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

Trying to learn about finishes

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Dicarbondioxide, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. Dicarbondioxide

    Dicarbondioxide NEW MEMBER!

    Sep 22, 2017
    Orem, UT
    I am sure this post already exists somewhere I just can't find it. I got into the guitar game about a year ago and have learned a lot, mostly through trial and error. I recently started wprking at a startup making novelty guitars to sell at conventions such as comic con (so I need to be very price concious). In that time I have finished multiple guitars with clear coat, rustoleum laquer (which YouTube recommended), and polyurethane. I have not been super satisfied with the quality of any of those finishes, none of them have been the shiny show car finish that is customary on a guitar nor have any been very scratch resistant. I guess really what I'm trying to learn is what are the preferred types of guitar finishes, how much does it cost to do a whole guitar, how hard is it to learn to do, and what are any other pros/cons (like scratch resistance, or gloss quality).

    TLDR: What are good techniques to finish a body and how much does it cost?

  2. Tdel10

    Tdel10 Tele-Meister

    Jul 31, 2016
    Wheeling WV
    Lacquer is the traditional way, 2k catalyzed base coat/clearcoat is the modern stuff (car paint).

    Basically, if it comes in an aerosol can, it's not catalyzed. You need a real spray setup to achieve that type of finish. Then cut and buff.

    Research autobody painting techniques.

    That being said, you can get very good results from a rattle can with a bit of practice. There isn't much at the home improvement stores that is the top notch stuff.

  3. Speedy454

    Speedy454 Tele-Meister

    Oct 1, 2013
    Highland, IL
    I have to start by saying that if it was easy to obtain a mirror like high gloss scratch resistant finish, everybody could do it, and half of the finish threads on this site would be gone.

    I agree with Tdel10 that an automotive 2K gives a very high gloss finish with excellent scratch resistance.

    Some good automotive paint stores have the 2k in spray cans. There is a small vessel inside the spray can that breaks releasing the activator when you vigorously shake it.

    Be aware, the 2K finishes (and any spray lacquer or poly) are very toxic. You need proper ventilation and a good spray mask. Not a cheap throw away dust mask.

    If you are not aware of what he means by 'cut and buff', that is the final step in finishing that will make your project really mirror like.

    After the finish is fully dried and cured, start wet sanding the finish lightly with about 1200 and work your way to 2000. Then using an electric buffer of some kind and an automotive polishing compound, buff it out.

    True lacquer will buff out the easiest, can provide excellent gloss, but has low scratch resistance.
    2K can be like buffing a rock. It dries that hard. But scratch resistance beats all other spray finishes.
    Tdel10 likes this.

  4. abrianb

    abrianb Tele-Meister

    Mar 5, 2014
    You can get a hvlp system that is inexpensive, Earlex for instance. This will allow you to spray finish that uses a hardener or catalyst. That means less time until you can polish it out. You won't hand a customer a product that stinks of thinner or sticks to them.

  5. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

    Feb 15, 2004
    Just to add, recently Amazon has had Spraymax 2k for $12 a can.

    It is normally about $23-26 a can there.

  6. trev333

    trev333 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Can you get this stuff in the US? Carbothane gloss clear Poly..... tough as nails....

    straight off the can, good to go..... works a treat....:)

    carbothane gloss 1.jpg


  7. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Aug 3, 2010
    Loganville, Ga.
    Carbolene, maker of Caebothane, is owned by the same holding company that owns a well-known US brand, Rust-Oleum. Something I saw makes me think Caebolene is based in New Zealand--is that right? Carbolene shows a US location in St. Louis, Mo, and a list of their products, but no retail locations for consumer purchase. It lists a phone number to call for prices, which usually means price is quoted by the tanker railroad car.

  8. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    There's numerous non-toxic finishes that dry rock-hard in a week without tack. You would only choose lacquer if you're going for semi- authentic.

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