An advice for scraping off the paint easy way

hndrx_inspiration

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Hello everyone,

I did many strats and teles (totally 7) which have straight finishes. Now, i try to relic a guitar and it was really hard process for me. My target is achieving flaking scraped off finish. I did many trials but i can't scrape the finish without harming the wood.

My coats were pu sanding sealer and nitro colour on the sanding sealer. I don't even use a clear coat on the top so that i can scrape easier. I shocked the colour coat heat and air duster, it is cracked softly. Nitro colour coat can't be removed from base coat. I thougth that nitro didn't bond on pu based coat but it sticks too much.

I can spray my finish which will be reliced. What is your advice on easily scrapable finish? What should I apply? Actually, my question is how should i paint before relicing.

I attached my target relic. Not focus on the colours i am talking about techniqe.
 

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Silverface

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THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO LEARN ARTISTIC TECHNIQUES!!!

What you are attempting to duplicate is nitrocellulose lacquer over Fullerplast. You can't get Fullerplast, so there are artistic techniques those of us who get paid to do that kind of work use - followed by multiple passes of heat/cold, razor knife work, cabinet scrapers, random tools, wet soil, dozens of artist's colors and so on.

It's not "finish the guitar, crack the finish, scrape it off" - it's done in layers with different finishes in different areas - and while a finish job can be completed, buffed and handed to someone in 4-5 days a good relic job take from 1-6 weeks of work. The environment (temperature and humidity controls) are also important.

One like you want to duplicate would be extremely expensive because it's very labor-intensive (i.e. that type of relic cost would be more than the cost of a finish job).

Although I don't do it any longer except for a few friends due to health issues, I don't teach it either - because it takes money from those artists who DO high quality relic work (many think the "Murphy labs" relic costs Gibson uses are outrageous. Not if Murphy was paying himself a living wage).

Guitar techs generally charge between $50-75/hr; a quality relic job performed just on an existing lacquer finish takes between 6-18 or so hours of hands-on work. And one like that shown would usually require several levels of finish, removal, damage, refinish, removal, detail work etc.

Thousands of folks have applied lacquer finishes, and there's no big deal teaching how to do that. There are even free seminars given by paint companies.

But relic work is a specialized type of artwork. And nobody that does that level of relic work gives away artistic knowledge for free - sometimes not at all.

And it's FAR too involved to "teach" on a forum. It would take pages and pages of procedures`, material sequences, environmental conditions and on and on.

Which I am fairly certain is why most relic work looks so fake. Some things are just too involved, and players don't have the patience (or spare time) to do it right.

Your initial attempts started with the wrong products, then used the "shortcut" method or cracking a finish. Even from there hours and hours of work with all sorts of tools would be required just to get a bit of realistic looking wear.

And cracks are not left alone. Would decades of finish cracks be nice and clean - and consistent?

Sorry, the methods take days of hands-on training - and as each artist uses different materials there would be differences in what we might use here and what's available there.

There are no shortcuts. It takes years of practice on junk guitars and wood scraps and hundreds - maybe thousands - of dollars of materials just to test, practice, and learn with. Not to mention the wood is expensive - you can't practice on structural lumber and expect the same results on ash, alder or mahogany.
 

hndrx_inspiration

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THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO LEARN ARTISTIC TECHNIQUES!!!

What you are attempting to duplicate is nitrocellulose lacquer over Fullerplast. You can't get Fullerplast, so there are artistic techniques those of us who get paid to do that kind of work use - followed by multiple passes of heat/cold, razor knife work, cabinet scrapers, random tools, wet soil, dozens of artist's colors and so on.

It's not "finish the guitar, crack the finish, scrape it off" - it's done in layers with different finishes in different areas - and while a finish job can be completed, buffed and handed to someone in 4-5 days a good relic job take from 1-6 weeks of work. The environment (temperature and humidity controls) are also important.

One like you want to duplicate would be extremely expensive because it's very labor-intensive (i.e. that type of relic cost would be more than the cost of a finish job).

Although I don't do it any longer except for a few friends due to health issues, I don't teach it either - because it takes money from those artists who DO high quality relic work (many think the "Murphy labs" relic costs Gibson uses are outrageous. Not if Murphy was paying himself a living wage).

Guitar techs generally charge between $50-75/hr; a quality relic job performed just on an existing lacquer finish takes between 6-18 or so hours of hands-on work. And one like that shown would usually require several levels of finish, removal, damage, refinish, removal, detail work etc.

Thousands of folks have applied lacquer finishes, and there's no big deal teaching how to do that. There are even free seminars given by paint companies.

But relic work is a specialized type of artwork. And nobody that does that level of relic work gives away artistic knowledge for free - sometimes not at all.

And it's FAR too involved to "teach" on a forum. It would take pages and pages of procedures`, material sequences, environmental conditions and on and on.

Which I am fairly certain is why most relic work looks so fake. Some things are just too involved, and players don't have the patience (or spare time) to do it right.

Your initial attempts started with the wrong products, then used the "shortcut" method or cracking a finish. Even from there hours and hours of work with all sorts of tools would be required just to get a bit of realistic looking wear.

And cracks are not left alone. Would decades of finish cracks be nice and clean - and consistent?

Sorry, the methods take days of hands-on training - and as each artist uses different materials there would be differences in what we might use here and what's available there.

There are no shortcuts. It takes years of practice on junk guitars and wood scraps and hundreds - maybe thousands - of dollars of materials just to test, practice, and learn with. Not to mention the wood is expensive - you can't practice on structural lumber and expect the same results on ash, alder or mahogany.
Thanks for your opinions, but i am confused. Is the purpose of this forum giving easy solutions and not giving the professional ones?
Anyway, i didn't give much detail about my method so that it won't look like telling a story. I tried to summerize it. Now, i want to give more detail about my work. Actually, i found a way to split the coats. It was using graffiti spray cans (which doesn't include any "real lacquers") between the base coat and the top coat. It really sticks less than any other "real lacquers". However; i dont want to use this kind of method. Its like a fake thing.
Maybe sanding the sanding sealer up to 1000 or 1500 decreases the power of bonding but i am not sure will it be enough or not. Do you have any idea?
 
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Beebe

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I feel inspired after reading @Silverface 's reply... Though I think I should stick to trying to nail a standard finish first.

Given I'm no artist in this regard, I'll throw my two cents in.

You need a base coat that is thick enough and that the lacquer won't dissolve, not a weak bond.

And don't "scrape" the finish off. Rub and sand and brush it off with soft and hard wire brushes, nonwoven abrasive pads, sand paper, and polishing compound.

Also, the wood in the sample photo looks pretty damaged to me. I wouldn't worry about damaging the wood.

It does look like a dark grain filler may have been applied.

Use some cooking oil as a lubricant when removing the finish. That wood looks polished (like a wooden hand rail in line at 6 Flags).
 

stratisfied

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While I don't make it a practice of doing relic finishes, my experience removing finishes of the type you used have given results similar in appearance to what you desire. Make sure your lacquer is completely dry and hard and then scrape it away with a standard utility knife blade. I find that pushing the blade while holding it nearly vertical lifts the finish in chips. Once done, you can "dirty-up" the underlying wood with whatever you desire. I would avoid grain filler as it is heavy bodied and is intended to be sanded off. Black universal paint pigment thinned in mineral spirits and used as a "wash" would do the trick.
 

Silverface

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You need a base coat that is thick enough and that the lacquer won't dissolve, not a weak bond.
I disagree. The finish should be as thin as the original finishes that were applied. Creating a "relic look" with a thick finish looks wrong, because he original finishes were not thick!
Make sure your lacquer is completely dry and hard and then scrape it away with a standard utility knife blade. I find that pushing the blade while holding it nearly vertical lifts the finish in chips
Respectfully, that s what many do when creating fake-looking relics, The blade and "chipping" can't duplicate the look of 50 years of use, wear, dirt, oils, various dings and scrapes - and even intact checking has both wear at the edges and different kinds of contamination both in the gaps and UNDER the surface.

A group of 4 techs were discussing this in a shop last Saturday - 3 of the 4 refuse to do relic work and dislike the concept because over 90% look fake - take Fender's "Roadworn" lines as examples.

I couldn't disagree, and although mine were used as examples of "realistic looking/feeling" I've stopped doing them because of the hourly costs involved - nobody wants to pay for a high-quality lacquer finish and an added 3-4 times THAT cost in relic work - i..e.$1500-1800 and up just for finish work - on the BODY. Add the neck finish/relic wear cost and you could easily have $2500 just in finish work.

So clients asked for "less expensive...maybe not quite as detailed and realistic looking".

It was getting to be physically hard anyway - so I quit except for a couple of favors.
 

stratisfied

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Joined
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Posts
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THERE IS NO EASY WAY TO LEARN ARTISTIC TECHNIQUES!!!

What you are attempting to duplicate is nitrocellulose lacquer over Fullerplast. You can't get Fullerplast, so there are artistic techniques those of us who get paid to do that kind of work use - followed by multiple passes of heat/cold, razor knife work, cabinet scrapers, random tools, wet soil, dozens of artist's colors and so on.

It's not "finish the guitar, crack the finish, scrape it off" - it's done in layers with different finishes in different areas - and while a finish job can be completed, buffed and handed to someone in 4-5 days a good relic job take from 1-6 weeks of work. The environment (temperature and humidity controls) are also important.

One like you want to duplicate would be extremely expensive because it's very labor-intensive (i.e. that type of relic cost would be more than the cost of a finish job).

Although I don't do it any longer except for a few friends due to health issues, I don't teach it either - because it takes money from those artists who DO high quality relic work (many think the "Murphy labs" relic costs Gibson uses are outrageous. Not if Murphy was paying himself a living wage).

Guitar techs generally charge between $50-75/hr; a quality relic job performed just on an existing lacquer finish takes between 6-18 or so hours of hands-on work. And one like that shown would usually require several levels of finish, removal, damage, refinish, removal, detail work etc.

Thousands of folks have applied lacquer finishes, and there's no big deal teaching how to do that. There are even free seminars given by paint companies.

But relic work is a specialized type of artwork. And nobody that does that level of relic work gives away artistic knowledge for free - sometimes not at all.

And it's FAR too involved to "teach" on a forum. It would take pages and pages of procedures`, material sequences, environmental conditions and on and on.

Which I am fairly certain is why most relic work looks so fake. Some things are just too involved, and players don't have the patience (or spare time) to do it right.

Your initial attempts started with the wrong products, then used the "shortcut" method or cracking a finish. Even from there hours and hours of work with all sorts of tools would be required just to get a bit of realistic looking wear.

And cracks are not left alone. Would decades of finish cracks be nice and clean - and consistent?

Sorry, the methods take days of hands-on training - and as each artist uses different materials there would be differences in what we might use here and what's available there.

There are no shortcuts. It takes years of practice on junk guitars and wood scraps and hundreds - maybe thousands - of dollars of materials just to test, practice, and learn with. Not to mention the wood is expensive - you can't practice on structural lumber and expect the same results on ash, alder or mahogany.

Maybe true, but you have to start somewhere and if something slightly better than a "belt-sander relic job" is the desired end result, it's simply a matter of having a thin lacquer finish and a sharp scraper to remove the finish in chips. It's not magic.
 

Silverface

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it's simply a matter of having a thin lacquer finish and a sharp scraper to remove the finish in chips.
Just remember that old finish that's chipped down to the primer or sealer will have smoothed-out edges "from years of playing", and often will be chipped at varying layers (especially Fenders, as they didn't always use lacquer - they used what was in stock at Fullerton Paint.)

And the checking that hasn't chipped will have tiny, inconsistent gaps filled with oils, dirt, (lousy!) silicone, silane or siloxane spray guitar "polishes" and other liquids that flow under the edges.

To get some of the realistic looking wear/aging requires finishing to certain points, knowing when/where to (intentionally) pause and screw THAT up, and partial finishing/random abrading over parts of it.

Fogging VERY small amounts of water and/or isopropyl alcohol during application of toner coats can get very realistic "damn, this guitar was beaten to death in bars for years" looks ...with a lot of experimentation/practice. But you'll REALLY like the results.

Also - applying industrial-grade water based enamels like Breakthrough as color coats (or semi-transparent toners) - tinted with inexpensive universal colorants - and then topcoated with clear gloss lacquer (nitrocellulose, acrylic, blends, or alternating coats of all of them) can - with the right colorants added - create far more realistic aging/discoloration of the clear than aerosol "neck amber" and similar lacquers that are far too consistent looking in color/depth.

Water based industrial enamel also expands/contracts at much different coefficients than lacquer, and checking, impact damage and other effects are more realistic - with practice - LOTS of practice on scrap.

4 of us techs were having our Saturday afternoon "horror story" session yesterday, and finishing came up.

EVERY one of us (all have done finish work since the 1970's) apply ENTIRE systems - including prep and buffing - every time even ONE product type or brand is changed from normal. We do it on similar-grained scrap - NEVER on a customer's or our own guitar bodies or necks. Because we have seen what impatience causes - and charge DIY'rs (who gave up) extra because we have to strip their mess off first.

Two won't do relic work at all because the reasonable cost to finish/relic just a body is so expensive they're worried about losing a customer.

The picture below is one detail from a job I did 15 years ago on a badly-refinished '62 Jaguar. Stripped it, used a Fullerplast-type yellowish/clear sealer (my own formula), Mohawk Grain filler (very thin and sparingly) -

Then (with several levels and types of abrasion after some coats, and only in logical play-wear areas): two tinted coats of Breakthrough water base white lightly tinted and thinned 10%, 3 coats of Valspar clear gloss lacquer thinned 25%, lightly fogged water (using a trigger spray bottle) with some yellow tint between the last 2 and over the last lacquer coat - and I mean BARELY fogged -

Then a little lacquer toner fogging, a few different checking/wear techniques - and the impact "star" created by throwing my truck/home/office keychain at the dry surface!šŸ§.

There is no ONE finish coat! Keep that in mind.

This is where years of practice and knowing your materials is critical. All the coatings were sprayed at specific dry film thicknesses only known through my measuring WET film thickness of test "shots" using a credit-card size wet film gage available at most commercial paint stores and on Amazon. An absolutely vital practice/test tool - otherwise you couldn't guess within +/-3 mils...probably more like 5 mils... what the dry film thickness will be!

And even the cheapest bleeder HVLP turbine/hose/gun kit will get you 10x the results you get from even the best aerosols("bleeder" means the air is always running instead of being triggered). A $120 turbine HVLP rig vs a $400 one will also save you a lot of grief bleeders cause (I bought one to compare to my compact Titan ONLY for purposes of helping this forum...and I sometimes use aerosols on small repairs)...

And having someone teach you - hands on - how to use a real HVLP - Not some hacked together "compressor pushing a $27 gun with "HVLP" stamped on it"- is invaluable and will save you a ton of time and money.

Hint - REAL HVLP has incredible control and almost no overspray/bounce because it does not exceed 10psi with a 1mm cap orifice/needle - and 4 or 5 psi will give you control you never dreamed of and cut your material usage by 80%+. But a 1-hour hands-on training session is vital. Most commercial paint stores have them, and they're normally free if you bought the rig there.

Watching randomly absurd Youtube videos won't be helpful.

Anyway - just some random tips for a Sunday afternoon while watching NASCAR!

Hope they help!

upper horn - back relic'd.jpg
 




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