I use the latest waterborne lacquer finish system from Target Coatings. The first layer is Oxford UltraSeal-WB Shellac Sealer; this is made with high grade de-waxed amber shellac dispersed into a water solution using proprietary chemistries. The next layer is EM8800 Universal Clear Sealer; this is a high build sealer. The top coats are EmTech 6000 Production Lacquer.

In my opinion, this system is superior in every way to nitrocellulose lacquer. I worked with nitrocellulose for many years, but I prefer the modern water based finish because it is much less of a health, safety, and environmental hazard. It is also more durable, and harder than nitrocellulose lacquer. If the finish ever needs repair, the Target EmTech 6000 has 100% burn in, even when fully cured, so you can do invisible spot repairs. You just need to know what the finish is, so that you can direct that any finish repair be done with an appropriate product.

The Target Coatings product line is available direct from the manufacturer via their website, or from Stewart MacDonald, rebranded as their ColorTone line. Target Coatings has an excellent user forum, and their owner/chemist Jeff Weiss is a frequent poster, and has been very responsive to luthier concerns. One example is new additives in the EmTech 6000 that give it a slicker/smoother/faster feel on a guitar neck. Target Coatings has established a solid track record in rapidly evolving waterborne technology.