Duplicating a black lacquer finish

Methods and products for achieving a good black laquer finish. March 20, 2001

What is the best way to duplicate a black lacquer finish?

Forum Responses
Here is what I like to do with lacquer: Use black or dark gray primer to prep the surface and get it smooth. When this is sanded perfectly smooth, shoot a double coat (wet on wet) of gloss black N/C lacquer. When this is dry, I use a couple coats of a high-grade (tabletop or bar top lacquer) gloss topcoat. This system will give you much better mar-resistance and depth. Pigmented products mar easily compared to clear gloss.

Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor

Recently I had a job in black where I used Sherwood's Vinyl Basecoat product. (I think the cat# on the black is pb63.) What a wonderful product for doing black finishes! I may never use primer and pigmented lacquer again. It's a thin product. For opaque black, you spray it on in barely wet coats, then follow with your clear topcoats. It reaches a full opaque color, if you want, or degrees in between.

What amazed me is how this product colors in the pores of an open-grained wood without the use of a primer or wood filler. Of course, if you want a filled grain appearance on an open-pored wood, you'd still need to use a filler or primer.

What type of primer do you recommend for black lacquering?

You can make most sealers black by adding Huls or CreaNova 844 Lamp Black colorant. This includes most vinyl sealers.

Bob Niemeyer, forum technical advisor

Sherwin Williams makes a very good black primer/surfacer for nc lacquer. Clawlock also comes in black for catalyzed lacquer. On nc lacquer, I don't like clear coating as it tends to gray out the black and also makes it difficult to touch-up.

Emron by Dupont "Featherfil" is another primer/sealer that is a great product. It fills the grains, and leaves an excellent base, for any coating, including polyurethane and polyester. Use a respirator.

I have used ML Campbell's Microton black dye stain as a base coat. I apply numerous coats via spray application until the desired opacity is achieved and then topcoat with one thin coat of water white vinyl sealer. Too much sealer will give you a cloudy appearance. Topcoat with virtually any clear, depending on the end use of the piece. I usually use Krystal and the durability is outstanding and I don't have the problem of a soft coating as seen with traditional black lacquer.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor A:
I use ML Campbell's Magnamax Gloss tinted black. I sand to 180 grit, spray first coat, sand, spray second coat, sand, then apply two coats of Magnamax clear gloss, sanding between coats. Finish by rubbing out top coat... an awesome look!