This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.
If you have been searching the market for the best spray lacquer, then put your mind at rest and continue reading. Get a spray gun that is able to handle lacquer and a sealer for your DIY projects. Always know that the best sprayer for lacquer will be able to nitrocellulose lacquer, handle shellac and so on. These tools are the best in helping you finish your project with a smooth, clean touch.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Lacquer Sprayers
- 2 Different Types of Lacquer Spray Guns
- 3 How Lacquer Spray Guns Work
- 4 Comparing and Evaluating Lacquer Spray Guns
- 5 General Tips when Buying
- 6 Lacquer Requires Sanding
- 7 Lacquer vs. Varnish
- 8 Tutorial Guide on how to use Lacquer with a Spray Gun
- 9 Frequently Asked Questions
Best Lacquer Sprayers
Lacquer spraying can be a very challenging task because it usually requires a careful application process, a number of coatings and a great deal of control. This means that you have to be extra careful, behave like a pro-painter to obtain a smooth and consistent finish because lacquers settle very quickly. Moreover, make sure you purchase the right product for the job. There are different lacquer sprayers out there perfect for every handyman. A combination of lacquer sprayers will be able to handle the shiny and sticky lacquer from your projects. The best lacquer sprayer is designed to handle the extra adhesive qualities of lacquer and to ensure a smooth spray, free from bubbles and ripples. The lacquer provides protection and great finishing touch in appearance to your projects.
Best Overall: FUJI Semi-Pro Gravity HVLP Spray System
If you are a beginner or hobbyist, this is your number one product. The sprayer has the ability to provide professional and high-quality level finishes to your projects. The price is the best for serious amateurs who are interested in clean polished finishes. You do not have to worry when it comes to your DIY projects when you have this spray at hand. You will never be disappointed with this HVLP sprayer.
It contains stainless steel gravity-feed cups and a spray gun, all of these items are durable which means that they can be able to withstand constant use and corrosion for a long time without needing maintenance. There is an easily adjustable pressure control that can be used to switch paints, heavy materials, polyurethane with no complications. The motor on this spraying system has the ability to pump out 1400W and it delivers more power compared to its competitors. So if you want to work with thicker coats and still create polished and smooth finishes, then look no further than Fuji Semi-Pro.
Best Budget: GRACO MAGNUM Project Painter
This paint sprayer is designed for larger projects because the gun can hold five gallons of lacquer at a time. You can do large projects with much ease and no hassle of refilling your sprayer. However, it requires proper cleaning since it uses pressure to draw the lacquer through the machine. You have to clean it properly and fill it with thick and sticky lacquer whenever you are using it.
- Fully adjustable pressure to give you ultimate control of paint flow for any project size
- Stainless Steel Piston Pump allows you to spray paint unthinned at high pressure
- Flexible suction tube allows you to spray directly from a 1 or 5 gallon paint bucket
The paint sprayer also comes with adjustable settings, making it possible for you to adjust pressure and material flow. These are very important aspects when dealing with lacquer. It contains a motor which can deliver up to 2800 PSI. The sprayer is very fast thus it can spray at least 0.24 gallons per minute. It is compatible with a lot of tips which include 0.009, 0.011, 0.013, and 0.015. The 0.013 tip is the best for lacquer. The sprayer is also easy to use and allows you to spray up to 50 gallons per year. The hose adaptor gives you the ability to connect a garden hose and clean the sprayer faster.
Best High End: INGERSOLL Rand Edge Series
This is a low-cost alternative and has the ability to provide high-pressure lacquer at no extra costs. The Ingersoll Rand Edge Series can easily be used by any layman without posing any complications. The sprayer is very affordable and perfect for beginners. This sprayer is perfect for paint, stain, lacquer and other finishes.
- Non-drip cup and suspension hook included
- Includes high-quality filter and air adjustment valve
- Adjustment knob for liquid and spray pattern
If you want to do furniture restorations, painting the deck or fence, or the entire house, Ingersoll Rand is the way to go. The adjustable knobs on the Ingersoll Rand Edge Series give you a lot of control when using the machine. When working with this sprayer you will have the ability to adjust the airflow through an air adjustment valve. Adjusting airflow is important because it limits any excess lacquer that you might not need when using the machine. It is very comfortable and easy to use because it contains a non-drip cup that stops paint from making a mess.
Different Types of Lacquer Spray Guns
Lacquer spray guns are similar to standard paint spray guns, thus it is very important to know the differences and be in a position to choose the right one that works for you. At times you can also find some spray guns that have been designed specifically to work with lacquer. These spray guns consist of wider nozzles and higher pressure mechanisms.
- The high pressure expels more force in helping the lacquer to pass through the gun. Lacquer requires more force because it is more adhesive compared to paint. The wider nozzle is in place because it disperses the coat more evenly on your surfaces. It also prevents bubbles and patches.
- There are also spray guns that have been designed to be compatible with both paint and lacquer. They consist of removable nozzles and adjustable pressure gauges. The components can be removed easily which makes it easier for you when working with lacquer. Thus if you know how to properly change these components then you can easily switch between paints, stains and lacquers. This means that you have to change the components only rather than buying another machine.
- There are also different types of sprayers which include LVLP (Low Volume, Low-Pressure) sprayers, HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure) sprayers, and airless spray guns and so on. HVLP spray gun has the ability to move high volumes of air thereby creating a high-pressure stain or paint on the surface. It does this by using an air compressor which is why these tools are widely recognized as the best high-quality tools and found throughout the industry.
- LVLP spray guns are not very common because they are considered products for beginners. The other thing is that they are viewed as being very weak when compared to HVLP sprayers. Even so, they are not expensive and they make work easier.
- Airless spray guns are a bit different because of the motor which compresses lacquer and paint. They compress paint or lacquer instead of compressing air. This is why they do not produce bubbles and have the ability to create a smooth finish. They are not your best option when it comes to quick DIY projects.
How Lacquer Spray Guns Work
Lacquer spray guns are similar to normal spray paint guns because of the high velocity and low-pressure mechanism. This is because the high adhesion and thickness of the lacquer require high pressure. Lacquer is funneled through the nozzle from the pressure feed of the spray gun. The pressure feed has the ability to draw lacquer and creating a vacuum chamber in the tube. This allows lacquer to flow from the gun above into the tube.
When the lacquer is drawn, it is forced out from the nozzle at a high velocity in an even spray all over the surface. The even distribution is achieved by the velocity and pressure of the air that is being compressed in the gun.
Comparing and Evaluating Lacquer Spray Guns
Take note of the following important things when you are ready to purchase a lacquer spray gun for your projects. This information will make your selection and decision process much easier. However, make sure you purchase a lacquer sprayer that is able to handle all of the sticky and shiny lacquer of your projects.
The pressure point is the most vital part of the machine. The lacquer sprayer should be strong and capable enough to provide higher pressure compared to a normal paint sprayer. The stability of the machine is very important due to the kind of material you will be working with.
The sprayers come in different sizes, so it is very important to know the correct size you require for your projects. That is, if you are doing small projects then a smaller sprayer will be more convenient. It is easier to move around with a smaller sprayer. However, a bigger spray has the advantage of holding more lacquer and enabling you to complete larger projects with much ease.
This is another important factor to consider when buying because this factor will affect the cleaning process. Get a sprayer that is easy to take apart and also fairly easy to put back together. This will enable you to clean all of the internal pieces with no difficulty. Getting something that is difficult to disassemble will make the cleaning job much more complicated for you, thereby affecting the performance of the machine.
In this case, price does not really play any major role since buying an HVLP does not mean buying high quality. Take your time in conducting research before you settle for any machine. Read customer reviews and product specifications. Buy a product that fits within your budget but performs exceptionally well.
Nozzle or Tip Size
Always check the instructions from the manufacturer pertaining in relation to the size of nozzle tips. It is very important to get a tip of the exact same size with your spraying material. A large nozzle works well with thicker paints like a primer. Small nozzles are suitable for lacquer and other thin materials. If you are using a turbine machine, make sure your tip size is 1.5mm. This tip size will not require much strength to push the paint. The nozzle or tip size is very important if you do not want to spoil your projects.
General Tips when Buying
- Do not opt for suction-fed guns as these require a lot of power. Gravity-fed guns are a better choice since they will not affect your atomization.
- Do not opt for airless sprayers. Airless sprayers can be a bit messy, causing a lot of wastes when using lacquers. A better choice will be to stick to compressor guns, HVLP turbine systems and so on.
- Carefully consider tip sizes. You need a little bit more power from the tip since lacquer coatings are thin materials and quite viscous. The best spray tip for lacquers is usually in the range of 1.3mm, but if you are using an HVLP system consisting of a motor of fewer than three stages you can opt for a 1.5mm tip. This is because a HVLP system has low pressure to exert force on the coating to go through.
- Control is important when working with a finish material like lacquer. This is because you need a lot of control to avoid over sprays which might ruin your work.
- You should be able to spend more on a lacquer gun than on your normal paint spray gun. Getting the correct lacquer spraying gun is as important as the project itself. Lacquer coatings require the correct and precise machine for consistent results. So do not play around with your gun and the spray cap set.
Lacquer Requires Sanding
Fine and firm sanding is also necessary in-between the coats. It is advisable to have more fine thin coats than just one thick coat. So whenever you are laying your coats, start with a thin coat to lay your grip on. This will prevent the second coat from dripping and running. Your project will be as good as gold as long you also continue to sand between the clear coats and color. It is always best to work with lacquer materials in low humidity and dry free area. This is because lacquer dries very quickly. A well-ventilated area is also required since lacquer is high in VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). A ventilated area will prevent harmful and flammable vapors. If you do not have a proper ventilation system, always opt for a mask to protect yourself from inhaling fumes.
Always keep moving when working with lacquer. Sand and move on to the next coat rather than spending time trying to even out a coat because you might end up with a patchy look on your project. Small imperfections are bound to happen when working with small projects, so keep moving on with your work to avoid adding more mess to the project.
Lacquer vs. Varnish
Most people use both terms interchangeably because the two look similar from their casual eyes. This is not true because there are some important differences that have to be noted. A varnish forms a glossy, transparent and hard coating on your surface. A varnish has three coatings which are solvent, drying oil and resin. Lacquers on the other hand, are solvent-based containing VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), dissolved nitrocellulose, plasticizers and pigments. Lacquers also contain a substance called shellac which gives a high sheen. The big difference is that lacquers contain pigments that enable them to add color to natural wood, whilst varnishes are rarely given any color.
The other difference is that varnishes range from semi-gloss to low sheen. But you can add any gloss of your choice when working with lacquers. This is because they contain shellac which allows you to adjust and customize the mix to suit your projects. Lacquers are durable compared to varnishes. Lacquers contain plasticizers which gives them the ability to create a hard and resilient coat, protecting the surface from acid or water damage. Thus lacquer is known to be very durable.
Tutorial Guide on how to use Lacquer with a Spray Gun
Lacquer is the perfect finish for most projects because it is easy to apply and dries very fast. You can opt for HVLP, which is a method of spraying finishes or paint using a spray gun attached to a turbine or compressor. A cheaper option is to hook an air compressor to a new gun. The following are some of the simple steps to follow when using a spray gun:
Fill the Spraying Pot
Spraying lacquer can be a bit complicated because the lacquer itself is very difficult to find. That is why it is important to use pre-catalyzed lacquer, saving you from the hassle of adding a separate catalyst every time you want to use it. However, carefully check the shelf life of the pre-cat lacquer before purchasing it. Always note the expiration date on the container. Start the process by filling up about 3/4 of the can with lacquer and a 1/4 with lacquer thinner. This is the first coat, which is the sealer. It will seal into the wood fibers, thus making it easy to apply full-strength coats later. If you are using satin lacquer, you need to stir it occasionally since the flattening agent collects at the bottom.
Adjust the Spray Gun
The spray gun consists of three adjustments (two knobs and a tip). The first knob is on the back and it controls the amount of air pressure going to the tip of the gun. The second knob has the ability to control material flow. The tip controls the angle and width of the spray fan.
Spray the Lacquer
Get cardboard and test the lacquer mix by adjusting the fan to a pattern of your choice. Begin spraying your project piece. Work a bit fast, ensuring that your strokes overlap back and forth/up and down. Keep the sprayer a bit closer to your work. Then apply the sealer coat topped with some coats of full-strength lacquer. This should completely build up the finish. Leave the top part of the furniture for the last part so that you can give it special care. This is the most important part that often comes in contact with people.
It is important to clean your equipment before storing it away. Pour the remaining lacquer in labeled containers and the lacquer thinner into the pot. Swirl around the lacquer thinner and turn the airflow knob down. This will allow you to spray a clean stream of lacquer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the differences between Lacquer and Varnish?
A varnish forms a glossy, transparent and hard coating on your surface. A varnish has three coatings which are solvent, drying oil and resin. Lacquers on the other hand, are solvent-based containing VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), dissolved nitrocellulose, plasticizers and pigments.
Are there any specific types of Lacquers that you should use?
Urushiol lacquers are imported from Japan and China, made from tree sap. They are highly resilient but very difficult to work with. They are most suited for interior projects. Nitrocellulose lacquers are solvent-based coatings that have the ability to dry very fast. They are one of the most dangerous coatings to use because they are inflammable and have a high level of VOC. Acrylic Lacquers are a bit similar compared to nitrocellulose. They dry very fast and have bright color options, making them suitable for less durable projects.
How many times should I clean my HVLP Sprayer?
Always clean the HVLP sprayer very thoroughly after each and every use.
How many times should I clean the Air Filter?
You should always clean the filter if you are using a spray gun with a turbine. The advantage of a clean filter is that it provides enough airflow to enable the atomization of color and to cool down the motor.
When is it suitable to replace the Motor Brushes?
Motor brushes should be replaced either annually or after every 600 hours of use. Failure to replace motor brushes in time can result in motor failure. In this case, motor brushes relate to all of the HVLP spares and accessories.