Finishing School (part two) – lacquer
This time, we’ll cover one of the most popular finishes that European cabinets are known for – Lacquer.
Wikipedia -In a general sense, lacquer is a somewhat imprecise term for a clear or coloured wood finish that dries by solvent evaporation. It is also often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish. This finish can be of any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss, and it can be further polished as required. It is also used for “lacquer paint”, which typically denotes a paint that dries to a more than usually hard and smooth surface.
In cabinetry (and in furniture), we generally find lacquer , often called ‘shellac’, in two applications: over wood or as a color paint. It can be any of various durable natural varnishes, mostly a varnish obtained from an Asian sumac (Rhus verniciflua) —called also Japanese lacquer, or any of various synthetic organic coating (clear or colored), that dries to create a hard coating, mostly a solution of cellulose dervative (such as nitrocellulose).
Lacquered wood – generally the application of lacquer over wood is over wood veneer (sheets of wood), on slab (flat) door and in high gloss. the application of high gloss lacquer over wood veneer, gives the wood a shiny finish and creates a 3D like affect, adding depth to the wood grain look.
Pros: – rich, unique look, that a second to none, of shiny wood, magnifiying the wood design.
- easy to clean (with just a little soap and water) due to the super smooth, glass-like finish, that does not absorb anything.
Cons: – expensive. The application of the veneer, plus the glossy lacqcer, adds up to a high price.
- on dark colors, shows fingerprints.
Color laqcuer – lacquer is paint, usually sparayed over MDF boards, that dry by the evaporation of simple solvent and that contains a solid binder that dissolves in a solvent. When that process happens, a thin, hard shell is created. A few coats are applied to reach approx 5 mm. thickness.
There are three groups of lacquer textures being offered – matte, high-gloss and textured. The matte is simply that – flat paint like finish. The glossy can be at different sheen levels, but is primarily done as a high gloss. The textured lacquer is sprayed from a heated spary gun and when it meets the cold air, it forms a textured finish that is actually more durable than the other two.
Pros: – the clean, perfect look of lacquer…
- easy to clean (with just a little soap and water).
Cons: the matte finish is a bit more sustainable to scratches.
- on dark colors, shows finger prints.