Lacquer thinner is a high solvent like acetone. It is extremely smelly and dries extremely fast and hard. This particular solvent is unique because it is actually a mixture of different solvents that allow for ideal thinning and dissolving characteristics. The combination of solvents that are used is up to the manufacturer.
The thinner has two major uses; to dilute/thin lacquer paint (and one-part epoxies) and to dissolve paint, tar, and other mediums. Lacquer paint (and therefore, thinner) is heavily utilized in the automotive industry.
Lacquer thinner is a great cleaner for dried oil and acrylic. It will remove paint on a substrate as quickly as any other solvent. It’s perfect for removing paint spots on non-painted surfaces like door knobs and hinges.
Since it contains denatured alcohol, it can also dissolve shellac. You can also use it to remove the sheen or gloss on most substrates.
Primarily, in our shop, we use lacquer thinner to clean our spray gun equipment after use. It is the best cleaner of the many small parts of a spray gun that must be kept pristine in order for the gun to work properly.
Other than that, we mostly use lacquer thinner as to dissolve and clean.