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OK... so I promised... here ya are. . . .

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Ronkirn, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Now, I’ll give it a good coat of nitro… and check it in as many lighting conditions as I can to check for anything I don’t wanna see when she’s finished…

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    Lookin, good, time for a bit of color…. Before I begin this, please those that have been doing this for a considerable time, I appreciate input, but I am self trained over 40 years, and I ain’t uh gonna be changing anything I do, ‘cause what I do works just fine for me.

    So I start with a pot of lacquer.. nice ‘n clear….

    [​IMG]

    Then I add a stick tip full of white tint. Tint differs from dye because it is opaque, and can if enough is used produce a completely opaque white lacquer. I just add touch to produce something that is like watery milk.

    [​IMG]

    This gives me something that would be perfect for a Mary Kaye finish. But we want a Honey Blonde.

    Ron Kirn
     
  2. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Now I add a toothpick tip of brown dye, dye changes the color, but not the opacity.

    [​IMG]

    I keep a good selection of colors. Using this stuff, is as much an art as anything else. It’s just something you have to get in there and do to get the hang of it. It’s a matter of adding the basic color, and adding other tints to get where you are going. You MUST consider the color of the base wood too, it’s going to be seen too.

    [​IMG]

    The brown alone didn’t do it, so I add a drop of yellow…

    [​IMG]

    which wasn’t correct either, so more brown…..

    [​IMG]

    now it’s looking about right…. I always try to keep the color lighter that what I expect because I know I can correct during the clear coat…

    Ron Kirn
     
  3. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Mix it thoroughly and put down a light mist, to check color….

    [​IMG]

    have a good look in different light to see what you have done..

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    I now go for the full Monty,.. I put id down in several light coats, which allows me to control the density and the evenness of the coverage…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Since I’m putting down light mist coats, I can never get to a full wet coat which reduces the “orange peal” effect..

    Ron Kirn
     
  4. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    This is what I mean by the ‘orange peal” look… not good. ..

    [​IMG]

    In this shot you can see an area with a good wet coat, and the as yet un-coated mist section… Oh yes, after the several mist coats to achieve the correct shade, I give it a good wet coat of clear lacquer to blend everything. That’s what I’m doing in these shots..

    [​IMG]

    Now I have a full wet coat….what I mean by wet coat is I continue laying down thin coats until I know one more and it’ll run… that’s a “feel” thing it just takes time and practice.

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    By mastering the wet coat thing, you can dramatically reduce the amount of wet sanding you will need to do..

    Learn to look through the finish at reflected light to get a good idea of the quality of the coat you’re putting down,,

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    and. .

    [​IMG]


    I now have a finished color coat…

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    later this afternoon I applied several coats of clear.. after which I’ll allow it to cure for a few days before sanding, then I’ll repeat, so just imagine me spraying paint and waiting for it to dry… till later this week

    Ron Kirn
     
  6. Brent Hutto

    Brent Hutto Tele-Holic

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    Ron,

    What would happen if you added no tint or dye at all, just use that pot of clear lacquer in the first picture? Would it just look like the bare wood did except shinier?

    Or is it one of those deals where a "clear" lacquer job actually needs some subtle tint to look like people expect "clear" to look?
     
  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    You could use just the clear, but the UV will naturally turn the wood and the finish amber over time..

    Ron Kirn
     
  8. Squall.exe

    Squall.exe NEW MEMBER!

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    This is just simply amazing. I can't wait to see how it looks.

    I'm actually planning on building one myself, and the pictures should clear up a lot of questions.
     
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  9. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Welcome Squall, this is a great place, and don't neglect the Telecaster Discussion Forum too, lotta builds go on there too.

    Ron Kirn
     
  10. jimmybusk

    jimmybusk Tele-Holic

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    Great workmanship....Great photography !!!!! thanks
     
  11. WisconsinStrings

    WisconsinStrings Tele-Afflicted

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    Great looking guitar!
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    I gave the lacquer 3 days to harden; down here it’s about 90, so that’s like 3 months in the rest of the country…

    So I take 400 grit (I discovered I am out of 320 grit) and use a random orbit sander at about 50% speed, I just want to take down the high spots, I am NOT going for a finish sand, this is just an interim to prevent build-up on the high spots of the minute hills and valleys in the lacquers surface, Also roughing it up facilitates the new coat’s ability to melt into the previous, becoming one homogenous film.

    [​IMG]

    I use the sander on the flat surfaces, then my fingers around the periphery. There is NO need to use 220, then 320, then 500, 800, etc, At this stage, that accomplishes nothing more than consuming sandpaper, and making your arms sore. Also, you absolutely, positively do not want to sand through the clear, into the color coat, and worse, through the color, watch everything closely.

    Once sanded, check it thoroughly, looking for anomalies that may make the final surface funky, take care of them now.

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    Remember, resist the urge to put too much time and effort in sanding to a perfect flat surface, you are going to be spraying more lacquer, and you will be right back where you are.

    [​IMG]

    Once this sanding is completed, it’s time to get ‘er wet again…

    Ron Kirn
     
  13. Arlo

    Arlo Friend of Leo's

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    I'm drooling Ron. :eek: That sure is looking pretty sweet bro.
     
  14. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    For those that are gasping at the “thickness” of the finish… “Hog-Wash….!”

    There is no such thing as an original vintage thin finish….and really, no such thing being offered by the “Big Boys” today. To achieve the polished surface you see on the guitars hanging on the wall at Gracious Gertie’s Guitar Garage, the manufacturer HAS to fill the grain and seal it… gotta be done. Today, I don’t care what is being inferred in the marketing copy, they are using a production oriented sealer either polyurethane, or something similar. If they are only putting a few coats of whatever they are calling nitro then the underlying sealer coats HAVE to be thick. Why? Because if they are not, it is going to take a skilled worker far more time and effort to finish sand and polish that piece into a marketable product, that ain’t gonna happen on anything less than a Masterbuilt, if then. Am I saying there is no Thin Finish? You decide…

    Further real Nitrocellulose lacquer like you see being shot here, including the underlying filler coats, will finish out at about .025 thick, or about the thickness of a D string. In about 6 months it will shrink to about .017, the thickness of the G string, and in a few years it will be about the thickness of the E 1st.

    That is why guys see old guitars, and think Gawd; lookit how thin that paint is…. I want one like that. Thin Nitro finishes are a result of time and the properties of the chemistry comprising the lacquer, not because someone was cinchy with the coats at the beginning.

    So…. Here’s what the first good wet coat looks like….

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    And here’s what it looks like looking through the finish. By that I mean look at it like it was a mirror and you were watching whatever light source was being reflected, here the light fixtures on the ceiling.

    [​IMG]

    After about 10 minutes, it is just about completely dry to the touch, but still feels just a “crack” damp; I give it another good full wet coat..

    By “good-full” I mean it has all the lacquer I can get on it without it running, this is completely a “feel” thing, you just gotta do it till you can feel it…

    [​IMG]

    Ron Kirn
     
  15. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    After the sanding, the main reason to apply good wet coats is to get enough solvent onto the previously dried lacquer to cause that surface to melt into the new lacquer going on. Thin mist coats will never accomplish this, and when you get to the wet sanding, you will find the new coats will peal off like sunburned skin. Do y’all get sunburned in Seattle?

    Here the body has dried a few hours, you can see the slight “Orange Peal” But what you cant tell is how very shallow the “pits” are as compared to the “hills”. It’ll only take about 3 passes with 800 wet or dry to cut that down to dead level.

    [​IMG]

    and the back at the area of the tummy contour..

    [​IMG]

    So this pretty much concludes the finishing stage on the body, now it’ll hang in the back room for about 2 weeks before I get around to wet sanding and polishing ‘er… In the mean time, the neck should be here any time from Tommy, when it arrives, I’ll get to finishing it..

    Later,

    Ron Kirn
     
  16. milkshape

    milkshape Tele-Holic

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    Hey RK, what's your personal favorite method for removing dust after you sand?
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like they owe you a tuition payment, thanks again.
     
  17. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    I sand, then I wipe with a clean dry rag, .. then I use compressed air to blow ... then a tack rag.... blow again...... then I keep out of the clean room and let what ever is in the air settle...or be sucked out.... there is no dust free room except at NASA and Silicon Valley.... after about 15 min.. I re enter.... slowly.... then shoot the little bugger....

    rk
     
  18. Mark-00255

    Mark-00255 Tele-Holic

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    Fantastic stuff, Mr. Kirn! I appreciate all the detail and reasoning behind techniques and processes. This is certainly making me want to re-visit the finish on my recently completed first build - while I was going for a rustic looking, knotty and grainy, natural finish hunk of wood, and every single person who sees it in person goes wow, I know that I lacked the patience and skill to get where you're going with the finish. The wipe on poly I used is good and hard now after a couple months, so I think I can treat it as sealer, gently sand it flat, and then get serious about the finish ... makes me nervous, though!

    BTW: You asked "Do y’all get sunburned in Seattle?" Uh, yeah, but only every once in a while! :cool:
     
  19. HiggyDude

    HiggyDude Tele-Holic

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    My Internship Vision...

    Awesome thread…so I while reading I had this vision of sending the following letter…


    Mr. Kirn,

    Please accept this post as my request for an internship with you and your company. Over the past year I have been building Teles using your templates and consistently reading your interjections in the materials supplied with said templates on having plenty of Budweiser around. While I am not a fan of Budweiser I will happily provide you the necessary quantities to tolerate my thousands of questions and many mistakes while under your tutelage. I will also provide my own pilsners and lagers of choice so we may have “seminar” in the evenings and discuss the philosophies of guitar building.

    I will have to check with my wife and employer if it is acceptable for me to leave their graces for the next 10 years to work with you but I believe they will understand. I promise to sweep and vacuum the shop daily and take out the trash when needed. Please provide acknowledgement of when you are available and associated costs and amenities etc. etc.

    Sincerely yours,
    HiggyDude

    OK – now that the “morning coffee” has worn off I’ll resort to religiously following your posts and threads…but for a moment the letter sounded like a good idea. :p
     
  20. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    I do really despise waiting for paint to dry. . ..:lol:

    Ron Kirn
     
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