Experience with Goudey's Lacquer ?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by pmacaula, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    My son J & I are quickly approaching the point where we need to start finishing our Tele-like guitar (our first build). See this thread for details - http://www.tdpri.com/threads/father-son-tele-build-thread.954089/

    The body is ash and the neck is two-piece maple (both neck & fingerboard).

    Have been researching the finishing process, including sanding sealers, grain fillers, lacquers, retardants, thinners... as well as application process and technique. It is pretty clear we will need to do some trial work on off-cuts, which is fine, but would still like to keep the number of false starts manageable.

    J wants Seafoam green, which seems fine, though there appear to be a number of flavours of that colour.

    From reading numerous TDPRI threads as well as SM and LMI finishing info, it seems that once we have finished sanding to shape and smoothing (220 or 320), the next steps are as follows:

    1.Apply sanding sealer. Go thin on coats,
    2. Apply Grain filler (e.g. Timbermate). Sand lightly to get dead smooth,
    3. Apply appropriately tinted Lacquer in multiple thin coats. Pay attention to mfr guidelines on dry time btw coats, and whether to sand (seems sanding btw coats is not advised in most cases).
    4. Apply clear lacquer in multiple thin coats.
    5. Buff to super smooth.

    We realize that there is a LOT more to it than this & that is why we need to try out the process on scrap. We are thinking of trying out a few process variants in parallel to see what makes a real difference and what produces the best results.

    There is a local lacquer manufacturer (10 minute drive from us), Goudey, that appears to have all the right stuff. While weekend warrior hobbyist guitar-builders who are only going to buy a gallon or so are not really their target market , we can walk into their showroom and buy like anyone else.

    I looked at the Goudey website (https://www.goudeymfg.com/goudey-lacquers/pre-and-post-catalyzed-lacquers.html ) and visited their factory showroom today.

    Goudey makes both regular nitro and pre-catalyzed lacquer and will mix a 1 gallon custom colour order based on a colour sample.

    The lady at the counter was very friendly and patient, though it was pretty clear she was more used to dealing with pros and people with a lot more experience. When I asked about the need for sanding sealer for either nitro or pre-cat, though the Goudey site suggests that it is not needed for pre-cat, but is needed for nitro.

    Hoping someone here might have some experience (or could give a bit of coaching) on whether it makes a material difference going regular nitro or pre-cat and if so, whether sanding sealer as well as grain filler is needed.

    Separately, would it be totally foolish to use a Preval sprayer to apply (at least initially) or smarter to go straight to an HVLP system.

    All of this assuming we want to do a good quality job that will last for a while, but recognizing we will make mistakes along the way and that is part of the fun.

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
  2. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm not familiar with the product/brand you are speaking about. But do keep in mind that there are multiple considerations relative to application of these kinds of finishes, both around physically spraying it (the gear as you ask about in what I quoted) and safety.

    Solvent finishes like lacquer are very high on the "dangerous" scale for both body health and risk for things like explosions. You don't use this stuff in your basement or even in your garage. You also need a proper respirator (not a dust mask) to insure you do not breath fumes. You need that even if you spray outdoors on a windy day! It goes without saying that eye protection is indicated for any spray finishing regardless of product. Some finishes are not good to get on your skin, too.

    For spraying solvent based lacquer including pre-cat, you are going to be best served with a quality gun that is setup for lower viscosity finishes. Guns or systems that are designed for thicker finishes are not going to be very well suited to the job and you do want good level of control for guitar finishing to avoid wasting finish as well as to have proper atomization so you can get an even coat at the correct thickness for coverage without running and other problems. While some folks seem to have good luck with some inexpensive guns, my eyes were opened "big time" recently when I upgraded my own setup to something of higher quality. Spraying is an art form...don't make your guitar project the "practice piece" if you have not been using these finishes. Spray things that don't matter first to get a feel for both the finish and the equipment you choose to use.
     
  3. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Jim - thanks very much.
    BTW -very cool CNC setup you have.

    The good news on the "danger" front is that previous experience building carbon fibre boats means I have masks and VOC filters and a healthy respect for the dangers involved. Especially important given my son is involved.

    However, my experience with spray systems is very limited (other guys painted the boats), though one time I did a small paint job with brushes/rollers using a two-part epoxy paint. The fumes, even with masks, goggles (& full Tyvek suits), were enough to make me woozy. More ventilation needed !

    From the reading we have done so far, every lacquer manufacturer suggests a slightly different process.

    We have started to set up our test pieces using offcuts from the Ash body blank. Dividing it into a few sections:
    1. Grain filled with Timbermate and sanded with 320 or 400
    a. white filler
    b. light brown (maple) filler
    2. Sanded with 320/400
    3. left as is.

    - Next step is to apply sanding sealer on half of all four sections.
    - do a number of coats & sand to get the grain-filled sections as smooth as possible.

    - put grain filler on top of the sanding sealer on the sections without grain filler & sand smooth.
    - clean all sections as much as possible with mineral spirits.

    - After choosing lacquer (normal nitro or pre-cat), spray on multiple light colour coats over a period of days and assess what is working and what is not.

    At least that is the plan for now. No doubt there will be changes (read - learn/screw up) :)
     
  4. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm thinking that if I were in your shoes and was choosing between the nitro and the pre-cat, I'd choose the nitro for this. It may or may not be more forgiving and the extra durability of the pre-cat isn't necessarily required here...but that's certainly subjective. I personally only use water borne finishes for spraying outside of de-waxed shellac for certain specific purposes. I don't have a proper spray booth to be able to safely spray solvent products like nitro. My new gun is a mid-range product from Homestead Finishing (Jeff Jewitt) and is the QualSpray AM-6008 HPLV with the 3M PPS cup system running off my shop air system's regulated spray finish drop. For the kinds of things I do, it's really very capable, including dialing things down for bursts as I surprised myself with on one body already. Because of the pressure assist, it not only sprays nearly anything, it can be held in pretty much any position. For nitro, you can pretty much use almost any reasonable quality gun including gravity feed, however.

    Good choice to use scrap from the same material for testing your finishing regimen...so many folks forget to do that in the large woodworking forum I help moderate and often pay the price!
     
  5. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Jim - From reading your and others' finishing threads plus additional web research, seems more sensible (and safe) to go with a water-based lacquer. I looked primarily at Crystalac Brite-tone and Target coatings Emtech.
    A Canadian reseller (Ardec.ca) was very responsive and barring other surprises, am thinking I will order from them once J has nailed down the colour selection.

    Here is what the people from Ardec told me as far as products to use for a light/pastel solid colour finish:
    - Emtech 5000 Filler/Sealer/Primer
    - Emtech 6500 Pigmented Lacquer (Tinted to Seafoam green)
    - Emtech 7000 High Build Lacquer for Clear (apparently better for lighter colours than 6000 as it does not yellow over time).

    I asked them about the EM1000 Sanding Sealer & they told me I should just use the EM5000, as the EM1000 is not compatible with EM6500.
    Not really sure how much additional value there is with the CL100 crosslinker.

    Is that consistent with your experience so far ?
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I have followed your father/son build thread with interest - it is a very touching story. I can't add a whole lot about the finishing part because I haven't used several of the products that you mention, but I will relate my experiences.

    Finishing is the hardest part of building a guitar. Period. There are a bazillion choices of products, each with advantages and dis, and we look at professional finishes and think "I can can do that too". I've been struggling with finishing for a dozen years now and after 25 guitars I'm starting to feel like I'm doing an good job for an amateur.

    I finish mostly with solvent nitrocellulose lacquer (various brands) however I have tried a couple of water born lacquers with mixed results (and feelings). I did two pine bodied guitars in TruOil, let me just say I'm not a fan. I have not yet made the step to pre catalyzed finishes however I have a friend who is one of the best custom motorcycle painters in the world and he uses exclusively two part finishes.

    I have not tried EM6000 (yet) but that is the one water born finish that I would consider. That finish seems to have the highest approval among the hobby and small time luthiers that I consider myself part of. Its kind of ironic, I have not been totally happy with either of the waterborns that I tried (some old StewMac stuff and KTM-9) so I went back to nitro and it will be very hard to try anything else. There currently is a three page discussion going on at OLF.com debating nitro and waterborn, it might be good to read that. I just don't want to go thru the same learning curve once again.

    I also do not do solid colors, all my finishes are either clear or tinted transparent where I want wood to show thru, so my finish schedules will be entirely different from a solid color. Dan Erlewine mentions Seafoam Green in his discussion on pastel tinting of lacquer, but does not give an actual recipe like he does with other Fender colors.

    It sounds like you are getting good information from the Entech folks - I'll watch your progress and listen to your reactions.
     
  7. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I generally do use Target Coatings products including on the two guitar builds I'm faddling with...with the exception of General Finishes "milk paint" for the black on the burst body which I REALLY like for a color coat. While I did use EM7000HB this time around for my clear, I've been an EM6000/PSL/USL user since the early 2000s, staring with my kitchen. EM7000HB is very similar to EM6000, but has a slightly higher build. The EM6500 got the nod for the teal color on my builds because Target will ship it pre-tinted to any Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams paint code and a quart is very reasonably priced. You need a good gun to spray the color coats, however, preferably one with a good pressure assisted cup. Gravity feed is a tough row to hoe with most water borne color products due to viscosity and you cannot thin/reduce them like you can solvent-based finishes. Oh, I use the EM5000 for sealing.

    CrystalLac has good comments that I've seen, but I have not tried it. Once you get comfortable with a "system" sometimes, it pays to stick with it. I will be making an exception with the GF "milk paint" ...which isn't actually milk paint...it's an acrylic solid color product with a sheen between satin and matte, although they call it satin. It lays down wonderfully and if they have a color that works, I'd buy it again in a heartbeat. It's not available custom tinted, however, AFAIK.
     
  8. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Freeman - thanks for the insight ! Will look at OLF.com. That said, I feel as if I am getting to the point where much more 'general' research (without actually trying something) is more a quest for the 'perfect' answer, when approximately right is about the best I can hope for on a first try.
    Agree with you on the difficulty. The neck has been a learning experience, but I can see a lot more potential for 'disaster' with the finish.
    Jim - Thanks for the confirmation on the Emtech product schedule and thoughts on the spray gun.
    I am also in the middle of re-painting the interior of our house (two bedrooms done), so finishing of all kinds seems to be a full-time occupation !
    Your comments on getting a good spray gun are on my mind. I don't have a compressor setup, so am a bit torn about how much to invest in an HVLP spray system. The real trick is convincing myself I will actually use it for more than the guitar(s). The locally-available options that seem to have the best reviews (at ~C$500 or less) are the Earlex 5500 and the Fuji Spray SemiPro/HobbyPro 2, both of which are siphon feed (though the Earlex is cheaper, it is also a bleeder system). Fuji's next level up (Mini Mite 3) looks to be more capable and could be used for more general 'painting', which could justify the incremental cost.
    One certainly doesn't build a guitar to save $ ;-)
     
  9. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Yea...I have a professional level shop with all the bells and whistles and still have had to invest in a whole bunch of things that are more in focus/required with/for guitar making. :lol: But it helps me keep some level of "hobby/avocation" in my woodworking since I'm now doing client work as a business, too, unlike prior to retiring from full time work in the telecom industry. It's only money...LOL
     
  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Here is the link to the OLF thread (the URL isn't OLF.com like I thought). It would be a good read for you

    http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=52121

    My perspective is a little different from Jim's. I am a complete hobbiest who builds in the corner of a garage. I build two or three guitars a year (I just finished number 25), mostly acoustics, and I strive with each one to learn new skills and polish old ones. In a way I covet the guys with a real shop, but I'll never have one LOL. I do a lot of repairs and setups for local musicians - mostly pro bono, mostly for the learning experience.

    Each time I start a new guitar I think about what would have made the last one easier and add a tool or a skill to my quiver. My first couple of guitars were finished with rattle cans of lacquer - they are actually quite good and have held up well. I bought a little 8 gallon 3 hp compressor at a yard sale, a small syphon gun and started experimenting with different finishing techniques - both solvent and water based. I get good results with nitro so I'm kind of stuck on it, but there are still some things I don't like.

    One of the main reasons I post here is to show relatively new people that you can build a fairly decent guitar with very few tools if you think about it. I'm constantly being told by people with lots of experience that no professional would do the things that I do - yet I seem to be following the finishing schedules that many other amateur builders use. I highly recommend Dan Erlewine's book on guitar finishing, yet there are folks who say it is all wrong.

    The effects that I am looking for are completely different than yours and the products I use are not the same so I can't and won't advice in that area. What I can say is to follow manufacturer's instructions, take your time and get the prep perfect, and above all, practice on scraps of the same wood that your guitar is made out of.

    No you don't build a guitar to save money, you build it for the experience that you and your son are having. In my opinion that is priceless.
     
  11. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    +1 on Homestead Finishing and their Qualspray line of guns, they're a definite cut above the cheap Chinese guns and hard to beat unless you're looking to get into $500+ range.

    re: nitro- it's pretty straight forward once you figure out how much retarder you need for the given temperature/humidity. One plus is you can lay on as many coats as you like without in between sanding. The coats burn into each other. The negatives are durability and cure time (most people wait 3-4 weeks after final coat before buffing). Lacquer also continues to shrink long after you think its
    cured.

    I shoot post cat conversion varnish now for furniture and electrics and love it. You can build quite fast with it and it gets really hard fast. If you use a catalyzed finish make sure you understand the recoat window. They have a shorter window of time within which you can recoat without having to scuff sand for a mechanical bond.

    I would see if you can get a buddy to give you a tutorial on how to handle a spray gun and let you watch his technique. Best of luck to you on this special father-sun project, it's something he'll never forget!
     
  12. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Jim - very cool that you have turned your hobby into a business that (I assume) at least covers your gear acquisition needs !
    I still have a few years to work - youngest is in Grade 7. Hopefully am still able to do woodworking, etc. by the time I get to retire ;-)

    Freeman - Awfully impressive work for the corner of your garage. Part of the new shed is supposed to become a 'real' workshop, though until I get the electrician to do the subpanel, things like shelves, a workbench and more permanent tool locations have to wait.

    Telep - Good thought about getting a spray gun coaching session.


    Cheers. Patrick.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  13. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Freeman, while I am indeed fortunate to have a great shop, I sure hope I didn't give the impression that one needed that for building guitars ... or almost anything else, for that matter. I do think there is value in having a quality spray gun. The combination that Jeff Jewitt of Homestead put together with the Qalspray gun and the PPS cup system for about $385 makes spraying almost any common finish easy with a reasonable air supply. That's why I upgraded to it because my previous, "budget" gun really wasn't suitable for spraying the heavier water borne color products that have become more important to my work even for furniture and cabinetry.

    OP, the best advise I ever received relative to spraying was practice, practice, practice...before shooting the real thing. Know your system first so you can get the results you want. The coaching advise is also sound if a resource is available to you.
     
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Here is my little spray rig. I bought the compressor for fifty bucks at a yard sale, added a regulator and filter/water trap. I have two guns, a small syphon "jamb" gun and an inexpensive gravity feed gun. I don't know the nozzle size.

    IMG_2056.JPG
    IMG_4730.JPG

    IMG_0235.JPG

    It is about as far as you can get from a "professional" setup but I've been able to shoot both nitro and water born lacquer. The mandolin is KTM-9, the guitar nitro. (I have to chuckle about that rattle can of Colortone in the back ground - I keep one of those handy for quick little bursts or when I don't want to fill and clean the gun).

    One of the things that I have learned is to be totally anal about cleaning my gun - I do it between every coat even tho I know most people don't. I completely disassemble it, wash every part, lay them out to dry. If I am shooting waterborn I clean the gun with warm soapy water, then DA to remove all the water.

    I also have a friend who is one of the best custom motorcycle painters in the world and he has offered me his booth and guns when I want, but it is such a hassle to drive up to his shop three times a day to stay on schedule. However if its a solid paint job I want he is my go to

    IMG_3869.JPG

    That is a two part auto finish.

    I apologize to the OP, this really isn't about your question. However it does show what a complete amateur finisher can do in a garage with minimum equipment but taking a lot of care with each step of the process.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
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  15. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Jim - Practice is definitely on the program ! No problem going off track - I think I hijacked my own thread away from the original title anyhow.
    Freeman - Beautiful work. Certainly more ambitious than we are aiming for.
    I see you taped off your fingerboard & frets.

    Do you finish your fingerboard differently than the rest of your neck ?
    We have a two piece maple on maple neck. Would be good if we could use the EM6000 for it, though not sure if that will meet J's requirement for a smooth/fast feel J.
    Later this evening, will post some weekend progress on the other thread.

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
  16. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    That is a rosewood fingerboard which gets no finish. I only do rose or ebony boards, don't like maple for a lot of reasons (finishing is just one of them). I also mostly do mahogany necks which need to be pore filled and possibly stained to match body woods. I finish my necks with the same materials I use for bodies.

    People have different ideas what makes a neck "fast" - for some its a high gloss, for others its knocking the gloss off with a bit of 0000 steel wool. I finish them glossy and smooth, but then I'm 74 and "fast" isn't in my vocabulary.
     
  17. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Freeman - thanks very much.

    Not sure if is appropriate to shift gears again, but do any of you have a view on LVLP spray systems vs HVLP ?
    Could not find a lot on TDPRI & only limited stuff elsewhere.
    Seems they are a lot less expensive than HVLP and I would only need a small (10-20 gal max) relatively low pressure (40-60 PSI, 4-5 CFM) compressor, which I could buy used & not occupy the entire shed !

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
  18. pbenn

    pbenn Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi, Pmacaula. I'm in Toronto and have two guitars finished with Goudey's nitro I can show you. PM me for cell number.
     
  19. Jim_in_PA

    Jim_in_PA Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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  20. pmacaula

    pmacaula TDPRI Member

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    Pbenn - Thanks ! Will PM you.

    Jim - I looked at Jeff's site and he has great selection and fantastic info, esp on pressure/CFM needed for specific guns and applications. Thanks very much for the pointer.

    Would love to buy from Jeff, but I am wary of buying 'machinery' across the border. If there is an issue, the additional brokerage/customs fees and shipping hassle makes it unattractive. At least for now, I am focused on options where I can purchase in Canada. A month or so ago, we purchased some stuff from StewMac. Even though we got free shipping (StewMax), the customs/brokerage fees were approx C$60, a huge percent of the purchase price.

    Cheers. Patrick.
     
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