Watco spray can lacquer clear finishing problems


Nov 3, 2004
how do you spray the roof of a car/truck body?.. turn it on it's side?....

Pros generally wouldn't finish a car with rattle cans, and Silverface was talking about the limitations of rattle cans. I mean, I grew up in the South (and lived in L.A.), so I know people spray cars with rattle cans, but it's never convincing or "pro" work (no matter what my cousins swear by). Once you move to professional sprayers, then you can shoot at a lot more angles.
Last edited:


Silver Supporter
Jan 5, 2018
I am actually in the middle of this process myself using Duplicolor products. I previously did some test blocks that came out well but the clear took longer than expected to properly harden

I an working on a test body now. Like the test blocks, I applied grain filler (Aqua coat) On the test blocks I used Aqua coat sanding sealer and then white duplicolor primer.
1) The sanding sealer and the primer felt like redundant steps so on the test body I used 4 light coats (10 min apart) of gray Duplicolor high filler sandable primer, let it dry for a day and sanded smooth.

2)I then applied 3 light coats of an opaque white (10 min apart) as a base for white pearl. This dried for a couple of days
3) I lightly sanded this white coat back.
4) 3 light coats of white pearl. Let dry for 10 min between coats
5) This dried for a few days. Taped the stripes, and applied 3 light coats of black metallic, 10 mi apart, let it dry for a few hours and removed the tape. so far so good I think

A few questions:
1) It sounds like I should let Duplicolor dry longer between coats. Is an hour sufficient?
2) Was omitting the Aqua coat sanding sealer the correct call?
3) I am not sure what wood the test body is. It was a $20 ebay special. The real body is an alder Strat body from Warmoth. The consensus seems to be that Alder will not require a pore filler. Is that correct in your opinion? Would the Aqua coat or the Duplicolor primer be the better options to seal the body?
4) I still plan to use a white base under the metallics that will follow for color consistency
5) I used Perfect match clear on the test blocks. No real issues to speak of other than it took a while to fully harden up. I am going to test Minwax clear on a few blocks. I am concerned about compatability. I am hearing a lot about Spraymax 2k Clear. I am not sure about that one. It should be OK over the Duplicolor from what I see but who knows, and I am not sure I have the saftey equipment to shoot it safely. Its nasty stuff by all accounts.

Any other thoughts or suggestions?


Dec 17, 2019
Stay within the same family of materials. Duplicolor primer, color coat and base coat and your troubles will be few. No need for Aquacoat if using primer, the primer is your sealer and grain filler. The fast-build primer fills the wood grain just fine on it's own.

You typically use a grain filler for clear/translucent finishes where the wood is visible or if you want to fill the grain faster than the primer alone allows, though this is debatable since you can sand and apply multiple coats of primer 15 minutes apart.


Silver Supporter
Mar 31, 2003
Portland, Maine
Late to the party, but I have tried spraying Watco gloss clear nitro over Duplicolor acrylic lacquer color coats (Olympic White, for example). The first time I tried it, the color coat wrinkled when I sprayed the clear. Part of the solution is waiting long enough, as has been mentioned, and part of it is to lightly mist the first few coats of clear on. Then you can spray heavier coats without that reaction.


Doctor of Teleocity
Ad Free Member
Mar 2, 2003
Lawndale CA
I spray mine flat.. I get no "stripes" on metallics... with cans...
I never spray a vertical body.... I just hang them up to gas off....
must be doing something right..;)

I don't cut/polish either... or buff.... off the can finished...

they're guitars, not cars.....;)

hand sprinkled holo flakes too... with fingers....
Well - honestly, I see streaks, lines, overly thick application and mottled areas.

They might be OK for you. But most DIY's want to get close to a professional finish. And I'd never hand those to a customer.

That's not an insult, since you seem to understand you results and are happy with them. But I would not suggest doing that kind of work for pay or trade.
Trying to apply wet coats with rattlecans is obviously full of compromises. That's why pros don't use rattlecans.
"wet coats" are inadvisable except with catalyzed production lacquers. Wet coats (i.e. full coverage, or a coat that fully flows out on its own) with conventional lacquers are generally guaranteed to result in solvent entrapment and/or soft finishes that stick to cases, stands, clothes; finishes that can't be buffed without "burnouts"; orange peel and other appearance problems; residual smell due to trapped solvents; early failure - blistering, bubbling, peeling, color float into clear coats and more.

You can complete a conventional lacquer job more quickly with 8-15 thin coats than 5-8 thicker coats..

"Wet coats" were used in the past with conventional lacquers when materials were made under different air quality regulations and only applied by high pressure air spray. But materials have changed, solids-by-volume are lower and those methods no longer apply in most countries.