Types of Lacquer
1. Nitrocellulose lacquer – the most common lacquer on the market. It is made from an alkyd and nitrocellulose resin dissolved and then mixed with solvents that evaporate quickly. This type of lacquer has moderate water resistance, but it’s sensitive to heat and certain solvents. The biggest drawback is the finish’s tendency to yellow as it ages, which shows clearly on light-colored woods.
Most of cans you’ll find in stores are nitrocellulose lacquers.
2. Acrylic-modified lacquer – This lacquer possesses the same general properties of nitrocellulose lacquer, except it is absolutely water-white, meaning it will not show as an amber color when applied over light-colored woods. It is made from a mixture of a nonyellowing cellulose resin and acrylic. This lacquer won’t turn yellow over time.
3. Catalyzed lacquer – Catalyzed lacquer is a complicated finish composed of urea formaldehyde or urea melamine and an alkyd that has some nitrocellulose resin added to make it handle like normal lacquer. The addition of an acid catalyst initiates a chemical reaction that forms a very tough, durable finish.
There are two different catalyzed lacquers:
Pre-catalyzed lacquer – has the components premixed and the addition of catalytic compound that is added either by the manufacturer or at the store when you buy it. The liquid is activated when the can is opened and the liquid is exposed to the air. The can be used in a short amount of time so you can’t store unused finish after you used it. The amount of time you have depends on the formula used during manufacturing.
Post-catalyzed lacquer – the catalytic compound is used separately from the finish. Both components must be mixed together before application. You must mix the two components following precise ratios. The best part is you can mix only what you need and store the two components for later use.
Once the catalyst has been added, these lacquers have a fairly short pot life (the time in which they can be used). bridges the gap between the application traits of nitrocellulose lacquer and the durability of varnish