Satin refinish on Squier poly body

What should I do?

  • 1) Stick with the horse what brung ya. Finish the job with the Helmsman Spar Urethane

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2) You're hosed, sand/strip and start over with different product, even if it risks sanding through.

    Votes: 1 100.0%

  • Total voters
    1

DrFacemelt

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Hello, long time lurker, first time poster.

I think I may have screwed up, but I am curious to hear your input. I have a gloss Shell pink Squier Jazzmaster body that I'm trying to refin to a Satin shell pink. The finish on there is the standard fender super hard poly finish, though not nearly as thick as my 90's Shoreline Gold American Strat. I tried wet-sanding the sheen off with some Rothko and Frost scouring pads as I've seen suggested around the web, and wasn't really thrilled (see pics below), though it was definitely better.

Then I was in Lowe's today and decided to look for a spraycan clearcoat satin. After looking through the selections, I bought the Helmsman Spar Urethane Clear Satin because I ignorantly thought it was just a more waterproof, yellowing resistant, stronger form of polyurethane (and polyurethane should be compatible with polyurethane). At this point I should point out that I do not have a lot of spraying experience and no guitar finishing experience.

I gave it a spray and was immediately confronted with the limitations of my spraying technique. The more experienced people reading this are probably already having their skin crawl, but I had a very thick yellow buildup on the edges when I put on too thick a coat. I then tried to wipe the excess off with a rag dipped in mineral spirits as the can says to do with oversprayed drips, which led to a bunch of rag fibers stuck to the paint. I tried to buff those off which led to a gummy mess. So stopped, I let it all dry longer, did a quick wet sand with 600 grit and 1500 grit to take the fibers and yellow areas down to the original poly, and this time did a much better spray which actually turned out pretty good, except for a few witness lines (which I learned about reading this forum prior to writing this) in the body contours. I was generally pleased with the resulting satin finish, though I will definitely need to hit another coat on the areas I sanded out and resprayed.

Tonight I'm on the web and reading about Helmsman Spar Urethane, and it seems the consensus is that it never really gets hard enough to make a proper guitar finish. But I now have a rock hard undercoat in the color I like and 1.5 topcoats with a satin that I'm reasonably happy with. So would I be better off 1) waiting until the spar urethane is hardened for 48 hours, lightly sand the witness lines, do another even coat, and let it be what it is for however long the finish lasts or 2) remove the spar urethane with either sanding and/or chemical means (is there a stripper for spar urethane that won't damage the factory polyurethane underneath) and start over with another satin clear coat, and if so what (oil-based poly, water-based poly, nitro lacquer)? I do not own a spray gun, but can try cans again, wipe-on or painted finishes. I'm also a little concerned that on the body edges I may be getting close to sanding through the pink to the primer layers, and I'm not really going for a relic job.
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dogmeat

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I'd let it cure out and do the touchup sanding. if its hard enough, and depending if it turns out OK, I'd leave it. add another coat if needed.

as for stripping paint.... the factory poly paints are way tough. stripper won't touch them. but to be sure, I would test in the trem pocket to see what happens. my guess is the Spar poly comes off and not the original
 

stratisfied

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That Polyurethane you applied will wipe off cleanly with lacquer thinner without affecting the original finish. The original finish is catalyzed and is impervious to lacquer thinner.

Do not use Satin or Matte Lacquer or Deft if considering a new finish. It will gloss up from handling and wind up somewhere between gloss and semi-gloss wherever your frequently touch the body. Not a good look.

If spraying is not your forte, try the Minwax Wipe-on Poly in satin. It's nearly impossible to screw up.
 

Si G X

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It's a bit late now but I think you could have got a nice satin finish with a little more care and time. it's a long process on a poly finish but 100% do-able.

The pictures look like you started the process but didn't finish, what grits did you go through and where did you finish? You only need very fine pads up to very very very fine pads to knock the shine off and get it to matt, then a very light polish to get it to a nice satin.
 

DrFacemelt

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It's a bit late now but I think you could have got a nice satin finish with a little more care and time. it's a long process on a poly finish but 100% do-able.

The pictures look like you started the process but didn't finish, what grits did you go through and where did you finish? You only need very fine pads up to very very very fine pads to knock the shine off and get it to matt, then a very light polish to get it to a nice satin.
I started with 600, then went down to about 8000. Probably didn’t hit it hard enough in the beginning, but didn’t want to sand through the color layer.

It was dried pretty hard this morning when I got home and so I did a thorough wet sand with 320 today and hit it again with two coats of spray, it’s actually starting to look pretty passable. The urethane definitely has a yellow tint, but I don’t really mind if it’s on there evenly.
 

NoTeleBob

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"Spar" varnish was traditionally designed to never completely harden. It was used in marine environments where that's better.

I don't know about the product you used. We're a lot of generations from Varnish. I'd look up what the manufacturer says about the product or contact them. See if it ever fully hardens.
 

Sea Devil

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I'm shocked to find -- based on reading, not real-life experimentation -- that most lacquer thinners do indeed affect oil-based finishes, thanks to the large number of ingredients. Acetone certainly doesn't. I've been painting in oils since I was twelve, and working with lacquer for almost twenty years, and this knowledge messes with my world view in a major way.

It also helps to explain some of the results I've gotten using supposedly incompatible ingredients mixed together.
 

stratisfied

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I'm shocked to find -- based on reading, not real-life experimentation -- that most lacquer thinners do indeed affect oil-based finishes, thanks to the large number of ingredients. Acetone certainly doesn't. I've been painting in oils since I was twelve, and working with lacquer for almost twenty years, and this knowledge messes with my world view in a major way.

It also helps to explain some of the results I've gotten using supposedly incompatible ingredients mixed together.

Yeah, it's not like the catalyzed polyurethane or polyester used in commercial finishing of guitar bodies. It's soft like varnish.
 

Sea Devil

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Btw, it was too late when the OP started this thread, but I would have recommended Mohawk Ultra-Flow Ultra Bond Satin for this application. It's a lacquer specifically formulated for covering finishes that don't normally accept lacquer, and it dries incredibly fast -- 17 minutes to handle according to data sheet.

I just used it in conjunction with wipe-on poly, artists' oils, alkyd medium, cobalt driers, oil-based wood filler, and alcohol-based graining markers to repair a damaged fretboard. The unlikely combo of materials yielded some very, very convincing fake wood with a three-dimensional visual texture. (The damage was the result of some momentary inattention when dressing some frets with a triangular file that had only one safe edge -- oops, that wasn't it! It took about five days to fix thirty seconds of stupidity.)

Still a good idea if the current approach ends up falling short.
 
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stratisfied

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Scuuff it smooth with a green scotchbrite pad followed by 5-minute wipe down with satin MinWax Wipe-on poly will set it right.
 

DrFacemelt

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Ugh, I tried sanding down and using the wipe on satin poly and it’s been a total boondoggle. I bought some supposedly lint free painters cloths from Lowes and they shed like a husky in spring, then I’ve tried cutting up and old t-shirt, which was better but still left enough nibs to muck up each new coat I try to put on. What do you use for you wipe on poly finishes?
 

Mr. Neutron

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What do you use for you wipe on poly finishes?
I have had my best luck by giving it the finger. ;) Actually, one covered with a latex glove.......... This works especially well for Tru-Oil. Like you, I had bad luck with some of the Home Depot rags, blue paper shop towels, and such.

If it were me, I'd save the t-thirt and rags for drying off my hand/finger and use a clean glove covered finger. Put a few small drops of your wipe on poly spread out over a small area on your guitar (about half of a side or less), and use a wiping motion with your covered finger, going with the grain. Don't overwork the poly. Get it spread out a bit, and let it level itself out, then dry. Work in small sections, with slight bits of overlap.

I used to put a coat or two on, then sand with 400 grit. Clean it up (air, towel, tack cloth) and put on another coat. My last coat worked out best if I thinned a tiny bit with mineral spirits.

Peel your glove(s) off after use, then lay them somewhere like on a concrete floor to dry for a day or so. Leaving wet/uncured poly on vinyl or latex gloves in, say, a garbage can can allow the glove/chemical combo heat up and smolder/ignite/combust. Had it happen (smoldering) once where I used to work. Luckily it was in a metal 55 gal. drum, and nothing around it caught fire.

Hope this helps!

Jimmie
 

stratisfied

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Ugh, I tried sanding down and using the wipe on satin poly and it’s been a total boondoggle. I bought some supposedly lint free painters cloths from Lowes and they shed like a husky in spring, then I’ve tried cutting up and old t-shirt, which was better but still left enough nibs to muck up each new coat I try to put on. What do you use for you wipe on poly finishes?

Then you haven't sanded properly. I use kitchen paper towel. No lint. See the demo below.

 




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