Finishing poly. Now what?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by nicholaspaul, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Tele-Meister

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    I've used polyurethane a few times but never aimed for a glass like finish. I've sanded down my final coat smooth and got some Meguilars Ultimate compound but it doesn't shine with hand polishing. Should I be using a drill attachment or should it be used after an in sanded coat of poly?
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  2. bob1234

    bob1234 Tele-Afflicted

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    "Poly" doesn't necessarily mean "polyurethane". I have a lot of experience in lots of types of finishes, and I've never been able to get a great result from any polyurethane. It works well as far as protecting the wood, but I can't tell you to expect the same results from polyurethane then nitro or catalyzed varnishes.
     
  3. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Tele-Meister

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    I'm just looking for as good a result as I can get from poly(obviously urethane) and not comparing it to anything else.
    Should I spray and then use the Meguilars or power-buff the compound on a sanded coat?
     
  4. bob1234

    bob1234 Tele-Afflicted

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    The main problem with polyurethane is that it is EXTREMELY heat sensitive and hard to sand flat.

    Best thing is make sure you give it proper time to cure. This can be one week, two weeks, even up to a month. Make SURE its fully cured! Also when you buff, go slow, and take your time. You will be shocked how easy you can burn through your finish.

    Just go slow, and you can get a pretty rock solid result.
     
  5. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Tele-Meister

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    Thanks Bob. It's been a couple of weeks now so I think I'm ready to buff. Fun!
     
  6. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Tele-Meister

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    Bob, do you use Ultimate Compound right after wet sanding and then polish, or do you use other grades of compound too? I just want to know how many foam pads I'm going to need.
     
  7. bob1234

    bob1234 Tele-Afflicted

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    depends. I stopped using polyurethane a few years ago, and IIRC, I believe I just sanded it to 2000 and used a swirl and haze remover and a foam pad. Someone else with more relevant experience needs to chime in honestly, I just know it burns through VERY easily and I didn't like the end result.

    Have you given thought to a matte finish?
     
  8. nicholaspaul

    nicholaspaul Tele-Meister

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    From all the info I've gleaned, that sounds like a typical workflow. And a doable one.
    Yes, matte would look cool. If all else fails that will be what I'll do.
     
  9. ezas

    ezas TDPRI Member

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    I've done whole guitars by hand with Meguiars (What I call the X series). Since i'm not working 'on-the-clock', I only work on mine and friends guitars, and I don't mind the extra time working by hand takes. I don't have power buffing tools, or a place to put them, so that works out well.

    This is what I have used (in order of aggressiveness)
    Ultimate Compound
    ScratchX
    SwirlX
    ColorX (chemical cleaners, polish, and wax)
    Cleaner Wax (A1216)

    (not all of them are needed for any particular job)

    I started with these Meguiars products because I was not getting good results with the 'kit' of polishes from StewMac. But that is a long story and why I now have grey hair.

    These are very forgiving products for 'beginners' and are intended to give good results working by hand. There is a lot of overlap in the products above, but Ultimate Compound and SwirlX by themselves should give a very glossy no wax (not slippery) finish. Add ColorX (or Cleaner Wax) and if it's not glossy something else is going on.

    I did a beat to hell bass a while ago and it was a lot of work doing it by hand but it awed the people I showed it to, and I was proud of it.

    I can't speak to the quality of finishes that are possible by the talented people on these forums, or what finishes polish up better than others, but I'm getting results that I'm not just satisfied with, but proud to show people.
     
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