April 10, 2017

How to Adjust Your Solvents as the Temperatures Rise

As the seasons change, it is very important to understand how temperature and humidity affect the viscosity and dry times of lacquer. Choosing the right solvent can help improve flow/leveling, dry time, and final appearance of your project.

In the colder months, lacquer tends to dry very slow and the viscosity will be thicker as the temperature of the product drops. In the colder months you can offset the slower dry times by reducing the product with a fast-evaporating solvent like Standard Lacquer Thinner. The additional of Lacquer Thinner will also help with the thicker viscosity.

Once spring comes and the temperatures average 65 – 75 degrees, lacquer dry times will speed up and the use of a fast solvent like Lacquer Thinner is no longer needed. At this point, it is time to change to a straight reducer like ML Campbell’s Care Reducer. This will thin the lacquer’s viscosity but will not alter the dry time.

As we enter the hotter summer months and the temperatures exceed 75 degrees, your dry times will speed up and you should consider an additive that will slow down the dry time to allow the lacquer to lay out and stay open long enough to allow all of the solvents to evaporate off. If you see bubbles in your coating, the evaporating solvents are getting caught in the topcoat and the lacquer is drying too quickly. At this point it is time to change your solvent to a retarder like ML Campbell’s Care Retarder, Flow Enhancer 1, or Flow Enhancer 2 – the strongest of the retarders. This will slow down the dry to touch times and allow the solvents to evaporate out of the coating and give the coating time to level out.

It is important to understand how solvents work and have a variety of solvents in your shop so you can adjust the dry times and viscosity of your coatings as needed.

Here is a quick overview of the M.L. Campbell Solvents we have available:

VOC Exempt Reducer-Acetone VC16936 

Very fast drying. Recommended for use in primers and sealers. No VOCs.

Fast Lacquer Thinner C18936
Fast drying. Can be used in primers and sealers, or for cleaning.

Standard Lacquer Thinner C16036
Use for reducing viscosity.

Care Reducer C1621   
Moderate evaporation solvent used for reducing viscosity in topcoats. Must use with Stealth.

Care Retarder C161
Slows dry time in topcoats.

Flow Enhancer #1 C162
Slower solvent package for hot and humid weather.

Flow Enhancer #2 C163  
Slower solvent package for extreme hot and humid weather (summer time).

Butyl Cellusolve C16336
Extremely slow solvent. Consult your Lacquer Sales Specialist before using.


mlc, ml campbell solvents