Lacquer with no plasticizers ?

RibbonCurl

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Hi Members,

Can anyone chime in and recommend an acceptable nitro--cellulose lacquer for my burst after completed? I was giving this a lot of thought and realized if I can't locate the proper lacquer that does not contain plasticizers then I'm basically stuck.

I do have a very old book on lacquers (from 1954) that has a wealth of info regarding ingrediants and such but these formulations are probably long gone.

I chose nitro-lacquer for its period correct finish and also for its ability to yellow, crack over time and allow the wood to continue to breath. I haven't started my build as of yet but doing a lot of research before the event begins.

Looking for a lacquer product that does not have any plasticizers in the formulation, yellowd over time, dries rock hard, shatters like glass and may I kindly add (if possible) ... a brushable version as well.

Thank you kindly
Wally
 

LtDave32

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Cardinal Series 2000 Nitrocellulose Lacquer is what I always use.

Will yellow with age. Will harden brittle like the old stuff. Will crack and check as the instrument expands and contracts.


NOT the Cardinal "musical instrument lacquer". I don't know about that stuff, it's a rather new product from Cardinal.

But the Series 2000, I've been using it for 13 years. It does what the old stuff did.

My best friend has a trophy manufacturing shop in Los Angeles, and the business has been handed down from grandfather to father to son. They had an account with Cardinal since the early days, they use nitro lacquer for trophy coating, and buy it by the drum. I go there to tack an order on to his order. Be certain to also buy the thinner that goes with the lacquer from the same manufacturer. Do not use "hardware store" thinner. Way too much acetone in it.



-Word to the wise, and to dispel a myth. Lacquer doesn't "breathe". It dries hard and crystalline. It's the wood underneath it expanding under varying humidity and time that makes the hard lacquer crack and check.
 

RibbonCurl

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I understand this has been a well travelled topic and i'm reading the older posts under the search topic "Lacquer". I feel custom lacquer formulations and products (with no plasticizers) are a well guarded secret. Simply looking for advice. Not interested in lacquers with "minimal plasticizers". If I'm building the real deal would prefer to finish it with the real deal. Otherwise, what alternatives do I have? Thank you kindly.
 

LtDave32

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Well, I know of no changes done to Cardinal, and I do not believe they have any placsticizers in it.

I'll post up the data sheet.
 

RibbonCurl

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Cardinal Series 2000 Nitrocellulose Lacquer is what I always use.

Will yellow with age. Will harden brittle like the old stuff. Will crack and check as the instrument expands and contracts.


NOT the Cardinal "musical instrument lacquer". I don't know about that stuff, it's a rather new product from Cardinal.

But the Series 2000, I've been using it for 13 years. It does what the old stuff did.

My best friend has a trophy manufacturing shop in Los Angeles, and the business has been handed down from grandfather to father to son. They had an account with Cardinal since the early days, they use nitro lacquer for trophy coating, and buy it by the drum. I go there to tack an order on to his order. Be certain to also buy the thinner that goes with the lacquer from the same manufacturer. Do not use "hardware store" thinner. Way too much acetone in it.



-Word to the wise, and to dispel a myth. Lacquer doesn't "breathe". It dries hard and crystalline. It's the wood underneath it expanding under varying humidity and time that makes the hard lacquer crack and check.
Thank you LtDave32. Yes, I understand about the "breath" aspect ... just using it as a figure of speech. Thanks for the clarification. I understand both shellac and lacquer will allow the wood to continue to dry and not be 100% airtight (so to speak) but likewise, will it also allow the absorption of moisture/humidity if the former is true? Obviously the absorption of moisture/humidity is not good. If true, then why utilize a finish that allows the expulsion and absorption of moisture/humidity in regards to the wood of the guitar?
 

RibbonCurl

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Cardinal Series 2000 Nitrocellulose Lacquer is what I always use.

Will yellow with age. Will harden brittle like the old stuff. Will crack and check as the instrument expands and contracts.


NOT the Cardinal "musical instrument lacquer". I don't know about that stuff, it's a rather new product from Cardinal.

But the Series 2000, I've been using it for 13 years. It does what the old stuff did.

My best friend has a trophy manufacturing shop in Los Angeles, and the business has been handed down from grandfather to father to son. They had an account with Cardinal since the early days, they use nitro lacquer for trophy coating, and buy it by the drum. I go there to tack an order on to his order. Be certain to also buy the thinner that goes with the lacquer from the same manufacturer. Do not use "hardware store" thinner. Way too much acetone in it.



-Word to the wise, and to dispel a myth. Lacquer doesn't "breathe". It dries hard and crystalline. It's the wood underneath it expanding under varying humidity and time that makes the hard lacquer crack and check.
Thank you LtDave32. Reading up on the Cardinal Series 2000 Nitrocellulose Lacquer. Interesting. Reading the forum link you sent as well. Some great info for sure! Is there a brushable version? What is the shelf life? Can I purchase in small quantity? Afterall, I'm just getting started. Will check the Cardinal Series 2000 website and see if they can answer. Thanks LtDave32. Appreciate the help.
 

LtDave32

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Thank you LtDave32. Yes, I understand about the "breath" aspect ... just using it as a figure of speech. Thanks for the clarification. I understand both shellac and lacquer will allow the wood to continue to dry and not be 100% airtight (so to speak) but likewise, will it also allow the absorption of moisture/humidity if the former is true? Obviously the absorption of moisture/humidity is not good. If true, then why utilize a finish that allows the expulsion and absorption of moisture/humidity in regards to the wood of the guitar?

Well, tell ya what. I used to live near the beach in SoCal. I bought a Gibson J-185 acoustic there. In 2008, I moved to the desert. The humidity is frequently around 10% and sometimes as low as 7 % or even 5%. The underside and insides of that guitar are uncoated, of course. That allowed the wood to dry out. the entire top lacquer cracked and checked all over the belly of that instrument.

Heat will expand an instrument regardless if any moisture can get in or out. And cold with contract it. When lacquer hardens (and I've worked exclusively with lacquer ever since I started building, and that's a lot of lacquer over the years), it as you say, is as brittle as glass. Even if I try and drill holes in it after 4 weeks, it will chip out as if it were glass. I have to run the drill bit backwards to heat it up to get a chip-free hole going.

That expansion and contraction of wood is the cause of lacquer checking and cracking. In more stable, humid environments, that checking and cracking will take much longer. Take the instrument out of that environment and put it in a different, hotter, colder, drier environment, and that effect will be accelerated.
 

LtDave32

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Thank you LtDave32. Reading up on the Cardinal Series 2000 Nitrocellulose Lacquer. Interesting. Reading the forum link you sent as well. Some great info for sure! Is there a brushable version? What is the shelf life? Can I purchase in small quantity? Afterall, I'm just getting started. Will check the Cardinal Series 2000 website and see if they can answer. Thanks LtDave32. Appreciate the help.
I think your best bet is to contact cardinal Monday morning and talk to one of their pros. They know their stuff.

While you "can" theoretically brush on lacquer (Henry Ford did), I'd really recommend spraying it for better results.

I do not know if you can buy Series 2000 by the gallon. I get it by the 5 gallon drum. See if Cardinal can help you out there.

Shelf life.. I can tell you from pure experience, that you had better keep that container airtight and out of the heat.

I had 1/3 of a 5 gallon drum of pure lacquer (not diluted with thinner) turn almost brown on me because I kept it out in the shop over the brutal summer here in the desert. I now keep my drum of lacquer and several 50/50 mix containers in a dark, cool place.

So there's your proof of yellow. Oh, yes it will.

Shelf life if you store it properly should be a very long time, as it is not catalyzed like some acrylic lacquers.
 

bierz

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I've gone on this hunt as well, and certainly read about Cardinal Series 2000 but haven't sourced any myself. A tech I trust in Chicago recommended Mohawk Finisher's Choice for a lacquer that will check, and I can confirm that it does. I really like the stuff. I also set a mason jar of it in the sun last summer and it's ambered nicely.
If you know Danocaster guitars, the guy behind that said "I use Gemini lacquer for all my color mixes and mohawk for all clear coats ... I like mixing two different kinds of lacquer Helps with the aging process". This was on an Instagram comment. Finally, Martin Geuhl in Germany runs eurospruce.de and he sells lacquer there. It's apparently homemade and he stands behind its aging abilities. I actually have some but haven't yet tried it. Good luck and I hope you keep us informed on your progress. I'll do the same once I finally get around to using the stuff I have.
 

Roxy13

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I've gone on this hunt as well, and certainly read about Cardinal Series 2000 but haven't sourced any myself. A tech I trust in Chicago recommended Mohawk Finisher's Choice for a lacquer that will check, and I can confirm that it does. I really like the stuff. I also set a mason jar of it in the sun last summer and it's ambered nicely.
If you know Danocaster guitars, the guy behind that said "I use Gemini lacquer for all my color mixes and mohawk for all clear coats ... I like mixing two different kinds of lacquer Helps with the aging process". This was on an Instagram comment. Finally, Martin Geuhl in Germany runs eurospruce.de and he sells lacquer there. It's apparently homemade and he stands behind its aging abilities. I actually have some but haven't yet tried it. Good luck and I hope you keep us informed on your progress. I'll do the same once I finally get around to using the stuff I have.
Can you buy smaller amounts of the Mohawk? I'm not sure what on earth I would do with 5 gallon containers. At this point I'm thinking I'll be lucky to make 2-3 guitars a year.
 

SlingBlader

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Can you buy smaller amounts of the Mohawk? I'm not sure what on earth I would do with 5 gallon containers. At this point I'm thinking I'll be lucky to make 2-3 guitars a year.
Hi Roxy, yes you can get it in gallons and quarts in several different sheens. I use Mohawk's Piano lacquer, myself. I'm going to order some of their CAB lacquer soon to experiment with it.

Anyway, send them an inquiry at the Mohawk Finishing site and they will put you in touch with a sales rep. I usually buy a few gallons at a time to make the shipping count, but they do give me a small discount on the product. They're fantastic to work with and have always been prompt to answer any questions.

Here is a link to the Finisher's Choice:
 

Roxy13

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Hi Roxy, yes you can get it in gallons and quarts in several different sheens. I use Mohawk's Piano lacquer, myself. I'm going to order some of their CAB lacquer soon to experiment with it.

Anyway, send them an inquiry at the Mohawk Finishing site and they will put you in touch with a sales rep. I usually buy a few gallons at a time to make the shipping count, but they do give me a small discount on the product. They're fantastic to work with and have always been prompt to answer any questions.

Here is a link to the Finisher's Choice:
Excellent, thank you! I have a feeling spring/early summer I'm going to be doing like 6, but after that I'm expecting to slow down as everything from that point on will be scratch builds. But, right now I have 3 of those incomplete Tokai bodies and necks to finish, 2 guitars that need a refinish (one because I want to and one someone gave me for a practice run) and I just bought some wood to do my first scratch build.
 

VertigoCycles

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I just did an order with Cardinal and unfortunately found out rather late (after delivery) that they do have a custom mix with no plasticizers. Now that I have a few gallons of 2000 and a few of Luthierlac, I'm not in a hurry to buy any more. I can't say with any authority that the 2000 series stuff doesn't have plasticizers, but it has about double the solids content IIRC and my rep said you can make it crack by doing the freezer thing.
 

Brek

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will cardinal ship to UK I wonder, only stuff I can find over here has stuff in it to stop it cracking etc.
 

Brek

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Can you get Nitorlac over there? I thought they had a mix too that will crack
had a quick search, no uk stores list it, however found a US store that will ship surface so solves the issue. thanks.
 

bierz

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I just did an order with Cardinal and unfortunately found out rather late (after delivery) that they do have a custom mix with no plasticizers. Now that I have a few gallons of 2000 and a few of Luthierlac, I'm not in a hurry to buy any more. I can't say with any authority that the 2000 series stuff doesn't have plasticizers, but it has about double the solids content IIRC and my rep said you can make it crack by doing the freezer thing.
What sizes were you able to buy of 2000 and Luthierlac?
 


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