DIY P-Bass Build

emptyminded42

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Alright, here’s the results of an entire can of primer, filling the ding on the back, and wet sanding with 320 grit. I’m pleased. I ordered a second can of primer and it arrived today so I’m not worried about the sand-thru.

People weren’t kidding when you have to be careful! But most of my sand thru was when I was first starting with dry sanding. Don’t recommend - the primer clogged the paper and only in 2-3 spots so I instantly lost the ability to sand after one swipe. Forget it. Dry sand bare wood and wet sand everything else!

Once I got the hang of wet sanding - which is to say basically don’t use any pressure at all and sand less than you’d think before checking - I avoided sand thru except one by the horn when I was rushing. Long story short, be very gentle and check your work frequently.

I’m pretty confident I can spray the second can of primer with a lot less overspray and runs and sand it without going through. I’ve got a good weather today, tomorrow, and Sat/Sun so hopefully I’ll be able to show what the color coat looks like soon.

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emptyminded42

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Cleveland, OH
Some progress now that the weather and my schedule cooperated yesterday!

I sanded and sprayed the second can of primer late last week and let it dry out before wet sanding. It looked pretty good - just a couple small runs and surface imperfections but I'm not going to be too critical on my first time finishing a guitar. No sand-thrus so I was good to spray the first set of color coats yesterday evening.

I really love the color (it's hard to photograph, though, in some lighting it's blue, some lighting it's green) but I had a couple issues spraying that were really self-inflicted.

The first was caused by not noticing that the color cans have a cone spray nozzle vs. the fan nozzle the primer had - this caused me grief in that it was hard to recalibrate my spray technique to avoid runs and overspray. After the tack coat and the first wet coat I switched to the fan nozzle and it immediately made everything easier but I still ended up have a bumpy surface like I did with my first primer coat. Easily fixed with sanding, though.

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I was also a little too ambitious with how much paint I applied and ended up with some bubbles on the front. I'm hoping these can be removed by sanding and fixed with the second or third coats of color. We'll see.

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There's also a good amount of orange peel but I'm really not going to fuss over that right now since it's just the first coat.

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Here's a shot on my workbench with the tort pickguard - I absolutely love it!

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The weather is stormy for today and the next couple days so I'll sand tomorrow and get it ready for color coat #2. More updates to come!
 

emptyminded42

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Cleveland, OH
Here’s what the body looks like after 400 grit sanding. Oddly enough, the paint turns green when sanded so it’s really easy to see where I’ve already sanded and how far I might need to keep going, even when wet. I sanded through the color coat in a couple places but never got to bare wood so I’ll try to spray another coat this afternoon if the humidity drops otherwise I’ll do it tomorrow.

I’m pretty pleased with how well I was able to clean up the spattering and bubbles. I’m sure I’ll need to sand this next coat too but at least I’m heading in the right direction. Hoping to get a nice flat color before I spray clear because I see the clear coats as being the most likely for me to screw up by sanding excessively or bad spraying technique.

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swarfrat

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Nice! Watching this one. Nice to see some more bass action around here. I was just thinking about asking to move mine to Home Depot but I guess I'll stay
 

emptyminded42

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Cleveland, OH
A week to dry, now time for more pictures. Get cracking!

Haha, yeah, I'm overdue for an update. Long story short my second color coat was a disaster with tons of drips and runs and pinholes. I sanded the runs and drips out without too many sand-thrus but I couldn't get all the pinholes. I sprayed the third and final color coat on Saturday and, yet again, had a bunch of pinholes and a run but not as bad as the second coat. Lots of overspray, though. I haven't sanded it yet (need to find some time for that) and then it'll be on to the gloss coats.

Man, I thought the color coats would be easy like the primer was but not even close. It's really thick but dries out so quickly I couldn't be more than maybe 6-8" away from the body without getting insane amounts of overspray. Of course, laying it on think meant drips and runs and pinholes. I guess I could have moved the can faster but I also didn't want to do a billion coats... I guess shame on me for rushing. For the gloss coat I'm going to do what I did with the primer and just take my time and use very light coats.

I'm pretty nervous about sanding through my edges because I don't have even a drop of color left and I also don't want bumpy texture so I'm going to take it really slowly near the edges. I also need to decide on what grit I want to sand to before the gloss coats - 320, 400, 600, maybe even 800? Some folks don't sand their color coats at all but I definitely have to sand. The finer grit the higher the chances of a sand-through but the better chance I have at getting a nice, smooth finished surface.

But the weather is crappy for the next few days so I have time to figure it out. I took a picture but my phone really distorts the color so it's not even close to accurate. When I get it all cleaned up and in the garage again I'll take another set of photos before the gloss coat goes on.
 

swarfrat

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Yeah. I was hoping for a solid black but I won't get it from gel stain alone. I like the results though. I'm not sure how much of any sanding I need to do since it's stain. I'm tempted to go straight to shellac next.

Really hoping I don't need to sand the black because it's stain and I don't want to cut through on the sides in particular
 

emptyminded42

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Well, this project is gonna take a lot longer than I hoped. The minute I started trying to sand out the bubbles/pinholes on the final color coat it was clear that I'm going to need to sand the whole thing down to primer in most areas. I regret not doing more block sanding prior to priming but me with my inexperience didn't know any better. It's clear that as I block sand off the color coat I'm going to sand through to primer or wood in many places and it's taking forever even with 220 grit. Using 120 grit a few days ago left such deep gouges and scratches when the sandpaper was shedding grit particles that I think it'll do more harm than good.

Suffice to say I've learned the following lessons:

1) Block sand your body absolutely flat front and back so when you paint each layer you can block sand the layers flat and you don't have to worry about sand-through. The body I got from Woodtech Routing was absolutely beautiful but I needed to spend more time sanding it flat than I did.

2) It's way way easier and less time consuming to just take your time when painting and do it right the first time(s). Sanding off defects sucks. A lot. And sandpaper isn't nearly as cheap as I thought it was.

3) Just pony up and buy the dang lacquer from StewMac, ReRanch (if they're open anymore), Ohio Valley Nitro, etc. Trying to save a bit of money buying this Montana Cans paint ended up costing more because I've had to buy another can of primer and color plus all the effort to sand and fix. I'm not convinced the Montana Gold color spray is ever going to lay down as nicely as I want it to. Plus, it changes colors when you sand it! The Malachite Light goes from a very blue teal when you lay it on and it dries but changes to a surf green color when sanded. So weird. But at least it makes it easy to see where the valleys/pits are in the finish.
 

swarfrat

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I've been back down to wood about three times myself. Shellac just doesn't seem to build.
 

emptyminded42

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The sanding sage continues. I'm not sure if this is the case with nitrocellulose lacquer or not but the color coat is gumming up in little balls, smearing across the body, and generally just a PITA to get through. It's very clear that I absolutely, positively sprayed WAY too thick of coats and I basically gotta start over. I might even go down to bare wood on most of it because I want to get it nice and flat to build the layers.

Probably going to take me this week to finish sanding, next week for primer, and the following for color. Oh well, I learned a lot so hopefully I'll end up with a much better end product when I'm finished.
 

swarfrat

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I'm right there with you in sanding purgatory. I'm thinking about trying a black poly-stain on the back because my gel stain isn't really hitting some of the spots after grain fill any longer.
 




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