Paint, Oil and Clear....

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by THRobinson, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    Hey guys... whenever I'm researching finishes I always end up on this site, so seems to be a lot of people here who know about finishes so, hoping may be able to help.

    Until now, I've gone to the local auto shop, got a paint mixed (quick flashing urethane, or waterborne) and when done, unloaded a full can of SprayMax 2K gloss onto it. Nice, straight forward, so far no problems.

    I plan to buy a PRS kit this week (mahogany body, 1/4" maple top) and would like to do something different with it. I'm getting some paint made for my truck, which is a nice deep metallic green (similar to Gretsch's Cadilac Green) which I want for the front only. The sides, neck, and angled slope in the cutaways, I want to have oiled to bring out the colour/grain more.

    So... looking for ideas/advice/warnings....

    I'm in Canada, so Nitro is super hard to find. DEFT makes a brushable one, that most places stopped carrying but if I can find it, I'd like to give Nitro a try. Oil wise... which oil? Tung? Danish? Tru?

    Ideas are...

    1 - Get the urethane/waterborne paint made, spray the top, scrape the edges to make the paint line sharp, oil the back/sides/neck, let it dry a few weeks, then paint it with Nitro. If not nitro, poly maybe?

    2 - Paint the top, clear the top, wetsand/polish, scrape, and then oil the rest. Just a semi-gloss open pore for everything except the top.

    3 - Use a single stage, which I hear is harder to do for a metallic because can't really sand it smooth due to the flakes... but, single stage the top, the oil only the back/sides.

    ... thoughts?

    I've never mixed media in this way before, so, not sure what will/won't work... figured since kit be a few weeks coming from China (eBay) I'll research the finish now.
     
  2. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Oil is not the only way to bring out color and grain. Why use oil? I know many users do, but very few builders or manufacturers do. I dislike oil/open grain, so I'm always curious why someone might use it. It does allow an inexperienced finisher to get a good looking result, as nitro etc. is harder to handle for beginners. I've never had a problem doing goldtops cleared with nitro, which sounds essentially like what you are trying to do. I'd look online for a rattle can supplier in Canada. If you can't find that, acrylic or poly would be my thoughts. Good luck.
     
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm with Jr. Don't mix media unless YOU are totally certain that they will be compatible on YOUR wood with whatever method of application YOU will use. That means practice on scrap until you get it nailed, then do the real guitar.

    I also agree with Jr that oil finishes are a good way for "an inexperienced finisher to get a good looking result". I've only seen two TruOil finishes that I thought held a candle to lacquer. I've tried TruOil twice and felt that while it looked good, it simply did not meet my standards. Combine that with all the possible issues of mixing oils and other solvents - I would stay as far from that as possible. If you do decide to use an oil finish do your research and practice - many people seem to put TruOil on too thick and don't let it cure long enough.

    If it was my guitar I would have the solid color mixed in whatever solvent the manufacture (and you) are comfortable with (for me that would be lacquer). The mahogany body will need to be pore filled - do some research on that and choose a pore filler that is both compatible with your solvents and will highlight the grain. My choice would be Zpoxy because I know its completely compatible with the nitro I would be using. If you are unsure then take some scrap mahogany and try different pore fillers. After the body is pore filled and the color is on I would shoot multiple coats of whatever kind of finish your color was, but in clear. For me, I would use nitro because that is what I know and have experience with.

    Nitro is available in Canada, if you are having trouble I can give you the names of a couple of Canadian luthiers who use it and can tell you where they get it.
     
  4. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    Oil was my go-to because not sure what else to use. It seems to bring the colour/grain out more than what I've used in the past, but, I've also only been using automotive clear coats and water based poly on a few necks.

    "Dream" guitar is a Les Paul I played a few months back, was a faded honeyburst, and looked like the finish was just a dusting of poly sanding sealer... satin, very thin layer, and a bit textured... absolutely loved it. I debated about building that instead, and still might, since was WAY outta my budget. So sides/back not being a thick glossy finish is fine for me... which is also why I thought oil. Enough to coat it but not enough that it's thick enough to polish. But leaves the question of how to handle the painted part.

    So... if not using oil... what would bring the grain out? Just the Zpoxy? sand and go straight to Nitro?

    Nitro... use to be carried at a few wood shops, like Lee Valley, now it's tricky to find. I think Watco had a spray, and a few shops here carry Watco but not the Nitro one. Deft, I found a few places online that ship, but the price is crazy high. And the spray cans some places won't ship and no one will ship over the border. There was one supplier up here I've seen mentioned more than a few times, but, no pricing online unless you have a business number registered with them and I think sold in 2gal buckets, which is a bit overkill for me at this time.

    Only real reason I'm wanting to try Nitro is to see how it is, and the yellowing/cracking effect when it ages. Though be a while before I ever see that. That said, I'm willing to try something else.

    Test wise... I have nothing. No products to test with and no mahogany. Remote area so, no where around to find scraps at. Mahogany seems to be way easier to get in the USA than Canada. I know of a few suppliers, but they won't send scraps. For this build, I'll have to see what others used and kinda wing it. When I have a workshop up and running, I'll start experimenting.
     
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  5. Bluey

    Bluey Tele-Meister

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    I don't see any problem as long as you lay down the colour/clear on the clean wood first. The only drama I can think of is the base coat bleeding under the fine line tape with timber? Then you may have to retape & give yourself a couple of mm to 2000 the edge off the clear. I'd definitely do a test run on some similar timber first but other than that it should look cool.
    Edit. Just noticed your using spray can clear so not sure of curing characteristics or reaction to solvents with that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    There are pictures of various guitars with zpoxy pore fill and lacquer on top. Mahogany and several other woods.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/zpoxy-for-pore-fill-and-grain-enhancement.940522/

    Zpoxy does impart a very slight amber cast to the finish - it does not look like aged nitro but some people don't like it because of the color. I think it brings out a really warm glow to most woods but you need to look at the pictures in that thread to see if its what you want (and practice on some scraps of the same wood you will be finishing). There are certainly other pore fillers that can be used on mahogany.

    As far as the aging of lacquer is concerned, you can push it slightly by putting a drop of amber dye in your clear coats but it really isn't the same. I have several guitars that are approaching 50 years of age, the lacquer is just starting to come into its glory.

    I don't do guitars with painted (solid) colors - when I do color I still want wood to show thru so I either tint the lacquer or stain the woods (or do both). I have a friend who is one of the worlds best motorcycle painters - frankly if I wanted solid color or flake or anything like that I would consult with him.

    The important thing is that what I would do really doesn't matter - you need to choose products that you are comfortable with, get enough practice before you touch your guitar so you know you won't make a mess out of it, then proceed. Finishing in hard, fancy finishing is even harder. I know my materials, my gun and spray setup and my limits. Good luck
     
  7. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    Ya I was thinking paint first, then take a wood scraper and scrape all around the edges and get a nice sharp line. Then hope that when I oil it will just wipe off the paint and not affect much.

    With something like that Zpoxy (was just watching a video) I would probably need to do the entire guitar with it first, then paint, then lightly scrape the edges, then clear it all.

    For that route... would you guys bother with nitro? or switch to lacquer, or poly?

    I do have a litre of poly sanding sealer, but doubt that would bring out the grain as much as the zpoxy.
     
  8. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Nitro is nitrocellulose lacquer. There are dozens of different "polys" ranging from wipe on stuff you can buy at the box stores to pre, post and UV catalyzed stuff that you can't.

    You won't know how much your sanding sealer will bring out the grain until you try. I know what the finishing resin will do because I once did a bunch of experimenting on some highly figured wood - paste filler, CA and Zpoxy. For what I want the Zpoxy was hands on the best. Your milage might vary.
     
  10. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    Oh, so that Stringed Instrument Lacquer mentioned in the links is Nitro.... which I think I knew. I'm pretty sure I had that Mohawk bookmarked on a site, then it just said page not found because they stopped carrying it and couldn't remember the name of it. :D

    I do have a 27Gal 3HP compressor in the garage, detached from the house, which may be good since I heard Nitro stinks. May have to clear some room out and maybe get myself a spray gun. In another forum for guitars, a few people mentioned this one as a good starter for finishes.

    SPRAYIT SP-33000K LVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun Kit

    May be time to upgrade from rattle cans.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
  11. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    Gotta say, I'm eager to try ZPoxy... didn't know people used that as a filler, never needed a filler so no idea what people used at all anyways apart from stuff like poly sanding sealers.

    Though, of all the vids I watched and how nice the grain shows etc... no one ever applied heat. I know when using stuff like resins, heat makes it flow a bit more and bubble come out and help it to lay flat. Would there be any benefits from hitting it with a heat gun lightly after each coat? help it soak in more and lay flat?
     
  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    I have never felt a need to but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try. I just work the first couple of coats into the wood with a plastic squeegie and the third coat is heavily diluted with DA so it flows with ease.
     
  13. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    DA... denatured alcohol?
     
  14. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, in the link I discussed it.
     
  15. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    Anyone happen to know if BioFlame Ethanol is the same? I know it's made with denatured alcohol, but no idea if 100% or just a high percentage.

    Canada... simple stuff found in hardware stores and Walmart in the USA, have the tendency to become harder to find than it should be here in Canada.

    Even posts about it so, I'm not a alone. :D

    Would Isopropyl work?

    Weird how Canada is for that stuff. I needed grain alcohol for restoring old smoking pipes, but not found in Canada. Nitro, can be found but not easily. I can't just walk into a store and grab it. Naptha is the same. Use to walk into the hardware store and buy it for camping stoves... now I have to pay more and get less for Zippo fluid.
     
  16. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A few technical points and advice:

    1. You are NOT painting anything or buying any paint. In the coatings industry folks can get real confused when you use that term, as "generically" paint is what you put on a fence, or a house, or old lawn furniture.

    Furniture, cabinet, auto and guitar coatings are generically called "finishes", or more properly "finishing systems" since more than one product is required.

    But try to NOT use the term "paint"

    Some string instrument lacquers are nitro. Some are acrylic. Some are blends of the two. Acrylic lacquers can be applied over nitro and visa-versa, and the resins will melt perfectly into each other (both colors and clears). The solvent blends are virtually identical...

    ....usually....

    ...except for Deft and Colortone, neither of which I recommend. While they are specifically made for amateur application, the unique "feature" makes them a hassle as guitar finishes.

    IMPORTANT - Understand that these lacquers ALL dry only by evaporation of solvents. There is NO "cure time" (if you read Stewmac's finishing book or watch their finishing video, Dan Erlewine repeatedly states lacquers have extended "cure times". Dan is wrong and obviously never worked in the coatings industry. ONLY catalyzed lacquers go through chemical curing.

    Both Colortone and Deft contain a high percentage of naphtha as a solvent. So while conventional acrylic and nitro lacquers dry in 30-60 minutes per coat, Deft and Colortone's aerosols take hours, Or DAYS if applied even a little too quickly.

    It's VERY easy to end up with solvent entrapment with these because the acetone and other "hot" solvents dry fast and "skin" over. while the slow evaporating naphtha (on safety data sheets sometimes listed as "mineral spirits" - a very close product - or "petroleum distillates")

    It's absolutely critical to apply lacquers in multiple thin coats, preferably using 3-4 ultra-thin passes per coat - and a single coat should not cover completely. If it does, you are TOO THICK! It should take 3-4 coats of color for coverage and for it to start to flow smoothly.

    It AIN'T paint!

    As does acrylic lacquer. They smell exactly the same.

    It sounds like you have only a spotty understanding of lacquer, solvents, and different types of solvents.

    To know whether a particular solvent can be sued with a product:

    1: READ THE MSDS! You should always do this anyway! And having read them, you ARE wearing cartridge type respirator and full eye protection - right? Because if you are wearing dust masks, even the ones with a special filter on the front - you are breathing lacquer straight into your lungs. They do NOTHING. You MUST wear a proper respirator with a fresh cartridge and prefilter(s).

    2. You called the manufacturer's technical support line. They can tell you in 5 minutes if a solvent is compatible.

    3. You had some on hand - so you tested it when doing your practice applications on scrap - the ones you do until you perfect your preparation, sealing, filling, priming, lacquer color application technique, clear lacquer application and buffing .

    Note I did not mention finish sanding. That is a repair technique, and if ever needs to be started with anything rougher than 1500 you needed to go back and find out what was wrong with your application - and FIX it before you start on the guitar!

    And you are NEVER. EVER. Sanding between lacquer coats. Fow coats of clear lacquer can smooth a surface - sanding of intermediate coats will do nothing but screw the job up (except for fixing small runs. One or two at MOST. If you get more than that YOU ARE TOO THICK!).

    You should be able to apply your lst clear coat and buf the thinng out the next day, preferably using 3 different grits of "stick" lacquer and a clean, new cotton buffing wheel for each.

    I haven't "finish sanded" in 25 years or so, and once in a while I use aerosols instead of my HVLP just for fun.

    And if my last clear coat goes on in the morning I usually buff that afternoon if I have the time.

    RE METALLICS, METALFLAKES & PEARLESCENTS:

    If you are spraying premixed metallics:

    1. Keep them well-agitated between EVERY pass (and you always have your work suspended vertically - right? NOT laying flat, which causes uneven film thickness!).

    2. ONLY work in ONE direction - either left to right or right to left - and as with ALL coatings, working from top down so overspray doesn't land on what you just did!

    If you change directions you will invariably have "tiger stripes". Metallics have an "orientation" to the flakes as they hit the surface. It's very similar to electronic polarity. I get emails with pictures of a huge number of weird looking metalflakes and pearls wondering what's wrong. And it's usually spraying in alternating/overlappling directions, followed by "waving" the tip over the cutaway/sides instead of rotating the piece so the cutaway and sides are 90 degrees to the ground.

    Hope that helps - have fun!
     
  17. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    I have some Z-Poxy Finishing on it's way... no guitar yet. Be a few weeks I suspect for that.

    I tried finding sheets for Z-Poxy and found some, but not a lot about info. It said alcohol for cleanup, but nothing about type. The only alcohol info I was able to find said

    "Z-POXY FINISHING RESIN will penetrate into porous wood. Several applications may be required to fill and level the surface. Let each application cure. Sand between coats. To clean up any uncured or unmixed epoxy, use isopropyl alcohol or methanol. Thinning of Z-POXY FINISHING RESIN is possible in smaller ratios. Thinning too much will alter the curing properties. It is best to test the thinned epoxy; let it cure and adjust as needed. Mix Z-POXY FINISHING RESIN in a clean plastic cup or on a non porous surface like flexible plastic. Mix only enough epoxy as needed, Any excess epoxy cannot be saved after it has been mixed. Pot-life and cure-time will vary when the epoxy is thinned."

    Mentions Isopropyl and Methanol for cleanup... no mention of denatured/ethanol at all. Nothing specific mentioned for thinning, just that thinning is possible.

    I guess mix a small batch, thin with Isoproyl, and test on some scrap... few posts about epoxy in general say Isopropyl is fine, but use the 90% and higher stuff, not the common 70%.

    So from what I read and watched online....

    1) Z-poxy, then sand, and repeat (thinned) until smooth and flat.

    2) Most mention a sanding sealer... the link was a vinyl sealer but I saw a lot of mentions of a dewaxed shellac as well... is there a reason to use one over the other? will they both work the same? one easier to work with?

    3) Paint the guitar.... hahaha... I said paint! Ok, so after pores filled, and a sealer applied, sand it smooth with 400-600 grit, then apply the green coloured finish (not paint) to the front.

    4) Finish with nitro.

    Seems straight forward... but I have almost no experience with using multiple finishes. I know they say it's good to learn from mistakes, but I'd rather learn from other's experience because it's cheaper and doesn't ruin hours of work and a guitar. :D

    So, ya... I guess I'm almost good to go... just curious now between vinyl sealer and shellac...
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
  18. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    If you are only going to get one, I would get and use shellac, simply because you can use it for so many applications.
     
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  19. THRobinson

    THRobinson TDPRI Member

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    I read one forum thread somewhere about the shellac... in addition to being dewaxed, that you only want to get the flakes not the premade stuff in the can? Any truth to that? or will the Zinsser SealCoat work... which I believe is a dewaxed shellac.

    When searching I did find this at Lee Valley, for any Canadians looking for denatured alcohol. Also has the Shellac Flakes that says dewaxed.
     
  20. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You might want to do a little bit of reading about types of alcohol, because they tell you EXACTLY what kind to use.

    I don't see how there could be any confusion about it at all. They don't mention denatured because it's the WRONG TYPE. What is unclear about that??????

    And DO NOT test apply materials on the guitar - PRACTICE ON SCRAP. Get the techniques and working qualities of the materials down to a science BEFORE starting on the guitar `- especially with ZPoxy.

    Otherwise you could easily end up with a real mess that is so difficult to fix it's essentially unsalvageable.
     
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