A glassy finish--can it be achieved by hand?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Joel Terry, May 6, 2011.

  1. Joel Terry

    Joel Terry Poster Extraordinaire

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    I marvel at all of the DIY finish jobs here, particularly those with a deep, even, glassy, shiny clearcoat.

    Can this be achieved solely with a mechanical buffer and polishing compound or can it be achieved by hand, too? If it can be achieved by hand, exactly how is it done?

    Thanks in advance,
    Joel
     
  2. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    This was not even wet sanded, it was sprayed with compressor and good gun. Tinted Nitro, only used clear coat compound by hand mainly for the over spray on the back, being the last coat was the front and it vortexed around and dusted the back slightly.

    BUT, with the right gun, you can really lay the material on and flow it short of drips if it is hot enough and you can spray non thinned lacquer. The first coast of each session was cut approx 20% thinner, 2nd and 3rd coats in sessions straight non thinned Nitro.
     

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  3. motor_city_tele

    motor_city_tele Tele-Afflicted

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  4. Thumposaurus

    Thumposaurus TDPRI Member

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    This is just hand sanded with micro mesh sandpapers, you can get them at stew-mac or woodcraft.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. pirana

    pirana Tele-Meister

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    Wet sanding with progressively finer sand paper & 3M perfect It II & Meguires Swirl Remover has yielded excellent results for me, all by hand. Those foam pads that you can use in a hand held drill work well too & are not expensive.
     
  6. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Here is another hand polished. It is actually semi gloss Watco Nitro I got a gallon on sale for 18.00. So this way my test to see how polished semi-gloss could be coaxed. Now this one was wet sanded with mineral spirits, something I will never do again. the smell stay around for months and months.
     

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  7. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I do mine by hand.

    My spraying technique/eqipment really isn't pro-level, so I

    Wet sand through 1200
    3M super duty rubbing compound
    3M Finese it rubbing compound
    presta swirl mark remover
    Wax
     
  8. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My examples actually had some airplane polish I have left over from a 100 years ago as the last step before wax. The Green S51 was not waxed in that picture FWIW, the Amber one was.
     
  9. twangplank

    twangplank Tele-Afflicted

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    You can do it by hand but you can get a small hand buffer at Sears for like $30.

    Seams like a small investment if a person plans on doing much finish work.
     
  10. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Tele-Holic

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    Those machines aren't really doing anything your hand cannot do, other than doing it way faster, and way more easily.

    Although, after you manage to burn through what otherwise would have been a perfect finish, you might be wishing you stuck with doing it by hand.
     
  11. piece of ash

    piece of ash Friend of Leo's

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    I actually found some pads that will velcro right on to a standard DA sander. I still do all the corners, edges, tricky-spots by hand. Works pretty well... I may have found these pads at Lowe's.

    I have a full-size buffer for cars... the pad is about as big the guitar. It would be fairly dangerous to bring the two together.

    Regardless, without having the ideal spraying set-up at the moment, and considering the small battle I go through to get to the point of buffing, sitting in a chair and polishing that thing up by the armstrong method is kinda satisfying.
     
  12. jefrs

    jefrs Doctor of Teleocity

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    You can get 3-in pads for those car buffers. I polished out the scratches in the lenses of my spectacles with one, I could not do that by hand. I used jewellers rouge for that, but the car finishing polishes (as opposed to cutting compounds and regular car polish) do yield incredible results e.g. Menzerna PO203S - whether by hand, rotary or dual action machine. Failing that there are some foam pad adaptors and foam polishing balls for cordless drills.
     
  13. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's a neck I just finished for a strat relic project. All by hand, and this wasn't even totally polished out yet at this stage.
     

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  14. habernack

    habernack TDPRI Member

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    I've tried these steps a few times now without anywhere close to the results you guys have gotten.

    I think I'm too aggressive (too many passes) with the 600/800 grit papers and it's leaving fine swirls.

    I'm wet sanding a neck this weekend and I will focus more on the 1200-1500 papers and only do a couple of passes with the lower grits.
     
  15. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Habernack - here are a few tips

    Add a drop of two of dish soap to your water, redip and clean your sand paper frequently, and change to fresh water between grits.

    Let the weight of the sanding block or tool do the sanding for you. Do not press down, or try to apply extra pressure to make it go faster.

    When you wet sand, start with ~ 600 grit, using a sanding block. Sand with the grain, until the finish is completely level. You can tell by holding the body into the light and relacting it left/right and back/fourth. Shiny spots are low spots, and dull spots are level spots.

    Then goto 800, and sand at a slight angle until you have removed the all the scratches from the previous grit.

    Then goto 1000, and sand with the grain again till all the previous scratches are removed.

    Then 1200.

    You can start buffing here, or you can continue to 1500, and 2000

    Then you rub it out with some automotive rubbing compounds, these come in various grits. You should be able to start with medium, then fine, then swirl mark remover. Then apply a wax.

    When I rub a finish by hand, I use a soft towel, or better yet a microfiber cloth. I make a small wadded up part with the corner of the towel. add about a dime size glob of rubbing compound, and start massaging it into the finish, making small circles. If the compound starts to dry up, add more.
     
  16. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    (Reposted from another forum.)

    Here's a way to wetsand and get great results without really knowing what you're doing.

    1. Start with 800 grit* wet on a block, sanding in one direction until the shiny spots are gone. Keep the paper damp and clean, but not dripping wet. If the surface is too dry, drip a few drops of water. Every time you rinse the paper, wipe the water and residue from the surface with a soft towel. Stay away from the edges at first to prevent sandthroughs.
    2. Move up to 1000 grit and wetsand 90 degrees from the original direction until all the previous sanding scratches are gone.
    3. Wetsand with 1200 in the original direction until the previous scratches are gone.
    4. Repeat the above steps moving upward through the grits up to 2000.
    5. (Optional) Continue wetsanding with Micromesh pads (available from StewMac) up through 12000, repeating as above
     
  17. habernack

    habernack TDPRI Member

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    I've faired a little better this time around - I will buff it with a foam pad (I have 2 of them) tonight. First with Finesse it and then with swirl remover.

    I used my micromesh sheets, dish soap in the water and not much pressure - especially with the lower grit papers.
     
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