Water slide decal - best quick way to finish?

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by eddie27, Aug 5, 2020.

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  1. eddie27

    eddie27 Tele-Meister

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    I normally use nitro lacquer to go over a headstock decal, but I've got a time crunch on my current build. I stained the head stock black weeks ago. I just applied the decal. Is there something I can apply now to protect the decal other than nitro? Because the tuners are installed, I'd like to be able to brush something on.
     
  2. kwerk

    kwerk Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have dammed a headstock with tape and used slow setting epoxy for this. Gotta keep things level and use it sparingly. The slow set allows it to level out. You really need to keep the quantity to a minimum to avoid ending up with a thick layer of plastic over the decal, but brushing it on will probably not be quite enough. At worst, you can sand the epoxy layer thinner. A simple coat of anything after that, even Tru-oil, will finish it off.
     
  3. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Lacquer dries incredibly quickly if you don't absolutely blast it on. It's what you should use. Dry dusty coats to cover, should take about 15 minutes to dry in a moderately warm and dry climate. Build those up bit by bit, one every 15 minutes, and then flood for a final coat, and give it a day in a well ventilated and cool space. Then polish. If lacquer is taking forever to dry, you've applied it wrong. It should be exactly the opposite; fast drying is one of its strongest benefits.
     
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  4. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Apart from the mist coat idea, why bother protecting it? I don’t know why there’s a time crunch, but unless its for a customer that expects the guitar, just do it later. If the decal gets damaged, put another one on and bury it when you have the time.
     
  5. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thin out the cheapest brush on poly you can buy and wipe it on.
     
  6. oldfish

    oldfish Tele-Holic

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    just wipe on thin coats of tru oil till your happy with it
     
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  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    IF you brush on anything without first testing, you increase the risk of ruining the decal, exponentially.. Many of the aftermarket decals are extremely fragile once they're hit by a coating.. particularly one that's "fast drying"..

    So.. if you're dead set on using a brush I hope you have a second decal to mount on something, let dry thoroughly.. then try brushing what ever you're thinking of... but brushing or wiping anything is fraught with potential issues.. the coating CAN soft the image.. then you wipe and it's disappears...

    Test any process you plan on using first..

    but I'd head down to Home Depot, or wherever, pickup a can of a nitro and use that... there's no "fast drying" anything that's gonna dry faster...

    r
     
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  8. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    You can brush Lacquer, or something like Formby's Tung oil varnish. It flattens out nice. Done it.
    But you should take the tuners off and do the whole headstock face, otherwise there will be a finish line where you stop. Tape the headstock at the edge is easy.
    I use a very soft artists brush. Brush over the decal just once and let it dry. Once you remove tuners though, heck it's easy to spray.
     
  9. tm1303

    tm1303 TDPRI Member

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    I've a similar job to do, was considering hairspray. YMMV ;)
     
  10. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    No protection like Leo did in the old days?
     
  11. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Before I apply decals I spray them with Varathane lacquer from a rattle can otherwise the ink dissolves in water. Then I bury them with the clear finish. If you have another decal then you could coat it before applying it and remove the first one. Or just leave it as mentioned above. That's how Leo did it.
     
  12. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    There are really no shortcuts when it comes to finishing.

    A rushed job looks rushed.
     
  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Decals should really be lacquered while still on the release paper. That at least seals the ink, without having to overspray the entire headstock face after application. In the old days, Fender screen printed the "bubble" of lacquer right on the decal paper. That's why it's so thick, and has soft edges like a drop of water on the floor, as opposed to a sharp edge like a decal that has been cut out. You can spray the clear coat before application, either the entire sheet and then cut out once dry, or mask a "bubble" shape around it and then spray. If you are really slick, you can actually make a screen to apply the clear "bubble" over your decal.
     
  14. peteycaster

    peteycaster Tele-Meister

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    I'm by no means as experienced as some of the other posters here but I've done this before and it worked for me. Did spray the decal with satin clear coat first though.

    This may work for you given the tuners are on.
     
  15. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Meister

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    Remove the tuner ferrules and tape around the tuner posts. Mask off the edge of the headstock and keys and just spray it.

    If you "flood (wet) coat" the headstock face it will affect the decal. You need to build up multiple light dust coats of finish over the decal to "bed" the decal without the finish getting under the decal. A single, light "dust-coat" will protect the decal for the short term.

    You can expect to spray around 6-8 "dry dust coats" before applying heavier coats, another 6 medium wet coats and then you can start wet sanding to level over the decal. I wet sand, spray a coat, rinse and repeat until level.

    Whatever you used to paint the headstock face will dictate the finish, never use lacquer over enamel.
     
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