there who can enlighten me on the best finishing techniques when using lacquer, I would greatly appreciate your advise. I recall, that one should put on 14 coats but cannot recall what is the best product to use to bring out the final shine finish.
You don't need 14 coats but I suppose it wont hurt. The secret is in the prep and the sanding between coats. Wet sanding with 1500 - 2000 paper gives great results but you have to be careful not to sand through the paint especially on high spots like beads. The final step.is good polishing. It is a lot of work and frankly I don't think it is worth the effort as you can get great results and a more durable finish with the stuff that is on the market today. The big plus with lacquer is that it is easier to repair. I have not used it in over 30 years but just recently had to do some touch up on a car that was painted with it in 1969. Understandably, the paint on the car had faded but I sent a chip to Hibernia in NJ and they matched it perfectly. If I did not know the part that I had repainted I could not find it!
14 coats is a bit much, get lacquer too thick and it has a tendency to "crack like a spider web" as Val says meticulous attention to sanding between coats makes for an even finish which is what you are looking for, very labor intensive especially if you are using super shiny gloss. The new paints are much easier to use.
Yes, 14 coats is way too much. If you are spraying, the old technique is two double-coats. A double coat is a light tack coat followed by a heavier coat--but not so heavy it runs. Then you get to color sand and polish, and hopefully not polish through the high spots.
I agree that the modern paints are much easier and more durable, but based on a conversation with a friend yesterday, the prices of good automotive coatings has gone through the ceiling recently--we are talking over $300 a gallon!!! YIKES!! The paint store guy told him that the Hobby Painter business is nearly null, and even the pro shops rarely buy the first-line paints now.
Maybe one reason we're seeing so many "rat rod" type projects now??? No one can afford to make them look pretty?
Are there any special type of polish that should be used?
"Coats" is a term used by amateurs. What matters is the amount of material .... say, a gallon.
You can put a gallon on in ten coats or a hundred. How nice of paint job you get is all about how
much material you use and the prep/finish done before, during, and after the painting.
I can get into prep as a separate discussion, but as you begin to lay down paint, get your coats
as even and "wet" as possible (without going overboard and getting drips). This is a fine balance
one develops with experience, but too dry and the surface looks stippled and dries stippled. You
want that "flow" that gives a smooth, glassy appearance when wet. This will give you the best dried
finish possible .... unless you overshoot and get too much on, the weight of it pulling down and causing
sags or runs. Like I said, It's a fine finesse.
The good news is, lacquer is the easiest paint there is to "work". Let it dry, wet sand your imperfections
to a smooth surface and go over it with another coat. You will be sanding between coats anyway, just
work the imperfections as you go and give it another squirt.
When you get what you think is a good amount of material on your work, you take the sanding process
all the way to super fine and then buff to that perfect finish.
Back when the "chameleon" paints first came out, it was $600 per QUART! A customer wanted it until he found out what it cost. And that's just the topper coat. The rest of the paint and materials could easily add $400-$600 more. And those that did go chameleon rarely went with a single color/pattern. There was always graphics or special effects. It was nothing to see some drop $10-$15,000 just on paint and body prep. That didn't even include body work or new metal.
As with anything, there's cheaper alternatives. And it usually shows.
When I get to the buffing stage, what type of compound or polish is good to use?
The key I find is to use the paint as thin as you can without inducing runs. Burger points to this.
The best lacquer job I ever did is on my chocolate van. I'd used a gallon on the body, and ran out of paint for the last coat. The next pint was a way different colour, much closer to that I expected. It turned out they had left one tinter out of the first gallon. With a complimentary new gallon, I could sand away and get the best possible finish. It has never been buffed to this day.
Allan from down under.
So what you are saying is that no compound is needed, just fine sanding and perhaps rubbing to a shine, then wax?
It all depends on how the final coat lays down. While these wheels aren't painted in lacquer, but in Concept (an acrylic coating) this is how they finished, no polishing.
As to polishes, one can wet sand with grits as fine as 2500 or finer, if the surface is rough. I liked "Finessit" (spelling??) for final compounding, but it's been years since I purchased any materials, so what's out there nowadays may be completely different. Polishing compounds today are much finer than what was used "in the old days."
Personally, I would not use lacquer at all. Not only is it labor intensive to make look good, it really doesn't hold up that well (subject to crazing) and poor UV protection. Lacquer is also not carried that much by jobbers, so depending on the color you want, some toners may be difficult to obtain. Using a urethane based product will give you better results and longer life.You can go with Concept (-PPG-single stage) or for the body, use a base/clear. The prices are expensive, more like $600-$700 a gal (depending on color), but if you go through all the proper prep, don't skimp out on the product. Problem with inexpensive products,(such as Omni clear) is you can expect only about a 4-5 yr life , then it has a history of de-laminating along with poor UV protecton, which would result in fading or oxidizing. Again, I would recommend a urethane product.
As Mr. Dewey pointed out, if that last spray lays down super nice, you may just decide
that this is good enough and run with it. When you want that stupidly perfect "glass" or
"mirror" surface, you will be forced into the multi-step process of wet sanding and buffing,
and to answer the question, once you touch sand paper to your paint surface, there is no
stopping until you got through all steps, including buffing.
I have not been an active auto painter in MANY years, and the products are all so unfamiliar
to me except lacquer and some of the other products I did not use like enamels that the
cheap and cheesy quickie shops used. Our clients had us using nitrocellulose lacquer for
their pre-war Packards and such. My advice would be to consult your local auto paint store/s
and high quality restoration guys and really get your head around what product you want to
use. Lacquer is super basic and simple to work, use, and repair. Many modern paints are
just this side of working with nuclear waste and require moon suits and high tech breathing
apparatus to use. I am unsure what road I will take when I finally get my shop capable of
painting again, but I will follow my own advice and be asking lots of people who know the
ropes what does what to make that decision.
I always cautioned people looking to paint their old cars that their car will never be abused
like it was when it was new. It will be babied, washed often, waxed regularly, and kept in a
garage this time around. Bulletproof paint, at many hundreds of dollars per gallon, is just
not necessary to get a nice end result that will hold up for many, many years if taken care
i painted my model A using nitrocellulose lacquer using the two double coat method over red epoxy primer.it turned out, at least in my eyes, very good. i actually had fun doing it.
The comment about 14 coats is correct in a way, depending on the craftsman.
I helped a fellow paint my 1931 Chevrolet in the mid-1960's. It had 15 coats of lacquer on it...but wait...
He'd spray three coats, let it dry overnight, wetsand the entire car. Then, three more coats, wetsand. Did this five times, so 15 coats, but I'll bet there weren't 3 or 4 left by the time we sanded!
Finish was beautiful though, deep as can be, a hard thing to get with newer paints...it's a little rough around the edges now, but that was 50 years ago!
The best method of using a can of lacquer paint is to make sure the lid is on tight and set it in front of a door and use it as a door stop.
I'd like to hear your argument against lacquer. I have found it to be easy to use, clean up,
and best of all, repair/fog/blend. And it lacks the super-toxicity of the moonsuit/mask requiring
AND it smells good !!!
Berger, there are better products out there that you don't have to sand buff and polish. Yes they are more expensive. Down the road a bunch of years from now when you decide to redo it you will find out that it will plug up grinding disc and sandpaper. Lacquer paint cracks with age. You should still wear your moon suit and mask. Yes AND it smells good !!!
That just has not been my experience. I have worked 40-year-old lacquer with excellent
fogging/edging to where the spot repairs were impossible to see, and did not require a total
repaint or repaint of the entire body section.
When I think of cracking (or surface crazing), enamels come to mind. Both acrylic and
synthetic enamels WILL craze from a few years of UV/oxygen exposure.
While I have not explored, or ruled out going to modern paints, I always found lacquer to
be super easy to work with, correct mistakes/imperfections, and get a really nice finish, and
I've worked with a lot of OLD lacquer paint jobs that still looked terrific.
I would be interested to hear from members what modern products they like and the reasons
why. Get m'seff all edju-ma-kated an' stuff ....
Ah, another '30 Sport Coupe in Kewanee & Elkpoint. Mine is done in Acrylic Lacquer, some 41 years ago. Looks like your Elkpoint is the correct shade, mine is more grey than the original (which I found lots of on my car) although mixed to the factory formulas.
my car has been in the family 60 years and was the first time i ever painted a car. done in a makeshift paint booth ( 2008 )in my backyard. it too was elkpoint green orginally. would like to see pictures of your car. p.m. me.
This is 50 + year old lacquer on my Chalmers-Detroit. The paint on the other side door peeld off in a couple of spots (wood body) and I was able to get it matched perfectly by Hibernia Resorations who mixed the paint for me from a chip of paint from the door that needed to be repainted. I actually had 1/2 can of the original lacquer that the car was painted with and it was still usable but since the paint on the car had faded over the years it was too dark.
While I like lacquer, I have to admit that I hate all the labor involved. While the results are not as good, you can spray and forget these new paints if the surface has been prepared correctly.
What Burger said. I worked in a body shop in the early '60s. Most GM products were painted with lacquer. We always used lacquer to repair them.
I've been in the autobody business over 50 years. I don't recommend Lacquers because it is too brittle for temperature changes, so it chips and cracks very easily. It will also oxidize faster than the new urethanes. It does plug up sand paper and is a pain to strip. I feel you can get far better jobs and also spot repairs using the new base/clears. As far as toxicity, remember lacquers are lead based and just as toxic. It's true GM used lacquer in the 60's and into the 70's, but the refinishing industry is now moving to waterborne.
I am looking for information on what to use for polishing compound after the wet sanding process is completed. Also, is there a cure period after painting before the wet sanding process should begin?
It all depends on what paint/coating you've applied; for instance, Concept should be sanded & polished within 3 days, after that it gets really hard & difficult to do. Lacquer, OTOH takes a while to finish "off-gassing" and shrinking. Read you finish's documentation (if you don't have it, it is usually available on-line).
Thanks, the paint I am using is Dupicolor, but I cannot find any information on what to do with it once it dries.
Duplicolor is handled by O'Brians Auto supply in this town, They are a large chain, maybe they would have some ideas?
It's funny that no one has mentioned acrylic lacquer. It is far better than the old nitrocellulose stuff, and doesn't get dull either. Lately I've been using acrylic enamel, and I like it. I can sand and polish it just like the old lacquer. The problem is the government and all their stupid laws. I've got to get it from Arizona now, cause it's not available in So. Cal. anymore.
I'll chat with you about obtaining lacquer when I see you at the H.M.E. on Sunday. Not going on the tour, just going to browse and carouse.
Hit me up when you see me. I'll probably forget if you don't. I can give you that info about metal stamping too.
Merry Christmas everyone!(you too Larry)
Ma Green was painted with Acrylic Lacquer back in 1974, still pretty good, except where my armature body work is showing through now.
armature?? AUGH, spell check strikes again--amateur!
Thanks David, and what town do you live in so I can Google it and ask them?
I live in Oroville, CA (check my profile), but the company is everywhere, I don't think they're a 'left coast' only company.
I live in Oroville, CA (check my profile), but the company is everywhere, I don't think they're a 'left coast' only company.
Did you mean to say O'Reilly Auto Parts? When goggeling O'Brian I get only O'Reilly!
Oops, my bad!! Yes, O'Reilly--I got the O part right!
OK, Irish jokes will now likely follow. . . .
Just in case someone else could benefit from this discourse, I inquired at O'Reilly's and they suggested to use Meguiar's Fine Cut cleaner on a buffer first, followed by Meguiar's Show Car Glaze. Once I get the desired shine, apply wax as normal.
What I like about Meguiar's No 7 is that it can be painted over, it contains nothing (like silicones) to affect later paint coating.