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Old August 26th, 2013, 08:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Lacquer That Won't Harden

I finished a body with valspar lacquer. It's been several months, and it's still way to soft to put it into action. All the other ones I've done seem to be good to go in about a month. Did I do something wrong? Why won't this thing cure?

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Old August 26th, 2013, 02:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If it's the same brand, what was different about the spraying conditions?
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Old August 26th, 2013, 02:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm no expert BTW, just going through the adventure of nitro and weather myself as a Spraying Virgin.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 03:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I recently had the same problem with the Ace brand of lacquer from the local hardware store. I had sprayed a guitar before and used Re-ranch with excellent results. I thought I'd save some money and the store brand would be OK. It contained toluene and acetone, so I figured it was the right stuff. I laid on the clear coats with a nice wet edge, sanding with 800 grit between coats. The last coat looked great, except for the peel, so I let it sit for 8 weeks. It was still soft after all that wait! I didn't know what to do so I got a professional opinion from a furniture restorer. He said that stuff would have never dried. He stripped the body and repainted the color coats and clear for me. I was disappointed but the guitar was never going to get done otherwise. It looks great now and is almost ready for assembly. (I'm waiting for my bridge which I'm having bead blasted.) I hope you're not in the same predicament but it sure sounds like it. Good luck. P.S., The guy who resprayed it for me is a fellow Tele lover and member here. We live in Maryland. PM me if you need more info.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 03:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jd0272 View Post
If it's the same brand, what was different about the spraying conditions?
I've done several before, but never with home depot valspar. Come to think of it, I don't think I'll be doing any more with valspar either. Jeez, at this rate, it's going to be a few years before this thing cures!
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Old August 26th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess it comes down to stick with what you know. The stuff I'm using here in the UK (rattlecan) is superb, so I'm happy ;)

Best of luck,sounds like you have a strip on your hands.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 05:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I used to use a lot of Valspar lacquer, but the formulation changed about a year and a half ago, and not for the better! The only practical solutions are to 1) wait and see what happens or b) strip it and shoot it again. I chose b) when it was my turn.

These days I use Watco. It takes more work to get a good finish with it, but it works reliably.
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Old August 26th, 2013, 07:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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you get what you pay for and cheap alternatives usually end in disappointment been there done that, last time i used a cheaper brand it looked like it had dried so i started to sand it down the friction heated this **** up and it started to ripple had to strip the whole guitar and it was a set neck real nightmare time and effort we all learn by our mistakes
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Old August 26th, 2013, 07:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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you get what you pay for and cheap alternatives usually end in disappointment...
Valspar isn't cheap. The problem is that the formulation of the Valspar consumer product doesn't allow the deep, multilayer finish that instruments get.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Over in the States I imagine part of the issue is the level of choice of manufacturer, allowing for greater scope in formulation, and to some extent, price.

In that respect, regarding spray cans, as far as I'm aware, we're really limited over here re' nitrocellulose lacquer. Only 2 or 3 that spring to mind that I've used, Northwest, Rothko & Frost, and Manchester Guitar Tech. But, all of these products are really really good. MGT esp tries as far as the Law allows to get the stuff as period correct as possible. The other 2 probably do to.

But they're not cheap. £10-£15 per can. That's Stirling. If I really get into this, which I intend to, I'll be buying a comp' and a gun.
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Old August 28th, 2013, 07:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dsutton24 View Post
I used to use a lot of Valspar lacquer, but the formulation changed about a year and a half ago, and not for the better! The only practical solutions are to 1) wait and see what happens or b) strip it and shoot it again. I chose b) when it was my turn.

These days I use Watco. It takes more work to get a good finish with it, but it works reliably.
+1. Watco dries fast and hard. It also turns yellow, for better or worse. If you want a natural amber, Watco will be that in two years.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 12:49 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I think the chemists are under intense pressure to put less of the "effective" solvents in there for "environmental" reasons and also, they're under pressure to produce an "idiot proof - no drips" result that in some climates will never set or "go off". Drippy paints were our friends - in the hands of experts, great results. Now, we got paints for stupid people, that only set up hard in Death Valley.

Third point. These "soft" paints have a longer outdoors life expectancy. I think of the coating as having a life cycle. As soon as the finish is rock hard, it is on its way to crazing or getting brittle or chipping. The way things stand right now, "consumers" complain more about drips, about early aging of finishes, about discoloration or crazing and too few complaints get made about the finish that never takes. And finally, I've been told these "stupid" paints last longer on the shelves of stores. Less need to pull and dispose of "stale dated" cans.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 01:38 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Not sure what the problem is...because I use Valspar Nitro for clear coats on some builds, and I spray heavy over the course of a couple days. I don't usually wait very long between coats either. Then I let it dry for usually 3 or 4 days, take off the top with 320 dry, let set for a day or 2 and then start polishing. I get a fantastic gloss, and the stuff is very hard...even before fully curing.

I even do that in the colder weather with no problems.

Post a pic of a can of what Valspar product you are referring to.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 01:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by boris bubbanov View Post
I think the chemists are under intense pressure to put less of the "effective" solvents in there for "environmental" reasons and also, they're under pressure to produce an "idiot proof - no drips" result that in some climates will never set or "go off". Drippy paints were our friends - in the hands of experts, great results. Now, we got paints for stupid people, that only set up hard in Death Valley.

Third point. These "soft" paints have a longer outdoors life expectancy. I think of the coating as having a life cycle. As soon as the finish is rock hard, it is on its way to crazing or getting brittle or chipping. The way things stand right now, "consumers" complain more about drips, about early aging of finishes, about discoloration or crazing and too few complaints get made about the finish that never takes. And finally, I've been told these "stupid" paints last longer on the shelves of stores. Less need to pull and dispose of "stale dated" cans.
Most sensible thing I've come across all day.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 02:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boris bubbanov View Post
I think the chemists are under intense pressure to put less of the "effective" solvents in there for "environmental" reasons and also, they're under pressure to produce an "idiot proof - no drips" result that in some climates will never set or "go off". Drippy paints were our friends - in the hands of experts, great results. Now, we got paints for stupid people, that only set up hard in Death Valley.

Third point. These "soft" paints have a longer outdoors life expectancy. I think of the coating as having a life cycle. As soon as the finish is rock hard, it is on its way to crazing or getting brittle or chipping. The way things stand right now, "consumers" complain more about drips, about early aging of finishes, about discoloration or crazing and too few complaints get made about the finish that never takes. And finally, I've been told these "stupid" paints last longer on the shelves of stores. Less need to pull and dispose of "stale dated" cans.
Agree we're headed to a water base world no stopping it.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 02:37 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dsutton24 View Post
I used to use a lot of Valspar lacquer, but the formulation changed about a year and a half ago, and not for the better! The only practical solutions are to 1) wait and see what happens or b) strip it and shoot it again. I chose b) when it was my turn.

These days I use Watco. It takes more work to get a good finish with it, but it works reliably.
Could you spray the 'good' nitro over the Valspar stuff or would you just seal in the solvents for the Valspar and delay proper curing?

I like Watco and Minwax.

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Not sure what the problem is...because I use Valspar Nitro for clear coats on some builds, and I spray heavy over the course of a couple days. I don't usually wait very long between coats either. Then I let it dry for usually 3 or 4 days, take off the top with 320 dry, let set for a day or 2 and then start polishing. I get a fantastic gloss, and the stuff is very hard...even before fully curing.
Interesting process. Why 320 dry? Is it just a quick way to take off the orange peel?

WHat is the reason you don't have to wait the normal 30 days for curing? Is it because you are taking off the last coats with 320 and this lets the solvents gas off more quickly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SacDAve View Post
Agree we're headed to a water base world no stopping it.
I think you may be right. Imagine what that will do to the prices of nitro finished bodies and the price of OEM cans of nitro.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 05:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Could you spray the 'good' nitro over the Valspar stuff or would you just seal in the solvents for the Valspar and delay proper curing?

I like Watco and Minwax.



Interesting process. Why 320 dry? Is it just a quick way to take off the orange peel?

WHat is the reason you don't have to wait the normal 30 days for curing? Is it because you are taking off the last coats with 320 and this lets the solvents gas off more quickly?




I think you may be right. Imagine what that will do to the prices of nitro finished bodies and the price of OEM cans of nitro.
I'm not sure, but that makes sense. I'm no chemist, but it's tough to wait on paint....I just go at it.

In fact, I just finished spraying lacquer on a headstock last night, and today I lightly dry sanded the front to level the decal with the rest of it, and I'll twiddle my thumbs until tomorrow if I can wait that long and start wet sanding to 1200, and then I break out the Dewalt drill with 3 inch polishing pads and go through several polishing formulas to remove the 1200 grit sanding marks and when I'm done, it'll be gloss without any marks or swirls on it.

Granted, I'll have it hanging around for a couple weeks while I finish the body, and I'll maybe do one more quick buffing with the pads, but it's pretty much done.

I am in so cal, so the warm weather probably is the key.
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Old September 4th, 2013, 05:49 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Here in the UK I use Manchester guitar tech .I covered a GFS sunburst with MGT vintage white,changed my mind and covered it all with the MGT Fiesta red nitro .Looks good and is very slowly relicing naturally with small bits of burst showing .One can of red covered the white .
I always thought Valspar was a brushing enamel.In the mid 60's large trucks always came in grey or white primer and were handpainted in Valspar brushing laquer(enamel).I did a motorcycle with it and just rolled it on with a large brush .It came out superb .
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Old September 4th, 2013, 11:49 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yes, finishes have changed a lot over the last 20 years, due to environmental, health and consumer concerns.
The average hobbyist painter complains when the stuff runs or ages too fast. Plasticizers have been added to promote flexibility, which equals softer finishes. There are still a few real lacquers out there (labeled as "brushing" lacquer to avoid voc rules) but when the feds wise up, those will go, too.

That's why I've been studying traditional finish methods a lot lately. They are perhaps harder to use but they offer many options, including your own custom colors. It's like the difference between an iPad and a PC. The iPad is pretty nice for the average consumer but if you're a hacker and want to do your own stuff, you need a pc that you can customize. Traditional finishes are like that. You have to learn what to do but once you know it, you can do anything you like and with much less toxicity all around.
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Old September 5th, 2013, 03:56 PM   #20 (permalink)
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What flyingbanana said.

When I use aerosols (for specific color purposes) I use Mohawk or Dupli-Color, but I do a lot of my own tinting and spray that and clears with my HVLP. I switched from Sherwin Williams to Valspar a few years ago when the local SW stores stopped carrying lacquer in gallons.

I haven't noticed any difference at all between batches from 2010 and 2013. Valspar IS slower than Mohawk/Behlens but exponentially faster than the dreaded Deft crap (even their industrial lacquer, only found in specialty paint stores).

As previously mentioned I'd like to see a picture of the label, but the OP seems to have left the building...

As a retired paint tech, my first guess would be improper agitation, whether aerosol or bulk (gallon). If you don't STRICTLY follow the can-shaking or mixing requirements of the manufacturer you'll end up with solvent entrapment. Lacquers do not catalyze (except specialty types) and do not oxidize - they dry by evaporation, and if the product is applied thickly and/or not FULLY mixed (there are additives in most formulations to help break surface tension and help with evaporation), or applied in hot conditions it will stay soft (if hot and humid it will turn cloudy) - sometimes for YEARS. The hardened, very thin top surface feels soft because it's a .005" or less impermeable "cover" over the semi-liquid resin/solvent below.

Contact Mohawk and find a local distributor of their aerosols (or find another aerosol lacquer blush remover) - sometimes fogging "Super No-Blush" from at least 18" away, in dust-free conditions with good ventilation and a cartridge-type respirator (a must for spraying lacquer anyway, but REALLY important with the "blush remover" products which are all solvent blends) will release trapped solvents and speed drying.

You MAY (the first time you probably WILL) get a few runs, but you need to fix it anyway so that's a minor concern.

Another part of the thread:

Quote:
WHat is the reason you don't have to wait the normal 30 days for curing? Is it because you are taking off the last coats with 320 and this lets the solvents gas off more quickly?
There's no "normal 30 days". That's somehow become "truth" as more people started doing their own lacquer work. It's a myth.

If you follow the "3 passes = 1 coat"...with a pass being a fairly fast, even sweep across the surface with a 50% overlap each direction, apply no more than 3 "coats" (9 passes) a day, under conditions of 65-75 degrees F and 30-50% relative humidity you can wet sand 2 days after the last coat is applied.

Again, lacquer dries by evaporation - so as long as you don't lay it on too thick it'll dry very quickly. Each "coat" will be under 1 mil (.001") thick.

I've never waited more than a week to start sanding, and then only because I had other priorities - not because it wasn't ready to sand.

This is with any of the good quality acrylic/nitro blends: the ones I've mostly used are Sherwin Williams, Mohawk, Valspar, Behlens, Dupli-Color, ReRanch (when requested), Rust-Oleum, the OLD straight-top Krylon aerosols (which were lacquer), Sinclair (long gone - now part of Sikkens) and a few other regional makers.

I would not recommend the same thing with Watco, which is far slower drying, and wouldn't recommend even applying Deft *anything*.
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