What a Learning Experience

Valkyrie

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Posts
79
Location
PA
So a few months ago I got the hair brained idea of building an Esquire clone. I wanted to paint and finish it myself. How hard could it be right? Didn’t know what I was in for.

The body is ash. I filled the grain with Zpoxy. Four coats to be exact. Sanded to 320. Bought the SM colortone finish kit. Sprayed on the vinyl sealer as per the instructions and the videos they did online. Added the color coats. Man it looked awesome. Did the clear coats and the first few went ok. Then I had a bunch of lint spots in the clear. Despite my best efforts to keep my makeshift spray booth clean it was a constant problem. I wore a tyvek suit, water misted everything before I sprayed and yet they still happened. Then after I got that all done I waited. Two weeks. Started with 1000 wet sanding each grit to 2500 and then 3000 and 5000 pads. I sanded through To the wood. So back to that fix. I did this twice! Finally today it’s done. The finish isn’t perfect, a small area where the grain fill wasn’t complete, little lint hairs here and there, oh yes it’s Olympic white, won’t do that again. But I have to say it looks damned good for my first attempt. From a foot or two away it’s perfect. I had no issues with sanding and buffing to a really good shine. It’s not as good as a buffing wheel would do but it’s looks about the same level of shine that Gibson calls VOS on their reissue guitars. I like it. Besides, it will get dinged and scratches etc anyways from my playing and hauling it around. The neck is almost ready. Halfway through I wanted to add decals to the headstock so that set me back a week. I’ll have it all together by the end of next week.

Not sure I’ll finish another guitar. For me it isn’t worth my time. For what I have in nitro, sandpaper, polishing compounds, sponge wheels for the drill, etc I could have a nice finished body for the same price or even less. But I have the look I want.

This place is a great resource. I learned a lot here. Kudos to all of you that do this for a living, it’s a real pain!
 

Old Verle Miller

Tele-Meister
Joined
Apr 7, 2022
Posts
367
Location
Texas
Back in the day when I did absurdly expensive things like custom auto and boat painting I learned a paint booth was only as good as the air pressure and filtration system that had been installed in it. Flawless on anything of size is impossible without it. A drag racer doesn't expect flawless but a collector looking for concours grade does.

The factories have air filtration in addition to their paint station set ups. They've worked out all the bugs in their process, too.

Now, without a pro shop to work in with guitars I'm at the mercy of the climate and weather; I only shoot in certain temperature and humidity conditions outdoors in a tent because you can't find a completely dust-free indoor interior environment in a house.

Congrats on getting the final result - it's worth it!
 

Freeman Keller

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Aug 22, 2018
Posts
10,040
Age
77
Location
Washington
Among a lot of finishers there is what is called the "five foot test". If it looks good at five feet its good. I too would like to see the pictures.
 

Valkyrie

TDPRI Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Posts
79
Location
PA
I’ll get more and better pics. I should have it assembled and set up by end of next week. It has a Cavalier NoCaster Holy Grail pickup and an Emerson wiring harness. The neck has a rosewood board, It’s an AllParts TRO “Fat”. I’m going with Gotoh staggered tuners.

I think it came out fantastic.
 

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