My test of Simtec 2K Urethane. (Fender’s top coat)

wadeeinkauf

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My test of Simtec 2K Urethane. (Fender’s top coat)

My goal was to find a finish that looked as good as nitrocellulose lacquer but could be completed in two or three days…not weeks. I am quite happy with the look of the major manufactures’ 2K finishes but finding out what they use exactly is next to impossible. I read somewhere that Fender was using a Simtec product for their top coat on some models. Checked the Simtec website and called them..Found out that they supply Fender and several other major guitar manufactures….Also found out that that product was not listed on their website….it is Simtec 57X1 Urethane Top Coat. I took their advice and purchased their 28x50 Clear Sanding Sealer/Filler. Also on their site somewhere I read that the top coat was compatible with House of Kolor base coats. So that lead me to House of Kolor Kandy Koncentrates to replace the trans tint dyes I have been using with my nitro in case they did not work with the urethane. I used Harbor Freight Auto touch up gun with a 1mm nozzle. Simtec calls for a 1.2mm nozzle but mine worked fine both for spraying the polyester sanding sealer and the top coat.
material2.jpg



Costs:

57x1 Top Coat $17.00 a quart
57x2 Top coat catalysts: $30 a quart enough for 4 quarts of top coat…(does not come in a smaller size)
28x50 Sanding Sealer/Filler: $28.75 Quart + MEKP 2oz $4.75 (you need to use their MEKP)
House of Kolor...Kandy Koncentrates $18 2oz.

Sanding Sealer: It took about 6 fluid ounces of the sanding sealer to do my body. At this rate you could do 5 bodies per quart.

Top Coat: I used about 8 fluid ounces of the top coat for the body. At this rate you could do 4 bodies with a quart.

So you can do 4 bodies with necks for around $81.00… each guitar $20.24. You have to add tax and shipping.
Shelf life is 6 months at 65 degrees (need to keep it in the refrigerator if you have to keep it for 6 months).
 
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wadeeinkauf

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28X50 Polyester Sanding Sealer/Filler

I use reclaimed wormy chestnut. To fill the worm holes I use Solarez Fly-Tie UV Resin. This stuff is great for this job it is crystal clear and thick..I put a drop in each worm hole. Take it out in sun and in 30 seconds it is completely cured. After sanding the guitar body to 340 grit I got ready to spray the sealer. Mike at Simtec says DO NOT use acetone to clean the finish after sanding the polyester or the clear coat he says only use 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. You spray 2 wet coats of the sealer 15 minutes apart. This would have been enough for the back of my body which is African Mahogany but the chestnut required a second application after the first coat cured for 24 hours.
firstcoatsealer.jpg
This stuff sands really easy. Sanding took about 10 minutes. Simtec says to sand using 220 grit so that the next coat will stick.
sandingthesealer.jpg

This is after the second coat of sealer. I will mention that at this point all grain needs to be completely filled and smooth. This top coat urethane is very thin and it might be difficult to fill missed open grain spots without the sanding re-shooting process.
air2.jpg
 
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wadeeinkauf

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Painting the Burst

I put the dyes into the top coat and sprayed the burst using an air brush. The Rootbeer Kandy Koncentrate mixed with the urethane top coat very well…I would recommend using the Kandies if you can…those colors are fantastic. I did mix in my trans tint tobacco brown dye as well to get the darker color for the edge. No problems mixing the two. The top coat (now being used as a midcoat) does not like going on with a lot of air and a little of the urethane. It dries too fast. Next time I will put one complete coat of the clear topcoat and then use the airbrush to do the burst. I think that will work better.
air1.jpg air2.jpg
 
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wadeeinkauf

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Sprayed the Top Coat

I sprayed two coats of top coat over the burst. You must wait 45 minutes between each coat to let the solvents evaporate so you do not get gas off bubbles. I waited and had no problems. I am thrilled with this finish. I will have to see if two coats are enough once I sand it and buff it out. It will not take much sanding as there are no runs at all and very little orange peel.

finish1.jpg finish2.jpg
 
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awasson

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Looks fantastic. Thanks for the writeup. It always good to read up on finishes and that looks really nice. I think I spent 3 weeks on my wipe on poly finish. 3 days would have been a whole lot nicer.
 

wadeeinkauf

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Looks fantastic. Thanks for the writeup. It always good to read up on finishes and that looks really nice. I think I spent 3 weeks on my wipe on poly finish. 3 days would have been a whole lot nicer.
After working with nitro and the many many coats this 2K stuff is just a pleasure to work with. You Do NEED a clean paint booth area as this takes about 10 minutes to dry dust free AND there are many health warnings. I am trying to be sensible so I bought a box of 100 neoprene gloves and of course paint respirator. The upside to using the gloves is that this will help keep any oil off the work.
Wade
 
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DrASATele

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Awesome information as always wade thank you for sharing.
I take it the Simitech guys weren't bothered by a "do it yourselfer" going after the big boy product? I've run into some ignorant people at Sherwin Williams in the past who have given me crap for not being an actual "contractor" with a "legitimate" business.
 

wadeeinkauf

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Awesome information as always wade thank you for sharing.
I take it the Simitech guys weren't bothered by a "do it yourselfer" going after the big boy product? I've run into some ignorant people at Sherwin Williams in the past who have given me crap for not being an actual "contractor" with a "legitimate" business.
Chris,
Actually Mike is very helpful....he is their "expert" so you really need to talk to him for any technical questions. They have no problem selling direct to individuals but you can see they are setup for the big bulk buyers. You can only pay through COD check OR through PayPal...they send you a payment request through PayPal...this is your invoice also so keep it for your records. Also, they do not say they will accept any payment other than COD check on their website....but when you place the order they tell you they accept PayPal....So I would say their site is not little guy friendly. I don't know if this is by design or the site may not be that important to them for business. I will say Mike is busy...but very helpful and they all are very professional.
Wade
 

wadeeinkauf

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Awesome information as always wade thank you for sharing.
I take it the Simitech guys weren't bothered by a "do it yourselfer" going after the big boy product? I've run into some ignorant people at Sherwin Williams in the past who have given me crap for not being an actual "contractor" with a "legitimate" business.
Chris,
On that note I want to add some info. I have not sold any of my guitars....they have been R&D and building "skills" to get to that superficial "retail" quality look. As builders we spend a lot of time worrying about what is "under the hood" retail dealers and some buyers care what it looks like. On finishes for me this will be my go to finish. 3 days and it is done....crystal clear....2K hard chemical resistant finish.
Back to the small builder friendly companies:

1. Seymour Duncan started their business selling to the repair and small builder guys. They are very small builder friendly. Small builder discounts are 40% to 60%. Different discounts on different pickups and covers. You must apply...do not need any business licenses or tax stuff or website or anything...They prefer a company like name but Wade's guitars works fine. You must by 12 pickups to start. After that onesie-twosie are fine. The OEM guy is Blue...might drive you crazy but will eventually get your order. Also all pickups are made here in the U.S. at Santa Barbara CA.
2. Hipshot Small builder discount. 50% discount. Also all parts U.S. made. Again no business license required. No minimum first order. I sent an email to them with my business website...Just a two page site with info on my guitars... www.quailridgeguitars.com and Jason set me up.
3. Sperzel (tuners) Small builder discount....around 40-50%. All parts made in U.S. (see a trend for me) I sent an email then called later and they sent a wholesale price list. The owner is the guy you talk to on the phone...These are really cool tuners all different color metal if you're in to that.
Wade
 
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DrASATele

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Wow Wade that is Awesome information THANK YOU!
Funny my Dad keep pushing me to start a business and my response is summed up in your words pretty much...."R&D and building "skills" to get to that superficial "retail" quality look" that's kind of how I feel, getting much, much better but still short of my own expectations/skill level desires.
I love Sprezels I'm going to have to look into those. I have a set from 1994 on my G&L S500 of the same year. One of the best USA built items I've used as a player and a builder. ... back in the day when playing live, I could change a string and tune it on my Strat S500, usually before the end of the song. great stuff
 

wadeeinkauf

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I wet sanded with 500 grit for about 40 minutes then buffed it out on my bench top buffer. It looks just like a production Fender finish. The only thing I would change with the process I have tested here is to put 4 coats of top coat rather than the two I did. I would like to have a little more material on the edges as no matter how careful you are with a bench top buffer running 1800 rpm will grab a little on the edges while buffing for 20 minutes. This top coat is very thin so there is no worries of getting that thick "plastic" look I was worried about. You really can not see that great with pictures but really....there are no flaws at all with this finish. This is not due to any great skills on my part....This sanding sealer/top coat combination is just so easy to work with....
Wade

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wadeeinkauf

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Here it is all put together. Those of you that have worked with nitro know how frustrating it can be installing the pickups and hardware with the lacquer. If you are not very careful when you clean out the holes for the pots it can chip like ice. And get a bit of hot solder/flux you got a spot that is hard to get out....accidentally lay the guitar down on one of your small screws...you got a dent or scratch.... This 2K urethane is tough.... I am careful (now) but not a bit of trouble....and you can put tape on this finish for protection with no problems at all...

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Jdelys

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I've been very interested in 2K finishes and found this post to be very helpful. Thanks for posting and the guitar looks great!
 

wadeeinkauf

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I've been very interested in 2K finishes and found this post to be very helpful. Thanks for posting and the guitar looks great!
Thank you all for the kind words. If you are good with spraying nitro this will be even easier as it does not run as easily. You will need to make some kind of clean booth. I built this simple one in the shed I use for my lawn tractor. I got the shop lights from Harbor Freight for $33.00.....1000 Watt beam..and an old fan for exhaust.
paint1.jpg paint2.jpg
 

Jdelys

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I've been experimenting with water-borne finishes lately because of lesser concern over blowing up the shop when the overhead gas-fired heater kicks on. When I can spray without heat again I will definitely try 2K urethane.
 

wadeeinkauf

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I've been experimenting with water-borne finishes lately because of lesser concern over blowing up the shop when the overhead gas-fired heater kicks on. When I can spray without heat again I will definitely try 2K urethane.
Smart Man!....I was worried about the fan I was using since it is not explosion proof. That is why I put it where it pulls in clean air as opposed to putting it behind the spray area and have it as an exhaust fan.
 

wadeeinkauf

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Awesome stuff.
Thanks guys.
I am just thrilled with the ease of use and results...The amount of work to get this same quality using lacquer took several days of just spraying coats..and weather would affect the way it sprayed..blush..gas off bubbles if a little too thick...I am sooooo done with lacquer.

One follow up. I have been playing this guitar and was shocked when I noticed that there are no pick scratch marks at all on the finish....It is very hard.
Wade
 




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