You have no items in your shopping cart.

Shop Categories

Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.

CrystaLac® Top Coat User Guide

Product Use Guide

CrystaLac® Waterborne Finishing Products are carefully formulated to provide the professional and beginning finisher with ease of use and excellent quality finishes. Before using CrystaLac® Finishing Products, it is important to read the General Product Use Guide and be totally familiar with the character of CrystaLac® products and the use of waterborne finishes to achieve the best possible results. DO NOT use tack cloths or stearated sandpaper.

Finishing Area and Environment

It is important, no matter how large or small your project, to provide a clean, ventilated, stable temperature environment in which to apply CrystaLac® finish coatings. CrystaLac® is self–leveling and dries rapidly. Hard cure and crystal clarity will occur best at an average temperature of 70° F with a gentle circulation of moving air. This will aid in rapid surface evaporation of water and minimize or eliminate grain rising. Extremes should be avoided. Using below 60° F or above 90°F can affect the performance of the finish coat. After the coating is dry to touch, it will take airtime to cure and harden. The temperature should remain constant through this time period. DO NOT store CrystaLac® finishing products below 60°F. Avoid freezing.

Wood Preparation

Careful sanding and preparation of your project will help insure a good quality finish. Recommended sanding grade is 220 –600. The finer grades of sandpaper will help keep wood grain tight and minimize or eliminate grain rising. CAUTION: USE OF COATED OR STEARATED SANDPAPERS can leave residue on the surface. This can cause the coating not to bond property to the surface. This would be evident if the coating suddenly separated into a series of small clear craters like circles. (Sometimes called fish eye). Lack of adhesion can also occur if any oils or silicones are left on the surface to be coated. (Avoid using steel wool or tack rags) these sometimes contain lubricants and silicones. Avoid any material that might contaminate the surface). (If you suspect a problem clean the surface, before re–spraying, with CrystaLac® Surface Conditioner). In addition, spraying on cold wood may cause the coating to perform erratically. Be sure that the wood and the coating to be applied are at normal room temperature.

Preparation of Crystalac® Topcoats

Stir product thoroughly to insure that any settled particles mix through the coating. DO NOT SHAKE. You may want to filter the coating before use. Use a paper cone filter or a "nylon" filter to strain. In most instances CrystaLac® finishes can be sprayed straight from the can. If you use any CrystaLac® additives (Reducer, Retarder) be sure to mix THOROUGHLY through the coating. This will ensure that the additive will have its proper effect upon the coating (Enhanced leveling and flow–out).

Use Over Other Finishes

CrystaLac® Coatings can be successfully applied over oil based stains, previously coated surfaces with lacquer, urethanes, shellacs, varnishes etc. It is critical that the surface to which CrystaLac® is applied be free of oil, wax, dust, and polish. Newly applied oil based stains and solvent finishes must be thoroughly dry and solvents totally evaporated for proper bonding and adhesion to occur. Premature application will result in bubbling, foaming, and non–adhesion of CrystaLac® to the surface. When applying CrystaLac® Coatings over a surface that has had paint remover applied, be sure that the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, and no waxy residue remains on the surface or in the wood grain. It is advisable to test for proper adhesion over all oil based stains, non–waterborne coatings or stripped surfaces before continuing with the entire job.

Production Application

Apply by conventional spay or the efficient HVLP turbine sprayers. (Three stage HVLP turbines or HVLP conversion spray guns will offer optimum performance). Avoid the extreme of either too fine a mist or flooding of material. Apply a light wet film and you're done ( 2 Mils). The most common error when spraying waterborne coatings is applying a thick wet coat. A little practice and experience will help you achieve the right technique and best results. Always spay horizontal surfaces holding your spray gun on a slight angle away from you. Begin close and work away from you to avoid over spraying the work you just finished.. Remember this material is a mechanical bond. It does not re–melt the previous coat. If necessary sand between coats with 320 grit or finer for sealer/topcoats. Use 400 grit or finer with pigmented enamels. Clean sanded surfaces by blowing off any dust and using a damp cloth. If you are concerned about possible contaminates on the surface, wipe surface with CrystaLac® Surface Conditioner.

Spray Finishing Application

A HLVP system and a 1mm tip and needle (.039) will usually provide the most excellent results. If using conventional compression air systems, a fine lacquer tip is suggested at pressures of 40–45psi. HLVP Air Conversion. Spray guns will usually atomize CrystaLac® with 4.5–5.0 psi air cap pressure. Adjust if necessary. Since airless sprayers are not usually used for fine finishing, we suggest you test spray samples before committing to the job. This applies to assisted airless spray equipment.

Gun and Pressure Pot Cautions

Water, waterborne resins and additives to the coating formula contain a variety of substances that react with ferrous metals, aluminum and certain alloys that can cause corrosion and contamination of spray gun parts. It is important that ALL spray gun parts coming in contact with any of these fluids be of a high grade stainless steel or Teflon coated, to afford a measure of protection. Possible reactions can be aluminum pitting, corrosion, rusting, discoloration and contamination of the coating to be applied. Cup type spray guns should not only have a stainless steel tip, needle and fluid passage, but also the cup assembly parts. Aluminum cups should be Teflon coated for optimum protection. Secondary parts (needle and housing springs, air distributor plates etc..) would best be served by stainless steel. APOLLO SPRAYERS INC. offer a series of spray guns and 2qt remote cups that have complete stainless steel and/ or Teflon protection from waterborne finishes. Older pressure pots were usually galvanized or cast iron. The fluid pick–up tube was aluminum or steel. These materials WILL REACT with the coating causing corrosion and contamination problems. Recommended precautions for older pressure pots are using an appropriate pot liner, changing the fluid pick–up tube to stainless steel or plastic, and coating the underside of the pressure pot lid with an epoxy paint or a suitable protective coating. A new pressure pot designed for these modern coatings would be advised. Fluid hoses should be of high quality and lined. Hose couplers should be of appropriate non–corrosive metals. It is our recommendation that cup type spray guns be cleaned after completion of a project. Material should not be left in the spray gun overnight. The same is recommended for pressure pot use. Remove the material from the pot and flush fluid lines at the end of the work day. If contamination or discoloration of the coating has occurred, discard the suspect material and determine the source of the problem.

How Many Coats Should Be Applied

The answer to this question depends on what you are trying to achieve for a finished appearance. Usually 3 or 4 coats (sanding with 320 – 400 paper between coats if necessary) will provide excellent depth of finish. For a heavier appearing finish, (more than four coats), allow additional time between each application (at least a few hours or more). This will permit internal additives to evaporate and not become trapped by the multiple coats. This will ensure proper curing, hardening and print resistance.


When applied properly, Crystalac® will usually be dry to touch in 10 to 15 minutes. Extremely wet applications (which should be avoided) will take slightly longer. Under normal conditions 45 minutes to 1 hour should be sufficient to sand and re–coat. Re–coating too soon can sometimes cause an orange peel effect and may extend the final cure time of the product. BE PATIENT!!!! Wait at least 45 minutes to 1 hour before applying the next coat. NOTE: Cold or wet days may extend dry time. CrystaLac® can be dried in the sun, however, do not apply additional coats on a hot surface.


When cleaning spray guns, wash and rinse spray gun with Warm water. It is sometimes possible to hold your spray gun under a running faucet letting warm water flow through the material pick–up tube while pulling back the trigger permitting the water to float through the spay jet to flush out any of the remaining coating. If waterborne coating dries on any of the spay equipment it will need to be softened and soaked with CrystaLac® Organic Spray Gun Cleaner or acetone, then brushed and thoroughly rinsed off. Use appropriate cautions using any solvent based products to clean spay guns as they are hazardous materials. Additionally, the use and storage of many solvents is restricted or prohibited in some locations. Check local codes before use of solvent based products.