Solarez UV Polyester Gloss Resin

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by wadeeinkauf, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    I have completed 10 builds all finished with nitro. After a lot of trial and error I can get a very good finish with nitrocellulose lacquer and the trans tint dyes. For a lot reasons I have decided try to move away from nitro. I am perfectly happy with the look of the finishes on the current production USA made Fender teles and PRS guitars. I really like the hard durable finishes and those factory finishes are pretty close to the look of nitro. My quest is to find a system (other than nitro) that I can use in my home workshop that will produce a professional finish that is similar in hardness and durability to these factory finishes. For me this rules out all 1K evaporative finishes. I think the choices are something like Solerez or go to the 2K automotive finishes.....

    The videos I have seen with Solarez look promising. I have used three products in my tests. Polyester UV-Cure Grain Sealer, Solarez Polyester Gloss Resin, and Solarez fly-tie UV resin (thick).

    This nitro look is what I am trying to reproduce. The body on top is the nitro. The body on the bottom is Solarez.
    top1.jpg

    The below is what I have experienced with my try at Solerez.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
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  2. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Grain Sealer

    If you have ever used epoxy as a grain filler/sealer the Polyester Sealer works about the same. In the past I have used the 5 minute two part epoxy with good results. I had to heat the epoxy to get it thin enough to spread properly. The Solarez Polyester is thin enough out of the can to easily spread. You must not put on too much. Put a small amount and then spread it with an old credit card. Do not put it on with a brush. Do a small section at a time. Why? Even though this only cures with UV light it will quickly thicken once you start to work it….I don’t know why. Then it is hard to move around and makes a mess. As soon as you have it on the complete guitar body take it out in the sun. In bright sunlight probably in the summer it will cure in 3 minutes they say. Actually here in the winter it takes longer but in 30 minutes it will be completely cured IF the sunlight got to all areas of the surface. If you have sections that did not cure complete, when sanding, it will gum up the paper. If you see that happening give it more sunlight. I use 220 grit sand paper. It sands very easy compared to epoxy. You will have it leveled in just a few minutes ready for the next application. On my very open grained chestnut it takes 4 applications. Easily done in a couple of hours if a bright sunny day. NOTE: the filler product is ONLY UV cured. The Gloss Resin is duel cured….UV and MEKP. As a grain filler and sealer this works GREAT and I will use it even for my nitro finished projects.

    Put on just a bit and spread it with a credit card. I wear rubber gloves. I use my fingers to spread a thin coat of the resin on the sides and curves of the guitar. In the picture below I used trans-tint dyes for outer shading/burst. I did not like the results and later sanded down and tried acrylic paint between the filler and clear coat. More on that later.
    21ss.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  3. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    The Color Coat

    Chris Monck at HighlineGuitars.com does a burst by putting acrylic paints on the raw wood and then sealing it with a coat of dewaxed shellac. Then the Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Grain Sealer goes on then the clear coat of resin. Below is a short video of the guitar finished in this way.




    Shellac Mid Coat

    I have never used shellac before. I mixed my trans-tint dyes in the dewaxed shellac, thinned with alcohol and sprayed my burst on top of the Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Grain Sealer. It looked pretty good. After overnight drying I applied the Solarez Polyester Gloss Resin top coat. When I level sanded the top coat I could see what looked like little pits in the color coat….not sure what caused this. I also had a spot that did not cure completely probably caused by not getting sunlight there. It was cloudy here that day. In my testing I did not add the small about of MEKP which I would recommend. I think 1 percent is recommended with UV cure for this very reason. I did not like the results so sanded everything down and started over. Below is a picture of the finished top coat with the blended dye/shellac mid coat.
    shellac1.jpg

    shellac2.jpg shellac3.jpg
    The finished look was very good except for the pits. I worried it was a compatibility issue. Not sure what caused it.


    Water Based Acrylic Artist Paint Mid Coat

    This was my last test to date. The colors did not blend/feather very well. I am sure I could fix this with a little practice but the bigger problem is even after the top coat the paint seems dull. The body on top is the acrylic mid coat. The bottom is finished in nitro.

    top2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  4. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Solarez fly-tie UV resin (thick)

    x1.jpg
    By the name this is used a lot by fisherman that make their own flys. It is water clear comes out of the tube like thick airplane model glue…it does not run at all. I use it fill the worm holes/nail holes/deep grain not filled completely by the grain filler in my reclaimed wormy chestnut. It is great for this kind of thing. Cures in sunlight rock hard in 3 minutes. The way I use it. I fill the worm holes/nail holes/deep flaws in the raw wood. I put my first application of the UV wood filler/sealer. Then if there are any deep wood grains/flaws remaining I spot fill with the fly-tie resin. Sand smooth and go for the 2nd application of wood filler/sealer. I was using 2 part epoxy for this before. With this UV resin…3 minutes and it done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  5. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Gloss Resin

    The directions say you can put this on by brush or spray it on. Even though this only cures with UV light it will quickly thicken once you start to work it. If you over brush it, it will be very uneven. When you brush or spray it on there will be bubbles that appear. Most of these will sand away as they seem to be near the very top. The top coat sands very easily and you will have it leveled in just a few minutes with 380 grit sand paper.
    37-szd.jpg 38-szd.jpg
    16-szd.jpg 17-szd.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  6. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Gloss Resin 2nd coat



    I did a test and sprayed on a second coat of top coat. I used a cheap Harbor Freight HVLP spray gun set to the max pressure and did a wet coat. There were much fewer bubbles and the coat was much more even. This gives a much better result than brushing it on.


    2a.JPG
    2b.JPG

    The side did not get a wet coat and this is the result....
    2c.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  7. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    My conclusions:

    First, a very big thank you to member Cat MacKinnon who was very helpful to me.

    The Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Grain Sealer and Solarez fly-tie UV resin (thick) are excellent and easy to use.

    The Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Gloss Resin does not flow out very well when brushed on. Waiting 30 or minutes between application and curing did not help that much in my tests. The temperature was a little chilly around 50F. Not sure it that makes a difference. Spraying it on was much better but still had some bubbles. Mostly the bubbles were on the top of the finish and sanded out. There did not seem to be a problem with applying a second coat and I did not see any witness lines between the two coats. I did buff out the finish on a Baldor buffer at 1800 RPM but I think you could get good results with a handheld buffer. It does finish to a very nice high gloss. Not quite as high of a gloss as the nitro finished body I was comparing it to. It is hard to see in the pictures. It is a very fast finish to apply...no waiting for drying, it is economical. You can get professional results.

    For my purposes I think a mid coat using water based polyurethane mixed with the trans-tint dyes would get the look I want without any compatibility problems. The water based polyurethane dries faster that the oil based and may be more stable under the polyester encasement. (Just my guess not based on much insight)

    My issues/questions with Polyester Resin

    1. Long term compatibility with what is under it. What can I put under it.
    2. What is a compatible clear Isolator Sealer. Is one needed with 1K polyurethane color mid coats.

    I am sure these are not hard questions for someone that understands the chemical makeup of these products…But unfortunately that is not me and I could not find a clear answer in my research.

    Hope this helps anyone that will be trying these products.
     
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  8. Rano Bass

    Rano Bass Tele-Holic

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    Thank's for the tips, I have been wanting to use that product as a sealer under nitro and 2k clears.
    I bet you could use water based dyes under the gloss resin but only if you spray it, the brush would remove some color IMO.
     
  9. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    The Polyester UV-Cure Grain Sealer would work as a sealer. Solarez says that the Polyester Gloss Resin cannot be put on very thin or the top will stay "tacky". They have drying agents in the resin that come to the top to dry it. If it is not thick enough this process does not work. If you look at the Simtec site http://www.simteccoatings.com you will see that their "Simtec Clear Sanding Sealer is an easy sanding clear polyester" This is the sealer for their 2K top coats. Look at the section Products Recommended for Exotic Wood (Car Dashes, Guitars, Pianos, Caskets & Furniture).
    Wade
     
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  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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  11. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    So Wade do you think that if the ambient temperature was higher the Solarez would spread and lay down flatter before curing? Going by the literature I've read is should self level without curing as long as there is NO uv present. Did you try with heating the workshop? Does humidity seem to effect it?

    Nice test and tutorial mate!

    DC
     
  12. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Hi Wade........anything further on the UV cure finish?

    DC
     
  13. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    Dave,
    I do think
    Dave, I came to the conclusion that Solarez Polyester UV-Cure Gloss Resin can probably be applied over almost anything that has "cured" or dried completely. Any 2K (catalyst cured) undercoat would be be best...once cured the undercoat is stable. My test even over fully dried (2year old finish) nitro lacquer showed no problems. Long term...I don't know.
     
  14. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've been experimenting with Solarez products for the past few days, having problems getting it to fully cure. Two different black lights, as well as full sun, yet it remains tacky..

    I've just sanded my test piece back to bare wood (mahogany), and will begin the process again (3rd attempt).

    I guess my question is about your experiences with these solar cured resins..

    I've been reading everything I can find, two things that stand out are thickness of coating and wavelength of the UVA.

    Standard blacklights seem to focus around 395nm, while the Solarez products react at 385nm..

    Additionally, (being a hardcore nitro finisher), I just read the thickness of product applied may be critical to drying- in other words, I may be applying it too thin, which could retard curing..

    Have you tried UV flashlights focused on the 385nm? Experienced problems with curing?

    Thanks in advance! ;)
     
  15. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    I had no luck with uv light blubs/grow bulbs at all. I have never had any problems with curing in even cloudy days outside. It does take a lot longer under cloudy conditions...maybe 15 minutes on each side. You do need to turn each side of the item to the sunlight. In bright (midday or early afternoon) sunlight it takes about 5 minutes on each side. I never put on a thick coat. The way I use it is to but a few drops on and then scrape the area with a credit card…then a few drops more until I have the whole area covered. On the side of the guitar body I (with gloves on) dip my finger in the can and then rub my gloved finger on the edges. You will need to work pretty fast as while it will not cure outside of sunlight it will thicken and get tacky. This makes it hard to go back over an area where you put it down without letting it cure first. You really need to sand between applications/cures. It will just be a mess it you put on a coat..cure and the another coat thinking you will thicken up the filler/sealer and then sand.

    If your filler/sealer is not curing in bright sunlight in 7 minutes something is wrong with the chemicals. I would suggest you call Solarez tech support at Phone: (760) 509-4053.

    Please let us know what you find out. I use this on every build so would be very valuable to know if they have a problem with the mix. They make it right there at their California office/building as they need it. It is just a small company.

    Wade
     
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  16. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Does it just look dull or is there some cloudiness - or is that just a photo artifact?

    ????

    Are you using a compressor or a true HVLP turbine?

    If the former, those guns do not usually operate well at high pressure. I'd switch to a conventional gun if you are shooting with a compressor at anything over 25-30psi. The HVLP needle or conventional air cap/needle combination also make a big difference. You have to change the setup or the viscosity - running a heavier-bodied product and thinner product with the same orifice will make one or the other hard to control and give you an inconsistent fan pattern.

    That gun is very inconsistent no matter what material/pressure, though. If you're serious about finishing I strongly suggest investing in a compact fully-triggered HVLP gun/hose/turbine setup. "Fully triggered" means the air is triggered with the material and does not continuously "bleed", like the cheapo $130 Harbor Freight/Rockler unit made by Earlex. With the correct (1mm) needle/air cap set for thinner materials (lacquers, shellacs) and whatever is recommended for each higher-viscosity material you spray at 4-10 psi but with te same material output as high pressure conventional spraying - except the material stays on the surface, with almost no overspray and no "bounce" (aka "high material transfer rate).

    You get much better control (you can almost draw a line if you want) by varying the pressure, there's little masking, almost no cleanup and less than 10% material waste (you lose 50% or more with conventional spray).

    Coatings also flow more smoothly. I haven't needed to "finish sand" a guitar sprayed by HVLP for at least 20 years - about a month after I started using one for my own work. Everything goes straight to the buffer - lacquers just a few hours after the last coat is applied.

    I trained applicators in the use of both for decades before I retired, and considering good compact HVLP kits are now available NEW for less than $500 IMO they're the only logical choice. Among finishers I know, only a few with permanent spray booths are still using conventional rigs (mostly because they're built into the booth).

    But regardless, I suggest avoiding all the Harbor Freight guns - I've checked parts with a micrometer and electronic microscope and they're very inconsistent.

    Also, many of the needles are plain or plated brass - these and the caps wear very quickly, and if you don't remember to pull the trigger when adjusting either you usually groove the needle, which fouls your fan pattern. A quality conventional gun runs $100-200, which gives you some idea of the difference in quality - and quality control.

    One thing that should work is Mohawk grain filler. It can be thinned quite a bit and is both fully transparent when overcoated and tintable with stains, dyes and universal colorants.

    It generally takes a large array of UV bulbs to get consistent curing inside. Taylor uses a UV cure system and a guitar is suspended on a gimbel system, sprayed robotically in a special multi-head booth, and then moved by an overhead belt to an enclosed UV booth where an array hits it with UV light from all directions for about 15-20 seconds. Then a door slides open. the guitar is transported to an operator who removes it and hands it off to the buffers.

    But you can't get a good cure using a single or even several UV bulbs of any kind. DIY UV cure on a guitar requires direct sunlight exposure for proper curing.
     
  17. Antmax

    Antmax Tele-Meister

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    My problem with this product during the hot summer was that it wasn't really runny enough, seemed to thicken up slightly once it was on the guitar and was quite tacky. Maybe it was the 100-110f weather. It was hard to get a thin coating. Had no problem with drying times though. I just left it hanging in garden while I made a cup of tea. By the time I was done the solarez was pretty much dry.

    I ended up sanding it down again and spraying over with lacquer since the tackiness made it tricky to work with. I'll try again sometime. I made sure there was no UV getting in and when I left some on scrap piece of wood in my work area overnight it was still sticky the next day. So I'm pretty sure it wasn't UV in my work area causing it to thicken up.
     
  18. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank you for your insight.
    I had unrelated issues today, so time was very limited.
    I managed one fairly wet coat of sanding sealer, barely brushed it enough to cover my raw mahogany test piece.

    Had better sun today, and this coat cured pretty well within ~10 minutes.

    I level sanded the surface with 320, which was dull, but flat and consistent. Looked promising.

    I then applied a wet coat of the gloss, again as little handling as possible, and let it self level in pitch dark for maybe 20 minutes.

    Brought it outside, and it cured about like the sanding sealer, but was riddled with small bubbles.

    I sanded it to 400 grit, not sure how far I could go before going through that layer. Then ran it on my buffing machine for a bit. At least I was able to sand it this time, but the bubbles are now holes. I don't know if I can do a thin second coat to help fill the pinholes. Will try that tomorrow. 20191024_170750.jpg
     
  19. wadeeinkauf

    wadeeinkauf Tele-Holic

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    That was my experience with the gloss top coat as well. I tried it several times…sanded it down…tried again and then gave up on the gloss top coat… I have seen several youtube videos of people using this on surfboards. Some take it out in the sun for 15 seconds and then back inside for a few minutes and then out a little longer and then back inside for a few minutes then outside for the complete cure on the 3rd time. This may be the way to avoid the bubbles which are caused by the solvent evaporating. For me, the sealer/filler is the best product I have used when I want a clear filler. The top coat is much more trouble than it is worth and on my test case it was not crystal clear….was a bit hazy. Maybe I did not polish it enough…..I moved on and found the Simtec 2K product that Fender uses as a top coat.

    Wade
     
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  20. Rich Rice

    Rich Rice Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've decided to bypass the Solarez products for the current build, it's a can of worms. The sanding coat seems good, but I have great luck with West System epoxy when it's required.. more often than not, I tend to fill with multiple coats of finish anyhow. I just don't have enough time to reinvent the wheel.

    A friend who works in the printing ink business has procured some chemical additives used for UV cure inks, designed to break the surface tension on the resin prior to UV exposure. His contention being the surface tension may be restricting the bubbles from popping/disappearing. I will continue to experiment with this stuff for future projects, but can't delay a commissioned build indefinitely- and can't risk using this product until I can get it under control. Looks like spar urethane will have to suffice on this particular build.

    I am intrigued by the Simtec product you mentioned, and haven't yet tried spraying resin.. really hesitant to do so in my spray booth, due to the nature of the beast... no sun shines in there, I'm afraid the overspray will haunt me ever after..

    In any case, I really appreciate your opinions and efforts to help me with this product. The Gloss seems like more hassle for lesser quality so far.
     
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