Varnishing a Blank body so it's clear?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by Declan012, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. Declan012

    Declan012 TDPRI Member

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    So i'm going to make my own guitar, and i want the finish to be clear, rather than a colour. So i can see the maple topping on the mahogany body :)

    I can't seem to find instructions on how to do it though?

    Do i need to put a few primer coats on and lacquer finish? Or can i just go straight on with varnish? What brands are good for what ill need?

    Also, what size sanding paper do i need for each stage?

    Actually, can someone just give me good instructions on how to get a clear finish from a body blank....kinda speshul i am :rolleyes:
     
  2. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Is this the kind of thing you're looking for? This one is Tru-Oil on pine:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

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    There's more than one way to skin a cat....

    Have a look around somewhere like:

    http://shop.rothkoandfrost.co.uk/wo...cquers-paints-dyes-wax-oil-polish-s/18102.htm

    And see what type of finish appeals to you; there's also lots of info on that site as well as products:http://shop.rothkoandfrost.co.uk/kb_results.asp?cat=7

    No affiliation, just the place I always use for my nitro products, and have always found them to be super helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.

    Clear poly or Tru Oil, as above, are popular choices too. It's not just about how to get a clear finish, it's about how durable you want the finish, what type of finish you are comfortable applying, whether you want high gloss, satin, etc, how much time and work you want to put into it, and so on.....once you've decided all of those things, then you can work out (or find out) what methodology (including sanding) to follow.
     
  4. Declan012

    Declan012 TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, that kind of thing in the image, so i know i'll need to lacquer, but will i need a primer too?
     
  5. macaroonie

    macaroonie Friend of Leo's

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    You will need to prep the wood by sanding to 320 grit , working up in stages from 120. Once the wood is nice and smooth you should use sanding sealer to seal the wood and fill the pores.
    Some folks have used CA glue for this part of the process , with great success.
    Both of the above will prob need at least a couple of coats , sanding back in between.
    Once you have that done you can pick you coating , Tru Oil is easy to apply but takes several coats to get a finish.
    Rattle cans for Nitro Cellulose , about 14 quid
    You can also get cans of LoVOC water based leacquers.

    Tru oil is probably the easiest of all as spraying cans can take a bit of getting the knack and can go wrong easily ( runs )

    Do some reading here , the build challenge archives are a fantastic resource.
     
  6. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    sanded smooth with a coat or two of shellac and a few coats of Danish Oil...

    and a lot of elbow grease...:lol:

    great on necks as well... bare wood or tinted...
     

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  7. barbrainy

    barbrainy RIP

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    The makers of tru oil, birchwood Casey also make a filler/sealer.

    Both that, and tru oil, can easily be found for about 8 quid each on Ebay. One of each is enough for several bodies and necks....depending on how many coats you apply. Which depends partly on how glossy you want your end result to be....
     
  8. Luthier Atlanta

    Luthier Atlanta Tele-Afflicted

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    Use Tru_oil, won't be dissatisfied...
     

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  9. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you want to do the nitro clear...

    Sand body 220-320 (I like no more than 220 to start.
    2 coats sealer (vinyl or Sealcoat shellac) Belen's vinyl sealer / Zinnesser Sealcoat
    Grain fill the mahogany. Behlens mahogany grain filler (Several ways to do this as well)
    Sand 320 (include the top in this sanding but be more delicate since your not attacking a grain filler on the maple)
    May need 2 rounds of grain filler depending on how level the 1st round of sanding goes.
    2 coats of sealer most use vinyl but I have done it with the Zinnesser stuff.
    Light sanding to level 320
    Then 3 or more coats Lacquer.
    1 coat = 3 thin passes a day at the least 1 hour apart.
    I like to thin my first 2 days 50/50 with thinner
    Dry / Cure 3-6 weeks
    Wet sand 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200.... (Colt Knight says it best, 'let the weight of the sanding block do the work') sand thoroughly not aggressively if that makes sense.
    I then go to my Macguires compound, scratch remover and polish.
    She'll shine and have great wood depth IMHO with type of method. (Hit the whole thing with super fine Steele wool for a satin finish)

    In case you get to HD or Lowes looking for supplies and find yourself wondering if you can use the Minwax Lacquer the answer is yes. Same with the thinner although the ratio needs to be more like 25% thinner 75% lacquer due to the low quality of solvents in stuff like Kleen strip ect.

    Hope this helps.

    Post some pictures when you choose your method.
     
  10. Declan012

    Declan012 TDPRI Member

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    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH DX SOOO MUCH...SO CONFUSING! haha...nah, you've all helped greatly...i'll probably get the body soon, then start work, and ask step be step on what to do! Thought it was as simple as sand, primer, sand, lacquer....guess not :L
     
  11. macaroonie

    macaroonie Friend of Leo's

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    Think Rustins or Liberon for finishing products in the UK. Most of the above comments refer to US products.
     
  12. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Banish the word 'primer' from your mind. Primer goes under paint, it's opaque, so wood grain won't show through it.

    DrASATele gives you a good guide as to how you to it. Just be patient, and do things one step at a time, and you'll be good.
     
  13. wired to go

    wired to go Tele-Meister

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    dragontele.jpg

    PPG automotive clearcoat. Grain filler sanded with 360. Sanding sealer with 600. 3 coats PPG clearcoat. 3000 grit to color sand. Buff. Unlike laquer, Automotive clearcoar can be sanded and buffed the next day.
     
  14. ezas

    ezas TDPRI Member

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    Different clear finishes dry to clear with various 'tints'. So consider that when choosing a finish, and consider doing some 'test' sticks for yourself.

    When I did my maple neck I found that wipe on poly gave me the 'color' I liked. Depending on what you are buying it can cost a bit to buy various kinds of clear to try. But it's worth it in my opinion considering what you spend to make you own guitar.

    I used 5 gallon paint stirrer sticks that I get at the Home Depot for the asking. (Every time I go in there I ask 'can I get a couple of 5 gallon paint stirrer sticks?'. I find them useful for all kinds of things).
     
  15. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    The formula I gave you is how the Stew Mac book and others might explain how to get that almost factory finish. That being said you can do it how you imagined it, just don't expect a durable factory type finish. Sanding is the key to any good looking finish and there is nothing quick about it.

    ...as dsutton24 said it's really a matter of patience.

    As far as quick finishes:
    I think bob123 put up a recipe for a clear 2k type finish. Sounds durable from his post and easy to use if you can find stuff needed to make it.
    Epoxy could be another quick durable clear finish that doesn't require grainfiller but it's a PITA to work with.
    The polyurethane someone mentioned needs a process too, to make it look good. I did the quick route with this stuff once and it wasn't so quick caused more headaches than anything else IME.
    Unwaxed shellac is another widly used finish that's not exteremly durable but it can sure make the wood pop and it ages well IMO.
     
  16. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    As we're separated by a common language, i'd suggest you do a search here for some of the following terms:
    1. Sanding Sealer or Vinyl Sealer: this is the clear-finish equivalent to primer. meant for several benefits including it's ability to be sanded back easily without clogging the paper too much and it's purpose is to give you a smooth base for topcoats. On the other hand, you can do the same thing with your regular topcoat.
    2. Pore Filler or Grain Filler: your mahogany will need it, the maple won't
    3. Dye: distinguished from pigment, this type of stain will work well on both mahogany and maple. You can wipe it into the wood, and also use it to make tinted "toner/shader" coats if you're going to spray a sunburst.
    4. Clearcoat: you may wind up working with the most popular and most forgiving finish known as nitrocellulose lacquer, but there are plenty of alternatives including shellac (not durable but really nice looking when applied in the "French Polish" method. I'm sure that's just like "French Toast" - a term they don't use on your side of the pond.) or TruOil (a wiping varnish that's pretty popular). Generally the term "varnish" refers to an oil based finish with resins such as alkyd, phenolic, or polyurethane, whereas what we usually use to finish guitars is a faster-drying and slower-building clear lacquer of some sort.
    5. "Waterborne" or "water based" finish: this is an entire category of finish that's relatively new technology. Think of it as the clear lacquer version of "emulsion" paint (we'd call it "Latex paint" here). You can clean up with soap and water instead of smelly solvents.

    Of all the information out there on finishing, i'd recommend anything written by Bob Flexner. His books tend to demystify finishes and he provides you with good classifications for different types of finishes.
     
  17. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very nice VIZ! Thanks a ton!
    That guys name brings up a ton of info. I'll spend the next few weeks deepining my understanding of the finishes I use.

    Too funny I saw Manchester and I immediately thought New Hampshire, sorry if I used to much U.S. jargon!
     
  18. Declan012

    Declan012 TDPRI Member

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    Viz you life saver :3
     
  19. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Funny but when I saw "Manchester" I assumed "Manchester United." You know, "West Bromwich Albion," guys like that.
     
  20. esetter

    esetter Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Looks good. How many coats did you put on that one?
     
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