Wood Finish Lacquer: Everything You Need to Know About Lacquer

Lacquer is one of the most beautiful wood finishes out there. It can be applied to furniture, floors, and walls to give them a glossy shine that will last for years in various parts. But not all form lacquers are created equal. How do you know which type of lacquer is best for your project? This article will break down the different types of lacquer so you can determine which one suits your needs best. Read on for more insights on Wood Finish Lacquer.

Lacquer is a clear or colored wood finish that dries by solvent evaporation or a curing process that produces a hard, durable finish. It can be applied to any type of wood surface, including furniture, cabinets, and floors. There are two types of lacquer: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based

What is Wood Finish Lacquer?

Lacquer is a wood finish that has been in use for thousands of years in the world today. It was originally developed by the Chinese, and it soon spread throughout Asia because its beautiful shine made furniture look more elegant details course.

In modern times, lacquer can be applied to many different surfaces including flooring, cabinets, guitars, and even walls! Its popularity has only increased as people have become more concerned with the appearance of their homes.

[Also Read: Best Wood Finish Lacquer]

Lacquer; Varnish, Shellac, or Polyurethane: Which Wood Finish Is Best?

Though often confused to be a unique product that produces an intensely glossy finish; Lacquer is a category name for various types of finishes that all share the same basic properties and characteristics widely.

When applying lacquer, you have the option of choosing between varnish, shellac, and polyurethane linked.

All three finishes are very similar in that they each give your surface a glossy shine without changing its color or appearance. However, their unique properties allow them to be used for different purposes for their importance.

Varnish is best for preventing water damage and can be used on floors or pieces of furniture that are frequently exposed to moisture in some climates.

Shellac is the best option for protecting wood from scratches, dents, and other types of wear and tear. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for a non-yellowing shine, unlike other products.

Polyurethane is the most durable and protective of all three finishes. It gives off a more natural sheen than varnish, so it’s best for pieces that you want to look like raw wood. It can also be used on floors without yellowing over time.

So, which type of lacquer should you choose for your project? It all depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a durable finish that will protect your surfaces from scratches and water damage, then polyurethane is the way to go due to several factors. When you want a glossy shine without changing the color of your wood, then varnish is the best option. And if you’re looking for a non-yellowing finish, then shellac is the way to go. No matter which type of lacquer you choose, you’re sure to get a beautiful shine that will last for years.

Choosing Between Varnish, Shellac, or Polyurethane

Now that you know the differences between varnish, shellac, and polyurethane, it’s time to decide which one is best for your project. Here are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:

1. The type of wood you’re working with: Some woods are more porous than others and will absorb finishes more readily. Varnish and polyurethane are better for these types of woods because they create a more durable barrier.

2. The level of protection you need: If you’re looking for a finish that will withstand a lot of wear and tear, polyurethane is your best bet. However, if you just need something to prevent water damage, the varnish will do the trick.

3. The appearance you want: If you want your piece to look like raw wood, shellac is the best choice. However, if you’re looking for a high-gloss finish, varnish or polyurethane would be better suited for your needs.

4. The durability you need: Varnish and polyurethane are more durable than shellac and will last longer without needing to be reapplied.

Keep these factors in mind when choosing between varnish, shellac, or polyurethane for your next lacquer project.

5. The application process: Varnish and polyurethane require a bit more work to apply than shellac. However, the results are worth the extra effort.

When it comes to choosing a wood finish, there are many factors to consider. But if you keep these things in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect lacquer for your project.

6. The drying time: Varnish and polyurethane take longer to dry than shellac. However, they are both worth the wait.

7. The price: Varnish and polyurethane are more expensive than shellac. However, they are both worth the investment.

Application Steps for Wood Finish Lacquer

Once you’ve chosen the right type of lacquer for your project, it’s time to get started! Here are a few tips to help you apply lacquer like a pro:

1. Sand your surface with fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface

Start by sanding your piece with fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. This will help the lacquer adhere better and create a more professional finish. When you’re working with a piece of furniture, make sure to remove any hardware before you start sanding.

2. Wipe away any dust with a damp cloth and let the surface dry completely

After you’ve sanded your surface, use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust. Make sure to let the surface dry completely before moving on to the next step.

3. Apply a thin layer of lacquer with a brush or sprayer and let it dry

Once your surface is clean and dry, you’re ready to start applying lacquer. Start by applying a thin layer with a brush or sprayer. Let the first coat dry for 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

What Are The Advantages of Using Wood Finish Lacquer?

There are many benefits of using lacquer as a wood finish.

1. Looks beautiful: Lacquer gives your furniture a shiny, polished look that will make it stand out in any room.

2. Easily applied: Lacquer is very easy to apply and won’t require much preparation before you get started.

3. Highly durable: All types of lacquers can be used on even the most delicate surfaces without chipping or wearing away.

4. Doesn’t yellow: Lacquer is unique in that it won’t warp or change the color of your project over time as other wood finishes will.

5. Protects your furniture: A layer of lacquer will create a barrier between your furniture and the elements, protecting it from dirt, water damage, and more.

6. Can be applied to many surfaces: Lacquer can be used on wood, metal, glass, and more.

7. Easy to repair: If your lacquer finish becomes damaged, it is very easy to touch up with a new layer of lacquer.

What Are The Disadvantages of Using Wood Finish Lacquer?

Although lacquer has many advantages when it comes to protecting your wood surfaces, there are also some downsides that you should consider before using it.

1. Dries slowly: If you’re trying to apply multiple coats in a short amount of time, lacquer can take longer to dry than other types of wood finish.

2. Can be expensive: Lacquer is generally the most expensive option because it’s so durable and well-protected! If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative commodity, consider using shellac or polyurethane instead.

3. Difficult to remove: Painted surfaces that have been lacquered over cannot be easily removed, so it’s important to be careful when choosing what you want your final color to look like.

4. Requires special care: Although it’s very durable, lacquer can be easily damaged by heat or chemicals. Make sure to keep this in mind if you’re using it on surfaces that will be exposed to these elements.

5. Not eco-friendly: Many types of lacquer contain harmful chemicals that can be released into the air when applied. If you’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly option, consider using water-based lacquer instead.

What Are The Different Types of Lacquer?

Oil-based lacquers







Oil-based lacquers are generally used for interior surfaces, so they don’t have the same level of durability as their water-based counterparts. However, they’re much easier to apply and can be cleaned up with mineral spirits.

Water-based lacquers

 Water-based finishes are typically stronger than oil-based options because they dry faster and last longer. However, it’s important to note that some water-lacquered products may have oil in their transition ingredients list.

Shellac-based lacquers

Shellac is a resin that’s derived from the secretion of an insect called the Lac bug. It’s mixed with alcohol to create a clear, hard coating that can be used on wood, metal, and glass. Shellac-based lacquers are very durable and easy to apply, but they’re also the most expensive option.

Polyurethane-based lacquers


Polyurethane is a type of plastic that’s often used as a wood finish. It’s available in both water and oil-based formulas, and it can be either clear or tinted. Polyurethane-based lacquers are very durable and resistant to scratches, but they can yellow over time.

RELATED: Can You Put Polyurethane Over Lacquer?

Are There Any Other Uses for Lacquer?

In addition to being a great wood finish, lacquer also has many other uses that you may not have known about.


You can use lacquer as an oven coating to prevent food from sticking and make cleanup easier after cooking. Just be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands.

Plastic coating

Lacquer can also be used as a plastic coating to keep different materials from interacting with one another. This is great for objects that are prone to warping or corroding over time, like antique furniture pieces.

General protection

Lacquer can also be used as a general protective coating for surfaces that are exposed to the elements. This includes outdoor furniture, metal fixtures, and more.

Can Lacquered Wood Ever Go Bad?

Yes, but only if the lacquer has been improperly sealed and allowed to wear away or become damaged. Once this happens, it can crumble off of your project’s surface and leave behind some potentially hazardous particles that you wouldn’t want in any living environment.

To avoid this, make sure to regularly check on your lacquered surfaces and repair any cracks or chips that you may find. You can also apply a new layer of lacquer every few years to keep it looking fresh and like-new.

Lacquer is a great option for anyone looking for a long-lasting, durable wood

How Do I Remove Lacquer from Wood?

Although it’s very durable, lacquer can be easily damaged by heat or chemicals. Make sure to keep this in mind if you’re using it on surfaces that will be exposed to these elements.

To remove lacquer from wood, you’ll need to:

1. Use a Chemical Stripper

Apply the stripper with a brush and let it sit for the recommended amount of time before removing it with a putty knife.

You may need to repeat this process several times to completely remove the lacquer.

2. Sand The Surface Smooth Before Applying a New Finish

In case you’re not planning on applying a new finish, make sure to sand the surface smooth before using it. This will help to avoid any potential splinters or other hazards.

3. Use a Heat Gun

When you’re trying to remove lacquer from a larger surface, you may need to use a heat gun. Be sure to keep the gun moving so that you don’t damage the wood.

4. Use a Scraper

For smaller areas, you can use a scraper to remove the lacquer. Be careful not to damage the wood beneath.

5. Use Steel Wool

You can use steel wool to gently scrub it away. Just be sure not to damage the wood in the process.

What’s the Best Way to Apply Lacquer?

When applying lacquer, you’ll want to use a natural bristle brush for the best results. Start by applying a thin layer of lacquer to your project and then build up from there until you’ve achieved the desired coverage.

It’s also important to note that lacquer should always be applied in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

Whether you’re looking for a wood finish or something else entirely, lacquer is a great option to consider. Just be sure to follow all safety precautions and read product labels carefully before getting started.

What Can I Use Lacquer on?

Lacquered wood is great for pretty much any surface that needs protection against dents, scratches, or water damage. It’s especially popular as a final finish among furniture makers who want to create beautiful designs without having the bother of maintaining them.

Lacquer can also be used on metal surfaces to prevent corrosion, and it’s often used as an oven coating to make cleanup easier.


Lacquers are great for protecting the surfaces of your projects against moisture damage, dents, scratches, or anything else that could cause them harm. They’re also a good choice if you want to create polished designs on wood without having to maintain those finishes over time! Just be sure to pick out an oil-based lacquer if you plan to use it for interior applications, and a water-based one if you want to make sure that the finish is strong enough perspective to stand up against wear or damage. You can also consider using chemical paint strippers to remove any lacquer build-up on your project’s surface lead.

Reference: Wikipedia – Lacquer