Achieving a Silky Feel with a Lacquer Finish

A finisher looks for an additive or surface treatment to make a finished surface feel smooth to the touch. October 1, 2010

Can anyone suggest a slip additive for lacquer based finish that will offer a super silky feel? Does 2k polyurethane offer more or less than nitrocellulose? I'm thinking that an amorphous wax surface modifier will work, but haven't known anyone who has tried it.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor H:
A local lacquer company use to make what they called a Waxing Lacquer. It had a very silky feel. What they did was to add 25% sterite sanding sealer to their nitrocellulose top coat finish. Nice finish for surfaces that did not get a lot of use. I have not tried it with a pre-cat or post cat. The problem is that the mixing of a sanding sealer will only weaken your top coat.

From the original questioner:
This is sort of uncharted territory here. We have a French designer who likes the feel of some of the products that are coming out of Italy. Unfortunately, the workmanship is less than desirable. Though post-cat Krystal (dull and satin) both can achieve a fairly smooth finish, it just doesn't have this silky feel to it. Would 2k poly offer better results?

From contributor H:
2pk and iso's do have a have a different feel but I believe that it is from the surfactants that are used in the products. Are you after an "Off the Gun" finish or are you going to rub out the finish when you are finished spraying? There are multiple ways of getting that feel if you rub it out, but they all degrade the finish due to the surface scratching that goes into a rubbed out finish. What are you finishing?

From contributor R:
Have you tried using some wool wax yet? I use a block of wood that I attach the pad to, put a dab of the wool wax on the pad, dip the whole thing in a bucket of water, spread the wool wax around the pad and then rub it on the surface. Rub in the direction of the grain. You do want a nice soapy mixture. Surface will be so slick a fly couldn't land on it. MacLac used to make what they called a waxing lacquer but quite making it many years ago.

From contributor G:
For lacquer give Smoothy a try.

From the original questioner:
Good ideas all here. The unfortunate thing with rubbing the finish out is that the customer mainly is looking for a very dull (-10 to 15% sheen over standard dull). Rubbing or buffing then no longer becomes an option as this increases sheen. Itís kind of a catch-22 situation. Therefore, any silky sort of finish feel must come off the gun. That being said, I'm pretty sure that I will have to alter the finish formula somehow as opposed to physical alteration (rubbing or buffing).

From contributor R:
Wool Wax, despite its name will not increase the sheen be it used on a dull, flat, MRE or a semi. Give it a try, you might be surprised. For what itís worth, Wool Wax is an emulsified version of Murphys oil soap, and you can get that at any food store. Use it the same way as I described using the Wool Wax.

From contributor J:
Mohawk makes Buffcote lacquer in satin and matte that has waxes added.

From the original questioner:
I will give the wool wax a try as soon as I can locate some.

From contributor R:
Mohawk has a product called Wool Lube (same thing as Wool-Wax) and its product #M720-1358. Itís a paste form and comes in a quart can. The liquid form is product #M720-1365 and itís a pint. It comes in a plastic bottle. As I mentioned earlier Murphyís oil soap is a perfect substitute for the liquid form. The paste form is just the liquid thatís been emulsified.

From contributor B:
We prefer not to add anything to the lacquer that might compromise the quality and durability of the finish. Instead, once it dries we sand (if needed), then go over with a red Scotch-Brite bad, then wipe wax on top (we've used everything from custom made antique furniture wax to Butcher's Bowling Alley Wax). The Scotch-Brite will ensure that no sheen is added. If you want a sheen, you can use steel wool after the Scotch-Brite. The wax will definitely make it silky.