guitar kit - staining problems

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by aboz65, Oct 15, 2019.

  1. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    Hello, total newbie working on first build. this is a Sologuitar kit, and I am trying to stain it. I realize these kits come with a poly coat, which I thought I sanded off. however, judging from the fact that my stain has taken well n some parts, not at all in others, I must have done a shoddy job of sanding it off. what to do? can I sand more and start over? or am I better off going to solid color at this point?

    I should add, I used an orbital sander with 320 grit, for what it's worth.

    thanks
     

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  2. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    if there is a layer ontop off the wood, no stain will work because it can not soak into it.
    are you sure it has a poly layer?
    what i would do is sand it so the color would be equal, the you could try to mix something with a clearcoat and a solid color (with the same water based ore other solvend based color) and get a semitransparent finish.
    the more solid color the less transparant the clearcoat will turn out.
    hope this helps
     
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  3. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    I actually contacted Solo guitars last week about this very thing. All of their unfinished bodies do have a poly sealer. It is possible to sand through the poly and to the bare wood to the point it will take stain, depending on the wood and how open the grain is. I did this on some kitchen cabinets I was refinishing and it took hours per cabinet to sand past the sealer after stripping the top finish. It can look very much like you are down to bare wood when you are in fact not. If you clean the wood with a clean tack cloth and there is any sheen at all, there is still poly there. If there is no sheen, there still may be. Application of wood conditioner can reveal if sealer is still present.

    Note, I did these cabinets a few years ago as a hobbiest. I’m also a newbie at this and am in the process of testing some different finishes for two guitar projects. But I do know that proper wood preparation is the most important step when going for a translucent finish.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  4. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    On the cheaper kits I would stick with solid color finishes because they are often basswood which can be hard to stain evenly and they are usually multi piece bodies with off angle joints. Each piece will absorb the stain differently even if the time is taken to sand through any sealer etc.

    Some of them also have a veneer hiding the multi piece body which also looks odd on the edge of the body where the veneer ends if a stain or trans finish is used.
    If you try to sand through the sealer on a veneered body it's likely you will sand right through the thin veneer.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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  5. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    Not much help but I think you bought the wrong kit for your needs. The poly may be a ‘coat’ but it will have sunk into the wood and is designed to protect it and be very hard wearing. You’ll really struggle to get it all off without going deep into the wood itself. I built a 12 string from a kit and opted for untreated / unfinished wood so as I could do whatever I liked.
     
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  6. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    thanks. that was going to be my next step. Are you planning on sanding staining or taking a solid color approach? I am guessing with the current state for my project it might be a lot better to do solid color at this point...
     
  7. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    Chunkocaster, that's my fear - the front of the guitar has an f-hole (it's a thinline), so I fear that if I sand too deeply to get the poly off, then I will go too far.
     
  8. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    @aboz65 @Chunkocaster

    I missed that your kit had a veneer top. These veneers are pretty thin so your concern is warranted.

    As for me, I have not purchased a Solo kit yet - or even decided that I will. My question to them was pre sales.

    My current two projects include a MIM P-Bass refin and a bare wood telecaster body that will become a Tele Bass, using a reclaimed Bronco bass neck.

    The p-bass body was a nice 3-tone burst that someone decided to home relic in a very bad way - belt sander - burns with a blow torch and I’d say a hammer as well. It just looked trashed - not like naturals wear. I stripped it down to the wood, filled, hand sanded and recontoured it by hand as required. Surprisingly for a 2000s MIM, it is a 7 piece body with veneer on the front and back. The belt sander went through the veneer in a number of places. As such this will get a solid finish.

    The tele body is a very cheap Muslady unsealed sycamore body. It is extremely light and fragile wood, but the routes were all good from the factory, which is good for such a cheap piece. It has been sanded, conditioned and has had two coats of an opaque water-based stain. Looks really good so far with just the darkest parts of the grain showing through. I purposefully did not fill the grain as I want the texture to come through on this one. Top coat will be a few coats of Minwax Tung Oil until I get the light satin sheen I’m looking for on this.
     
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  9. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tinted lacquer is usually the best way to go IME.
     
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  10. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Okay - so it appears the Minwax Tung Oil finish (not pure Tung oil) is going to get me the finish I'm looking for quite easily. I'm assuming it's pretty similar to Tru Oil, which is not readily available to me here. After one coat, the grain texture is popping nicely over the opaque green stain (note that the color is darker and even - not blotchy at all - its the lighting and glare in the pic):

    [​IMG]

    However, the grain is popping up on the ends due to the water based stain resulting in significant orange peel. Lesson learned about proper wood prep! I should have filled and sanded the grain on the sides and just let the grain pop the way I wanted on the top and bottom. No biggie on this cheap "trial and error" project - I'm going to leave it and just see what it looks like after a few more coats of the Minwax. 0000 steel wool in between:

    [​IMG]

    I really like this oil product. Low fumes, easy to apply and buff and cures in 24 hours. Also turns out the application/buffing cloths I bought advertised as "lint free" were not at all.
     
  11. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    Great save in progress. Yes, the end grain usually need a sealer and filling. As for as where it is now, lightly sand the end grain with 400 grit to knock the grain more level amd go with the next coat. Do again and again until level.

    Be cautious of steel wool as it is prone to leave particles. A good wet paper 400 grit using naptha in between coats is a better choice. Wipe down with naptha before the next coat and use a tack cloth to get rid if any dust or lent.

    Look forward to end pics! Looking good!

    Eric
     
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  12. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Wow -- hard to believe they poly coat their "unfinished" guitar because the result is what you've experienced. If you switch to a solid color, you should be fine, but trying to get rid of the residual poly to the point of having a stainable body is really unlikely. As some have pointed out, you might be able to sand it to an even look, seal it, and do some translucent stuff on top of that. But traditional staining is unlikely to work. It's really strange that they do the poly sealer. I guess they expect users to paint over the bodies.
     
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  13. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    ok, after getting some advice, I tried some pretty vigorous sanding, and reapplied stain. better looking than attempt 1, but still not good. left the front alone, again, for fear of chewing through the veneer. So I'm headed for solid color. do I need to apply primer? I prefer to avoid rattle can, I dont have a good place to do it. I'd much rather paintbrush it on then apply poly. any pointers on this? much appreciated.
    thanks
     
  14. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Knocked it back as suggested. I worked a fine line between smoothing it out a bit and not removing too much color. Perfect? Nah - but I’m happy with the results - especially for my first guitar finish job. There is still some texture on the sides, but smoother and will look fine with the intentional texturing on the top and bottom. The third clear coat goes on today and the slight sheen there now is clean and even. Very pleased!

    @aboz65 - I’m planning on using the following process, more or less, for the PBass body solid finish. It’s a full build but there’s a decent amount of detail on finishing the body starting on 2:50. I suspect Tru Oil is less durable than nitro, but the odor and toxicity is much lower and there is no spraying involved, plus I really like the result. Check it out. Even if you use a different process and products, it’s pretty useful in terms of wood prep:

     
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  15. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    That turned out nice, if he had wet sanded that body before buffing he would have had a level high gloss finish.
     
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  16. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted

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    I agree. The nice thing he does in the video is present a very basic amateur finish level that any can do. Just a few small things could have helped his finish.

    One would be that the fibers in his finish are likely part of steel wool dust. Go with a 400-600 grit between coats using naptha instead of water. wipe clean with naphtha, and tack cloth it off before the next coat.

    Also, his buffing medium of wax leaves a lot to be desired. After all the layers are on wet sand with naptha starting at 1000 up to 1500 or 2000. Use something like Meguiars fine cut liquid followed by their swirl remover 2.0. If you go up tp 2000 you can start with the swirl first. I would start there if I stopped at 1500 to see how it does.

    A little extra work after the finish is on is often the shift between looking amatuer and pro.

    Great work on it.

    Eric
     
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  17. aboz65

    aboz65 TDPRI Member

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    @mkdaws32 THANKS!! that is a hugely useful video. I really like the approach of using the acrylic paints in water. no spraying, and a really good finish.
     
  18. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    @eallen @Chunkocaster Yes - I need an amateur technique to get good results with no fixed setup or specialized equipment. I've researched a great deal and did some testing with Painter's Choice and a couple of different poly top coats, but was not terribly pleased with these, which is why I settled on the oil finish.

    Thanks for the additional tips! So, in your opinion, is wet sanding with naptha safe with this Minwax Tung Oil product I'm using (which may or may not actually contain any tung oil at all, from what I understand)? I was worried it would remove or dull/haze the finish. Should I wait extra time to fully cure between coats? That could extend the finishing process quite a bit, but that's fine. Patience = results! I'm currently waiting at least 24 hours.
     
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  19. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Yep - that's part of what drew me to this approach. No spraying and water-based color.
     
  20. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have never used naptha when wet sanding tru oil. I'm not sure how it would go with the tung oil product you are using either. I just use water and micro mesh to get my tru oil finished items level, then follow with two thinned coats and polishing by hand using meguiars or Gibson pump polish. I apply tru oil with clean lint free cotton t shirt pieces folded into square pads and use a fresh one for every coat.

    I do many thin coats though, up to 20 plus over decals. You want a decent thickness on there if you plan to wet sand without sanding through. I add a small amount of white spirits to the tru oil on the last two coats and it brings the gloss level up and makes it spread more evenly. I don't sand the final two thinned gloss coats as I have already level sanded the tru oil before they are applied.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2019
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