Canned Nitro VS. Lacquer

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by Danb541, Sep 24, 2020.

  1. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Afflicted

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    Nitro is a lacquer right?... I always hear about nitro finishes. I've painted a few partscasters in my day with lacquers and even enamels (I prefer lacquers). Can someone please explain to me the difference between nitro and lacquer? The cans of nitro that stew mac sells are expensive. Is it worth buying some of this nitro for my next project?
     
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  2. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    It is NITROcellulose lacquer. I believe there may be other types, but NITRO just sounds better...
     
  3. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Afflicted

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    I know that but what's the difference? How is it different?
     
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  4. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    There are other brands available for less, but I usually go with SM out of blind faith.
     
  5. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Niteocellulose lacquer is one product, not two. Or am I misunderstanding your question? People use the terms nitro and lacquer interchangeably in the guitar community.
     
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  6. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    There appear to be many things called "lacquer". What they are I don't know. But many car paints are/were called lacquer. Obviously they don't wear or are not effected like guitar nitro. Canned finishes called lacquer that aren't labeled Nitrocellulose are also out there.
    There are brushing lacquers also.
    :confused:
    Everything you didn't want to know about lacquer:
    5 Types of Lacquer
    • Nitrocellulose Lacquer. Since its inception in the 1920's, nitrocellulose lacquer has been the dominant finish for musical instruments like guitars, violins, and pianos. ...
    • Acrylic Lacquer. ...
    • Catalyzed Lacquer. ...
    • Waterborne Lacquer. ...
    • Urushiol Based Lacquer.
    n terms of modern finishing products, lac-based finishes are likely to be referred to as shellac, while lacquer refers to synthetic polymers such as nitrocellulose, cellulose acetate butyrate ("CAB"), or acrylic resin dissolved in lacquer thinner, a mixture of solvents such as ketones (acetone, MEK), esters (butyl acetate, methoxypropyl acetate), aromatic hydrocarbons (toluene, xylene), ethers (cellosolve), and alcohols.[2][3] Lacquer is more durable than shellac.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lacquer refers to the thinners - it means the medium which evaporates out once it's carried the pigments (colour) and binders (substrate that holds binder together).

    So you can have acrylic binders, nitrocellulose binders. Acrylic is basically plastics, nitrocellulose is plant based (cell-ulose). Polyurethane is the binders in polyurethane paint.

    Mostly pigments are pigments but we don't use some that are poisonous anymore. Reds are oxides, white is titanium. Black - used to be arsenic laced!

    Catalyzed/catalysed means it's got hardners added that give it toughness or some flexibility so it survives impacts better.

    The thinners can be acetone, water or oil based (enamel). Only purpose of thinners is to get the paint in the surface by brush, spray, roller, wipe.

    Traditional 50s Fender paint was nitro lacquer because that's what car companies used. 60s car paints went acrylic because your red 56 Corvette in nitro could fade in the sun to shell pink, or driven out of a warm garage into the cold, the paint could crack or craze.... Ditto your guitar. Acrylic also enabled things like pearl, metallic, luminescence to be added

    Past 1960 more and more Fender paint went acrylic. LPB, Fiesta and Dakota Red, gold, silver, even Olympic White. Virtually all the custom colours. They kept getting nitro clear until late 60s. After that only the headstock face because the decals reacted with poly thinners. Hence CBS and early Corona guitars with orange headstocks.

    Nitro keeps drying out and getting thinner and harder plus is discolours and the pigments fade.

    Great article which will tell you more than you need to know.

    http://www.guitarhq.com/fenderc.html
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2020
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  8. Boreas

    Boreas Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Isn't urushiol the stuff in poison ivy that many are allergic to?
     
  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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