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Technical Anyone have experience with Bill Hirsch nitro lacquer paint?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Bowties&Birds, Aug 23, 2020.

  1. Has anyone here used Bill Hirsch nitro lacquer? I have some in black and want to use it to repaint my 55 Chevy. This is a low buck driveway project, so doing the best I can with what I have to work with.

    There are no mixing or application guidelines for the paint that I can find . I contacted Bill Hirsch, but they were not much help. I can't find much info on shooting lacquer paint for automotive applications. Not surprising since it's basically an obsolete product. I've shot enamel and BC/CC, but not lacquer and I know that the process is a bit different. So I wanted to see if anyone here has used this specific paint or has general guidelines for nitro lacquer application.

    I have a couple gallons of paint and the BH lacquer primer. I also have a gallon of epoxy primer.
     
  2. 65pacecar
    Joined: Sep 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,524

    65pacecar
    Member
    from KY, AZ

    His Mopar engine paints are excellent, I would expect his whole line of products to be high quality based on what I've used.

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  3. Lacquer is thinned at least 1:1 or more with thinner. Getting good lacquer thinner can be tough.

    Super easy to spray as it dries almost instantly. Hard to run, nothing gets stuck in it and easy to fixing if you do make a mistake.

    I sprayed mine in lacquer (not Bill Hirsh) but I would.imagine they are all pretty similar.

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  4. BH does not have lacquer thinner listed on their site. Seems odd since they are selling lacquer paint and primer.
    Does the primer need to be thinned also?

    Looks like TCP Global has lacquer thinner for around $45 a gallon.


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  5. Yes the lacquer primer would need to be thinned as well but there is really no reason to use lacquer primer.

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  6. spanners
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,043

    spanners
    Member

    Some lacquer won't go over anything but lacquer primer. It'll react with some 2 pac primers and enamel based primers.
     
  7. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,854

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    You said you had "epoxy" primer???? Mix it according to the instructions..usually 1 to 1 with activator.
    The lacquer, as K13 said is mixed 1 to one with lacquer thinner, you can even put more thinner in it to make it flow better. The problem arises, with the effect that the thinner evaporates VEARY quickly. Back in the day, they sold a variety of thinners based on ambient shooting temperatures. They even sold a retarder to slow evaporation even further, necessary in the painting of lacquer when it was especially humid out. If you can't find thinners for hot days, I think you should wait until temps are around 70* to do it. NOT a rainy or humid day!
    Be sure the epoxy is nice and cured before shooting the lacquer. I did a 53 Merc, black nitro over HOK epoxy primer. Looked great for many years (20+, until the owner moved the car from inside to outside, under a tent, with a car cover. You'll have to sand and buff, after painting. Wait a few weeks or more (lacquer doesn't get more difficult to buff, like urethanes do) to sand and buff. You'll find it easier to sand the nitro if you add a cup of kerosene to the sanding bucket. Keeps the paint from clogging the paper. Start with 600 or 800, and go up to 1200 or 1500. Lacquer buffs easily, so you don't have to go to real fine grits.
     
  8. Thanks all for the great info.

    TCP has slow and medium lacquer thinners available. It says acrylic lacquer thinner, but I'm assuming it would work for nitro also.

    Any paint gun suggestions/settings? I have a 30 gal Kobalt compressor which I used to paint my wife's Trans Am, worked pretty well. I haven't kept any paint guns except for a cheapo Harbor Freight gun I've used to spray rust paint on the floorboards and frame of the 55.
     
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  9. Roger O'Dell
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 1,145

    Roger O'Dell
    Member

    I am not a painter , but I am old. The nitro paint jobs were beautiful but faded very quickly like a candy red would just be a gold in a couple of years in sunny SoCal. But the acrylic lacquer would keep. My memory my play tricks but those lacquer were the clearest and prettiest I have ever seen. Either type.
     
  10. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,171

    dan c
    Member

    had a business relationship with the old sinnett lacquer in st. louis. harry bible pretty much ran things and had a lot of miles under his tires. he wasn't crazy about nitrocellulose because it was so explosive.
     
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  11. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,854

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    Acrylic thinner will work with nitro. Lacquer us pretty forgiving, so gun choice is not critical. But you do not want to put on very heavy heavy coats, or you'll experience "solvent popping".
     
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  12. Onemansjunk
    Joined: Nov 30, 2008
    Posts: 172

    Onemansjunk
    Member
    from Modesto,CA

    Apply one coat of Lacquer then walk away! Wait between coats! Don’t get in a hurry. Let each coat release the solvents.The beauty of Lacquer is you can wet sand between coats. Time is on your side. If not Solvent POP like chopolds quoted!!!


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  13. winduptoy
    Joined: Feb 19, 2013
    Posts: 2,197

    winduptoy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I've painted his nitrocellulose black lacquer. It produced a very dark black with lots of depth. All of my experiences with Bill have been positive and he has found stuff I couldn't source anywhere else. You can be old school and brush it on and sand it off, repeat for a "hand rubbed lacquer job".
    It is very forgiving as stated, be prepared for substrate problems if you have not prepared with compatible materials or left any old material.
    Shoot a test cupon before committing.
    It's lovely but not very durable
    Good luck
     
  14. Thanks, what did you find worked well as substrate? I have the car down to original paint or primer in most areas, I thought this might be a better substrate than bare metal, but I'm not sure. Area's with bodywork are down to bare metal.
     
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  15. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,854

    chopolds
    Member
    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    With all the work of a nice paint job, many coats, sanding, buffing, not to mention bodywork, Why take any chances. Strip the whole car to bare. Use high quality epoxy primer. Or any other high quality methods for underbase. Epoxy + hi-build urethane, or hi-build epoxy. There are others, too.
     
  16. My lacquer thinner came in and I’m prepping my firewall for paint. First priority so my new engine can go in.
    Since this is an area that is not going to get sanded and polished, what would be a good number of coats and flash time in between?


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  17. Also need to get the dash and steering column in paint so under dash can go back together.
    Anyone on recommendations for number of coats of paint and a rough estimate on flash time between coats?


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  18. Lancer
    Joined: Jan 11, 2004
    Posts: 1,251

    Lancer
    Member

    I would suggest you spray a test panel with the paint on top of whatever primer you are using to make sure there aren't any reaction issues. Normally you want to only spray lacquer on top of lacquer. So be careful. Lacquer paint is pretty easy to spray though, very forgiving. There isn't any catalyst since the paint never fully cures, but thats part of the beauty of it as well.
     
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  19. So this is where I’m getting a bit confused. Some of you are saying only paint lacquer over lacquer and some are saying only use epoxy primer.
    At this point I’m kind of stuck where I started just try some different approaches and “see what sticks” as they say.


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  20. Lacquer can be sprayed over any catalyzed primer. I have sprayed it over epoxy, polyester and urethane with ZERO issues. You are going to find that lacquer does not shine like a urethane or enamel when sprayed so be prepared to need to buff everything you want shiny. Number of coats will depend on how heavy each layer is and how much depth you want to the paint.
     
  21. Reman
    Joined: Jul 8, 2010
    Posts: 333

    Reman
    Member
    from Florida

    You have been given good info. I will ad a couple things. Back when Lacquer was still in common use, we always used a lower than normal air pressure. Usually around 25-35 pounds with the old siphon guns. I am not sure how that relates to the later gravity feed guns. In overall painting, multiple coats were applied . Four to six were very common. In custom and hot rod work, sometimes crazy amount of coats ( 10, 15 and more). It was sanded between every few coats to keep it smooth and slick. The slicker the paint, the slicker and deeper the color was was after buffing. In typical summertime weather use slow drying thinner.
     
  22. Thanks for all the great info.
    This is a driveway hot rod, so going for more of a semi-gloss look rather than show car mirror finish.
    Main thing is getting paint on it so it’s not sitting rusting over another winter.


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  23. F-head
    Joined: Oct 20, 2007
    Posts: 627

    F-head
    Member

    I’ve been using this FT220 lacquer thinner for years. I get it from NAPA auto parts
    Just got some, $79 for 5 gallons
    If your painting with lacquer you’ll need more thinner than you think
    02843E39-3368-485E-8A67-4FB86E02EE61.png
     
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  24. So, did some paint work on the 55 this weekend. Worked on the firewall.

    The only paint gun I had on hand was a cheapo harbor freight pos.
    Epoxy went on nicely. Paint not as well.
    Paint went on dry with a rough texture. Seemed better at lower pressures, but still on the rough and dry side.

    Any suggestions on getting the paint to lay out smoother. I’m sure a better gun will be needed before trying to paint any outside panels. Mixing 1-1, adding some extra thinner as I went to try and smooth it out some.


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  25. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,692

    flatford39
    Member

    Temperature is everything with Lacquer. 2 parts thinner to 1 part paint is not uncommon. What is the temp and humidity where you are at?? I think you need more thinner.
     
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  26. Was a high of 84 with 54% humidity right now.
    I will try more thinner and see if that helps.
    Thanks!


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  27. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,692

    flatford39
    Member

    84 @ 54 is a great temp to paint in at home. You need a high speed thinner with that temp and some more thinner. Remember when painting lacquer you do a lot more coats than todays modern paints. 4 is the minimum. I usually did 6 to 8 with block sanding in between.

    As far was what you laid down today you need to sand it smooth or remove it before putting on another coat.
     
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  28. What do you recommend for sanding in between coats?
    I put on 4 coats today, about 1/2 hour - 1 hour apart. I have the "slow" thinner
     
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  29. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,692

    flatford39
    Member

    The slow thinner is part of the problem. your thinner is going to change as the ambient temperature changes. I would sand it with 600 wet and see how it goes. If it's as gritty as you say you might want to go to 400. It's a graduation. Start with 600 and work your up to 1500. you need to get it smooth again before you apply more paint. Paint won't hide the grit.
     
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  30. Okay, I will need to order more thinner then and get to sanding.
     
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