Nail Polish - Used in a finish

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by DrASATele, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Howdy All!
    I use to work in a pharmacy that sold lots of makeup. Stocking shelves I came across some pretty awesome colors in the nail polish section. I always said I would give it a try someday and well here I am . . . IMG_7469.JPG

    So here we have an Ambrosia Maple top on Douglas fir back. Here I am applying BIN primer. I did so with a brush then sanded flat.
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    So the back color is a Duplicolor product:

    IMG_7473.JPG

    I have to say, difficult to get this stuff to spray without spitting and general difficulty after doing the first pass. I had 3 cans (probably could have done it in 1) each had the same problem. After the first spray, even if it was cleaned after the initial use, it would spit, continue spraying after I took my finger off the button. It was a hassle. I dig the color though.
    IMG_7471.JPG

    This was after the first layer, I was digging the fact that the grain had enough sink to it that the paint visibly showed the grain. However after the 3rd go round the grain was filled and is pretty much flat now.
    I tried to do the standard burst type thing with the duplicolor,that was just a complete fail. The thicker finish material looked crappy on the edges and the burst had too much of a hard line to it not enough fade.
    IMG_7470.JPG

    This is a process I've done with rattlecans of Behlen's at least a dozen times and gotten excellent results but not with the Duplicolor. I eventually sand this back. That's when I thought about the nail polish idea I've been kicking around since I started building.
    IMG_7523.JPG

    So I took this. Mix 3 parts color to 1 part lacquer thinner (the expensive kind like the SW or Behlens stuff) into an air brush. Although not as green as the bottle it sprayed on very nice and it shifts colors depending on what angle you are looking at it from.

    IMG_7522.JPG

    It looks super blue here in the photo and in the shop lights but more green in natural or sun light. I am super pleased with the look and I will definitely be using this again. It did not have an issue over the duplicolor and my test piece with string instrument lacquer over the top looks clear. I can't wait to get to the clear coats on this guitar.

    So what do you think?
     
  2. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    How much coverage can you get and how many bottles do you think a body will need?

    How durable is nail polish?
     
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  3. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Afflicted

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    Shifting between blue & green in the light, beautiful!
     
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  4. Caaspizza

    Caaspizza TDPRI Member

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    Cool! Please post pictures when it's done! :)
     
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  5. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you control the output I'd say a body might take 3-4 bottles for 1 coat. Could get costly for a whole body unless your good with chemistry then I think there's a possibility of blending it with other similar chemical make up lacquers
    This burst took 1/2 a bottle but lots of overspray, I didn't have the airbrush dialed all the way in, definitely too much air, it's a touch crusty in areas. I'm interested to see how it stands up to layering as I intend to clear coat and then come back and burst again with a little less thinner. Then clear over that.

    Nail polish, some of it anyway, is acrylic lacquer. Some brands are tougher than others, at least I imagine so, as they seem to have many, many different types and colors.

    The interesting thing to me is how well this stuff blended with the Duplicolor. Usually there's some blending needed on the edge when the back color is not the same as the burst. Here with the clear coat I just applied it looks pretty sweet, no hard line between the 2 colors and the round over kind of shows you both colors under direct light. I'll post a few pic's as I go. It will be a slow process.
     
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  6. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Were you attempting to get full coverage with every coat, or spraying 3 very light passes per coat (and with a single coat not providing full coverage - it's always better to spray lightly and slowly build it.

    It's also important top practice spraying with ANY product you have never used before, and apply the ENTIRE system to see if there are compatibility issues anywhere in the system.

    You would have saved yourself a ton of material and made the job far easier by applying a coat of lacquer sanding sealer, sanding it, and (assuming the grain is open from your description one or two coats of grain filler/paste wood filler (the first slightly thicker and "bladed" across the grain at a different angle than the second) - then one more coat of sanding sealer (sanding between these, unlike lacquer, where you should never sand between coats).

    Grain filler is a very fast and quick drying process, and inexpensive. Plus - although your lacquer may appear smooth now, it may sink randomly due to the lack of sanding sealer. & filler.

    BIN is a good primer for preventing tannic acid stains and for adhesion between "unfriendly" materials - but it's a very poor sealer for grain filling purposes. It has the wrong pigment mix.

    1. I suggest always applying entire system on scrap if there's even ONE product you have never used before. You never know how things will react; and it gives you a chance to refine your technique. I would especially stress this when using uncommon materials - don't apply them directly to a body, and use normal sealers and fillers common in guitar finishing - not hardware-store paint.

    2. If you are having spitting problems with a metallic aerosol:

    a. heat the can in warm water (120-150 degrees F or so) for 20 minutes

    b. Agitate the can for at least 10 minutes, and agitate it after every pass

    c. Suspend the piece vertically; then spray in only ONE direction (right to left or left to right) at a consistent distance. This is critical - there's an "orientation" to how the flakes lay out.

    d. Always spray TOP to bottom so no overspray hits freshly coated surfaces

    e Spray 3 VERY light passes per light coat.The material will flow out on its own. Only the last one or two clear coats can be a little heavier.

    3. See #1. PRACTICE is the best way to get good results. You should be able to spray so evenly that only buffing is required - surface wet sanding is a REPAIR procedure!

    Hope that helps!
     
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  7. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMG_7524.JPG

    2 passes of clear @ the taking of this picture. This is in non-direct sunlight, really, really blue in this pic.

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    Funny how dark it gets at this angle. My son pointed it out to me, it looks almost purple.

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    2 more coats of burst followed by 2 more passes of clear. This light makes it seem really green. Very happy with the results so far. I might have to add a bit of this color to the headstock.
     
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  8. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    For the Duplicolor I was totally trying to spray 3 like passes per coat. Slowly building the color/Medium. I think if I had been a little better about cleaning the nozzle after each pass I wouldn't have had some of the problems I had.

    I did test the whole process as you suggest. Shellac sealer. Followed by burst medium (nail polish) followed by clear rattle can lacquer (Behlens String Instrument).

    So the body wood is Douglas Fir, it's not so much open grained as it is a pattern of grain lines hard and soft. I didn't mind the grain showing through despite the primer, but you are right had I sealed it then primed it, then sealed it again, I would have gotten to the flat surface quicker. Then the first or 2 coat (3 passes each) of duplicolor would have been enough.

    I'll keep in mind your suggestions, they make perfect sense now that I've used the Duplicolor once. Totally agree about spraying and wetsanding!

    Thanks for the info.
     
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  9. knockeduptele

    knockeduptele Tele-Meister

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    Years back a friend sprayed his Mini with Mary Quant iridescent pearl nail Varnish - He had far more patience than me and my hat of off to DrASA
     
  10. harold h

    harold h Friend of Leo's

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    Great job!

    Dan Erlewine used to use thinned out nail polish for spot repairs years ago with a Preval.

    Your color almost looks like those color shift paints that change color under the lights.
     
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  11. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah, i was thinking same thing, that flip flop paint that changes with how the light hits it,

    That's some purty finish ya got goin on thar! I dig it! Congrats!
     
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  12. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Much thanks! It turned out so much better than I thought it could. I'll be tapping into this sort of finish a bit more in the future. I bet there are some interesting shades of colors with similar properties that will look just as cool.

    Indeed it very much has those properties which is super cool and unexpected. I hope the child this goes to enjoys the look as much as I do. I have to fret the neck and final sand and then finish it, probably tru oil if I don't add any of the color from the body to it.

    Thank y'all!
     
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  13. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You be brave. The only time I used nail polish was a couple of bottles of white mixed in clear lacquer to get a white tint. That was before I got Mixol.

    Word of caution to those who read this - make sure your nail polish is lacquer if mixing it into nitro. I can tell by smelling it. Not all nail polishes are going to be suitable.
     
  14. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I agree, I tested the stuff I bought first with lacquer thinner. The thinner actually thinned the nail polish so then I tested that mix by spraying. I did come across some stuff that the thinner would not mix evenly with, after awhile it just rose to the top of the bottle. AS ALWAYS TEST, TEST, TEST your finishes before you ruin that guitar or bass you spent many hours sanding.

    All in all I'm happy with the results and will definitely use this again. Maybe during the winter I'll do a thread on the brands and whether or not they might work w/ solvent based lacquer.
     
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  15. colnago

    colnago Tele-Meister

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    I had a guy, on another forum, totally oppose the use of nail polish as touch up for a guitar. I suggested it to another member and this dude crapped all over the idea. I have no idea why as he didn’t really say, but as far as I know it works well and will even “melt” into some finishes.
     
  16. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    He apparently didn't know much about coatings!

    You can order material safety data sheets for nail polish just like other coatings. The important thing to look at is the solvent mix, as acrylic resin is not hazardous and usually is not listed (nitrocellulose, if used, has to be listed).

    The solvent mix fo most - but not ALL - nail polishes is the same as some acrylic lacquers. Because that's exactly what they are.

    I used to keep a lacquer-coated 1"x6"x24" board with a 2" strip just sealed for testing lacquer compatibility. A small amount of nal polish brushed on will melt into the lacquer if it is also lacquer - and, obviously, it won't if it's not.

    So that guy on another forum must have only had experience with non-lacquer nail polish - or he was a lousy applicator, or some guy randomly posting about a subjuct he knows absolutely nothing about (which is unfortunately quite common!!)
     
  17. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is completely a hobby for me but one that I've spent time educating myself about. Even before I tried even painting a guitar I knew that some nail polish had the chemical make up to be used as spot fixes on older guitars painted with nitro lacquer.

    I got to say I'm stealing your idea Silverface, it makes perfect sense and probably saves you tons of time. The test board that's already painted with lacquer. It seems so simple but it has got to have great benefits in saving time.
     
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