Stew mac vs Reranch clear lacquer - or ?

PapaWheelie

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Up to now I've been using Reranch colors and clears and like the results but it seems however that their prices and shipping are going up and up. Please, I understand the cost of business and have no problem with guys charging what they feel they should.
I need some clear coat and compared prices and see that Stewmac is actually cheaper for 3 or more cans. Does anyone have experience with the two to give me a comparison in quality.
Or are there any other vendors you would recommend that would compare favorably with Reranch.

Thanks
 

BorderRadio

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I haven't used SM's clear, but I have used Watco and Minwax over RR clear with no problems. Unless you're in the StewMac shipping club, I'd consider those options first. I like MW for speeding up coats, and I use Watco with expectations of yellowing.
 

BorderRadio

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Both polished up with ease, using various techniques found on this site and elsewhere. I will say its not fair for me to compare, as I ran out of RR clear so I never buffed up the RR to date. So far I've been using the low cost common aerosols: MW, Watco, and Deft. Since Deft has UV inhibitors/curing issues (never had an issue with curing) and Watco is now scarce (no longer at Lowes), I'm pretty much using MW gloss (black and red label).
 

Flakey

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For clears I've used all the above. Watcos the most affordable, love Minwax's spray nozzle but if you're ordering on line use what the pros (Gibson, Fender) use. Behlen's which I understand is the retail name for Mohawks line.

You can get it from Woodcarfter's on line store.

https://www.woodcraft.com/search?q=lacquers&button=search

They have a bunch of toning lacquers as well but I mix my own tints.

Solid and pigmented lacquers I'll use Duplicolor rattle cans or if I need an exact match I use Reranch cans.
 

PapaWheelie

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For clears I've used all the above. Watcos the most affordable, love Minwax's spray nozzle but if you're ordering on line use what the pros (Gibson, Fender) use. Behlen's which I understand is the retail name for Mohawks line.

I've used Behlen's and, although the eventual results were good, it seemed thinner to me and took more coats than Reranch. It also had very strong fumes that took a long time to dissipate. Not said to knock or be critical, just personal observations.

About the Deft, Minwax and other mentioned above - how do they polish up? Do they harden and polish well. I have been curing my stuff for at least a month before polishing and am able to get a glass smooth finish. Can I do that with the others mentioned?
 

Flakey

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I've used Behlen's and, although the eventual results were good, it seemed thinner to me and took more coats than Reranch. It also had very strong fumes that took a long time to dissipate. Not said to knock or be critical, just personal observations.

About the Deft, Minwax and other mentioned above - how do they polish up? Do they harden and polish well. I have been curing my stuff for at least a month before polishing and am able to get a glass smooth finish. Can I do that with the others mentioned?

I don't like Deft takes to long to harden. Behlen's cures the hardest therefore it can take the speed of a polisher. I'm surprised Behlen's took so long for you. Did you use the string instrument lacquer?

Minwax has been know to wrinkle color coats as of late. I was my preferred choice until I started to use Behlen's string instrument lacquer.

So in order of hardness and resistance to burn through:

Behlens,
Minwax
Watcos
Deft (really just don't use the stuff)
 

Cat MacKinnon

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Most people have moved away from Deft over the past several years. It seems like they changed their formula a few years back and now most people have nothing but problems with it.

I'll also second Mohawk, which can be had for $8 a can. Klingspor's Woodworking Shop carries most Mohawk aerosols, and their shipping is $7.99 flat rate.
 

Kennedycaster

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Hands down, the best..........

20170227_163201_zpsxwj84q5p.jpg


Bob
 

PapaWheelie

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Thanks for all the tips.
Just to clarify though, I had no problem with Behlens or it's drying time. I give every brand at least a month to dry. My basement is cool and I don't want to rush things. Old age has given me patience along with the usual aches and pains.
I will try searching out Klingspor's - the price seems fair.
 

The Ballzz

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Hands down, the best..........

20170227_163201_zpsxwj84q5p.jpg


Bob

Bob,

While that product is one of the most preferred that I've seen mentioned and what I've used myself, a great builder over at the My Les Paul forum now touts Mohawk's "Piano Lacquer", after having used the "Classic Instrument" for years. Freddy G said:

"I used the Mohawk Classic Instrument Lacquer for years. It is great. A fine lacquer that will check through cold cycling.

I gave the "Piano" lacquer a try after they reformulated it and have never looked back. It has a higher solids content and therefore I can do a complete finish with fewer coats and also a shorter wait time before buffing."

Below is a link to one of his fantastic build threads. I'm not sure, but you may need to become a member and logged in to actually view the pics? It'd be worth the bother, as his work is beyond stellar! Either way, Mohawk products (and even under the "Behlen's" name) are definitely the schizzle!

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/showthread.php?t=380190

Just Sharin'
Gene
 
Last edited:

TRexF16

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How does the Watco and Minwax polish up?
Like this.
Red Guitar Celebration.jpg

This is my first guitar and I used rattlecans for color and clear. If that's your plan too either of those will be fine. This was Minwax, IIRC. My avatar "self portrait" is my reflection in this same body the same night I took this picture with the wine my wife gave me to celebrate its completion.

I now spray from a compressor rig and was using the Behlens until my supplier got stupid expensive - they wanted nearly $80 for a gallon. I then found Watco clear from Home Depot (mail order- delivered free to my door) for less than $50 for a pack of two gallons. It seems to do fine and the yellowing seems about like the Behlens Stringed Instrument lacquer I had been using. Watco may even flow out better but I cant say for sure because I started adding a little retarder about the same time I started using the Watco.

Good luck,
Rex
 

Kennedycaster

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Bob,

While that product is one of the most preferred that I've seen mentioned and what I've used myself, a great builder over at the My Les Paul forum now touts Mohawk's "Piano Lacquer", after having used the "Classic Instrument" for years. Freddy G said:

"I used the Mohawk Classic Instrument Lacquer for years. It is great. A fine lacquer that will check through cold cycling.

I gave the "Piano" lacquer a try after they reformulated it and have never looked back. It has a higher solids content and therefore I can do a complete finish with fewer coats and also a shorter wait time before buffing."

Below is a link to one of his fantastic build threads. I'm not sure, but you may need to become a member and logged in to actually view the pics? It'd be worth the bother, as his work is beyond stellar! Either way, Mohawk products (and even under the "Behlen's" name) are definitely the schizzle!

http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/showthread.php?t=380190

Just Sharin'
Gene

Mohawk sent me some piano lacquer to try & my results were good. For me, it took a little longer to dry. With the classic instrument lacquer, I can wetsand & buff the next day. I had to wait a few days to polish the piano lacquer. Not a big deal & that might have to do with the additives I use. I also found that the piano lacquer is a little more delicate. I didn't do any cracking/checking tests. I spray through my hvlp turbine & add flash retarder & thinner so they both flow out super smooth. I did not have to use more coats of the classic instr. lacquer. The same amount of each provided great results. They are both great products & wouldn't hesitate to use either.

Bob
 

Cat MacKinnon

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I don't like Deft takes to long to harden. Behlen's cures the hardest therefore it can take the speed of a polisher. I'm surprised Behlen's took so long for you. Did you use the string instrument lacquer?

Minwax has been know to wrinkle color coats as of late. I was my preferred choice until I started to use Behlen's string instrument lacquer.

So in order of hardness and resistance to burn through:

Behlens,
Minwax
Watcos
Deft (really just don't use the stuff)

I freakin' knew it!!! A couple months back I was looking up lacquer MSDSs, and I'd noticed that Minwax's had been recently updated. I also noticed that nitrocellulose was now suspiciously absent from the ingredients list (along with butyl cellosolve, IIRC.) It struck me as a little odd, because as far as I know nitrocellulose and butyl cellosolve have to be listed on an MSDS due to their flammability/toxicity. I even sent an email to Minwax asking if they changed from nitro to an acrylic lacquer, but they swore up and down that it was the same nitro formula; interestingly they avoided answering why they'd bothered to change the MSDS at all if that was the case. I was still a little suspicious, and I even started a thread about it (I think over in Finely Finished) just to point out what I'd noticed.

Like this.
View attachment 413197
This is my first guitar and I used rattlecans for color and clear. If that's your plan too either of those will be fine. This was Minwax, IIRC. My avatar "self portrait" is my reflection in this same body the same night I took this picture with the wine my wife gave me to celebrate its completion.

I now spray from a compressor rig and was using the Behlens until my supplier got stupid expensive - they wanted nearly $80 for a gallon. I then found Watco clear from Home Depot (mail order- delivered free to my door) for less than $50 for a pack of two gallons. It seems to do fine and the yellowing seems about like the Behlens Stringed Instrument lacquer I had been using. Watco may even flow out better but I cant say for sure because I started adding a little retarder about the same time I started using the Watco.

Good luck,
Rex

That's lovely! Is it a candy apple or just metallic red? Either way it's gorgeous! Also, I think we need to see a front pic ;).

Mohawk sent me some piano lacquer to try & my results were good. For me, it took a little longer to dry. With the classic instrument lacquer, I can wetsand & buff the next day. I had to wait a few days to polish the piano lacquer. Not a big deal & that might have to do with the additives I use. I also found that the piano lacquer is a little more delicate. I didn't do any cracking/checking tests. I spray through my hvlp turbine & add flash retarder & thinner so they both flow out super smooth. I did not have to use more coats of the classic instr. lacquer. The same amount of each provided great results. They are both great products & wouldn't hesitate to use either.

Bob

As far as I know the only real difference between the Piano and Classic Stringed Instrument lacquers is that the Piano just has a higher solids content. Pianos are often finished on-site because it's easier than moving them, so this allows the job to be done a little faster. I'm certainly no Mohawk expert though, so take that for what it's worth.
 

The Ballzz

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Mohawk sent me some piano lacquer to try & my results were good. For me, it took a little longer to dry. With the classic instrument lacquer, I can wetsand & buff the next day. I had to wait a few days to polish the piano lacquer. Not a big deal & that might have to do with the additives I use. I also found that the piano lacquer is a little more delicate. I didn't do any cracking/checking tests. I spray through my hvlp turbine & add flash retarder & thinner so they both flow out super smooth. I did not have to use more coats of the classic instr. lacquer. The same amount of each provided great results. They are both great products & wouldn't hesitate to use either.

Bob

When you say "the piano lacquer is a little more delicate" are you referring to it's "durability properties" or is it more "finicky" in the application, curing, sanding and polishing process? I've not yet tried the piano lacquer, but am contemplating it for my next project.

On a side note, given your location having a very similar climate to mine in Las Vegas, I may want to pick your brain in the future for some tips about improving my process!

Thanks,
Gene
 

Kennedycaster

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When you say "the piano lacquer is a little more delicate" are you referring to it's "durability properties" or is it more "finicky" in the application, curing, sanding and polishing process? I've not yet tried the piano lacquer, but am contemplating it for my next project.

On a side note, given your location having a very similar climate to mine in Las Vegas, I may want to pick your brain in the future for some tips about improving my process!

Thanks,
Gene
I mean the finished product is more delicate, as in, less durable. Mars & scratches easily, but is able to be re-buffed easily. They tell me it has wax in it. That's what the solids are, I guess. If a Fender-type nitrocellulose finish wasn't such a huge hang up in the guitar world, I'd use pre-catalyzed lacquer for everything. It is, in fact, nitrocellulose lacquer, but it contains acids as a catalyst to improve durability. Mohawk's Dura-Coat pre-catalyzed lacquer sprays, flows out & polishes just as well as their other lacquers, but in my experience, when you mention "pre-catalyzed lacquer" to the average Fender enthusiast, they turn their nose up at you. So that's why I use the classic instrument lacquer on guitars & pre-catalyzed on furniture.

Bob
 

PapaWheelie

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The more I read about nitro here and elsewhere on line, the more I feel I'm going down the proverbial rabbit hole.
I looked at the Klingspor site but didn't see anything but vinyl sealer.
I was going for Minwax but Cat's above post mentioning the possibility that it's no longer nitro ended that.
Deft seems to have mixed reviews.
I can't find Watco around here but will keep looking
The closest Mohawk dealer is 75 miles away in a small rural town which make me doubt they carry instrument lacquer [but you never know]. So I guess if I want to use Mohawk I need to buy Behlen's stringed instrument lacquer from the Woodcraft near me.
I just ordered some to let me finish a Strat and some necks I have underway.

Who's had success with waterborne finishes?
 




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