At my local home improvement store, they only have spray cans of lacquer and brushing lacquer(Minwax clear brushing lacquer). I'm thinking it would be cheaper and faster if I could just use the quarts of brushing lacquer in an actual spray gun instead of buying a bunch of spray cans.

I am trying to get a thick coat of lacquer over stained wood panels.

What makes the lacquer for brushing instead of spraying? And is there any problems that might arise from using brushing lacquer directly in a spray gun?

  • 1
    What makes a brushing lacquer is usually that they add one or more solvents that evaporate more slowly, rather than the usual lacquer thinner which evaporates ultra-fast. I don't think you'll have any problems spraying it as long as you reduce it to the correct consistency for your gun/nozzle and the pressure, as is usual when spraying anything.
    – Graphus
    Oct 19 '16 at 7:09
  • Can I ask why you're using lacquer specifically and not varnish? Is it that you need the gloss finish to be without colour?
    – Graphus
    Oct 19 '16 at 7:10
  • I am trying to get a get a high gloss polished finish on some shelves. The wood is already stained so no color is needed.
    – Netduke
    Oct 19 '16 at 13:06
  • Just to mention though, you can get a perfectly acceptable high gloss using varnish as long as you're OK with the slightly amber colour it imparts. Some waterbased polyurethanes are now good enough for this too and are 'water white'.
    – Graphus
    Oct 20 '16 at 6:44

Yes, you can spray "brushing lacquer"--although depending on your gun, you will most likely want to thin it first with lacquer thinner.

Keep in mind that spraying is not necessarily faster than brushing. You will have to spray more coats to equal a single brushed coat. Also, with spraying there is more waste, since a fair amount of the atomized finish is overspray or floats away in the air and never makes it onto the workpiece.

Anytime you spray, remember to properly clean your gun when you are done for the day.


I haven't used that specific brand, but I have sprayed lacquer several times through my HVLP and it worked just fine. You just have to make a few passes to build up the thickness.

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