Michael Dresdner

straight talk about wood finishing

Need for speed

Q: What should I add when I want lacquer to dry faster?
A: Lacquer dries by evaporation of the solvent itself. Thus, the best way to make lacquer dry faster is not to add, but to remove any slow drying solvents. If that is not possible, and it is usually not, you can thin the lacquer with fast drying solvents. You can estimate drying speed by looking at the flash point and vapor pressure of each solvent (these are listed on the MSDS). For instance, acetone, with low flash point and high vapor pressure, evaporates very quickly. Thinning the lacquer does not change the rate at which the slower solvents evaporate, but it will mean you apply less resin per coat. A mixture with more quick drying solvents and less resin means a thinner deposit of finish, but a faster drying one. Thus, the trade off is faster drying, but less material applied per coat.