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Finely Finished Discussion of painting, finishing and yes, even relicing your guitar. Remember relicing is a finish option not an affront to your emotions.


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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The legend of Pancho Verde de Conejo

The back story:
I joined this site for this forum, I've been reading a lot and have just finished my first real lacquer job. I built guitars in the 80's and 90's but mostly did oil finishes or sent them out for poly. Towards the end I did a bunch with one of the first water based lacquers Hydrocote with mixed results. But now it was time a "real" lacquer finish.

The donor subject for this job was this $100 rather nice Fernandes Jazz bass clone.



There was nothing wrong with the finish except I don't like sunburst. I do like sparkly green!

These are the paints in the final finish.



I was impressed with how well they worked for the most part and the job was pretty simple. Sand the old poly finish just to clean up the surface and flatten things up a bit. Spray primer until all the old sunburst was hidden and I could block sand it all nice and smooth. 2 or 3 medium coats of MetalFlecks till the primer was fully hidden and then 2 light coats since that seemed to make the sparkle look the best. 1 can of Metalflecks did the body once and the headstock twice (whoops). 1 can of Minwax clear was enough to do the body and headstock.

Then I wet sanded with 600 - 1000 - 1500 and then hand polished with Meguiars Fine-Cut Cleaner and Machine Glaze. I didn't spend the time and effort you would on an expensive guitar and there are some imperfections in the finish but I'm very pleased as to how well it looks from a few feet away.

There were a few problems along the way. I tried to use the rattle cans of acrylic clear Duplicolor sells but 3 months later it was not dry and if you touched it it would leave fingerprints. The Minwax would be harder in an hour than the Duplicolor was in 3 months.

I had some bad luck with decals. I started using inkjet paper because I have an inkjet instead of finding a laser printer. The first attempts to lay down a decal on the Duplicolor clear worked fine.

But when I tried to bury it each coat would raise the edges of the decal and I could never get the edges to blend. After a few dozen coats I just gave up, stripped it and decided to not use a decal. I tried again after switching to the Minwax clear after the Duplicolor disasters but then I couldn't get the decal to stick to the finish and it kept showing air underneath. I realized this guitar just doesn't want a decal. So I did this instead.


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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Some more shots :)





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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Before and after headstock shots, note mild reshaping.



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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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That looks amazing! What a great color and it looks like fantastic execution
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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That looks so much better !
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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks guys :)

There are some issues, it's surprisingly brittle and it already has more damage than other guitars I've owned for years and gigged with. The clear coat seems to want to peel off the color coat so pretty soon I'm going to start calling this a relic.

Leaving the original poly as a base coat saved a ton of time as it was very easy to block sand it into shape and have a great base to work off.
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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My inspiration

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Old April 15th, 2013, 08:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sometimes when burying a decal, it only seems like the edges aren't getting buried in finish, but in reality they are. You will only know this after level sanding. Remember, the paint directly over the decal is constantly getting thicker as is the surrounding finish. Nice color by the way.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 05:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That decal was making me mad! When I used the Duplicolor clear I'd swear it was curling the corners with each coat. I'd sand a little and then they would come up even more. When I ran out of the Duplicolor I switched to the Minwax on top and it filled in just a few coats, unfortunately it also distorted the uncured Duplicolor below it. I'm admitting defeat this time but I'll try it again.

I had some high hopes that applying just a touch of sparkle paint in the right areas would add a real nice touch and a variation of the classic silver or gold fill.

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Old April 16th, 2013, 05:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Very nice work!
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Old April 17th, 2013, 08:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peltogyne View Post
I realized this guitar just doesn't want a decal. So I did this instead.

So how did you get that cool design on there?
That guitar looks awesome!
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Old April 18th, 2013, 06:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by TotallyReptiles View Post
So how did you get that cool design on there?
That guitar looks awesome!
Thanks.

The logo was done with stencils. I found some printable vinyl removable sticker sheets made to stick to glass at my local craft store that didn't have any adhesive. I thought that would help keep things clean but it didn't stick to the finish that well. Printing the design on the vinyl made it easy to cut out the shapes.

Once I had the body finished in green but before the clear coats I put on the stencil for the water drop and used the silver version of the Duplicolor metal flecks to paint that. Then I put on the smaller rabbit stencil and filled that with more green. When I looked at it I thought that was just too bright so I misted on a few more coats of green over the silver until it was more subtle. Then went to the clear coats giving a few extra to the logo area so I'd have enough thickness to sand it flat.
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Old April 18th, 2013, 07:44 PM   #13 (permalink)
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From this pic it looks like a bass thousands of dollars more than what you paid. Lakland comes to mind.
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Old April 19th, 2013, 03:46 PM   #14 (permalink)
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From this pic it looks like a bass thousands of dollars more than what you paid. Lakland comes to mind.
Thanks, Lakland made a Dupe Pit special edition once that was a Jazz bass in sherwood green with a rosewood board and mint pick guard. It's long been my idea of the best looking Fender style.

Both Lakland and the Sadowsky I posted above as my influence use Pat Wilkins for finishes.
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