solid color without primer

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by brandonwhite, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. brandonwhite

    brandonwhite Tele-Meister

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    In fifteen years, when this guitar’s finish starts to wear through, i don’t want to see that stark white layer of primer under the color coat.
    It seems to me that blondes, sunbursts, and naturals do fine without primer.
    Can I spray a solid color nitro with no primer and still get proper adhesion?
     
  2. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Primer is for metal, sealer is for wood.

    Most sealer is clear. Vinyl (nitro), or shellac are popular choices.

    White (vinyl) sealer is used not for any different sealing characteristics, but to add the correct under-shade, to pop your solid color. Fender pastels wouldn't look right without a white underlayer.

    You can spray any color nitro on bare wood, and it adheres fine. But you might not like the way it looks.

    There's more to it as well. Grain filling ash, for instance. Using a sealer as a barrier coat between wood and filler, wood and color, or filler and color.

    I recommend reading about surface prep, building a finish to get a level result, order of operations, materials, etc. Bob Flexner's finishing book is excellent. (not guitar oriented, but a lot on nitro lacquer, and very complete). This guitar-oriented Re-Ranch page will give some highlights.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  3. brandonwhite

    brandonwhite Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for that thorough reply. Much appreciated. Since I’m painting this thing a light tan color (as opposed to shell pink, surf green, etc.), I’m guessing I don’t need a white under-layer to make it “pop”.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I spray tinted nitro all the time over bare wood - usually I'm trying to see the grain thru the finish, however it could be completely opaque. However I first spray a couple of coats of vinyl sealer of the same brand as the lacquer. A couple of times when I skipped the sealer I had some adhesion issues.
     
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  5. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's

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    You can get the vinyl sealer in clear. I’d listen to the smart people and spray that first. One rattle can would be more than enough.

    Then spray your nitro. Don’t forget to have fun:)
     
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  6. brandonwhite

    brandonwhite Tele-Meister

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    I’m not familiar with vinyl sealer. I’ll have to look into that. Thanks, guys!
     
  7. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

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    Primer can be tinted just like any other coating. Primers and sealers are easier sanding than finish coats but with wood you can use your top coat material as a primer it's just harder to work with.
     
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  8. brandonwhite

    brandonwhite Tele-Meister

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    Is it clear-coat nitro harder to work with than sealers/primers because it’s thinner? Because it’s harder? Because it dries slower?
    All/some/none of the above?
     
  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Shellac and lacquer will clog sandpaper almost instantly, and the heat melts the 'dust' into these little globs, in a process called 'corning'. The corns will scratch the finish.

    Sanding sealer has an additive that makes it easy to sand.
     
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  10. brandonwhite

    brandonwhite Tele-Meister

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    Beautiful. Thank you guys for your help.
     
  11. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

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    Top coat materials don't sand as easily, they don't level as well. Sealers and primers are made specifically to build a level surface to work from. unless you are working with rattle cans the amount of thinning is up to the painter.

    Most good car painters will tell you plenty of primer and just the right amount of paint.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  12. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Here's another benefit of a sealer: the bare wood will absorb the first few coats of finish unevenly. A sealer helps with that because it gives you a good consistent base to work with. The sealer might get absorbed unevenly because wood is inconsistent in density and grain or pores, and the wood might get fuzzy or the grain will raise in some spots and not others. Sanding back the sanding-sealer and putting on another coat will fix that, leaving a nice smooth and evenly sealed surface without any mysteries.

    Then any kind of color, especially translucent or semi-opaque colors, will be more even and controllable. "Vinyl" sealer is one type of sanding sealer, often part of a system or product line of nitrocellulose finishes from a given brand name. Nothing magic about it, it's not as if it's an entirely different kind of material.
     
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