Advice on Finishing - New Project!

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Pearlygates59, May 16, 2019.

  1. Pearlygates59

    Pearlygates59 TDPRI Member

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    Hi everyone.
    I'm about to start a new DIY-ish project!
    This T-Style will be 'inspired by' a certain Brian May... with differences.
    I've ordered a body and neck fro USACustomeGuitars.com. Body is mahogany with a flame maple top, with cream top binding (USA Custom guitars have been excellent!). Neck is roasted maple with ebony fretboard and a reverse Tele headstock.
    It will be fitted with 3x Burns Trisonic mini pickups (which are same-ish size to regular Strat single coils). The pups will all be horizontal (bridge not slanted). Switching will be like Brian May's guitar - 3x on/off switches and 3x phase switches, plus 1x volume and 1x tone.
    The guitar will also have a Wilkinson VS100 Trem in black, black Gotoh locking tuners. So far so good; I'm really looking forward to the build.
    However - I want to make sure the finish is perfect, using the tools I have.
    I want the guitar to have a translucent dark blue sunburst finish with satin black back on the body. Neck will be satin clear finish, but the headstock top will be black I think, or possibly blue sunburst. Pickguard will be black.
    I don't have a spray gun so will probably be using spray cans but I'm aware this might not be ideal - I can probably find a spray gun to access somewhere.
    Question is - what paints / fillers etc should I use? Reading around I guess first thing will be a sanding filler spray layer, sanded down, followed by progressive layers of paint, followed by some sort of lacquer to achieve a nice shiny finish, along with liberal sandings between...
    But - all recommendations are very welcome. What to apply first? What grades of sandpaper? When do I sand down and reapply the layers? All help gratefully received and I'll post pics! Thanks all.
     
  2. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    If you want that perfect finish you mentioned a burst colour is pretty hard to achieve with rattle cans you will need to make some center templates and raise them above the body ..don't use masking tape !!!
    if you do use rattle cans put the cans in hot water before use or they will spit
    personally if it was me i would use a blue dye much easier to control and looks great on flamed wood
     
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  3. Pearlygates59

    Pearlygates59 TDPRI Member

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  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Holic

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  5. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Check out stained finishes on youtube I'm sure there will be many on there ...the more you put on the darker the colour will be so obviously build the edges up and use less stain in the center of the body and if you make a mistake just sand down it is a lot less hassle than removing a whole rattle can finish
    also double check to see if the guitar top is actually one piece if it has a laminated flame veneer be very careful when sanding or you will go right through and destroy the top
    good luck
     
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  6. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    Plenty of finish threads and videos of wipe on dye bursts out there. Read and watch all you can.

    You will need to pore fill the mahogany. Plenty of threads on that as well so no need to rehash what the search feature will give.

    Sounds like a fun project! Practice on scrap and learn from mistakes. Look forward to seeing pics!

    Reranch also some good finish info as well as spray can finish products.

    Eric
     
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  7. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    If so you should use an HVLP turbine setup. A conventional spray rig with a compressor will cause overspray and be very hard to control. But regardless of what you use you should get training in how to use it first, make sure you have the correct needles and air cap for lacquer, know how to set the pressure(s) and learn proper spray technique.

    You need to do a LOT of research. Start with the basic finishing instructions on the reranch site. And one thing right away - there is NO SANDING IN BETWEEN COATS OF LACQUER! There is also no "paint". I you want a transparent finish there will be dyes, or stains, or LACQUER toners. "Paint" goes on walls . Or fences.

    I do not recommend using the instructions on Stewmac's site - they are specific only to Colortone products, which are very slow drying compared to conventional lacquers (hours...or days/weeks...vs 30-60 minutes.) Lacquers do not "sure" - they dry by evaporation.

    The type of finish you want to achieve and your goal ("perfect") is honestly a pretty far reach for a first project. It's the type of thing I would normally recommend after successful completion of 6 or more projects, half opaque (solid colors) and half semi-transparent. There's no way I would recommend doing it as a first project with aerosols, and a decent HVLP turbine will run several hundred dollars.

    To do ANY spray work you will also need a dedicated, clean, well-ventilated spray area, a method for supporting the guitar at a 90-degree angle to the spray tip (if you spray with the guitar laying flat thickness will be uneven), a cartridge-type respirator (NIOSH approved - preferably purchased from a professional paint store that can ensure proper fit) and full-coverage goggles.

    You need to spray and have the piece dry ONLY during proper environmental conditions - temperature and humidity.

    And no matter what system or equipment you end up using you need to plan on completing the full system - from preparation to final buffing - on scrap wood before every starting on the guitar. you do NOT want to learn on the real thing - especially a special-order guitar, where a beginner error may cause an irreversible problem.

    Learn how products interact, how lacquer melts into itself (and why you don't sand between coats), how to fix mistakes, and how to fine-tune your technique on scrap - that way, if you make a mistake it's not the end of the world.

    You are asking, though, for complete tutoring on a website - something that's virtually impossible. There are dozens of product options, and each one requires pages of detailed application instruction - which i why you need to read and research lacquer application, working with sealers and dyes, when and how to apply grain fillers (and when/how to tint them), how individual coats are applied (hint - thiner than you think is too thin, in multiple ultra-thin "passes", and best measured with a wet film thickness gage so you are not guessing) - not to mention accessory items like masking tapes of different types, buffing materials and wheels, anti-blush materials, various solvents etc.

    Good luck!
     
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