Woodfinishers Weblog

Wood finishing forum for professional finishers

Pre-Catalyzed lacquer show down

Lately in the los Angeles area there have been a number of new lacquer  and pre-catalyzed lacquers hitting the market, some good some not so good, some inexpensive and others not. Being the “Prove-it-to-me” kinda guy that I am, We decided to test them all out and see how they stood up to a few the industry standard tests.

The first thing we did was a spray out of 5 different Pre-Catalyzed lacquers over both a stain and raw wood. How well did they go on? how fast did they dry? How good do they look in the end and  most importantly how tough are they,were the questions we  wanted to know the answers to.

Inexpensive is good but if the customer calls you in 6 months and you have to go re do the work saving 5 dollars a gallon just cost you two hundred in time and labor not to mention damaged reputation. The place to save it is not on the coating. 

Pre-catalyzed lacquers were designed to hold up better in water and wet areas like the kitchen and bathroom. PRe-Catalyzed lacquers are self sealing, but work best with a vinyl sealer. For out little test we didn’t  use a sealer, but  for a kitchen or bathroom I wouldn’t skimp on that.  

We took four other brands and our own brand and tested them all. We videoed the test so that you can see what we did. The CIC Pre-Cat Lacquer turned out to be the best, it isn’t the cheapest but it looked the best and was the toughest, this is the product I sell ( surprise, surprise 🙂 ) . that being said. two of our competitors turned out more favorably than I expected , the other two didn’t do well at all,

All of the panels were sprayed the same. there was no effort to throw the results one way or the other.

It is my effort and propose of the this blog to properly and accurately educate finishers on the subject of finishing.

My self and my fellow sales associate, Martin Gonzales, are train finishers and are more they willing to come out to your shop to demonstrate our products and train your staff on proper techniques for getting the products efficiently and effectively for your customers. feel free to call the store and ask for a demonstration.

Here is our test capture forever on digital video:


Greg Saunders
Annex Paint

October 15, 2013 - Posted by | Pre-Catalyzed lacquer, Wood finishing | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Hi Greg. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I’m looking for prices per gallon for white lacquer undercoat, white gloss lacquer, lacquer retarder, lacquer thinner, wet and dry sandpaper, one sleeve 400, 220 and 300. Thanks again. John

    Comment by John Allen | October 24, 2013

  2. Hi John,

    thanks for your inquiry, I’ll send you a price list of the major things I sell to lacquer shops. you’ll have to remind me again where you are located. beyond a certain point it not viable for you order from me with the shipping costs.

    Comment by Greg Saunders | October 26, 2013

  3. I stumbled across this site because I am doing research for the vertical fir trim that I want to clear coat lacquer. The local paint store guru is recommending Valspar Valtec pre cat uv protected lacquer. Will the uv protection stop the natural aging of the wood to occur? I love how the grain starts to amber over time. Thanks!

    Comment by Cal Lampe | November 20, 2014

  4. Hi, historically Valspar’s lacquers have yellowed more than others, in my estimation, that being said I think they have put in some dedicated research to change that and the product you have mentioned my well the answer to the problem. That being said all lacquers yellow. if you want something that absolutely wont yellow, use either a water base lacquer or and acrylic lacquer. Valspar has both.

    Comment by Greg Saunders | November 24, 2014

  5. Thank you very much for your reply. When you talk to paint stores, they all have the best product. It is nice to get a third parties perspective. Take care.

    Comment by Cal Lampe | November 26, 2014

  6. Hello Greg, I have a problem spraying pre cat laqauer. Wonder if you can advise. I am getting a zebra effect on my doors of shinny and dull. I have tried adjusting air volume, material volume, distance away from surface and speed across surface. Do you have any suggestions? I’m wondering if temperature or humidity is playing a part.
    Thank you for your time.

    Comment by Pat Conte | January 26, 2016

  7. Hmm, #1 you should be over lapping your spray pattern 50 % then you should have a tip size that allows you to get enough materials out of the gun with so that you can get a nice wet coat with out too much work you can get a bigger tip or you can thin the material. some where on my blog I have an article on spraying lacquer have a look at that and as well there is a great book on wood finishing by bob Flexner that I recommend called Understanding wood finishing

    let me know how that works out for your

    Comment by Greg Saunders | January 27, 2016

  8. What brand of cat. Lacquer do you think is the best to use on kitchen cabinets? This is a huge cost to us and want professional opinions. Our painter wants to use Khem Kraft (Craft), my husband did some research and read that some sections came out “white” and it rubbed off fairly easy and the article suggested using “centurion”.

    Any opinion will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    The Hazeltine’s

    Comment by Cindy | October 27, 2016

  9. generally the major manufactures of lacquer are all pretty good, I think that the CIC is very good that’s why I sell it the Gemini is very good. if you want top notch have cost out what it would be to have you finisher use a Conversion Varnish it is a harder tougher product and yellows less. If you need absolutely no yellowing then there are other thing to go to water base conversion varnish or polyurethanes, the polyurethanes being a little too pricey for a residential job. conversion varnish would be what I recommend. but a note on the Pre cats make sure they use a vinyl sealer underneath the Pre cat. that makes all the difference in the world to preventing water penetration. often manufactures will say that their Pre Cat is “self sealing” I wouldn’t use that datum. two coats of the vinyl sealer and then two coats of the PRe CAt. sanding in-between. generally its not the materials but how well the finisher applies them. all that being said I would go with a conversion varnish, that’s what will go in my Kitchen.

    Comment by Greg Saunders | October 27, 2016

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