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Micro fine scratches in paint and celluloid pickguards

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by V Silly, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    312
    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    Hello folks, I am a weekend warrior without a real shop so any equipment I have has to be able to be picked up and moved out to the driveway and then put away again. I'm thinking maybe I need a buffing wheel of some kind because I cannot get rid of the micro fine scratches when polishing paint and celluloid pick guards for some builds I'm doing. I have looked around at buffing arbors that seem like a rather pricey solution and also impractical since I cannot permanently mount them.
    Is there some other way to get rid of these micro fine scratches besides having a buffing wheel? I think I have tried everything I can do by hand, every compound and polishing cloth type I can think of but I just can't get rid of them. I tried one of those buffing wheels that you stick on your hand drill bit that seemed like a complete disaster as it was very hard to control and prone to making gouges in the workpiece.
    I also tried a random orbit Sander but my first attempt was not very successful, I guess I do not know what type of pad and/or compound combination to use for this to work. Any suggestions on that front would be great.
    If I need a buffing wheel is there some solution I can use that I could carry out and clamp to my workbench when I'm using it?
    Appreciate if anyone has found a solution to this, thank you so much.
     

  2. reddy2300

    reddy2300 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    48
    46
    Aug 25, 2017
    Dublin, Ohio
    If the scratches are too deep to rub out by hand, you might want to use some finer grades of sandpaper to clean them up. Depending on how deep they are, you'll want to start with 800 grit and work your way out to 2000 grit. After that, hand polishing, while laborious, should get you a mirror finish.
     

  3. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    312
    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    I'm getting all the way up to the hand polish, Isn't exactly that there are scratches. It's that my hand polish never gets completely glassy. When you hold it up to the light you can still see tiny tiny tiny lines being reflected. They are not scratches it's more like texture from the polishing cloth or something. Not sure if this is what they referred to as swirl, but I do have anti-swirl compound that it doesn't get rid of it. Which is why I thought hand polishing really just wasn't going to cut it. Anyway thank you for the input, look forward to more responses.
     
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  4. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Micro fine scratched are actually a part of the Nitro experience... even if you DID get rid of 'em with progressively finer polishing compounds.. once ya start playing.. bingo they're back.. reason there's "grit" in the air, our clothes, on our skin... and the rag, whatever rag it is, that you will use to clean it with...

    The only time you will ever see perfectly buffed Nitro Lacquer with no noticeable scratches is on a Concours Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spider .. of course, the owner of the 35,000,000.00 car has the finds available to have anyone he wants top buff it to perfection... :p


    So..
     

  5. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Meister

    308
    Feb 1, 2016
    Jefferson City, MO
    My shop is pretty rudimentary, so in similar situations, I've used rubbing and polishing compounds (from Auto Zone) along with buffer wheel attachments on my dremel tool or drill (from Amazon).
     

  6. Mr. Moss

    Mr. Moss TDPRI Member

    32
    Apr 30, 2015
    CA
    I do all my finish buffing by hand (polyurethane, mostly), and had the same problem. Even the finest buffing compound has micro-abrasives that can leave very fine, very faint scratches that are really only visible when light reflects off it at a particular angle. Because it wasn't that noticeable, I just learned to accept it, but I'm pretty obsessive-compulsive about my work, so it always bothered me.

    Recently, I tried some polishing compound by Turtle Wax that has "scratchless abrasives". It requires a lot of elbow grease, but it seems to get the job done.

    I've thought about using a buffing attachment on a drill, but there's something about working the finish up to a factory gloss by hand that I find gratifying... Maybe it's the direct contact.
     

  7. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    You will never prevent this. Especially not in nitro. It never completely dries. Nitro dies buff out but even fibres in cloth leave marks. But - one of the reasons we love nitro is the marks, cracking/checking, discolouration. It's one reason (along with binders fading and UV browning) the car and other industries left nitro
     

  8. Mr. Moss

    Mr. Moss TDPRI Member

    32
    Apr 30, 2015
    CA
    Swirl marks are fine, light scratches from polishing. I'm not sure what you're describing (witness lines, maybe?).

    Can you capture it in a photo?
     

  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    Now there's a thought.. as nitro cures completely, which can take literally years... it shrinks .. it gets thinner.. which is why guys think the Vintage guitars has super thin finishes... they didn't.. it's just became that way over time, but... as it shrinks, the underlying grain and any irregularities in the wood's surface will begin to be seen in the gloss of the surface. As Walter Cronkite would say, "And that's the way it is."

    Ron Kirn
     
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  10. V Silly

    V Silly Tele-Meister

    312
    Nov 14, 2011
    Santa Barbara CA
    Thank you everyone for the replies. I have had some of my guitars polished by the person who is doing my paint jobs and there was a noticeable difference in the finish that was professionally polished. So I believe I can do a little better than the result I'm getting but it's nice to know that this is not unusual.
     

  11. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Here's something to try: when you buff, leave it alone and do not try to get rid of any white residue of buffing compound that might settle on the workpiece. the lacquer is still hot, and as a result it's soft and will be scratched by looking at it alone. Don't try to wipe it with a tshirt or diaper or even a miraculously clean micro fiber cloth, not until it cools down.
     

  12. chris m.

    chris m. Friend of Leo's

    I was flipping channels recently and there happened to be a few new, shiny Ferraris on a segment about renting high-end automobiles in places like Miami. I noticed that with a certain angle and light from the cameras there were a whole bunch of microscratches quite visible on the Ferraris as well. I'm sure they use the finest buffing wheels, pristine chamois hand cloths, buttery carnauba and all that, but I think a certain amount of microscratching is pretty unavoidable.
     

  13. Jules78

    Jules78 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    383
    Dec 12, 2016
    Northern VA
    Those are called swirl marks and it is from washing the car incorrectly. Tiny grain of stone gets in your towel and you scratch the whole car up. I spent 30 hours polishing my car when I bought it used to remove swirlies and since then it gets washed carefully. I use 2 buckets, one to rinse before it goes in the soap bucket and I use a foam gun I bought for $15 off amazon and bingo bango no more scratches. I also dont wash it a lot. Id rather it be a little dirty than scratched. 5 years old and looks better than new.

    My guitars on the other hand get little scratches and I agree that they are unavoidable.
     

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