Acetone - Lacquer thinner - Reducer....What the difference?

UndercoverCoatingsUndercoverCoatings Posts: 558Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
I'm curious as to how much difference there is when using any of those 3 as a reducer. I'm guessing the officially named "reducer" would have a specific blend of chemicals to suit specific paints, but can acetone or lacquer thinner be used instead? The more info the better!

Thanks

Comments

  • RBurressRBurress Posts: 1,553Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    This is going to get deep. You just wait till solvent geniuses get on here!!
  • UndercoverCoatingsUndercoverCoatings Posts: 558Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
    That's what I'm hoping for @RBurress‌
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    You should always use what the manufacturer recommends. Not all solvents work for all paints. Then you have evaporation speeds to deal with. 
    Acetone evaporates extremely fast. 
    Lacquer thinner is more of a mix of other solvents (acetone, MEK, etc) designed to specifically thin lacquer paints. But no one really uses lacquer anymore so people mainly use it as a good cleaner.
    The differences in the actual solvents are mostly about evaporation speed and polarity. 
    I hated chemistry class but I think I remember that similar polarities disolve each other best.
  • UndercoverCoatingsUndercoverCoatings Posts: 558Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭
    Yeah, I'm pretty familiar with using naphtha and xylene to thin plasti dip. I change the ratios based on temp and humidity to achieve a smoother finish or to reduce blushing during humid days. I was wondering how that translates in the auto paint world. 

    Also asking because I'm curious if when using different brand paints do you always need switch to that brands reducer or is that where this potential substitution of chemicals comes into play? 
  • submergeddesignssubmergeddesigns Posts: 53Member ✭✭
    edited December 2014
    I use reducer for reducing solvent basecoat, clears etc that require it. Always match your specific reducers according to your spraying environment according to your booth temperature. I usually try to stay with the same manufacturer chemical wise throughout the painting process, but I don't believe reducer brands usaully cause any issue.
    I only use laquer thinner for gun cleaning.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,311Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    We use a lot of Prime Coatings solvent based paints, and use nothing but acetone to thin. Its an exempt solvent from the VOC reporting. I can't speak for other manufacturers paints, but I would try that anywhere I could, simply so it can stay off the reports. So definitely run your tests. There are paints that Prime Coatings makes though, that specifically call out a certain reducer, knowing full well what our preference is, so there is chemistry behind it. We also get air dry versions of those paints made, and graphics colors that we can spray with the airbrush. Those require 2 different thinner mixes for summer and winter, mixed for the humidity so that the paint will flatten out before the solvent evaporates off. 

    We never use lacquer thinner for anything except maybe cleaning dirty parts in the garage. Methyl acetate, oxsol, Methyl Iso Butl Ketone, Methyl Aml Ketone, all can be dosed it to aid with evaporation, or to effect the way the metallic lays. There is some pretty good science behind this stuff... but its for guys that are smarter then me.
  • onehitwonderonehitwonder Posts: 2,731Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    they're all right - urethane reducer is the king of the castle, in terms of quality of flow and even coating - that';s what we reduce OHW with - acetone and lacquer thinner have already been addressed
  • TsunamiTsunami Posts: 4,952Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭

    they're all right - urethane reducer is the king of the castle, in terms of quality of flow and even coating - that';s what we reduce OHW with - acetone and lacquer thinner have already been addressed

    As far as percentage to get my clear to flow smoother does 5 to 10 % sound correct for urethane reducer?
  • airtimegrafixairtimegrafix Posts: 2,144Member ✭✭✭✭
    Tsunami said:

    they're all right - urethane reducer is the king of the castle, in terms of quality of flow and even coating - that';s what we reduce OHW with - acetone and lacquer thinner have already been addressed

    As far as percentage to get my clear to flow smoother does 5 to 10 % sound correct for urethane reducer?
    yes 5-10 % is the rule!
  • DustyLungsDustyLungs Posts: 1Member
    Pay attention to to your data sheets on your clears and primers. Most high build primers (DTM,2K) are normally 4:1, as well as some middle of the road clear coats (2:1 for higher end clears with more depth). Now with reducing those clear coats and primers,it helps to reduce primer for flow 4:1:1, but be careful with the clear coats it may look good NOW but wait a year or even six months you could get "haze" or solvent pop. If you must reduce use nothing but REDUCER not thinners or anything else or the comeback clowns will come to town hahahahha Cheers.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,264Administrator El Jefe

    Pay attention to to your data sheets on your clears and primers. Most high build primers (DTM,2K) are normally 4:1, as well as some middle of the road clear coats (2:1 for higher end clears with more depth). Now with reducing those clear coats and primers,it helps to reduce primer for flow 4:1:1, but be careful with the clear coats it may look good NOW but wait a year or even six months you could get "haze" or solvent pop. If you must reduce use nothing but REDUCER not thinners or anything else or the comeback clowns will come to town hahahahha Cheers.

    Yepp...good post...
  • JimGJimG Posts: 88Member ✭✭
    All your paint manufacturers will tell you to stay in your system. PPG,DuPont,Martin senour, Spies, etc. they have chemists to make sure their ducks are in a row for a reason. Laquer thinner will thin viscosity but may have a long term chemical change, especially in DuPont clears, ask me how I know lol. Use the reducers recommended by the Mfg.
  • chistletoechistletoe Posts: 1Member
    wow, I came here to learn, I'm just a confirmed woodworker hobbyist, but I guess I gotta teach.
    Yes, there are still people finishing with lacquer. Its is like a beautiful woman -- much faster, much more dangerous, and much prettier, than polyurethane or other oil finishes.
    Quick chemistry lesson: you all are mixing apples, oranges, and peanuts here and getting kind of odd results .... most kinds of finish are mixed up with one of four different classes of solvents: water, alcohol, oil, or -I will get back to this in a minute - lacquer thinner.
    Water and Alcohol are miscible.
    So alcohol is also miscible with oil or gasoline. But water doesn't mix at all with oil unless there's alcohol present to smooth it over.
    Same thing with oil and lacquer thinner. Lacquer thinner is actually a mixture of several related compounds called "aromatic hydrocarbons" I'll save you the chemistry but they are different from oils which are "aliphatic" hydrocarbons, they don't mix with them easily. If you've ever worked with it you know that lacquer thinner is much more volatile, explosive, poisonous, and cancer-causing than gasoline. fun stuff. Lacquer thinner will not mix with an oil paint and paint thinners like turpentine or varsol will not mix with lacquer.
    So in order to thin any kind of finish, you need to know what you started with. You can't thin oil-base paint with water, or lacquer thinner. You can't thin lacquer with oil or water. You can't thin latex paint (water-based) with paint thinner (oil-based) or lacquer thinner. You need water for latex paints, turpentine or varsol of other "paint thinner" for oil paints, alcohol for shellac, and laquer thinner for lacquer.

    Just to make things complicated, acetone is miscible with all of them. Just remember that breathing very much of it will make you crazy ... its the main solvent in fingernail polish and you know how crazy women are ...its also more explosive than any of them.

    Hope this helps someone, a little.....
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,350Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    @chistletoe Wow! First post and you've already made me nauseas! Lmao! Brought back memories of college organic chemistry... :sick:

    But welcome from a fellow hobby woodworker. I actually prefer the look of lacquer on wood, but You'll find it's much less common in this industry. We tend to toward automotive finishes. Mostly Catalyzed urethane clears.

    In the end? Just Read and follow the data sheet that comes w the product. Easy peasy.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 6,311Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Welcome @chistletoe you sound like a smart guy... What are you doing here...? 

    I have worked with Acetone alot, and MEK before that, I haven't experienced the crazy, I don't think.

    Thanks for the quick lesson, we need all the help we can get here.
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,264Administrator El Jefe
    @christletoe Nice first comment...thank you for that..
  • mikemarlamikemarla Posts: 1Member
    I have worked with wood for several years, and was taught by a master craftsman old timer who was an expert. We built ALOT of custom kitchen and bath cabinets, custom furniture, Murphy beds, dressers of all shapes and sizes, home entertainment wall units and bookshelves, etc. When I first began working with him, we always put on our finishes with high quality brushes, which can become quite costly. We used a semi-gloss polyurethane, oil based, almost all of the time. Over time, I began becoming frustrated because of the time involved brushing on these projects, the drips and the wait time between coats, plus having to thoroughly clean my brushes after each use. I began desiring a quicker finish time because of the demand of our clients. Spraying them was not a convenient option because we didn't have a designated spray booth, and the boss thought setting up and cleaning the guns after each use was defeating the purpose of efficiency, and I agreed. I came up with the idea to experiment and it saved us a lot of finish time, by at least half. Now, I do not claim to be a finish expert, but I know what has worked for us, and I still use this method to this day. I used a mixture of 4 parts polyurethane to one part lacquer thinner. I purchased empty quart cans and mixed the 2 together using a fine paint strainer. After thoroughly mixing together and allowing any bubbles to settle, I simply wiped on the final finishes! Wow! It cut my final finish time by at least half! And minimal to virtually no drips! The dry time was minimized by at least 2-4 hours, depending on room temperature and humidity. I must add that by reducing the polyurethane, the semi-gloss became like a low to medium gloss, which was definitely acceptable, and the high gloss became a semi-gloss or better, depending on the number of coats. I challenge anyone to try this experiment, if you are frustrated with having to set up a spray and finish area each and every time, and having to break it down as well, clean your equipment after each use, etc. not to mention the time we each have to put in to prep the finish area from any dust. I now wipe on my stain, which btw does not need thinning, and my final finishes all of the time! Try it! 1 part lacquer thinner, 4 parts polyurethane, oil based. I always strain my mixture after each use into a clean quart container, and seal it tightly. Thanks for your time guys!
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 9,350Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    edited December 2016
    @mikemarla Great post! Wiping finishes on wood substrates has been around for some time. There is even special "wipe on" polyurethane that is sold. Not to mention hand-rubbed wood finishing. I do woodworking and custom cabinetry as a hobby and have also wiped polyurethane on projects, though I'm not in the wood business like you are.

    That being said, We are not spraying polyurethane, but rather a catalyzed (2k) urethane clear coat in our industry. It's much thinner already, and spraying is much more efficient. Wiping the clear would also smear the base paint (and dip), which would defeat the purpose. It is a solvent and (by design) eats into the paint for a chemical bond. Again, different than finishing wood. After all, if wiping automotive finishes were more efficient, wouldn't auto body shops be doing it all the time?
  • Dcerasoli123Dcerasoli123 Posts: 46Member
    So is there a need to add a reducer to thin your paint everytime you shoot or just if its a little chunky and slow on the flow?
  • smedlinsmedlin Posts: 1,844Member, Business Ninja ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 2017
    LOL. 3 different people made a "first time" post in this thread.. then never posted again in the forums..almost half a year later.

    Not sure what that says.
  • NotSoFastNotSoFast Posts: 3,242Member, Moderator El Moderator
    smedlin said:

    LOL. 3 different people made a "first time" post in this thread.. then never posted again in the forums..almost half a year later.

    Not sure what that says.

    I think people are just googling something like "wood sealers" and pasting their spiel in here, not even caring that it's a dipping forum.
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    "Just to make things complicated, acetone is miscible with all of them. Just remember that breathing very much of it will make you crazy ... its the main solvent in fingernail polish and you know how crazy women are ...its also more explosive than any of them."

    I just wanted to know which was more explosive??????? The women or the paint =)
  • DeviousDipsDeviousDips Posts: 1,619Member ✭✭✭✭
    @willie14228 I got to go with women if it's Latinas or redheads lol
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    @DeviousDips Yeah, and they don't need no polish remover to be so either
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