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 Roasted Maple headstock for decal

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Jsil13, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    They work very well if you have a good master to work with - and don't scrimp on decal paper. The best stuff isn't cheap but prints with very clean registration -he film is also very thin. Cheap decal paper has very thick film which looks "wrong" and invariably shows lines when the headstock is coated.

    The reason for sealing them with lacquer is simple: most end up coating the headstocks with lacquer, and with good quality film the finish lacquer melts just enough into the "seal" coat that the edges mostly disappear.

    Sealing them is done initially with 2-3 VERY light "fog" coats of satin. semi gloss or gloss lacquer (it doesn't matter which is you're coating the headstock). They barely even cover the decal - it should look and feel almost "dusty" after the first couple.

    Once it starts to look covered - but still not smooth - you go a bit heavier, with the last couple being fairly quick "flood" coats. Lacquer has very thin film build and the actual thickness of a flood coat is barely measurable when dry.

    When it's smooth you're done - don't worry about consistent sheen if it's going to be finish coated. Finish coating is highly recommended with inkjet decals as even the best ones are thicker than commercially-printed ones and stand out on the headstock.

    The problem with shellac as a finish coat is that it's very easily damaged compared to all other clears. Any cleaner that contains even a small amount of alcohol will act as a remover and smear the film - some window and other fast-drying cleaners (safe on lacquer & polyurethane) will damage it; so will prolonged exposure to mineral spirits & naphtha.

    Naphtha is used by most techs as a cleaner to remove grease, oils, sticker gunk etc - and if you finish a neck in shellac it can eventually end up a nasty surprise for someone.

    Because of this none of the techs or finishers I know use shellac on anything but historic instruments - violins, Weissenborn-style instruments and other vintage pieces originally finished with it.
     
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  2. The Ballzz

    The Ballzz Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    62
    Apr 11, 2016
    Las Vegas, NV
    Silverface,
    Thanks for that info! It is much better than my suggestion, especially given that his shellac is "de-waxed" and certainly more detailed!
    Thanks Again,
    Gene
     
    Jsil13 likes this.

  3. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    241
    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA

    Thank you Silverface. I started with light coats of lacquer and then several "flood" coats over the past few days. It's definitely looking good. How long do you normally wait before finish sanding? I've heard 30 days and I've seen people go less. I was planning on using 800 and 1000 before moving to polish. Should I start with a coarser grit or end up with a finer grit? I'm using the Miniwax gloss lacquer in the black can. Thanks for all the help.
     

  4. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA

    Hehe - in good weather not more than 4 or 5 days. Professional cabinet finishers that spray standard clears like Valspar, Mohawk etc often sand the next day - if they sand at all.

    Honestly, even though I post about finish sanding I rarely do it. Neither do manufacturers. We go straight from finish application to cotton cloth buffers using stick-type polishes after 4-5 days. if your finish does not have orange peel or significant bumps in it sanding is really unnecessary - and if it's really bumpy a couple good flood coats may solve it anyway.

    Sanding is sometimes needed if there are runs on edges (which are really an application error) - but not full surface sanding. It is actually counter-productive if the surface is smooth - it reduces mil thickness and durability.

    You can get cloth wheels and stick polishes at Harbor Freight, or order them online. ALWAYS practice this stuff on scrap - but once you learn how to do it you may get addicted to finishing. It becomes *much* simpler - and usually gives better results.

    PS - I still recommend 30 days or so before putting a guitar in a case as the actual "cure" not dry) time is years, and during the first month or so lacquer can react with some types of case cloth, most plastic fittings and nearly ALL guitar stands.
     
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  5. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    241
    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA
    IMG_0518.JPG IMG_0520.JPG IMG_0517.JPG
    While I was waiting for the headstock to cure I figured I'd give something I saw on the Warmoth forum a shot. I spent an hour and a half or so sanding from 400 all the way to 2000 cleaning with naptha between grits. I didn't get a gloss appearance like some of the ones I've seen, but it's definitely the smoothest neck I've ever felt. I might try to find some 3m polishing paper and see if that will give it more shine, but I'm loving the way it feels.
     

  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Age:
    65
    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    I suggest leaving the back/sides of the neck alone. Many players intentionally dull the gloss - it gives a smoother feel and can be less "sticky" feeling than a glossy neck.
     

  7. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    241
    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA
    The ones I've seen have no actual polish or gloss on them. They've just used to polishing paper to such a high grit that it appears glossy, but retains the smoothness of the raw neck. I have one tele with a satin neck and another one in vintage gloss, but this one really feels great. I'll probably leave it how it is now.
     

  8. Jsil13

    Jsil13 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    34
    241
    Feb 14, 2017
    Boston, MA
    IMG_0543.JPG
    I also didn't have to do any sanding on the front of the headstock. Just a little polishing. It came out pretty good for my first try.
     

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