Catalyzed Lacquer — Durability Meets Aesthetic 4/10/2012 7:00:00 AM
Catalyzed lacquer is a hybrid of catalyzed varnish and lacquer. The blending of the two other coating types provides a way to find a middle ground between the properties of a catalyzed varnish and a lacquer. Catalyzed varnishes are well known for their durability and lacquers are well known for their ease of use and appearance. Catalyzed lacquers bridge the gap with some of the durability of a catalyzed varnish and some of the ease of application of a lacquer.
Typically the following holds true for these four types of coatings;
|Easiest to use
|Least ease of use
All catalyzed lacquers are not created equal. They are made of four basic types of raw materials; resins, pigments, additives and solvents. The specific resins, pigments, additives and solvents will determine the characteristics of the coating. See “A Closer Look at Catalyzed Varnish” for more detail on the four types of raw materials. Some catalyzed lacquers are more like a catalyzed varnish and others are more like a lacquer. This depends on the specific formulation. The coating manufacturers mix resins used in catalyzed varnishes and resins used in lacquers to produce catalyzed lacquers. The ratio of catalyzed varnish resins to lacquer resins determines whether it provides characteristics closer to catalyzed varnish or lacquer. Check with the manufacturer to find out if a particular catalyzed lacquer is closer to a catalyzed varnish or lacquer. See “A Closer Look at Catalyzed Varnish” for more details on catalyzed varnish. Also see “Exploring Lacquer” blog for more information on lacquer.
Using a catalyzed lacquer will require attention to detail similar to using a catalyzed varnish. Since the coating is post-catalyzed (catalyzed just prior to application and not at the manufacturer’s factory), it is important to use the correct catalyst, measure it correctly, add it according to instructions, mix it thoroughly, and allow for any “induction time” required. This part is as critical as using a catalyzed varnish. Application will typically be between the ease of catalyzed varnish and lacquer and the factors that affect those coatings will also affect catalyzed lacquer. See “A Closer Look at Catalyzed Varnish” for more details on catalyzed varnish. Also see “Exploring Lacquer” blog for more information on lacquer.
Catalyzed lacquers were originally developed decades ago to allow finishers the ability to meet the ever increasing finish durability requirements of kitchen and bath cabinets and office and institutional furniture, while providing a good appearance with few problems during finishing. At the time, lacquers provided great aesthetic qualities but did not meet the durability requirements. Catalyzed varnishes provided the durability needed but were considerably more difficult to apply and achieve the aesthetic quality lacquer had been providing. Finish manufacturers then created the hybrid — catalyzed lacquer to provide enough durability, ease of use and aesthetic qualities.
Catalyzed lacquers may see a decline in use, giving way to catalyzed varnishes. Newer formulations of catalyzed varnishes are easier to use and provide an improved aesthetic appearance vs. decades ago. The better catalyzed varnishes become, the less need there will be for catalyzed lacquers.