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View Full Version : Lacquer: Watco vs Deft



Koa Soprano
04-12-2013, 12:21 PM
I was getting some sandpaper today and browsed the finishing section at the store and saw Deft and Watco lacquers. I've done mostly oil finishes but was thinking about a satin lacquer for my next uke.

Has anyone used either, or both? Which do you prefer? The Watco is cheaper.

weerpool
04-12-2013, 12:24 PM
deft. and they're both poor to shitty in quality. good way to pratice a faux-lacquer finish. i would invest in a proper system because the cost of those $11 spray cans can add up real quick. just my .00003 cent.

Koa Soprano
04-12-2013, 12:51 PM
I wasn't going to use the spray cans, I read they have softeners or something in them to aid in flow. They had the brush on cans which you thin around 50/50 to spray and I have an okay system already, but also made a living finishing furniture years ago so I have experience spraying.

ETA: Just did a google search on this and this thread is already listed!

Pete Howlett
04-12-2013, 01:00 PM
Don't waste your time or money. Cardinal lacquer has become the industry standard nitro... it's water clear, flows out great and cures rock hard in a few days!

Chris_H
04-12-2013, 02:10 PM
Watco and Deft are pure junk for anything but clearcoating a paper art project.

Cardinal is the best lacquer I have used, though I have not used any of the other instrument lacquers. Someone gave me a quart of the Seagraves to try, but I have not yet. Cardinal is super durable, and if you are just learning, you might as well learn how to finish with a good product, as every lacquer I have used has differed slightly.

You will likely benefit from thinning it slightly, depending on your spray equipment, and you probably wont know til you try, somewhere between 10% and 30%. With a gun well matched to this lacquer you might not need to thin it at all, or only around 10%.

Cardinal...

Pete Howlett
04-12-2013, 09:10 PM
Using a drip cup, Cardinal works for me at a 25% reduction.

thistle3585
04-13-2013, 07:29 AM
I started using Deft because it doesn't blush at all and at the time that I started building I didn't have a very good spray booth setup. I have grown accustomed to it and have used it on all my instruments, approximately 100, but for a few. One day I may change to an "instrument" coating but I have this finishing system down already and it works well. I do not thin it before spraying it. I know a number of reputable builders that use it. Do not use the Deft in a rattle can. It is terrible. They use a very hot solvent as the accelerant and if it isn't kept well mixed then it will spurt the accelerant which leaves fish eyes. I did use Watco on a couple instruments when they didn't have Deft and it worked okay but was prone to blushing. I have a friend that was using it in his production shop but I'm not sure if that is still the case or not.

As a side note, I never understood buying a high solids count finish then reducing it to spray. I've always laid down fewer heavier coats than lots of thinner, but as I said, that is the system that I developed. Everyone has their own process.

Dan Uke
04-13-2013, 07:37 AM
How do you guys dispose lacquer? I'm sure its not good for the environment

resoman
04-13-2013, 10:15 AM
How do you guys dispose lacquer? I'm sure its not good for the environment

It gets used for sure!

Chris_H
04-14-2013, 06:49 AM
As a side note, I never understood buying a high solids count finish then reducing it to spray. I've always laid down fewer heavier coats than lots of thinner, but as I said, that is the system that I developed. Everyone has their own process.

From the standpoint of a professional finisher, there is a reason why finishes are usually supplied toward the higher end of 'solids content'. Every gun has a slightly different feel, behaviour, What if you were spraying with airless? You can spray some pretty thick material with that, and still get good atomization, good flow, in a production environment, airless works great with lacquer, especially with a dual orifice tip. Beyond fine tuning the viscosity to the gear, there is also intention to consider, sometimes it is desireable to have a thinner, or thicker material, sometimes for reasons that you decide. Temperature? Humidity? Toning? Retarders and reducers help fine tune for differences. Fluid tip size? Single orifice? Dual orifice? To a professional finisher, thinning is not an 'option' it is just how the material is fine tuned. Most every finish gets thinned. More thinner coats is almost always better. Spraying a coat takes almost no time. Sanding does.

Watco and Deft are DIY products, not professional, they are made to be friendly with non professional finishers. Cardinal is not the easiest lacquer I have ever sprayed, it requires the gun to be set up well, and good technique. If everything is ideal, and you have an efficient sequence to spray an instrument, the results of each coat can be very glassy. If things are less than ideal, including, possibly, your technique, more texture in the finish will likely result. Thinning can adjust the flow, leave a glassier result. Some will say that the application does not matter, that at the end of the day you can sand anything 'flat' and polish it, which is true to a point, but, getting it glassy from the git go saves so much time. Different guns will likely require different thinning ratios. Some guns will require none. Different temperatures and humidity will each affect how the viscosity of the lacquer plays in to how it 'lays out'.

With your experience with Deft, when you start using Cardinal, or other similar lacquer, a real lacquer, you will begin to understand the difference. And, you will never look back.

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
04-14-2013, 08:20 AM
From the standpoint of a professional finisher, there is a reason why finishes are usually supplied toward the higher end of 'solids content'. Every gun has a slightly different feel, behaviour, What if you were spraying with airless? You can spray some pretty thick material with that, and still get good atomization, good flow, in a production environment, airless works great with lacquer, especially with a dual orifice tip. Beyond fine tuning the viscosity to the gear, there is also intention to consider, sometimes it is desireable to have a thinner, or thicker material, sometimes for reasons that you decide. Temperature? Humidity? Toning? Retarders and reducers help fine tune for differences. Fluid tip size? Single orifice? Dual orifice? To a professional finisher, thinning is not an 'option' it is just how the material is fine tuned. Most every finish gets thinned. More thinner coats is almost always better. C

Watco and Deft are DIY products, not professional, they are made to be friendly with non professional finishers. Cardinal is not the easiest lacquer I have ever sprayed, it requires the gun to be set up well, and good technique. If everything is ideal, and you have an efficient sequence to spray an instrument, the results of each coat can be very glassy. If things are less than ideal, including, possibly, your technique, more texture in the finish will likely result. Thinning can adjust the flow, leave a glassier result. Some will say that the application does not matter, that at the end of the day you can sand anything 'flat' and polish it, which is true to a point, but, getting it glassy from the git go saves so much time. Different guns will likely require different thinning ratios. Some guns will require none. Different temperatures and humidity will each affect how the viscosity of the lacquer plays in to how it 'lays out'.

With your experience with Deft, when you start using Cardinal, or other similar lacquer, a real lacquer, you will begin to understand the difference. And, you will never look back.


"Spraying a coat takes almost no time. Sanding does..... Some will say that the application does not matter, that at the end of the day you can sand anything 'flat' and polish it, which is true to a point, but, getting it glassy from the git go saves so much time."

I took me hundreds of instruments to find that out. By sanding away lacquer you are also never sure how much is left on the instrument. You can measure what goes on but it's pretty difficult to measure what you sand off.
I agree on all of your other points. I always look forward to your comments on finishing.

Chris_H
04-14-2013, 10:08 AM
Thanks Chuck