Clear body coat - alternative to nitrocellulose?

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by bb_matt, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. bb_matt

    bb_matt Tele-Meister

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    126
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2019
    Location:
    Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
    I'm more or less ready to clear coat my guitar body, but I do NOT want to use nitrocellulose, which is just pure evil in a can.

    I don't give a damn whether it gives better tone, or aids in a guitar ageing better, or that everyone uses it - bottom line, the stuff is hazardous and downright nasty.

    So, what alternatives are there out there?

    My guitar body is currently hand painted in acrylic - with an acrylic pour on top and solid black coats on the bottom. It just needs a little finishing off ready for clear.

    Any ideas how I can achieve this with at least some consideration for our beleaguered planet?
     
  2. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,186
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    Well, they make acrylic lacquer.
     
    RodeoTex, Chunkocaster and Wally like this.
  3. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,101
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Location:
    Southeast Florida
    I don't know if it would be compatible with your acrylic pour, but I've used Spraymax 2K Glamour Clear gloss in a rattle can with very good results.
    I now use Summit Racing 2K clear with a spray gun.
     
    Rufus and old wrench like this.
  4. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    95
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA near New Hope PA
    With the exception of some de-waxed shellac I use for purpose, the only finishes I spray are water borne products, primarily from Target Coatings. These are acrylics (as all water borne finishes are) and are available with a variety of characteristics, including "burn in" similar to nitro with a significantly reduced risk of death from asphyxiation or explosion. :)

    I did recently look into water borne automotive finish for my foray into the guitar world, but the cost is huge compared to the products I'm already comfortable with from years of use. I'm sticking with that for now.
     
  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,160
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2018
    Location:
    In space with Ziggy
    If you don't want to use aerosol you could brush some form of clear coat on if you don't mind a lot of sanding to get it flat and polished up.

    Seems like a lot of hassle to me and won't make much difference to the environment unless you plan on regularly doing several thousand.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
    Treadplatedual likes this.
  6. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    545
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2015
    Location:
    Somerset, UK, Europe
    I've used Sadolin clear varnish with good results.
    It's also one of the products allowed to treat bird nesting boxes, so I guess is OK.

    And Rustins Plastic Coating gives a glassy finish - not sure how clean that is, but it's not an aerosol.

    Good post though, totally agree with you :D (greenface)
     
  7. bb_matt

    bb_matt Tele-Meister

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    126
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2019
    Location:
    Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
    Thanks guys, I'll try some of the alternative suggestions - as this is my first build and the paint job isn't exactly pro level ( :D ), I'm willing to take an alternative option to see how it pans out. I'll also be brushing on, as I just don't have the setup for spraying right now. My workshop is 8' x 6' and is also my home office - I could spray outside, but then there's the weather and bugs flying into the wet coating etc.
    I could spray inside the house too, but the wife may not like that :D
    I have visions of disconnecting the bathroom ceiling ventilation and connecting it to a spray booth to suck out the toxic fumes. That could get messy :D

    This will be the last build I do with a solid coat, as I really love wood finish guitars, but this body is from a cheap tele clone and the three piece wood joins were ... crappy. Zero attempt to make even a cursory match between the grains of each piece, so the three sections just stood out like a sore thumb.

    My next build, that is going to be wood stain!
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  8. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,954
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, NY
    double post sorry
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2019
  9. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,954
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Location:
    Glen Head, NY
    I'm a big fan of Target Coatings waterborne finishes. My go-to choice for guitars is EM6000 which is has acrylic resin, and has a great feature that will "burn-in" to prior coats no matter how long they've cured (great for drop fills for repairs later, I've touched things up and buffed them out years later).

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but the type of resin is only one component and is not always acrylic. Target makes waterborne finishes that have polyurethane and polycarbonate, as well as a hybrid alkyd line of products. I don't want to generalize, but (1) the acrylic can have a very faint, slight straw colored cast to it, (2) the polyurethane products are more water-clear (good for topcoating over artwork), (3) the polycarbonate products are very durable but not as easy to level sand and buff out because they can show witness lines if you sand down to the next layer, and (4) the hybrid alkyd products are great for woods that come alive with a little amber color in the topcoat (like figured mahogany).

    Target has a good web site please check them out. (They used to have a forum and I was the voluntary moderator of their luthiery section, but I'm just a DIY customer no other connection).
     
    bullfrogblues likes this.
  10. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,261
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2004
    You won't have a lot of choices if you can't spray.

    I would do Min wax water based poly if you must brush.

    Goes on smooth and no fumes.
     
    Treadplatedual likes this.
  11. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    2,287
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2015
    Location:
    PNW USA
    I'm a complete know-nothing on this topic but I really like the idea of the clear epoxy-type stuff that cures solid in a few seconds when exposed to sunlight. It seems so quick and easy. Anyone had experience with it?
     
  12. dan40

    dan40 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    1,149
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2015
    Location:
    Richmond Va
    Here is a video about wipe on poly that may help in your choice...
     
    G.Rotten likes this.
  13. RottenTheCat

    RottenTheCat TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    67
    Joined:
    May 29, 2019
    Location:
    Drambuie, Africa
    I've never considered nitrocellulose "evil", but I do wear a organics rated mask when using it. Those aren't too expensive and have replaceable elements.
     
  14. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    21,345
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2009
    Location:
    Coolum Beach,Australia
    Carbothane spray poly... this one has a fine misty spray and lays down nicely, doesn't tend to run with a few light coats, skins quick before the bugs get on it... hard to scratch when it dries... not fumey...
    I don't bother sanding/polishing afterwards ..off the can, good to go...

    carbathane1.JPG
     
  15. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    540
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    CoolsVille
    I wish I'd seen this earlier. Because I currently don't have any specialized finishing tools or even an appropriate place to spray I decided to do a rub. I used Deft nitro based lacquer. I had high hopes but am not a fan. Feels gummy on the forearm. I've heard others complain about this with Deft (now that I've already done it). My first guitar I sprayed with poly, & I've never had any issues with it.
     
  16. BryMelvin

    BryMelvin Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    1,947
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Location:
    Arivaca AZ
    Any automotive paint will give you a fine hard wearing surface. FWIW that use of auto paint is why most classic Fender colors are actually 50s Car colors.
     
  17. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,936
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2005
    Location:
    Nueces Strip
    Wow
    Nitrocellulose is evil?
    I didn't know that.
    I don't know about that but all polys I've tried turn severly yellow within a short time. That may work for you.
     
  18. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    95
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA near New Hope PA
    Target Coatings is pretty much all I use for any of my furniture and cabinetry work and well, now with this new-found affection/affliction for making a few guitars. I chose EM7000 for the clears on the guitar bodies as it was an opportunity to try what is effectively a high-build version of EM6000...which I've effectively been using since the early 2000's; first as PSL and later as Oxford Spray Lacquer before they moved to the number system for products in place today. My colors are tinted EM6500 which is also pretty much the same formula as EM6000. All three of these products collectively burn in. Jeff has always been very helpful when I have questions, too.

    I recently upgraded my gun which is making spraying the higher viscosity EM6500 as well as the high-build primer a lot easier. It's equipped with the 3M PPS and the pressurized system really pushes out the finish nicely and economically.
     
  19. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    95
    Joined:
    May 31, 2019
    Location:
    SE PA near New Hope PA
    No, not "evil"...but it's a product that requires careful attention to safety for both one's health and because it's extremely flammable. For folks who don't have a "proper" spray environment, it's very much an outdoor use product if at all possible. Even there, a respirator isn't something to eschew. The reason I personally only spray water borne finishes (and a little shellac) is because my shop doesn't have the space or provisions to handle solvent based products safely.
     
  20. Orpingtons

    Orpingtons Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    126
    Joined:
    May 17, 2019
    Location:
    U.S.
    I'm a little more worried about the guy driving that huge truck, polluting as much as he can just because he can, than I am about the guy who sprays a can of nitro over the weekend to finish up a guitar.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.