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Nitrocellulose Lacquer

Discussion in 'Welcome Wagon' started by slick848, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. slick848

    slick848 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    67
    3
    May 19, 2017
    Westport, NY 12993
    I have never used the stuff,how hard is it to make a glossy looking guitar body,is their anyplace where I can find info on how to apply the Nitro,i have used wipeon poly but want to try some Nitro like that real glassey look, can anyone help me. Thanks
     
  2. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    260
    Jul 6, 2016
    Jeff City, Mo.
    Start here maybe:

    https://www.reranch.com/basics.htm

    Check out Brad Angove on YouTube as well.

    I spray with reranch colors mainly, and then clear coat with Watco or Minwax clear. You need a number of coats on it, then I wet-sand from 800 grit to 2500 progressively. I don't buff my bodies. At least not for a year or so. I do rub them with flannel after they have been wet sanded and that polishes them without actually using a polish.

    It's a process. Start with a cheap project and learn from it. 20170514_165933.jpg 20180724_211551.jpg 20170801_201529.jpg
     
    G-52, Toadtele, ponce and 1 other person like this.
  3. Fatstring

    Fatstring TDPRI Member

    61
    Nov 23, 2017
    Denver, Colorado
    https://www.reranch.com/

    Yes it is hard and you need a lot of patience. It is easy to do an accidental sand-through on something like a sunburst, or lay clear nitro on too thick and get bubbles. My first time through I did both, and each one resulted in a strip and re-do. Heartbreaking. I did finally finish one bass body in nitro, and a second in tru-oil. Currently would rather buy finished bodies and I have learned the appreciation of why they cost what they do.

    Good luck, lots of good tips on the reranch site above or also try the Warmoth forums. Of course there is also a finishing sub-forum on the tdpri page. http://www.tdpri.com/forums/finely-finished.47/
     
  4. Rumblur

    Rumblur TDPRI Member

    34
    Oct 27, 2011
    Upstate, SC
    The words "glossy" and "nitro" rarely meet each other in a sentence. Nitro is one of, if not the, worst paint on the planet. If you must use lacquer, acrylic lacquer is more forgiving and more rewarding.

    Enamel and polyurethane are much more glossy, durable and lasting. Tonally, I find them to be as good or better.... but the interwebs deemed nitro the coating of the gods so it must be true eh?

    Reranch is your best bet for DIY nitro.
     
  5. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

    61
    Nov 6, 2011
    Chicago
    Gotta agree: reranch is the jam for nitro. Gets the best reviews for color, clear and expertise. That being said...

    Nitro was used on vintage guitars because, at the time, it was also used on vintage cars.

    What they’ll say is that nitro “breathes” so it has better tone. I say nitro just has a different feel, which is one part of what makes a guitar sound one way or another.

    When they say poly (a four letter word they’ll use for anything that isn’t nitro) kills tone, I don’t think that’s true. Many cheap guitars from the 80s and onward have too much finish on them - they’d sound like crap with the same amount of nitro. If you apply thin layers of any finish and then sand it back, so there’s a nice clear finish that is not thick, it’ll sound good.

    Nitro isn’t going to be glossier, per se. you can get it pretty glossy, but nitro never fully cures. The benefit of this is that if you chip the finish or it checks (Aka, gets a hairline finish crack in the clear coat - common if you take it from warm to cold environments too quickly), it can be blended or patched. Can’t do that with poly.

    Nitro also takes days to finish because of the cure time between coats, and has some pretty toxic fumes. You’ll need a good working space where you have time and no one is really messing around. With poly, it’s roughly 10-15min between each coat, and you can bang it out in couple hours, if that.

    If you go poly, I used the reranch instructions but I got my paint and clear from an auto paint store: 4:1 ratio catalyzed clear and paint color of my choosing, and go by that cure time. They put them into spray cans for me, and I just applied the clear in thin layers.

    To get the finish clear, you go in wet sanding grits starting at 800, then 1000, 1200, 1500, 1800 and 2000 - then you buff it with 2 or 3 types of auto buffing compounds. It’s tedious and takes a steady hand and patience.

    I live in Chicago, without access to a garage/workspace long term, and very wide temperature swings season to season. Poly made sense for me, but plenty of others in my city use nitro guitars without checking issues and such. But, tone is also affected by pickups, bridge, electronics, neck material, wood material... the list goes on. I have one nitro guitar, and it’s awesome, but I wouldn’t say it’s because of the finish - and it’s also not shinier than my other guitars. ;-)

    Just my 2 cents. Make good choices and good luck!
     
  6. greysun

    greysun TDPRI Member

    61
    Nov 6, 2011
    Chicago
    Oh, and nitro is more prone to discoloration over time or exposure to sunlight or even certain padding from guitar stands. Reranch nitro does a better job at not discoloring, but it’s not foolproof.

    Im not trying to dissuade you from it, per se, but rather give a broader view of what you’re dealing with when it comes to nitro and some potential pitfalls.
     
  7. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    I got told my 2004 Hwy. 1 Telecaster has nitrocellulose finish. Any advantages?
     
  8. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    61
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    ReRanch instructions are clear, concise, and correct. It takes a lot of patience, and attention to detail, but it's not really that difficult. I found sifting through conflicting information from a variety of sources to be the hardest part.
     
  9. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    260
    Jul 6, 2016
    Jeff City, Mo.
    A couple things from someone who has used both, but prefers lacquer :
    I don't worry about it "breathing" . I like the feel of lacquer better, and so do many others. To me, poly is sticky.
    Unless it's a special relic/ aged new Fender, it's gonna be hi gloss poly. You can make lacquer about as shiny, but the look is totally different between the 2 IMO.

    I'm not sure where you heard it takes days to finish a body with nitro, but I assure you, I can spray a prepped body complete in a day easy. 30 minutes between clear coats, less between color ... it's not hard to do. Yes, I have to let it dry a day or so before I work with it, but I can get it completed and hold it in my hands the same day.

    And checking .... yea, do you want the "vintage" look, or the "I just polished my guitar " look? I like the checking .... :D 19401836_10208280882694503_968388233219245903_o.jpg 19420875_680930875441450_2357269605405811506_n.jpg 20170310_111218.jpg
     
    whoanelly15 likes this.
  10. slick848

    slick848 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    67
    3
    May 19, 2017
    Westport, NY 12993
    Thanks everybody for all the info on Nitro and other finishes,i will check with Reranch and go from there,again thanks,as far as patience that I have im a 100% disabled veteran from the Vietnam war so I like things to do to keep me going,i get around good at times but sometimes not so good,so my basement is my shop for everything.

    Thanks guy's
     
  11. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    Cologne
    I've no idea about the finishing process but look at it as a player. This summer the temperatures went very high and all my nitro finished guitars got sticky. No problem, I could play my urethane finished american standard tele and poly finished Ibanez. But depending in where you live and tour nitro may not be the best option. The world made a few turns since the 50s.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  12. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    @slick848 You're always welcome here mate, consider yourself part of a big family and it's not facebook, no disrespect here.
    @nosuch it looks like summer of fires here as we are already experiencing hot weather and small fires- bigger ones to come. Hope the folks in Northern California are surviving even if their hoses can't be saved. Loss of life is our biggest worry Downunder. You can put up new buildings but can't replace a person. That's my worry for Californians and others as well as what is shaping up to be a bad summer here. That may affect my guitar.
     
  13. For most of us who build regularly there is no mystery to nitro. It is an easy product to use with any negative experiences such as sticky, or checking, or having to set for a year to buff not an issue when done well. The finely finished forum is your best spot for finish info on tdpri. Done properly it is an amazing versitile finish with glass like depth and gloss.

    As with any finish, saftey considerations are required for the fumes, which are nasty. Reranch is a good resource if you are aerosol dependant. Those of us with spray equipment who mix and tint our own typically use non box store brands to achieve our preferences.

    My prefered sequence after prepping and filling your body correctly is spray on your color in thin dry coats. A coat is 3 light passes. Your color coat does not need to be glossy. As a color coat, all you need is enough for even color. 3-4 light coats sprayed over a few hours will suffice for most. Follow with you clear without sanding your color coat!

    I like 6-8 dry coats of clear of 3 passes each. They do not need to be glossy coats but should be smooth. You should not need to, and it is better off, not to sand in between coats. The last 2 coats should be heavier flood costs for a smooth consitent finish surface. You can wet sand in a shorter time but I generally wait a week or two while I work another neck or body.

    Wet sanding should be done with a block to avoid uneven sanding. I prefer wet sanding with naptha to avoid water getting into holes and causing problems. If your finish is smooth enough you can start with 1000 or 1500 grit. If you need coarser than that, spray practice will do you well. Coarser than 800 will eat up clear very quickly resulting in sand thru.

    Practice and enjoy! Welcome to the addiction!

    Eric
     
  14. unixfish

    unixfish Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 20, 2013
    Northeast Ohio, USA
    I was going to welcome you, but I see you've been here for a year and a half or so. Good advice above.
     
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