Cold weather finish

Telekarster

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I have a very small workshop 12x16 and I heat it until it's a nice 70 degrees inside. I do my nitro rattle spray and let it sit in there to dry for about 4-5 hrs, till it's "dry enough". Then, I move it into the garage which stays relatively warm via the house. The next morning I move it from the garage to the utility room, where the furnace also is, and let it hang in there for the next several days. So far, this technique has worked well for me, even in near 0 temps.
 

Jim_in_PA

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It sounds promising :).

It's quite a bit more expensive than the product I've been using (Sherwin Williams Lowvoc Lacquer), but getting away from lacquer fumes (it may be Lovoc, but it's still solvent-based lacquer ;)), and the lacquer thinner, would be worth it.

TC_TechDataSheet_EM6000_R3.indd (netdna-ssl.com)



Cleaning spray equipment with water instead of lacquer thinner?

Sounds pretty good to me :)


Have you used EM6000 yourself, Jim?


.
I have been use EM6000 and three generations of predecessors since about 2002/2003. I've also use the EM7000HB...it's what my very first guitar build (the light blue tele-thingie) was clear coated with. (I use other Target products, too) The biggest challenge you'll have with moving to waterborne is your gun setup because of viscosity, etc. Two years ago, I moved to a gun with the 3M PPS system with pressure assist and it will spray pretty much anything and even with the gun "upside down". Cure time is longer because unlike solvent based lacquer, waterborne products are not evaporative. Water is just the carrier and the cure is chemical. As far as pricing, get on Target's email list. You will typically be able to get at least 20% off which more than covers shipping.

I tried the SW Kem Aqua product awhile back, but couldn't get it to lay down well at all. 5% GF Extender helped a little, but I was not happy with the product and never bought any more. For colors, I use Target's EM6500 (same stuff as the EM6000 so still get the burn in) which can be tinted by them to any BM and SW color your heart desires prior to shipment. It's more viscous than the clear so different gun setup but works very nicely. I buy colors in the quarts and clears in the gallons.
 

old wrench

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We’ll, I bought a small bottle of tru oil today, I’ll try it on the neck I’m working on. Not in a rush, I’m fine with doing a thin coat a day for a few weeks. Will probably take that long to get even marginal days to spray any lacquer.

I do have a Mr. heater that I will use in my in insulated garage occasionally, but I wouldn’t spray In there when that thins fired up!



With T-O the key to success is thin coats - that's why I prefer to apply it with just a fingertip, so you can spread it out into a thin and consistent coat - I spread it out until it starts to feel dry under my finger - if that makes any sense :).

If you try to apply it too thickly, the surface will skin over and the underlying T-O will take forever (days) to dry.

After you build up a decent base thickness, sometimes it helps to thin out the T-O with regular old mineral spirits (which also works great for clean-up).

I also prepare the surface a little differently for T-O than I do for lacquer by sanding it smoother with a finer grit.



Another finish that hasn't been mentioned is the hard-wax oils.

It's a totally different finish when compared to lacquer, for instance - it doesn't have a glossy depth to it - but it does feel good on a neck.

I don't have much experience with it - I've only finished a single neck with it - on my 2021 BrotherHood Build.

I've been playing that guitar a lot - pretty much everyday - and the neck continues to feel very good with no change in feel or appearance :).

On a hard maple neck, it only takes two or three coats to get the maximum effect - any further application doesn't really penetrate the surface


.
 

old wrench

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I have been use EM6000 and three generations of predecessors since about 2002/2003. I've also use the EM7000HB...it's what my very first guitar build (the light blue tele-thingie) was clear coated with. (I use other Target products, too) The biggest challenge you'll have with moving to waterborne is your gun setup because of viscosity, etc. Two years ago, I moved to a gun with the 3M PPS system with pressure assist and it will spray pretty much anything and even with the gun "upside down". Cure time is longer because unlike solvent based lacquer, waterborne products are not evaporative. Water is just the carrier and the cure is chemical. As far as pricing, get on Target's email list. You will typically be able to get at least 20% off which more than covers shipping.

I tried the SW Kem Aqua product awhile back, but couldn't get it to lay down well at all. 5% GF Extender helped a little, but I was not happy with the product and never bought any more. For colors, I use Target's EM6500 (same stuff as the EM6000 so still get the burn in) which can be tinted by them to any BM and SW color your heart desires prior to shipment. It's more viscous than the clear so different gun setup but works very nicely. I buy colors in the quarts and clears in the gallons.





I'm looking forward to trying the EM6000 out :)

I have very limited experience spraying water-based finishes - the Enduro-Var that I mentioned, for which I used my regular old conversion gun and compressor, and also latex paint on some cabinets that I used my Fuji turbine system HVLP for - I'm thinking the Fuji HVLP setup should spray the EM6000 O.K.

I did read-up on the finish and noticed that although you can re-coat in around 30 minutes, the "cure time" is 120 hours - but, that should work out O.K. for me - 5 days goes by pretty quickly ;)

Thanks for the tip about Target's email list - generally I opt out of that stuff - I'll need to go back and change my preference about the email list and "opt in" :)


.
 

Bob J

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2 necks hanging in the utility room by the furnace
878F8075-C63D-487B-A8C5-0A44540AE194.jpeg
The maple fretboard one got a couple coats of lacquer, warmed up the neck and the can inside, and ran mr heater in the garage until the temperature reached 80, shut it down, opened the door some for ventilation and shot a quick coat. After it “dried”, brought it inside to hang out until tomorrow.

The walnut fretboard one got its first coat of tru oil, wiped on sparingly a few drops at a time using squares of cut up t-shirt. At this rate they will probably both be finished at the same time.
 

WalthamMoosical

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After you build up a decent base thickness, sometimes it helps to thin out the T-O with regular old mineral spirits (which also works great for clean-up).

+1

More coats, but less drying time between them so the total project doesn't take longer, and lower chance of blobs or runs that you have to sand.
 

Freeman Keller

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Bob, a couple of more thoughts. If you are really happy with lacquer (as I am) simply plan your building so that you have a chance at getting good weather. I build thru the winter and target spring for my finish. I'll frequently get the guitar done, do whatever staining and pore filling that I'm going to do, put a couple of coats of sealer or shellac on and just put it away. Even in Portland in March you will have a week of nice weather - have your materials ready and go for it.

Nice thing about lacquer is you don't need to do it all at once - if you get two nice days put on six or so coats and put it away. Future coats will melt in just fine. If you can move to using a gun and compressor you can reduce the lacquer for colder weather. And while I would never shoot lacquer in my basement a garage is often warmer than the outside and offers a good option.

Second thing, I'll be watching OW's experience with Target. I know Jim is getting good results with it and it is the one water born finish that other builders seem to like. I had bad luck with the original stewmac stuff (I assume they were rebranding someone elses) and slightly better with KTM-9, but enough so that I'm scared to try the EM6000. Others like it, its just hard for me to go away from something that is working so well.
 

Jim_in_PA

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Freeman, the good news is that companies like Target Coatings are constantly reformulating to make the products better. Jeff just finished some changes to the EM8000cv and the EM7000HB. I forget when the last tweak was made to EM6000, but it wasn't all that long ago. As I mentioned, the gun setup is going to be a little different than the solvent based lacquers for sure...they have a higher viscosity by nature and you cannot thin them down much like you can with a solvent based product because water isn't the solvent for a waterborne finish. It's just the carrier and when you start spreading the molecules out a lot, you get "builder paint" results and running. You've been doing this for a long time so if you have the ability to safely spray the solvent based lacquers, that's probably your best bet. But don't be afraid to experiment with waterbornes. There's some good stuff available and the low/no VOC is very nice. PPE is still required, but it's more about particulates in the air...no explosive risk and none of the truly nasty chemicals.
 

El Tele Lobo

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With T-O the key to success is thin coats - that's why I prefer to apply it with just a fingertip, so you can spread it out into a thin and consistent coat - I spread it out until it starts to feel dry under my finger - if that makes any sense :).

If you try to apply it too thickly, the surface will skin over and the underlying T-O will take forever (days) to dry.

After you build up a decent base thickness, sometimes it helps to thin out the T-O with regular old mineral spirits (which also works great for clean-up).

I also prepare the surface a little differently for T-O than I do for lacquer by sanding it smoother with a finer grit.



Another finish that hasn't been mentioned is the hard-wax oils.

It's a totally different finish when compared to lacquer, for instance - it doesn't have a glossy depth to it - but it does feel good on a neck.

I don't have much experience with it - I've only finished a single neck with it - on my 2021 BrotherHood Build.

I've been playing that guitar a lot - pretty much everyday - and the neck continues to feel very good with no change in feel or appearance :).

On a hard maple neck, it only takes two or three coats to get the maximum effect - any further application doesn't really penetrate the surface


.

How do you prepare the surface differently for Tru-Oil? Curious...because I'm still learning.
 

old wrench

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How do you prepare the surface differently for Tru-Oil? Curious...because I'm still learning.


Nothing very dramatic :)

I just sand the workpiece to a smoother finish before I apply T-O.

For lacquer, I usually sand to 220 grit before the first coat.

With T-O, I usually sand to 320 or 400 grit before applying the first coat in an effort to get the surface as close to perfect as I can, and I try to stay away from doing any sanding in between the follow-up coats - just because of the effort involved in getting a substantial build-up of T-O in the first place! :)


I don't think there is much question that T-O is a pretty labor intensive finish - but applying it is fairly quick and easy, and it can be sort of a zen-like operation if your mind is geared that way . . .

. . . . it might have been those old sages the Three Stooges who said "it's mind over matter - if you don't mind, it doesn't matter !!! " ;)

.
 

DanCooz

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I've sprayed lacquer in the cold with no ill affects. With the bodyneck /paint at room temp. I step outside, do my coat quickly, and then retreat indoors for it to dry. The odor is minimal and I just run my ceiling fan with a nearby door ajar for ventilation.
That's exactly what I do, and I've never had any issues.
 

WalthamMoosical

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With T-O, I usually sand to 320 or 400 grit before applying the first coat in an effort to get the surface as close to perfect as I can, and I try to stay away from doing any sanding in between the follow-up coats - just because of the effort involved in getting a substantial build-up of T-O in the first place! :)

My experience as well for getting a smooth surface. (On a swamp ash body I've just "stopped" T-O'ing I started with the Birchwood Casey Sealer/Filler but in the end I don't think it did anything that initial coats of T-O wouldn't have done.) For a flat (as in planar, not as in dull) surface you might find yourself tempted to sand as you go, but that probably means that more coarse sanding at the very start was called for. I point this out because the T-O can in fact produce a very shiny surface and if ripples in your mirror don't please you, you might be tempted to sand (flatten) them out ...

I don't think there is much question that T-O is a pretty labor intensive finish - but applying it is fairly quick and easy, and it can be sort of a zen-like operation if your mind is geared that way . . .

"Long periods of boredom (waiting for the most recent coat to dry) punctuated by short episodes of thrill (spreading the next coat on)." According to my notes I applied BC product to this thing 85 times over a period of about 10 weeks, and wet sanded (1000 or 2000 grit) quite a few times (in part to get flatness, in part to fix errors that I now know I could have avoided by applying more frequently but with thinned T-O). An "application" was typically a 5-minute process. If I had it to do over again I could probably get it done in about 10 days. A maple neck+fretboard I did for a bass only took about a week.
 

El Tele Lobo

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When I used Tru-Oil it was fairly easy for the most part…but I had trouble with unevenness and blemishes occasionally and so wet sanded every 5 coats or so. The wet sanding occasionally yielded witness lines, which mostly disappeared in subsequent coats (but not always), largely because I sanded WITH the grain.

I didn’t thin my Tru-Oil at all. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t have had as much trouble with blemishes, would have gotten better coverage and would not have needed to wet sand in between.

What is the best way to thin Tru-Oil?
 

WalthamMoosical

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Well, there is MY way, and then there is the BEST way.

MY way is to dribble some drops of T-O into a small container (I seem to be using the caps of prescription pill bottles) and then add a few drops of mineral spirits to it. Then I swirly the cap briefly and gently to mix them, remembering to not worry but be happy, because the spreading it around on the surface that is being finished will mix it more and I don't want to repeat my experience of the mixture sloshing out of the cap and onto other things. Then I dribble it onto the surface and spread it around with finger tips.

Typically the number of drops of mineral spirits is somewhere between half of and equal to the number of drops of T-O. I have no reason to believe that the drop sizes are the same in both cases since the viscosities are very different. The thinned T-O dries significantly faster than the unthinned. I might wait only two or three hours to recoat when using thinned T-O, but typically 8-12 hours for unthinned.

For reasons that I still don't understand, the first body (alder for a bass) that I finished with T-O went great without needing thinning. But the second one (the ash) commonly developed sharp little flecks or nibs or something, that led me to do very light wet sanding every few coats. Perhaps they arose from air bubbles in the unthinned T-O; after I switched to thinned T-O I rarely encountered that issue.
 

Tele Plucker

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I'm up in New England and I've done several guitars and necks in tru-oil over the winter.

Ditto on the TruOil finish. My avi body was finished with TruOil and the that was topped off with J&J paste wax. At that point I buffed it to a sort of matte finish.

On second build I used TruOil on the one piece maple neck. So easy to use wiping on.
 

Tele Plucker

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When I used Tru-Oil it was fairly easy for the most part…but I had trouble with unevenness and blemishes occasionally and so wet sanded every 5 coats or so. The wet sanding occasionally yielded witness lines, which mostly disappeared in subsequent coats (but not always), largely because I sanded WITH the grain.

I didn’t thin my Tru-Oil at all. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t have had as much trouble with blemishes, would have gotten better coverage and would not have needed to wet sand in between.

What is the best way to thin Tru-Oil?

A good alternative to wet sanding the TruOil IMHO was lite hand buffing with 0000 steel wool. In the end, several coats of J&J paste wax. See my avi.
 

chucker

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my recommendation is spray can nitro the same as you have already been doing.
the nitro will spray well at 50*. even 45* is no problem.
spray the work piece, let it gas off for a bit, and then move it into a warm area. you can also rig up a drying area with a large cardboard box with a light bulb or heater in it.
there are yankee ways of doing everything.
 

Whitebeard

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Here's a couple Tru-Oil finishes. The Strat type is lots of hand rubbed coats with micro mesh between coats after allowing the Tru-Oil to dry thoroughly (which is several days per coat). The P-style bass is less coats and applied with less diligence. The Strat is a set neck so the neck back is Tru-Oil also and it hasn't held up as well as the Nitro on the back of the P-style bass. Both are swamp-ash and the Tru-Oil finish on both has darkened with age. The picture of the bass is from 2021. The pictures of the Strat are from 2010 when I built/assembled both instruments. The bass was closer to the color of the Strat when it was newly finished.
34o) Set-Neck Strat.jpg

View attachment 909867 View attachment 909867 View attachment 909867
35) Set-Neck Strat.jpg
20210505_125150.jpg
20210505_125210_HDR.jpg
 




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