Flake Finish : Trying To Rectify A Poorly Done Finish.

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by jasburbak, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. jasburbak

    jasburbak TDPRI Member

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    Long story, short: During the summer I sent a body I built to a paint shop/finisher that I found. There aren't many musical instrument finishers in Turkey, and I have an excellent one that I use for standard/metallic colors, but he told me that he had never done a flake finish before. So, I thought it would be smarter to find someone who had experience with that kind of finish.

    I found someone who did custom motorcycle finishing, the flake kind, and he also had done a few guitars. So I sent it to him. I also sent him the TCP Custom Flake that I wanted used, which was .08 and .04 hex flakes. Well, he did a terrible job. Aside from some of the black primer coat showing up alongside the edges of the body (which I can get around), the finish has orange peel, and quite a lot of pinpoints and divots. As well as the poly having pooled up around the pickup cavities. (There also was no cleanup of the sags and drips along the cavity portions, ferrules, jack cavity, etc.. but I took care of that with a razor).

    Needless to say, I was quite disappointed. I didn't even bother sending it back and having it redone; or even talked to him about it, clearly this is the best of his abilities- as I doubt anyone would send it in such a state, and then message me about sending him more bodies/work his way :confused:

    My question now is as such: Fix or Forget? And the dangerous question being, will trying to fix it, make it worse?

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    Because it's a flake finish, due to the sparking effect, the orange peel and flaws is much less noticeable than it would have been on a regular finish, and it does look okay 2-3 feet as long as its not hit with direct lighting (such as a fluorescent inspection light).

    It was done with 2K finish, as far as I remember. He told me that there was 6-7 coats of clearcoat on it, and finished it with 5000grit.

    My main concern naturally being, that by trying to sand from, say 1000 grit and up again, I might cut too low, through the clearcoat, and sand off the tips of the flakes, etc..

    Any advice on how to proceed?
     
  2. PapaWheelie

    PapaWheelie Tele-Meister

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    It's a good 4 footer.
    Just my opinion but you could try to fix it though things could go wrong if you're not careful. If the finish is thick enough you could carefully sand down some of the high spots. I would start at 600 to 1000 grit and work slow, checking the paper often for any sign of color. Then work all the way to 12000 if available. Try the section between the pickup cavities that will be hidden by the pickguard. You're going to have to see if you can get the sanded topcoat to buff back to a nice gloss to match the rest of the body before going too far.

    I would have spoken to the painter and let him know how disappointed you are. Maybe he can fix it for you.
     
  3. FelixV

    FelixV TDPRI Member

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    just take it easy when sanding so you don't break through (especially on the edges) and you'll be fine. Buff it up to a nice shiny finish afterwards and it'll look great.
     
  4. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    I have had stuff like this come out of my spray booth.

    Here is what I would do:

    verify the type of finish. If it is not 2part polyurethane read no farther

    put the thing on a paint stick, or secure wire, hang the thing in a room with moving air and let the thing hang for THREE MONTHS

    use the razor blade trick to shave down runs and other obvious high spots

    scuff the entire body with 3M green scuff pads

    Take it back to your sprayer and have him shoot at least 6 coats of clear

    repeat the hang time

    level sand, polish, buff

    it will take time, but will be worth it
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2020
  5. tweeet

    tweeet Tele-Holic

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    I agree...I know it's a lot of elbow grease...but just wet sand and buff...with a flat block on the top and back and slowly over the edges by hand. I'd start at 800 and work up through 1000... to 1500...but that's me
     
  6. jasburbak

    jasburbak TDPRI Member

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    Thanks folks, seems like everyone is in unison, start around 600-800 and work my way up, then on towards a final finish.


    I'll start beneath the pickguard area to be sure, that's a good idea. Honestly, it just wasn't worth a back and forth argument of this. It was the first time I sent this guy a body, he talked quite confident of himself, and after receiving such a final product, I just don't expect much from him the second time around even if he redid it. I mean at least do a phenomenal job on the first one, hook me in, then slowly get lazy over time :D Plus, it would cost me around $70 back and forth shipping cost, and it's just not worth it.


    I knew there wasn't going to be an easy way out, I'll just have to develop masochistic tendencies and try to enjoy....sanding :rolleyes: Sounds like a plan.


    Hey Buck, just wanted to say that I learned a lot from your emeraldcaster thread, re read it a few times too. Thanks for replying. In an idea situation, I would do exactly as you say (although would've just sent it to my regular guy to add the coats of clear).Plus- it would be the much easier alternative. But considering the current situation; quaratine/self isolation and all, I'm trying to avoid going out, the post office etc.. and seems like this is the situation for the next month or so. My regular guy isn't currently taking work due to the situation as well.

    So- I'm thinking that maybe now, I could just put in some elbow grease and finish it since I've got more free time than I've ever had before. It is 2 Component Poly. I know that for sure, I asked the sprayer before he started. And it has been more than 3 months sitting on it's side.

    If I shave down the high spots with a razor, then start wet sand 800 up through all grits of micromesh, then polish and run a hand buffer, you think I can save this like so? Or in your experience is this a road to screwing it up, and I should just wait for the coast to clear and send it to the sprayer. I've never done a poly finish before, I assume it's the same steps as a nitro finish?

    Quick question: You said to scuff up the finish with scotchbrite. Wouldn't that leave an opaque layer underneath the additional clear that would be sprayed on top? As far as I know, poly doesn't melt to the underlaying coat like nitro does.
     
  7. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    Poly DOES NOT melt into the layer below. That is why you need to scuff it up to give it a better mechanical bond.

    The scuff marks will disappear when the new goop hits.

    You need to get enough clear on top of the flakes to allow it to be level sanded without sanding into the flake. You do NOT want to sand into the flake

    In my technique, you cannot rush this stuff.

    Enjoy the ride
     
  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    "you cannot rush this stuff."

    Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to flake finishes. They are not easy to do and they take a long long time, hence their rarity. Unless you're shooting catalyzed poly or UV-cured clear coat, the wait time is like watching paint dry...because it's actual paint drying :twisted:

    If you sand into the flake, those areas will look blotchy compared to the surrounding finish, even after subsequent coats of clear over the body.

    Proceed with caution!

    Solarez and AzkoNobel UV-cured clears are very good for this sort of stuff.
     
  9. jasburbak

    jasburbak TDPRI Member

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    Alright, you both have convinced me, I'll wait .:mad: Seems like its going to be another 3-5 months till I have the body back- but it's my only flake job guitar, and it'll be worth it, you guys are right. Patience.

    Just one question, since I don't have much experience with poly, 2 component or otherwise: Are most different brand clears compatible in this scenario? As in, scuff the existing coat, and have my sprayer use his preferred clear on top. Or would there be incompatibility issues with different brands, regardless of the same type of finish clearcoat components used?
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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