Excerpt from Wikipedia: "lacquer is a clear or coloured varnish that dries by solvent evaporation and often a curing process as well that produces a hard, durable finish, in any sheen level from ultra matte to high gloss and that can be further polished as required."
We use lacquer as a high gloss finish to some internal furniture. The laquer is applied by high pressure spraying using an air propellant. We use various sheen levels as shown above from 10% to 90%. The lacquer can just as easily be applied by brush.
Contrary to most views lacquer is not really a modern finish, but has been used in its various forms since 4th Century BC.
The best method to apply:
1. Sand the wood down to as much as 320 grit using progressively finer grits starting from about 100 grit.
2. Remove all dust from the wood. A light wipe with a clean rag soaked in water will raise the grain. Sand the wood again with the 320 grit making sure always to sand in the direction of the grain.
3. The first coat is normally a sealing base coat, which fills the pores of the wood and lifts the knap.
4. The coat can dry within 5 minutes in warm weather and is then ready for final sanding using a 320 grit that is previously softened by previous use.
5. One more coat is applied after wiping the surface clean with a dry rag sometimes dipped in thinners.
6. The final finish is not hard but the cellolose is even over all the surface giving a mirror-like finish.
7. The surface must be left to cure overnight to make sure the cellulose is fixed.