Dartfords nitro crazing experiences?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by KelvinS1965, May 9, 2021.

  1. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have two options for when I get to the clear coat on a Strat project I'm working on.

    The first is to use a clear nitro from Northwestguitars which I've used before on some necks. Nice finish, didn't need to wet sand and just buffed nicely a few days after I'd sprayed them, the first is still perfect a year plus later.

    The second option is a tin of Dartfords clear nitro that I got when NWG was out of stock. I saw on the tin that it has 'minimal plastisiers so it will craze eventually' (or words to that effect). I quite like the idea of some crazing, like my project Esquire/Tele in my avatar, but that was bought pre-finished. What I don't want is it crazing so much that it flakes off.

    I was wondering if anyone has experience of using the Dartfords clear and how much it crazed (if at all)? If you have any pictures, even better. :)

    Obviously I could just go ahead and spray it, but if I find it flakes off in a few months it'll be a waste of my time: I've already sanded this body back to bare wood last week as I wasn't happy with the finish. My hands are getting tired of the sanding, which stopped me playing guitar as much as I wanted to this week...


    This is the back of the neck off this project guitar using Northwestguitars tinted nitro. (It's a chunky 1" deep, which is why I bought a bare neck to spray, since Fender don't sell one that fat with Rosewood fingerboard):

    Neck 14.png

    This is the sort of finish I wouldn't mind if the Dartfords did craze:

    Tele 6.jpg
     
  2. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    If it is regular nitro there is no reason it would craze for many many years or not at all if applied correctly. There are 50 year old guitars with nitro that haven't flaked off or crazed all over.

    Don't pile on a bunch of heavy coats and it will be fine.
     
  3. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    The Dartfords specifically says on the tin that it will craze, hence I was after user's experiences of it (if there are any). I've got a few older nitro guitars that were factory finished and they haven't crazed, so I appreciate that not all nitro will craze. The neck on my avatar Tele hasn't crazed after over a year using the Northwestguitars nitro, despite me rushing the job and fitting it on the guitar within a week of spraying it. I didn't spray heavy coats though.

    Tempted just to use the Dartfords and accept that if it does craze/flake excessively then I'll buy another bare body and spray that rather than strip and sand this one again. The body was just over £60 and my time is worth more than that if it comes down to it.

    EDIT: I came across a thread where the supplier of my Tele body said that he uses Dartfords nitro. That hasn't flaked off, so is a good sign. :)
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
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  4. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    They must be putting an additive in it to promote crazing because it isn't all that large an issue for some time if done right.

    You really dont have to wait that long on nitro if you put on thin coats as it sounds you did. Nitro is easy enough to remove if it does. Start wiping it down with a wet rag of acetone and before long it is coming off. 30 minutes later or less you have a bare body.
     
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  5. esquirestuart

    esquirestuart TDPRI Member

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    I've used Dartfords nitro for the body of the Tele in my profile pic. It was my first refin project back in October 2019. I wanted to get the finish as thin as possible and used about 1,5 can of clear.

    The guitar has been used quite heavily since and for some reason the only place checking appears is on the back of the body around the ferrules. You can't feel it with your fingernail but it's definitely there, it's almost like the checking is underneath the lacquer. The front and sides have no checking at all (yet). It's a bit difficult to capture on photos but here's an example.



    IMG_3038.JPG
     
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  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    my last can of acrylic clear somehow cracked the underneath 2 day old coat,
    something I've never seen happen before..:eek:, I watched it happen as I sprayed...:(:rolleyes:

    instead of sanding it all off, I sprayed cream over it and sanded it back to see what it would look like.... I decided to leave it and just clear coat it again.. with poly this time...:D

    probably never happen again...:cool:

    cracks1.jpg



    cracked tele1.jpg
     
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  7. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    @esquirestuart The subtle checking on the back looks great and I would be very happy with that sort of effect. Lovely job you did of that guitar too, especially since you used rattle cans as well.

    @trev333 that crazing is pretty major! I guess it's more of a reaction than just standard nitro checking, though it looks good how you've done it with the cream.

    I touched up a small patch of blue today that was slightly lumpy, so I sanded it back to get it smooth and then sprayed a thin coat of blue over the show through. Plan to start putting the clear coats on tonight, so will see how it goes.

    The body won't fit in my freezer, so I'll just have to wait for it to crack naturally or until winter when I can take it outside to get it cold, then bring it back inside.

    For now I will just aim to get a really good finish on it and buffed to a smooth shine. The checking can come later (if it does at all).
     
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  8. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Just curious but are you planning on stripping the guitar down to the body, and taking the body alone outside, or the entire guitar? Either way, how long would you have to leave it out there to get the desired results you're looking for?
     
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  9. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    Just the body since I don't particularly want the neck finish to craze/crack just incase it causes any issues with feel.

    I don't know about time as I've read different things regarding how long to leave in the freezer, so just being outside and perhaps only a little below freezing (it's rare to go more than ten degrees below here). I guess it'll be an experiment when the winter comes.
     
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  10. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    I did 2 coats of clear front and back yesterday and have started the final coats on the back this lunchtime. The Dartfords does seem to flow out nicely (or maybe I'm just getting back into the swing of spraying again). Looks a decent finish from the gun anyway, just hoping I can get the front done and not get any bits or runs in these last coats.

    Clearcoat body rear (1).png

    The hard part will be waiting for it to harden enough to buff, then longer before I can put it together. Looks like our band will be able to start rehearsals a week on Friday, so I think I'll plan on taking another guitar for the first rehearsal. :)

    EDIT: Got the front done and without any runs or bits in the finish. Think it turned out pretty good after 3 attempts, including the sanding back to bare wood last Monday...

    Clearcoat body front (1).png
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2021
  11. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    I wet sanded some of the back last night to clear some rougher patches of orange peel, compounded the sides by hand, then used my DA polisher today. The front didn't need wet sanding and just buffed up to a nice shine, now the whole body is gleaming.

    It's stood on some screws to raise it up so the back isn't resting on the table, the reflections look good here. :)

    Final Buff (1).png


    Just got to paint the pickup and PCB route with conductive paint before I can start assembling it, though I may leave it a little longer for the paint to harden more, but it already seems pretty tough and doesn't mark (passes the fingernail test). I know some people like to leave nitro a month or more before buffing, but the two necks I've done were buffed within a week of spraying and are still gleaming now.

    I'll try to remember to post back when it's all fully assembled and again later in the year if I manage to get some crazing going on.
     
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  12. esquirestuart

    esquirestuart TDPRI Member

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    Looks great!! Gorgeous colour.
     
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  13. Drak

    Drak Tele-Afflicted

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    Can you please take a pic of the label (or wherever it says it) and post it here where it says the product will craze?

    Would LOVE to see that in print.

    Thanks in advance.

    Job looks great!
     
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  14. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    It's hard to photograph due to the curve of the tin, but between these two you should be able to read it:
    Dartfords Gloss (1).png

    Dartfords Gloss (2).png

    Dartfords Gloss (3).png

    I cleaned out all the screw holes and primed them with wax before putting it all together to check fit after the paint. I soldered the trem claw as well, so I fitted that and the springs after I drilled for the trem plate last night (should have done that before paint!!).

    Next job is to take the 'guard back off and paint the cavities with conductive paint, then I should be able to put it all together after that. :)



    Assembled body (2).png



    Assembled body (6).png

    I know it'll get scuffed and scratched, let alone if it crazes, but really pleased with how it's turned out after all my attempts to spray this bare body.
     
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  15. Drak

    Drak Tele-Afflicted

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    OK, thanks for that.
    Let me (maybe) clear a few things up for you and (maybe) put your mind more at ease with your finish.
    Your job looks GREAT btw, and you should have no problems with it (no crazing, etc.)

    I looked the product up on Amazon where there were questions answered by the manufacturer in similar kind to your label.
    So I have a somewhat clearer picture.
    From the other questions I read, it became obvious to me that most people interested in buying their aerosol lacquer...
    At least from this company...
    Have not much clue what they are buying or what to reasonably expect from it or how to best apply it.
    So, with an uninformed customer base like that, complaints and issues and refunds are bound to happen.
    The language is directed at people who don't really understand lacquer and its sometimes finicky application protocols.

    So that language they're using is (in sales terminology) pre-emptively managing expectations.
    Primarily to prevent future complaints before they ever happen from people who didn't really understand lacquer in the first place.

    However, in using language like that, they've induced some fear into you about their product.
    But you can breath easily, there's not a thing wrong with it and it's not going to self-destruct.

    Long story short, your product is just straight-up lacquer with no retarder or plasticisers in it.
    And that is the best kind of lacquer to use.
    Lacquer with plasticisers and/or retarders comes with their own can of worms that is far better avoided.

    Looks great, Bravo!
     
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  16. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks Drak, appreciate your input and thanks for your kind comments about my job too. :)

    Since I started this thread I found out that my avatar Tele was finished in exactly the same nitro. I know that body was deliberately crazed (probably a freezer job I'd guess), but it's not flaked or lifted apart from the small areas they added some wear on.

    It would be interesting if any other members on here have actually used it, but since it seems more of a UK based product it might be less likely. If only to see if it ever does craze naturally (as I'd like it to) or whether I'd have to freeze it somehow to 'force' it.

    I did have the option to use my NorthWestGuitars nitro which seems to have the extra plastisers in it, so I made my decision to use the Dartfords once I realised my avatar Tele was finished using it.

    Of course now I've got it so shiny I don't want to mark or damage it...:oops::D
     
  17. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Man your guitar is looking fantastic! Love the color! You're doing a great job on that baby!
     
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  18. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks for your kind words. I thought you might like to see the finished article as of this evening:

    Finished Strat (11).png

    With my other Strat and my avatar Tele in the background:


    Finished Strat (10).png
     
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  19. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow.... Beautiful man. Swell job!
     
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  20. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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    My experience with Dartfords is limited to the one rattle can of 'Dakota red'. The color was completely wrong, more like a Dakota pink. It didn't flow well at all in spite of my warming the can in hot water and shaking it for 3+ minutes. It didn't look like it would ever dry. It went right off the guitar after three days. Sorry - we will never know whether it would have checked or not ;)

    Your finish is gorgeous and it looks like their product is better suited for gun application. I had no choice at the time and went for the spray can option but it felt like it could have done with more thinner. A lot more thinner.
     
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