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How to incorporate text in a guitar finish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by wadeeinkauf, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    The picture below is of my last build. I will be building another with left over maple. The finish will be very similar to this one. This new guitar will be given to the Cal Fire Helicopter unit as a gift in appreciation for their outstanding efforts fighting two particular California wild fires very near me. The River Fire and the Carmel Fire both within 5 miles of my home. I watched the helicopter crews work for days in very low visibility and high temperatures. The small lake they used to load water is less than one mile from me.

    Now to my question for our community experts. For this build I want to but some text on the front of the guitar. In the example in the picture I have the text CAL FIRE 2020. I am no good at free handed air brush. What is the best way to approach this. I am thinking of making a cutout/stencil and use double sided tape and taping it to the body and spraying it with color and then a couple more coats of clear coat. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as I have no experience in doing text or graphics in my builds.

    calfire2.jpg
     
  2. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    maybe waterslide decal letters?... probably on ebay/somewhere...
     
  3. pinchegil

    pinchegil Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

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    maybe get some one to lazer etch prior to finishing then add colour to the etch before clear??
     
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  4. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Clear decal paper. A good printer then apply as any regular decal. Bury it under lacquer to hide the edges.
     
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  5. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Meister

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    Cut vinyl letters from your local sign shop. Take a lot of clear to level them though.
     
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  6. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Decal paper is likely how I would do it although the stencil and paint option sounds good too.
     
  7. bettyseldest

    bettyseldest Friend of Leo's

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    Could you use Letraset lettering (is it still available, was it ever in the states?) before staining/colour coating, then remove the lettering to reveal the natural wood effect beneath the letters prior to clear coat?
     
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  8. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    The easy way is waterslide decal film, printed using an ink jet in photo-quality mode. Read up on how to do this, because there are pitfalls for first-timers.

    The big 'gotcha' is not sealing the decal before cutting it out and soaking it in water for application. You must apply three or four very light mist coats of your clear finish over the decal once the ink is dry (give it a few hours to do so). Light mist coats, with dry time between, will seal the color and prevent it bleeding across the film. Go too heavy on the seal coats and the colors can run.

    Also, the decal must be applied to a wood surface that's already sealed and coated with a hard finish.

    Examples:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Thank you all for your input. With the crystal clear 2K Simtec clear coat I use I have found that you can clearly see the unprinted part of decal paper. It reflects light differently making the decal show through. I have been looking at some examples of how Kandy graphics are done for auto and motorcycles. I have not had a case where I would want text on my guitar bodies but since this is a special case to acknowledge how much we think of CalFire in my area it seems necessary to somehow have there name without taking away from the looks of the guitar. I have always thought that a logo done in a technique like Navajo Sand Painting "inlayed" in the body would look good. As an alternate, the logo could be done with Kandy metal flake colors. Too bad we no longer have our annual challenges that would help motivate us into doing what would be especially difficult for us. The encouragement and advice was really great with those challenges.
    Wade
     
  10. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    -Nevermind, looks like you and I were typing at the same time.
    100% agree on the water slide decal paper.

    laser jet if you want kinkos to print it
    Ink jet if you print it.
    You can reverse print just the silhouette and then fill in the letters with a paint pen if you don’t want to print in color.
    I would consider doing each word or even letter separately instead of just one long piece. Might be easier to place.
     
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another option would be to apply an adhesive stencil/template to the surface that exposes only the letters. Shoot a thin coat of clear and then quickly blow on some metallic powder (a little goes a long way...too much and it will obscure the wood beneath). Allow that to set up and peel the stencil. Follow up with several coats of clear over the entire body.

    Making your own stencil is simple. Lay several strips of wide painter's tape on the surface. Mask around the edges with mask paper, and then use an Xacto knife to cut the letter shapes through the tape. Press just hard enough to cut the tape and not cut too far into the surface. Peel the tape to reveal the letters, and proceed as above.
     
  12. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Thank you! This seems to be the way to go. I was worried about cutting the letters out without cutting too deep. I will have to practice. I am wondering if blue or green painters tape is what I should use or if there is a special tape used for this. Thank for the metallic powder suggestion. I have been looking at the Kandy flake spray on but was worried about over doing it...plus the build up. The powder would be a great way to control it. Do you have a suggestion on the brand of the power. That would be really cool if the color/metal flake (powder) was visible but subtle until the light hit it and then pop.


    Wade
     
  13. pypa

    pypa Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Take this with a grain of salt:

    x-acto cut letters look like x-acto cut letters. I'd personally opt for a custom decal and live with any witness lines. It'll be a classier end product. Spray painted stencil letters will look diy, IMHO.

    You might also consider a custom-engraved neck plate. That will solve all issues.

    Sorry for the unsolicited aesthetic opinion... I very much admire the appreciation you're showing to our Heros.
     
  14. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Plain blue painter's tape works fine because you're shooting thin coats.

    For blingy powders, I've used this stuff and have gotten great results. It's available in different colors.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08316NY2V/

    Since you're working on a guitar body, blowing it on is not necessary since you can lay it flat. One really easy way to control application is to place a little powder in a small wire strainer, hold it high (at least 24") above the work, and gently tap the strainer to dispense the amount of powder you want. Wear a dust mask and make sure there are no breezes in your work area. Use less powder than you think you need.

    This technique is similar to how bakers dust cookies and cakes with confectioner's sugar:

     
  15. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Always appreciate opinions. The good ones come with experience. Thank you!
    While I don't want a sparkling finish I could see how I could use some of the techniques in this video. I have worked a little with Kandy Kolor Concentrates. They can be used like transtint dyes...just can't get them as concentrated/dark as you can with the dyes. They do however mix well with my Simtec top coat.
     
  16. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    I have been on a diet for the last 20 days. Now you're killing me. For the rest of the day all I am going to be thinking about are these cookies....Thanks a LOT!
     
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