Most folks I know that like DIY projects have a basic 6 or 8" bench grinder. That's a buffer if you simply install inexpensive cloth wheels on it. And bench-mount buffers (which in reverse of the above, can also be used as grinders with the right wheels) run $40-60 or so at Harbor Freight. Orbital "polishers" cost about the same and don't do the job well; buffing-by-hand requires no power equipment but gives the worst results. Most DIY work requires appropriate tools. If you are only going to finish ONE guitar then you make do - but if you're going to do a few a tear complaining about the cost of equipment doesn't get you anywhere at all. Lacquer finishing (which is NOT "painting"), painting walls, fixing a gate, installing a new door lock, fixing a leaky drain - they all require specific tools. If you think lacquer and associated tools are expensive, let me ask this - who is doing the setup and electronics work on the assembled guitars? A basic soldering station costs as much or more than a grinder or buffer; a passable multimeter is at least $35-50; other basic, required tools are a straightedge, a fret rocker, a leveling file, several crowning files (for different size frets at $50-$100) a fret end file, and at least 5-6 nut files (at $15-30 each) just to get by, nut drivers etc. Not going to buy those either? Then you can pay a tech do the setup at $75-150 depending on the work required - but you still had to solder and assemble it. Proper tools are just a necessary evil. Everything in the preceding is part of the job whether you're using aerosols or spray equipment. (yes, including the nozzle, which has to be good quality and the right size for the material being used). Differences in formulas- whether aerosol or bulk lacquer - are a critical reason you PRACTICE - especially if you're using any product in the system for the first time. Just starting out with unfamiliar products on the guitar is what gets expensive, as you inevitable encounter problems. You can switch nozzles on most aerosols. But if the nozzles suck and you can't change to better ones, why would you use that product? If it's the ONLY product in the color you want you just may be out of luck, or have one of the rare situations where wet sanding is ALWAYS required because of poor product quality. But bad results on the guitar should NOT be due to poor application technique. That is why the vast majority of experienced applicators strongly recommend practicing on scrap. Common sense also says to practice during the same conditions you'll do the finishing under - acceptable conditions. You do not practice when the humidity is 80% or the temperature 38 degrees F. And you don't finish under those conditions either. If the conditions are not right you don't do the work. And there are people who live in locations where "acceptable " environmental windows are either so short or nonexistent (and they can't work inside) that they simply CAN'T do lacquer finishing without professional spray equipment, specialized additives, and training in using them. Wanting to do it yourself doesn't mean you can always use aerosol products. There are those who live in locations where economical DIY work just isn't in the cards. NOT "polishing" - it's "buffing". "Buffing" is what you do to a fresh finish to bring out the gloss, remove slight orange peel, and remove any contaminants. "Polishing" is what you do to a guitar you've had a while to maintain it - and it's best to avoid any polish that contains silicones or waxes, which actually attract dirt. "Polish" with products that leave nothing on the surface - Stewmac's "Preservation", extremely fine, pure clay - or a dry, soft, cotton cloth. You don't do lacquer finishing when it's raining! And consistency in practice and real application conditions were covered above. Most major cities in the US have commercial contractor oriented paint stores that carry RPM products (Rust-Oluem, Watco, Behlens - and Mohawk.) If they can order Mohawk you can get a full assortment of clears, sanding sealer, plus dozens of opaque colors and semi-transparent toners plus touch up pens, paste wood filler, lacquer stains etc. Many lacquers you can get on Amazon - several with free shipping if you have Prime. An example - Rust-Oleum's clear gloss costs under $5/can as pof September 2020, and works as well as any other conventional aerosol lacquer (I use it myself on small jobs and repairs). Among the others listed you can find inexpensive clears, primers, and a few basic colors. If you live in a location where the products can't be shipped in that means they're not legal to use due to air quality regulations. That's also a problem with Tru Oil's penetrating stain - it's not legal here in the L.A. area, for example. And if it's not legal you should not be using it! Why would you use a product in testing that you're NOT going to use to finish the guitar? It makes as much sense as saying "I used garage door paint to practice, so I'm ready for lacquer work!" You also posted a specific example of what NOT to do, as Deft is a "lacquer enamel" - a blend of nitrocellulose lacquer and oil based paint. Colortone is a similar product line. They are NOT lacquers and can take hours - even days - to dry. They also yellow more quickly and discolor, especially if exposed to ammoniated cleaners (like Windex). They're two product lines unlike 90% of the products on the market. Do research on products and make sure you understand them BEFORE buying them! Neither would I - and inferring that I suggested that is rude. And I didn't suggest this EITHER - this had been a respectful discussion but with these last two quotes you're way out of line. Don't put words in my mouth. The reasons for talking about practice AFTER the fact: 1. For future reference. It's to help the OP and others in FUTURE projects. 2. As general information, as these threads can be found via Google - and often "searchers" don't read a whole thread, just a post or two. So putting things in complete context and posting generally recommended standard procedures helps keep them out of trouble.