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Lacquer thinner to thin Enamel - why?

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dmk
  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Lacquer thinner to thin Enamel - why?
Posted by dmk on Sunday, November 23, 2008 9:25 AM

 I've come across quite a few mentions of folks using lacquer thinner to thin enamel for spraying through an airbrush.

 There are some disadvantages to this (Possible damage to the paint itself, risk of crazing or melting the plastic with a heavy application and paint flash drying, leading to poor quality finish and adhesion).

 What are the advantages? Faster drying time? 

 

 

  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Sunday, November 23, 2008 9:44 AM

Can't think of one.

Lacquer thinner is intended to thin lacquers, which dry, rather than cure. It is a generic blend of solvents—anything from mostly alcohol (original lacquers were alcohol soluble) to a very esoteric blend. The latter are sometimes compatible with enamel systems, and are sometimes effective as universal cleaning agents.

Those who use them for enamels, as far as I can tell, use them for the reasons you mentioned. You also mentioned the drawbacks. 'Nuff said. 

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Van Alstyne, Tx.
Posted by bspeed on Sunday, November 23, 2008 11:04 AM

tis a crazy world out there. Big Smile [:D]  one can use Naptha to thin and speed up enamel drying time. or so I am lead to believe...only ever used it with Wood stain, hehe, and I did not hold a stopwatch to it.

dmk
  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by dmk on Sunday, November 23, 2008 11:40 AM

 Thanks for the replies guys.  I thought I was missing some secret or subtle advantage.

  Often you come across great ideas on the forums. I love "out of the box" thinking. Then again, sometimes you come across ideas that seem like they are more trouble than they are worth.

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    August 2007
  • From: The Plains of Kansas
Posted by doc-hm3 on Sunday, November 23, 2008 2:56 PM
  The only time that I mix the two is during clean-up by shooting laquer thinner through my AB. I have read on some other forums of cutting Tamiya acrylics with laquer thinner to shoot the paint easier and not allow the nozzle to dry up. 

All gave some and some gave all.

  • Member since
    June 2005
  • From: San Tan Valley,AZ
Posted by smokinguns3 on Sunday, November 23, 2008 3:39 PM
Ive been useing lacquer thinner to thin myy enamels for close to 20 years with out any issues what so ever.
Rob I think i can I think i can
  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Indiana
Posted by hkshooter on Sunday, November 23, 2008 5:29 PM

 smokinguns3 wrote:
Ive been useing lacquer thinner to thin myy enamels for close to 20 years with out any issues what so ever.

I used it also, without issue. Now I use it primarily as an AB cleaner but every once in a while I'll find myself with one hand full and a sealed enamel thinner container while needing a drop or two of thinner for the AB. OOPS. The cleaner jar is always open and a drop or two with a pipette saves the day.

I've never had any of the problems listed above. However, I once tried mineral spirits as a thinner. Did not like it. The finish was "different" and drying time doubled. From then on I stick to brand name thinners for the appropriate paint.

dmk
  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by dmk on Sunday, November 23, 2008 8:26 PM

 smokinguns3 wrote:
Ive been useing lacquer thinner to thin myy enamels for close to 20 years with out any issues what so ever.
Yea, it obviously works for some people. I see people saying they do it all over the forums.

  But the question is why?  Why do you do it?

 What is the benefit of thinning with lacquer thinner instead of paint thinner, mineral spirits or whatever?

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2005
  • From: San Tan Valley,AZ
Posted by smokinguns3 on Sunday, November 23, 2008 8:54 PM
If i where to guess it, its because the lacquer thinner breaks up the pigment better than the mineral spirets. which i beleve gives you a smoother paint job. like i said ive been useing it for close to 20 years most of my experiance is fromm working in a body shop.
Rob I think i can I think i can
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Monday, November 24, 2008 8:15 AM

The only effect lacquer thinner would have on pigment dispersal would be a lowering of viscosity, like any other reducing solvent.

Depending on what solvents are in your lacquer thinner, they may change the behavior of the binder, but that effect is as likely to be negative as it is positive. For example, if one or more of the solvents in the blend causes de-linking of the binder polymer, it will reduce viscosity, possibly produce a thinner coating, but the polymer may never fully cross-link, producing a more fragile coating. However, one or more solvents in many lacquer thinners is highly aggressive to styrene, and thus the paint is essentially melted into the plastic.

If you want to reduce drying times with enamels, try adding some Japan drier, available in most hardware stores. 

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: NE Georgia
Posted by Specter65 on Monday, November 24, 2008 7:43 PM
When speaking of lacquer thinner, is this the same as mineral spirits or is it something different?
The future will soon be a thing of the past.
  • Member since
    January 2003
  • From: Peoples Socialist Democratic Republic of Illinois
Posted by Triarius on Monday, November 24, 2008 11:05 PM

 Specter65 wrote:
When speaking of lacquer thinner, is this the same as mineral spirits or is it something different?

It can be anything and everything, as far as solvents are concerned. "Lacquer thinner" has no specific composition. It may contain mineral spirits (it usually doesn't) but it is not the same as mineral spirits. 

Ross Martinek A little strangeness, now and then, is a good thing… Wink

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: Central USA
Posted by qmiester on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 5:29 AM

To me it's more a matter of cost and convience.  I can buy a gallon of lacquer thinner or automotive enamel reducer for a heck of a lot less than than I can buy the equivalent amount of OEM thinner at a hobby shop.  And both thinner and reducer do the same job just as well.  Plus the fact that I can get either locally.  I've got both a hardware and a lumberyard that stock the thinner and an automotive supply store that carries the reducer - all within less than 5 minutes from my house.  Closest hobby shop is a minimum of 1 hr round trip plus the cost of the gas.

Which means SWMBO is happy and I've got more money to spend on kits & AM.

Quincy
  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Iowa
Posted by Hans von Hammer on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 11:44 AM
My first experience with laquer thinner wasn't a good one.. It was during my VoTec college days in autobody repair & painting... I wasn't paying attention and put laquer thinner into my pot of enamel, which was a VERY expensive enamel as well... Needless to say, it turned into cottage cheese almost immediately... I've never used laquer thinner anywhere near enamels since.. Just as a cleaner..

dmk
  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by dmk on Tuesday, November 25, 2008 11:53 AM
It does make a great cleaner. I use it to wipe down the paint cup, needle and outside of my airbrush no matter what paint I'm using.
  • Member since
    August 2019
Posted by Bluzboy66 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 1:57 AM

Hans von Hammer
My first experience with laquer thinner wasn't a good one.. I put laquer thinner into my pot of enamel, which was a VERY expensive enamel as well... Needless to say, it turned into cottage cheese almost immediately...

 

i know this is an old thread, but I’m willing to bet you were using acrylic single-stage enamel. That’s its own animal altogether. You have to use proper acrylic enamel reducer for that. 

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 11:59 AM

Bluzboy66

 

 
Hans von Hammer
My first experience with laquer thinner wasn't a good one.. I put laquer thinner into my pot of enamel, which was a VERY expensive enamel as well... Needless to say, it turned into cottage cheese almost immediately...

 

 

 

i know this is an old thread, but I’m willing to bet you were using acrylic single-stage enamel. That’s its own animal altogether. You have to use proper acrylic enamel reducer for that. 

 

Old Hans is long gone from around here.A great and helpful contributer,he is missed.I think he is okay,I think I heard computer issues,I don't know if he posts anywhere else.

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 3:48 PM

Lacquer thinner in enamel is popular for painting model cars. It gives you fast wet coat that doesn't sag or run very easy with a super shine and no orange peel. Typically used with a good sized nozzle and fairly high pressure, you just keep blasting till done. Three full wet coats basically. I like a blend of lacquer thinner and mineral spirits for enamel on car bodies if to use solvent paints. In short it works and it doesn't do all the nasty things mentioned above in what ever post it was. Not my experience nor several model car builders experience who post to you tube. Don Yost commercial builder and highly regarded contest builder also does it that way and with a Paasche H. Here's a video as to why if it will load, it's 10 minutes long:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCKZ_fo4eW0

  • Member since
    March 2014
Posted by Graham Green on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 4:21 PM

oldermodelguy

Lacquer thinner in enamel is popular for painting model cars. It gives you fast wet coat that doesn't sag or run very easy with a super shine and no orange peel. Typically used with a good sized nozzle and fairly high pressure, you just keep blasting till done. Three full wet coats basically. I like a blend of lacquer thinner and mineral spirits for enamel on car bodies if to use solvent paints. In short it works and it doesn't do all the nasty things mentioned above in what ever post it was. Not my experience nor several model car builders experience who post to you tube. Don Yost commercial builder and highly regarded contest builder also does it that way and with a Paasche H. Here's a video as to why if it will load, it's 10 minutes long:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCKZ_fo4eW0

 

 

 

 

Excellent video, quite a few who "espouse" the dearest internal mix airbushes, should  take a look at what can be achieved with just a very ordinary el-cheapo external mix airbrush.

So what this fella is saying, is you can achieve phenominal results, without having to spend heaps of dollars on an airbrush, that just aint worth all those dollars.

 

I like this fellas thinking, dont waste the dollars on things that aren't worth it, use the dollars wisely for buying/making the models.

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 4:22 PM

Tojo72

 

 
Bluzboy66

 

 
Hans von Hammer
My first experience with laquer thinner wasn't a good one.. I put laquer thinner into my pot of enamel, which was a VERY expensive enamel as well... Needless to say, it turned into cottage cheese almost immediately...

 

 

 

i know this is an old thread, but I’m willing to bet you were using acrylic single-stage enamel. That’s its own animal altogether. You have to use proper acrylic enamel reducer for that. 

 

 

 

Old Hans is long gone from around here.A great and helpful contributer,he is missed.I think he is okay,I think I heard computer issues,I don't know if he posts anywhere else.

 

Hail the Don!

Modeling is an excuse to buy books

 

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 5:21 PM

Graham Green

 

 Excellent video, quite a few who "espouse" the dearest internal mix airbushes, should  take a look at what can be achieved with just a very ordinary el-cheapo external mix airbrush.

So what this fella is saying, is you can achieve phenominal results, without having to spend heaps of dollars on an airbrush, that just aint worth all those dollars.

 

I like this fellas thinking, dont waste the dollars on things that aren't worth it, use the dollars wisely for buying/making the models.

The result speaks for itself. It's repeatable, I've done it myself. Just remember he's hosing down a car body there. A Paasche H is capable enough but if you want really fine lines with a super atomized mist coming out you might want to look at something else. You can still get that with a single action brush or double but it's going to be internal mix most likely. The Paasche H and #3 needle are well suited to model car finishes though, I use one a lot for that or base coats, priming etc.

He mentioned doing metalizer paints with the H and you can but I use a Badger 200 and fine needle personally and see a difference. It's smoother and a finer mist coming out. But that's not an expensive brush either. It's adjustment range is much finer and over a broad range by comparison to the H.

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:17 AM

Specter65
When speaking of lacquer thinner, is this the same as mineral spirits or is it something different?
 

No, lacquer thinner is a stronger solvent.  The common paint thinner is turpentine.  The latter is often called mineral spirits.  Turpentine is usually used to thin and to clean up enamel.

There are now some synthetic paint thinners out there that are lousy for thinning enamels.  They have dissolved material which precipitates out and can mess up a paint job.  They have a milky appearance rather than water-clear.  But they come in opaque containers, so you cannot see this milkiness until you buy it.  I now only buy stuff that specifically says turpentine or mineral spirits.  While the term mineral spirits could mean any of a number of materials, in a hardware store it usually means turpentine.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2018
Posted by oldermodelguy on Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:56 AM

Sorry but real turpentine and real mineral spirits are not the same. Right out of the gate turpentine is derived from pine resin ( and it smells it too) and mineral spirits from petroleum ( and it smells it, like kerosene actually). Turpentine is not good as a cleaner, it remains sticky on the surface, mineral spirits works fine to clean surfaces. As thinners, mineral spirits will dry quicker. Both can thin enamels such as alkyd enamels but not suggested for acrylic enamels. But they literally are not the same substance, people might think so but they aren't. Turpentine also is generally more costly. Just FWIW.

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