Q: I built a grandfather clock using purpleheart. I went to an automotive supply store to get lacquer and they told me that automotive lacquer would not work, I needed furniture lacquer. What is the difference between automotive and furniture lacquer?
A: Automotive lacquer is made to tolerate wider ranges of heat and cold without cracking than is most furniture (nitrocellulose) lacquer. For that reason, furniture lacquer will not work well in outdoor applications, such as on cars, but the reverse is not true. Automotive lacquer will indeed work on furniture. In fact, many guitars, which tend to go from heated indoor areas to cold car trunks over and over, are often finished in automotive lacquer for just that reason.