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

Finishing With Spray Paint

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by LoudMouthLawton, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. LoudMouthLawton

    LoudMouthLawton NEW MEMBER!

    Nov 26, 2017
    I recently have started a build of my own design and have an idea of how i'd like to finish it. Im just looking for some pointers from everyone else out there. So the guitar is modeled after a mix of a les paul Jr. and a few Airline and Supro models that tickle my fancy. I'm planning to finish the body and neck separately. The body is basswood where as the neck is mahogany and rosewood. I'm planning to spray paint the body with an oil based Rustoleum paint. this is the link:

    For the neck I was thinking of using a whip on polyurethane with a final coat of beeswax (what i use on 90% of my furniture builds). The fingerboard will get oiled.

    Do i need to apply any other type of finish over the painted body? Is there a better finish option for the neck? Are my choices of finish correct? looking for whatever input people have for me! I'm still very much an amateur. Thanks for the help. attached below is updated pictures of the build. IMG_0928.jpeg IMG_0953-1.jpeg
    nick0 and TigerG like this.
  2. Your finish choices will work. You can put clear over the body paint if you want but not necessary. There is not really a good or bad but rather different for different taste.
  3. johnboy99

    johnboy99 Tele-Meister

    Jun 7, 2012
    Looks like a cool project!
    I would suggest reconsidering the rustoleum paint on the body. I believe that is an enamel paint... you can get a decent finish with it, but I would suggest that there are better options that are just as readily available. On my first refinish project I used an enamel paint and it stayed VERY soft for several weeks. finally it cured enough to wet sand and polish and it looked pretty good - no clear coat, I just polished the color coat. About a year after the project was done, I could still press my fingernail into the paint and leave a mark. I think I probably sprayed too thick too fast, but I wouldn't use enamel again. Another thing you have to really watch out for with enamel paint is the recoat times - it usually says to recoat within an hour or after 48 hours - If you spray another coat after the 1 hour window, but before the 48 hr (or longer - however long it takes to sufficiently cure depending on how thick you sprayed / temp, humidity etc ) you'll get really bad wrinkles in the paint and have to wait, sand flat and respray...

    Since my first experience had some issues, I decided to try what many here use for spray can finishes which is the duplicolor acrylic lacquer which is available in pretty much every auto parts store - lots of great colors available and you can clear coat with nitro lacquer or Poly if you want a more durable finish - Always test your paints on scrap materials for compatibility before you spray the body and wait to see if any bad reaction occurs. I have done a few bodies with the duplicolor lacquer and it is much better to work with in my opinion.

    Here's my process for a solid color:
    - Sand the body to 320 grit

    - Blow off dust with compressed air / Dust with a tack cloth

    - Spray primer nice and thick - ( I usually use a whole can of the Sandable Auto Primer for 1 coat )

    - Wet sand with 400 to get everything dead flat and smooth

    - Blow off and wipe clean with damp rag

    - Inspect the body in good light and decide if there are any problem areas that need to be filled or sanded etc

    - fix any issues as needed and decide if you need to spray another coat of primer before moving on to color.. (prep is 99% of a good finish paint won't hide flaws)

    - After primer, wet sanding, etc - I blow off with air, wipe really good with a damp lint free rag (t shirts work good) tack cloth, wash hands really good, wipe with rag again damp with alcohol, then blow with compressed air again and make sure no dust or lint is present.

    - Check temp conditions and humidity and pick your day

    - Spray color coat - I always start with edges, corners, horns and any hard to reach areas 1st, then work my way around to the front and back - I think this is a good practice to ensure that you are getting plenty of material on the corners and hard to reach areas that might get a little overlooked / lighter coat - these are going to be the areas you are most likely to sand through later, so I like to build up a little extra and always start there so I don't forget and then hit em again later to build up a little extra margin for error. Use light overlapping passes and don't try to get full coverage right away - Just be methodical and work your way from one area to the next. Focus on getting even coverage and avoiding runs and sags. Never start or end your pass over the body - that will get you puddles and splatter - Start to spray just off the body and move across and off the other side. Build your color up slowly. After I have some color on everywhere, I spray a little heavier to try to get it to flow together and lay down real nice - there is a fine balance between spraying too dry and having a rough, eggshell texture and spraying too heavy and getting runs and sags - right in the middle is the sweet spot that you want to find.

    - Repeat color coats as needed - you can recoat lacquer within an hour or so depending on conditions. If you are going to clear coat, probably 2 color coats is enough to get a nice even base color - If you are not going to clear coat, then you probably want to do at least 4-5 to minimize the risk of sanding through. I wouldn't sand at all between coats unless you have problems like orange peel or a drip or a bug in the finish etc.

    - Let it dry for somewhere between a couple of days and 12 weeks

    - When you can't stand waiting any more, it's time to wet sand and polish

    It's a good idea to mount to body to a stick or jig so you can cover all areas with each coat and avoid overspray- I made a simple, cheap rotating jig that has worked great - thread here:

    Also, get one of these - It makes life a lot easier
    Mr. Neutron and wadeeinkauf like this.
  4. One thing to remeber on enamel is you don't do 10 or 20 coats like you do on lacquer. We used enamal as the go to paint for many years in automotive. It came after lacquer and befor poly. We only used 2-3 coats and it was ready to finish sand and buff in no time, like a few days. Just do the fingernail test in the pickup route and you will be ready.

    Do watch your instructions on how soon or how long to wait for additional coats or else it will lift on you like poly or many other types will.
    LoudMouthLawton likes this.
  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Lawndale CA
    Enamel is not the choice of any experienced finisher. It's difficult to apply smoothly and doesn't sand well; depending on what - if anything - you apply over it the finished product will be a bit to extremely less durable. Enamels also discolor faster than any other finish.

    Enamel also goes on heavier by the time it covers than other finishes in almost every case. This will make it very difficult to mask a clean...but not weird-feeling - edge at the fretboard edge.

    No matter what you use you should round the edges on the guitar. Sharp corners are very touch to coat fully - and cleanly - for inexperienced finishers.

    If you look at other "how should I finish my guitar" threads you'll find the preferred methods - lacquer, polyurethane and Tru-Oil primarily. Seriously, you have a lot of reading/research to do if you want to do a good job.

    And no matter what you use apply the *entire* system on some scrap before starting on the guitar. That eliminates a bunch of probable problem solving you don't want to encounter on the actual work.

    Good luck.

    PS - if it's a set neck the neck & body are almost never finished separately.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
    DrASATele and LoudMouthLawton like this.
  6. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
    silverface - best advice here . . . test, test, test
  7. Frontman

    Frontman Tele-Holic

    Jul 10, 2014
    In my experience, spray lacquer is the easiest to apply, and the easiest to remove if you bugger it up. You can apply it in thin coats, sand each coat smooth, and with a little practice (and a dust-free place) get it glassy smooth and shiny. But it is not durable, and if you aren’t careful your guitar will be a “relic” much more quickly.
  8. cmclayton101

    cmclayton101 Tele-Meister

    Oct 12, 2016
    Raleigh, NC
    My first and only experience with Tru oil went very very well. I highly recommend this. Super easy to apply. Be patient and apply many, many, many coats. They do go on quick however.
  9. LoudMouthLawton

    LoudMouthLawton NEW MEMBER!

    Nov 26, 2017
    used Acrylic Spray lacquer from the auto parts store. here's the finished product!

    Attached Files:

  10. Very nice job.
  11. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jul 6, 2012
    North of Boston
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