Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Finishing Parts-Caster Body

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by kylebrenn, May 25, 2017.

  1. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    So I just ordered an unfinished Mahogany semi-hollow Tele-style body to do my first build. My head is beginning to spin with all the different opinions and "right vs wrong" ways of finishing it.

    I have some ebony grain filler I was planning to put on first, sand back, repeat. Then I was going to stain it. Last, I'll finish it off with an aerosol poly or lacquer (for ease of use). I'd like to keep it somewhat of a satin-to-matte finish, so I was thinking of spring gloss for the first couple coats and then finishing it off with a coat or two of satin or matte.

    So here are my questions:

    1) What did I say above that makes you cringe and say "Oh no... don't do that!"

    2) I keep reading about sealer. I'm assuming that is referring to sanding sealer. Is that right? Do I need to/is it better to incorporate that into my finishing process? If so, where in the process?

    3) Water-based or oil-based stain? Either works fine with the grain filler I bought, but does it matter when considering question #4?

    4) When it comes to aerosol lacquer or poly, which would you suggest? Being my first build, my main criteria is "Don't ruin it." Of course, I want it to come out perfectly, and I want it to be a great guitar. But playable and generally attractive is what I'm really after if I'm honest since this if my first go.

    Thanks for any help you can give! Or if you have other tidbits of wisdom from your experience, I'd be happy to learn from the mistakes and successes of others!

    - Kyle
     

  2. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    First off, welcome to the TDPRI!

    Second, don't let all this stuff make your head swim. Everyone's finishing recipe is just a variation on standard woodworking finishing, and there's not necessarily a "right" way. Choose a procedure and see how it works for you.

    StewMac has outlined the procedure for you: http://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onlin...Repair/Nitrocellulose_Finishing_Schedule.html

    Answers to your questions:

    1: Nothing makes me cringe, but there's no point in starting with gloss coats and ending with satin. Just use satin.

    2: There are several sealer options, from sanding sealer to vinyl sealer. I've never used vinyl, but people who I respect tell me they get better results than with sanding sealer.

    3: Water vs. Oil stain doesn't matter in a technical sense. Stains come out a bit of a different color mixed with water than they do when mixed with alcohol. If you stain with water, you'll raise the grain and have to sand that back.

    4: Doesn't matter much, just make sure you're using compatible products throughout the process. You may find it easier to get a poly or acrylic aerosol locally than you can get lacquer. Automotive products generally cure very hard and are good choices. Arts/crafts/household stuff may not.
     
    Tonetele likes this.

  3. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Kokotele's post is excellent.

    The only quibble I have, something I do personally you may or may not care about, is a like to do a fair amount of sheen to be able to tell if I have the surface as smooth as I would like. If you never apply anything glossier than satin, you could have defects you won't see until much later - when the guitar is supposed to be "done" but isn't.

    Flattening agents also interfere (even if only a little) in the flow of the coat and how fast it dries hard IMO.
     

  4. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana

    Thanks for the replies and the welcome!

    Thanks for the link to that Stew Mac page too. I came across that when buying some supplies from his site. It's helpful to have it recommended by you, though!

    The thing I read about the gloss before the satin is that it helps maintain the grain dimension visually because the satin/matte finish flattens it. So they suggested starting with the base layers as gloss and finishing with the flatter. Not sure if I'll do it or not or if it matters in the slightest.

    The part that's confusing to me is that I'm not an experienced woodworker. So it's hard to sort out what are woodworking rules and what are opinions since people tend to state preferences as hard and fast rules online.

    So that's why I'm asking, "Is this wrong/bad?" as much as anything because I know I just need to choose a lane and go rather than stress over what boils down to other people's preferences.

    So any lessons you learned from your builds that you'd like to pass along to a rookie?
     

  5. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    Gloss coats before satin won't do anything visually for the wood grain. You'll already have it filled and level before you get to the top coats, so it won't matter.

    One of the advantages of satin finishes is that you only need a couple of coats and don't need to sand it afterward. With gloss, you need to spray extra because you'll be sanding off the orange peel and polishing, and all that removes layers of finish.

    Be anal retentive about controlling dust and contaminants. Be prepeared to be frustrated by the grain fill. You want it perfect before you get to your top coats, because they will not hide any imperfections in the grain filling, not unless you put on a LOT of coats.
     

  6. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    Coming back to this as I continue to watch YouTube videos and think about this...

    Would you go with aerosol poly or wipe-on poly? And why?

    I've worked with aerosol poly before refinishing a coffee table and making my pedalboard, but I didn't really know what I was doing. They seemed to turn out fine, but it's a but the poly finish is pretty thin... like you can still feel the grain of the wood kind of thin. I honestly wouldn't really know what to look for by way of mistakes either.

    Which leads me to a second question that I'm fairly certain I know the answer to, but want to verify... what are indicators that the poly is going on correctly? Incorrectly?

    Thanks in advance for the help.



    P.S. Where I'm at in the process... I have almost everything purchased (still need tuners and pickguard), but am waiting on the body to arrive. Everything else is in my basement where I'll be doing a lot of the work on this. I picked up a $10 mahogany board from Menards yesterday to test finishes too. So that process will start as soon as I get home from a work trip I'm currently on.
     

  7. KokoTele

    KokoTele Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    42
    Mar 17, 2003
    albany, ny [not chicago]
    If you can still feel or see woodgrain after spraying your topcoats, it means you didn't do enough prep work. Almost all of the important labor is in the wood prep. The surface needs to be sanded perfectly flat (big sanding blocks, start with 150, then 180, then 220), then follow the finishing schedule I posted.

    Mahogany can be a challenge, so be prepared. When you think you have the body sealed and all the pores filled, wipe with a cloth dampened with naptha. It will evaporate quickly on a flat surface, but will linger a little in an open pore. When you get to your clear coats, those open pores will appear as pin holes.

    I've used wipe-on poly for furniture where I didn't really care if you could see my strokes in the final product. For a guitar, that's not the right look. I'd go with aerosol.
     

  8. a_pidgeon

    a_pidgeon Tele-Meister

    395
    Oct 17, 2015
    Scottsdale, AZ
    If ease of use is what you're after, shellac has been the easiest thing I've worked with. It can be wiped on, produces little to no fumes, and self-levels so you don't have to do as much sanding and tinkering between/after coats. I've used the Bullseye stuff in the can you can get at a home improvement store thinned 6 to 1 with denatured alcohol with pretty good results.

    If you're set on lacquer or poly, KokoTele's pretty much got you covered.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.

  9. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    Thanks for the feedback! I'll try to keep you posted as the process unfolds. I'll probably have a few more questions along the way, too.
     

  10. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    This is a bit late, but one of the single most important things you can do is perform a test application of the whole system on scrap wood before you ever touch the body. Try to get a piece of wood similar to what you have.

    This is really critical when you will be using a deeply-cointrasting grain filler, which you can't strip off and re-do. Once it's in the wood it's permanent. it's best to do a test area nearly as large as the body so you can practice techniques and work on consistency. You'll use more material but you'll understand how each one works.
     
    Peltogyne and KokoTele like this.

  11. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    Yeah, I bought a mahogany board to test out. It's not big enough to do a scale thing, but I plan to cut it into 6" sections to test out coloring and such.

    What technique do you use/recommend for grain filling? Remember I'm new at this...

    I've come across two basic methods: 1) appying it to the wood with a credit card across the grain, and then scraping it off with the grain before letting it dry and sanding, or 2) using a rag and working it into the grain in small sections by rubbing it in with a small circular motion.
     

  12. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    It depends on what grain filler you bought. If it's a paste wood filler you'll need to look up the instructions. It's not hard, but is very involved. If it's "wood filler" it may not be the right product. Can you post a picture and/or link to information?
     

  13. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    I got this stuff from Stew Mac. Figure it almost has to be the right stuff then, right?

    http://www.stewmac.com/Materials_an...Putties/ColorTone_Waterbase_Grain_Filler.html
     

  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Some like it. Not my preference, but it should work.

    Read the instructions on their site - one critical point not clearly stated is that you *have* to work fast - and preferably on the entire top or back, each as one process. Sides are not quite as critical.

    But you have less than 10 minutes to remove it after application. Follow the instructions to the letter and don't stop - also do several practice applications.
     

  15. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    I was about to buy tuners today but had a question.

    I'm deciding between two sets of tuners - one is locking and one is not. I have locking tuners on my American Tele and really like them. Those have the no-screw/2-peg installation. The other tuners I'm looking at are standard tuners and install with two screws. (They are both Fender-brand tuners.) I bought a Strat-style Mighty Mite neck from StewMac.

    When it comes to installing them, how difficult is it to install the 2-peg tuners without buying a $45 jig from StewMac? I could take one of the tuners of my current Tele and trace the holes to make sure I have them spaced correctly and make my own little jig. But if the other tuners are significantly easier to install I may just go with those.

    Thoughts?

    Here are the two I'm looking at if that helps:
    Standard - https://reverb.com/item/198316-genuine-fender-099-0822-100-6-inline-chrome-f-70-s-style-tuners
    Locking - https://reverb.com/item/197842-genu...locking-tuners-for-strat-and-tele-2-pin-mount
     

  16. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    So I have done several test pieces, but I'm wondering why the 10 minutes? Whey do you have to be so quick with it?
     

  17. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    33
    951
    May 12, 2008
    oklahoma
    With mahogany I would shy away from stains and use a good Dye like Tramstint or transfast. It will be more uniform and won't get blotchy. I use it on everything anymore. I'm over stains on most projects.

    A tip or two: wet sand before applying and just before applying he dye wet the wood with denatured alcohol. This will help the wood be less "thirsty" and the dye will apply more evenly.

    Another tip, dye first, shellac, grain fill sand, grain fill shellac, samd laquer.

    Yet another tip: Mist coat the first few coats of shellac over the filler. Things like timbermate become liquid and run if the initial costs are too thick/wet
     

  18. ndeli55

    ndeli55 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    33
    951
    May 12, 2008
    oklahoma
    If it's repackaged timbermate, like I suspect, it hardens very quickly. It often becomes unusable after a short time and you can't force it into the grain like you'd want to. I loosen mine up with water until it's the consistency of, oh, melted ice cream. That extends the work time. To be clear, I'm not sure what their fuller is, but I know a lot of their prodicts are rebadged common goods.
     

  19. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Better quality materials like Mohawk dry very quickly. If you remove them quickly they wipe without being sucked out of the grain, which is the point. If you allow them to set and harden removal requires sanding - not really any difference in the end result but far more work than necessary.
     
    zipseattle and ndeli55 like this.

  20. kylebrenn

    kylebrenn TDPRI Member

    Age:
    32
    14
    May 10, 2017
    Indiana
    Alright, I realize this has been a while, but I just stained it tonight. I have a few questions now, though...

    1) How long do I need to wait after staining to apply sanding sealer?

    2) How long after the sanding sealer coats until I can apply the aerosol poly?

    3) How long after poly before wet sanding?

    4) Wet sanding... please explain! I have some 0000 steel wool and some 600 or 800 grit sandpaper. Something super fine. What's better to use? What liquid is best/easiest to use and least likely for me to screw something up?

    Thanks again for any help you can give!
     

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.