Advice for nitro color coat orange peel

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Alaman, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    I'm looking for some experienced advice on how to proceed with a current project. I have several years of experience with wood dyes, shellac french polish and Tru-oil but this is my first refinish with Nitro. I am using Stew-Macs rattle can nitro. The alder body was previously finished with shellac. I sanded down just to thin coat of shellac as the sealer. I am using solid color (sonic blue) and based on Stew-Mac directions layed down a couple of coats of white vinyl sealer. This went on very well. Weather has been perfect here with warm temps and low humidity. I have laid down about 6 light coats of the solid color nitro and have subtle orange peel on entire body which is most likely from me laying down the coats too light/dry. My test attempts at wet coats on scrap wood resulted in runs and sags so I have have been a bit timid on getting too wet a coat on the body. Everything has worked very well and coverage looks good up to this point. I have taken some 1500 grit on a small section of the back to experiment and the orange peel will buff out but to buff out completely it is obvious I will rub through to show the white undercoat. After that experiment, I resprayed the back so it is consistent color and texture again. The body has set a week and I have my Nitro clear coat coming today. If I proceed with the recommended 8-10 coats of clear and then wet sand/buff (after curing period) with the color layer orange peel show through the clear or will it be negligible when clear coat is applied and buffed to final gloss? Thanks in advance for sharing advice or experience with this.
     
  2. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Afflicted

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    If it were me I would get a really slow drying thinner and spray the color coat with that to try and burn it in some.(2 coats thinner only) Then I would use same slow thinner in clear. I would thin the clear fairly thin. 50- 70% and put on 10 to 15 thin wet coats. PS I would not put more than 3-4 coats a day to allow the thinner to evaporate, this will avoid solvent trap. The slow thinner (not cheap) but a gallon would be plenty, gives the clear time to flow.( no need to sand between coats.) then wet sand and buff.

    FYI I have been painting with lacquer for over 30 years. Do your test piece the same.

    Peace,
    Jim
     
  3. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Afflicted

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    I see like me you are from Alabama. I grew up in Montgomery.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I shoot three coats per session, then sand to 320 between session. I'm trying to build and level the finish at the same time. By the time I have 6 or 9 coats of color on I should have a pretty smooth finish and all orange peel, sags, dust and everything else should be gone. I'll then shoot 6 to 9 coats of clear, again, sanding between each three coats, then a final wet flow coat.

    If I am getting orange peel at any time during the finishing I know I've got something wrong with my gun or pressure or the amount of reducer or the humidity or something else. I figure out what it is and correct it on the next coats after sanding out the problem.

    I have also learned that I simply cannot spray a guitar hanging or on one of those neck sticks - I put it flat on its back or top on a low table that I can walk around. I can shoot in towards the center or out towards the edge and have a lot more control over the pattern. I can also apply the finish a little heavier which seems to prevent orange peel.
     
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  5. Mistahbrock

    Mistahbrock TDPRI Member

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    this is my personal stewart mcdonald hero
    mister Dan Erlewine, sharing a couple of tips :



    Heating up the spraycan :
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
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  6. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Jim. Do they have this thinner in spray cans? I'm using rattle cans since I don't have a spray gun. I may have too high an expectation for the spray cans. I have not seen any spray can nitro work up close to know. I am calling this orange peel and technically it is but I've seen much more prominent orange peel with other spray paints before. After the color coat, my body looks like a satin finish. It is a fine grain orange peel. I have created a turntable so I can spray front and back laying flat and hoping the paint will level better. Even with this setup the sides are smoother than the front and back. I'll try to get a close up pic posted.
     
  7. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    Yes sir! Proud to call it home!
     
  8. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. I have laid a lot of coats of color but they were thin. I will try to incorporate this with the clear coats. I am used to doing this with Tru-oil (build and sand back, repeat until level). Hoping I can just move forward on clear from here and get level without the color texture impacting the look. With the "melt" properties of nitro maybe the clear and color will merge and I can get a better finish with the build and level approach. Watching that Will Kelly video that was posted here has helped me understand what you mean by shooting in and shooting out on the body. That seems very helpful and will use with clear coat.

    I tried a neck stick at first but found it was awkward. I've got an old lazy susan and mounted four door spring stops on it to hold the body up. I put felt pads on the rubber bumpers just in case they might interact with the nitro. It has worked well. I have cup hooks screwed into the strap holes of the body and that has worked well for hanging to cure.
     
  9. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    Thanks. I've seen the Stew-Mac videos and watched several others but I had not seen that series from Will Kelly. I have been warming my cans in hot water before spraying but those videos have a lot of other tips that will be very helpful. That is a great series for spray can finishing instruction.
     
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  10. Mistahbrock

    Mistahbrock TDPRI Member

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    I have succesfully used nitro over montana waterbased spray, it takes a litte more sanding, as the montana is thicker and a bit more lumpy.

    Im doing a paisley telecaster with teal and resin.

    I'll make a thread on the build when the last parts arrive
     

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  11. koolaide

    koolaide Tele-Afflicted

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    To my knowledge they do not make spray cans of thinner. You could use one of these [​IMG]

    You will need to buy your thinner and clear in a mixable form. Check out stew mac.
     
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  12. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    Here a pic of the finish... E2B0A00D-8C10-4C4B-8829-A29F97742B8C.jpeg
     

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  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    I see a lot of unevenness - if it was mine and as long as I know there are enough coats on there (6 or more) I would level sand that with 400 and then start shooting the clear.

    A couple of things about rattle cans. I used them on my first couple of guitars (gloss clear, no color) and got very good results. They have far less solids that when I shoot with a gun, not only is there more reducer you've got the propellants in the can. That just means that the coats are going to go on thinner than I can do with a gun. It might take you twice as many coats as I put on (I think I put a total of 24 on my first guitars and they look good). It helps a lot to warm a rattle can in hot water and the little aftermarket nozzles tht StewMac sells are light years better than the ones that come with the can. You can control the pattern much better and you get a lot less splattering. Clean the nozzle after each use in lacquer thinner.

    If you look at SM's recommendations they say you need one can of sealer, 3 or 4 cans of lacquer for an electric body, 2 or 3 more for the neck. That seems like a lot of finish but the secret to a good lacquer finish is many coats with lots of sanding in between. There just isn't any other way.

    I'm guessing that the other picture is an upside down shot of your lazy susan - I put my guitars on a low table and walk around holding the gun (can) at about 45 degrees. With the SM nozzles you can adjust the pattern so you get nice wet coverage but without runs - but if I get a run I just wait 24 hours and sand it out.

    I think when you get some depth of clear on it you are going to be pretty happy.
     
  14. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think you are actually in good shape. Find a spot on the back and sand with something like 800 grit wet (naptha) and see if the orange peel gets knocked down. If it doesn't flatten out very quickly, go to 600 grit. The clear may smooth out, but with rattle cans its not unusual to get orange peel. Yours doesn't look bad. You will probably have some orange peel with the clear too, but you will waste less material by knocking down some of the peaks before moving on to the clear. IMHO.
     
  15. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    You are right. That was mistake I couldn’t figure out how to edit :). The lazy susan has worked well. I knew Fender used a similar device back in the day using nails to hold the body up. I figured the door stops would be a bit less invasive.

    Thank you for the advice. It sounds like the road to good results is very similar to Tru-oil and shellac finishes That I’m used to....build the finish and sand, repeat until you’re happy with level then buff and polish. I’m going to lay a couple of clear coats today just to be safe on the color coat and then will work to level sand some of that grainy texture this weekend.
     
  16. Alaman

    Alaman Tele-Meister

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    Thank you. I’m going to lay a couple of thin clear coats just to help prevent me from sanding thru the color coat and I will take that approach. I was hoping this was something fairly normal for rattle can finishing.
    Took the family to Alaska last year. We really enjoyed that trip. Beautiful state...Juneau was great...hope to get the chance to go back someday.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
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  17. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, my limited experience with nitro says that its just material so whether you shoot clear or whether you shoot color, it all gets sanded down anyway in prep for the finish coats (although now that I think about it, if you are sanding clear and the slurry starts to turn powder blue that's telling you that you are now into the color coat). I think with this stuff it really is only going to take 6-7 strokes with the wet sandpaper to either flatten the orange peel or figure out that you should bump up the abrasive (I'd use Naptha just to keep the moisture out of the equation). At this stage I wouldn't be level sanding to a dull finish, just knocking down those peaks, so leaving behind the little shiny flakes are ok. And you could also shoot a final color coat afterwards just to assure yourself that you've got a good base for the clear.

    Here's another thing I did with my first nitro shoot that you may find instructive (or at least help allay fears). I took a test piece, laid down a decal and then shot it with a single coat of clear (whatever you consider a single coat. For me that was one light pass, one heavy pass). Then I used wet sandpaper and just started sanding with a soft sanding block and no pressure just to see how long it takes to burn through a single coat of clear. I had my iPhone stopwatch running. Be sure to sand in exactly the same method you will use to level sand the body.

    Everybody says nitro sits down in thin layers, but I really had no context for what that meant. According to my experiment, it took about a minute 20 to burn through. Not exact science obviously, but it gave me some indication for how long to hover over an area and really helped me imagine just how thin this stuff was. I'm sure you could do the same with a color coat.

    Glad you could make it up here. There really is no place like my home and even after nearly 20 years, I don't take it for granted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
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  18. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like your lazy susan. I did one of these with some Home Depot materials and scrap lumber. Took about 20 minutes.
    stand.gif
     
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  19. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a paint thread not too long ago and a guy posted there that he used Behlens Blush Remover in a very similar manner. I think he described shooting a coat of material and then following it up while its wet with a coat of blush remover. It is essentially doing the same thing, just delaying the drying time so the material has an opportunity to flash off moisture. In your case, allowing it to maybe spread out and flatten out. If you are ambitious, might be worth trying on your test piece.

    People say they can shoot rattle cans without getting orange peel, but I don't recall ever being able to pull that off myself. I just assume sanding comes with the territory. I think your guitar body looks great and you are in a good position to get a really flat, glossy finish in the end.
     
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  20. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Fwiw, here is my first home made guitar, 15 years old now. It was finished in rattle can lacquer, probably two dozen coats. The finish has started to take on the typical fine crackes of old nitro and has yellowed slightly, but still looks pretty darn good. The little wavy lines are what is called "bear claw" - it is not a flaw

    DSCN1272.JPG

    We have been talking a lot about orange peel and sanding between coats and all that stuff. I have never done a solid color guitar, even when I spray color I want the wood to show thru so I will call these semi-transparent. I usually shoot 6 or more coats of my tinted lacquer (which might be more like 9 to 12 with rattle cans) - here is dry sanding it with 320 between sessions. You can see the grain of the maple thru the color

    IMG_2721.JPG


    This has probably 6 or more coats of clear on top of the tinted finish and I'm wet sanding at maybe 800 (I don't remember this, was a few years ago)

    IMG_2767.JPG

    And here it is buffed

    IMG_2836.JPG
     
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