Treating Lacquer Finishes

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Texicaster, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Afflicted

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    ¡Bueno!

    While I let my electric guitars "relic" I like my acoustics to stay show room shiny.

    What sort of treatment if any can I use on nitro to preserve it as it were?

    Do products like Dr. Ducks Axe Wax/Oil help? Martin recommends it as a safe treatment but I never see any products recommended to keep nitro finishes from checking etc.

    I use Virtuoso cleaners and polish.



    Thanks!
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    First, are you sure it is lacquer? Most modern acoustics have some sort of modern finish on them, only a few diehards still use true lacquer. If its a modern finish it is pretty much impervious to whatever you want to put on it and it probably won't age the same way lacquer does. If its true lacquer (most of my guitars are) then I don't put anything on it. I wipe the instrument down occassionally with a damp rag, if it has anything that won't come off with water I might use a tiny bit of naphtha to clean it. Otherwise its says in its case where it belongs.

    The other reason I don't use anything on my guitars is that some day they might require a repair. I do repairs and if there is any sort of wax/oil/lemon oil/silicon or anything else on the finish it makes finish repairs almost impossible. If someone brings a guitar to me for repairs I always warn them of this.

    These guitars date from the 1970's so they are 50 years old. They are all nitrocellulose lacquer. While I can't say they have never had a polishing product put on them it has been darn rare..

    IMG_0184.JPG
     
  3. Danb541

    Danb541 Tele-Meister

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    That car 50 years old too?
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    45. Same year as the D-18
     
  5. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks!

    Those are sweet!


    It's a Collings D1A, definitely as good a nitrocellulose you can get for production!

    Here's mine!

    collingsd1a.jpg
     
  6. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Oh yeah! Just treat it well, take it out and play with it, then put it carefully away. It will get the lovely little age checks and probably will turn even more amber, thats just part of lacquer.

    Btw - that is some lovely silk in the spruce
     
  7. Texicaster

    Texicaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Thanks!

    yea that "bear claw" silk flashes from every angle!

    I just noticed Collings doesn't make the D1A any more! The A meaning Adirondack spruce. It's now an upgrade option as they've moved towards more traditional labor intensive manufacturing processes and "torrefied" woods standard it seems.

    Dang if they aren't asking over $6000 now too! That's with Sitka!
     
  8. Jerry J

    Jerry J Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice Guitar collection AND the 2002! BMW made some VERY fine cars.
     
  9. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    Its almost impossible to get decent Adi any more, mostly all cut down years ago. I did score some a couple of years ago that went into my Stella-clone but lately I've been building out of Lutz spruce which is a hybrid of Engleman and Sitka - it seems to have similar properties to Adirondack. And the whole idea of torrefying the wood of course is to try to make it act like it was 70 or 80 years old.

    I really don't think of bear claw figure like yours in Adi, its much more common in Sitka. Really nice.
     
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Collings does such a nice shaded top...
     
  11. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    ALL of those, plus all waxes, silcone polishes etc build up and attract dirt - which scratches the finish as you keep polishing over time! Some waxes can also cause yellowing. All they do from a "polishing" standpoint is leave a fake shine on the surface.

    I only use three products in restoration and maintenance of lacquers unless there's a really unusual situation:

    1. Naphtha - it is thec leanest, safest solvent and will remove oils, grease, sticker gunk (if any) and petroleum-based grime.

    2. Stewmac's Preservation Polish. Many of their products I find overpriced and/or gimmicks, but this is the ONLY polish I use - it removes the waxes and silicones and leaves *nothing*. It simply cleans the lacquer and lightly buffs it wen used with a clean, soft cotton cloth.

    3. Clean, dry, soft cotton cloths. No "guitar polishing cloths". not treated materials - just plain, dry, SOFT cotton.. That's what I use for day-to-day cleaning, and Stewmac or fingerprints and other light deposits.

    There may be other "clean" polishes like Stewmac's - I just haven't found any yet. But most vintage collectors and instrument techs will agree that once all the junk is removed from the surface a clean cotton cloth is all you need unless you ned to remove grease, spills etc.
     
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