Spraying Tonetech’s paints and lacquers.

 Health and Safety.

Our range of nitro-cellulose paints and lacquers contain solvents so we recommend the use of an appropriate respirator and to spray in a well ventilated space away from naked flames. 

 We get asked all the time, how many coats do I put on, how long should I leave it to dry, when do I sand between coats, etc?  Here are some guidelines when using our lacquers and paints.

Drying times.

The time it takes coats of lacquer and paint to dry will vary depending on the thickness of the coats applied, the time between coats, and the temperature and airflow around the painted item. 

 The following may help.


Applying Solid Colours


  • Read our painting preparation guidelines.


  • Wipe any dust off the item to be painted with a tak rag.


  • Apply 1 or 2 coats of sanding sealer, leave to dry for half an hour.


  • Apply 3-4 coats of white base coat if you are covering a dark timber with a light shade.  Leave 15 minutes between coats. then Leave for 6-8 hours to dry.


  • Over a period of 30 minutes or so, apply 3 coats of the colour.  Leave to dry for 4-6 hours.  Apply another 3 coats over a 30 minute period (15 minute intervals).  Repeat the drying step and apply a final 3 coats at 15 minute intervals.  Leave for 3-5 days to fully dry.  (if you tend to spray heavy coats then the drying time may take longer and you can reduce the number of coats)
  • Do not sand between coats unless you create a paint run, or dust particles or other foreign bodies  have landed on your wet paint.
  • Now you have built up a number of coats you can “flat back” using 2000grit wet and dry (used wet) wrapped around a sanding block.
  • Take your time so you don’t sand through the paint and be particularly careful around the edges where the paint or lacquer may be thinner.
  •  Once you have a nice flat finish, clean off the lacquer slurry/ dust, leave it another 3-4 days to fully harden, wipe down with a tak rag and buff to polish.


Applying Tinted Lacquers

  • Tinted lacquers tend to be less viscous than standard lacquers and are thus more prone to developing runs.

  • Read our painting preparation guidelines.
  • Wipe any dust off the item to be lacquered with a tak rag.
  • Apply 1 or 2 coats of sanding sealer, leave to dry for half an hour.
  • Over a period of 30 minutes or so, apply up to 3 coats of the product.  Leave to dry for 2-3 hours, Repeat the application until you have reached the depth of colour you want.  Leave to dry 4-6 hours.
  • Overspray the tinted lacquer with matt or gloss pre-cat lacquer by applying 3 coats over 30 minutes, allow to dry for 4-6 hours, then re-apply. 
  • Let the item dry for 3-5 days to fully harden.
  • Flat back the lacquer with 2000grit wet and dry (used wet).
  • Clean off the slurry / dust and allow to dry for a further 2-3 days before polishing.


Standard Nitro-cellulose lacquer.

Drying times and times between coats should be doubled for our Nitro-cellulose clear lacquer.  Unlike the pre-cat lacquers this lacquer contains no drying agents and will harden through air drying only.  It may take 2-3 weeks after flatting back to get sufficiently hard to be polished.


Another question we are asked is how many cans of paint or lacquer do I need?

  • This all depends on your skill.  If you are new to spraying there’s a good chance you will have the odd paint run, or perhaps you will sand through an edge.  If this happens, you’ll need to re-spray.
  • 2 cans of a solid colour should be enough to complete a guitar and deal with the odd sand through or paint run. 
  • If you are applying a tint then one can of tint and one can of lacquer should do the job.


Do I need to apply a clear lacquer over a solid colour?

  • The solid colours are made by pigmenting a clear lacquer.  Therefore, you can buff the final finish to a high gloss without over-spraying with a lacquer.  You can, however, over-spray with a lacquer if you wish.