I have read a lot of opinions online about the hardness of different finishes, but I cannot find any authoritative numbers for hardness ratings for the different types of finishes in the lacquer and poly families. Specifically, I'm looking for comparative numbers for:
- Nitro lacquer
- Acrylic lacquer
- pre-cat acrylic lacquer
- post-cat acrylic lacquer
- water-based poly
- oil-based poly
I have found this information in many different forms online, but the table does not differentiate pre-cat and post-cat lacquer, nor is the catalyzed lacquer listed as nitro or acrylic. The lacquer was also tested after 24h, even though it doesn't reach full hardness for up to 7 days (from experience, there is a huge difference between 24h old lacquer and 7d old lacquer). I have found one or two posts by woodworkers about their preferred finish, but they cannot be used for comparison as their base material, technique, and testing process differ.
My specific use case is 5-7 HVLP sprayed coats over Eastern White Pine, rubbed out with 500-grit to 4000-grit sanding pads followed by Menzerna SF3500. My first project was a computer desk using Target Coatings EM-6000 acrylic lacquer with CL-1000 crosslinker. I'm satisfied with the hardness for this use, but would like to better understand alternatives for future projects without having to spend the hundreds of dollars and countless hours testing them all.