What finish would you recommend?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by DHart, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I have an unfinished Tele Thinline body that I want to put a finish on. The top is figured maple over an alder body. I'd like to add a bit of tinting to the finish, perhaps the look of burnt umber, slightly darker around the edges, but nothing complicated.

    [​IMG]

    I don't have wood finishing experience, nor sprayers, booth, etc. But I can follow directions well!

    Would using rattle-can spray lacquer be a reasonably good option?

    What type of finish would you recommend that's relatively uncomplicated for a novice finisher to do, that also yields nice results?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  2. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Clear sealer, followed by dye of choice, followed by nitro lacquer. Spray can nitro will work of need be.

    The bigger dilemma for finishing is safety. If you don't have good ventilation and an appropriate respirator you need to stick with safer options.

    Of you haven't read up ok n finishing thoroughly I would suggest you do so. Reranch.com has some good starter reading as well as products.

    Gorgeous body. Look forward to seeing the progress!

    Eric
     
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  3. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's a beauty. There are many options, most of them will work fine. My suggestion: Spray can of amber shellac, to get the tint you want, then spray cans of clear lacquer for the clear coat. The shellac is very forgiving and easy to sand back or even wipe off, with alcohol. Nitro lacquer is a popular choice for guitars.

    Good luck, keep the pictures coming!
     
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  4. blackbelt308

    blackbelt308 Tele-Holic

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    Maybe something like this?

    IMG_6328 copy.JPG
     
  5. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Eric... would you recommend specific products for me?

    Also, I have a 3 car garage I can fully open to spray in, or outdoors, if need be.

    I would want to avoid a hard edged burst, much preferring a very soft, gradual transition from the somewhat darker edge to the center. Or, I could go with no burst at all.
     
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  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Bill... any suggestions as to specific products?
     
  7. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, something similar perhaps, although I would prefer less contrast between the edge color and the center, with a more gradual transition.

    The binding (faux or actual) looks great!
     
  8. Speedy454

    Speedy454 Tele-Holic

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    Reranch has cans of tinted and clear nitro lacquer designed to work together and provide a nice Gibson like burst.
    They also have excellent step by step instructions.
    Everything you would need can be sourced from them, and their products are good to excellent.

    Like many will suggest, buy more product than you think you will need so you can experiment on some scrap wood first.
    That way you can get your technique down pat before risking a mistake on your guitar.

    Go slow, take your time and it will end up stunning.
     
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  9. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Stain and French Polish
     
  10. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    No sealer, amber and a hint of brown stain (StewMac Colortone) applied directly to the wood, sealed with vinyl or sanding sealer (StewMac is good) followed by nitrocellulose lacquer. Alder does not need pore filling, otherwise you can follow this schedule.

    https://www.stewmac.com/How-To/Onli...Repair/Nitrocellulose_Finishing_Schedule.html

    As always, and particularly with stains directly to wood, practice on scrap of the same wood.

    Here is my version of what I think you are describing

    IMG_4809.JPG

    If you want to follow that, start at post #48 then jump to #59. I'm using a spray gun but rattle cans will work and since mine is mahogany I'm pore filling the body - you can skip that.

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chambered-tele-ish-sort-of-thing.884657/page-3

    Ps - you might get told that StewMac finishes are not good for a variety of reasons, I've had very good luck with them. Others are fine too, thats the reason you experiment on scrap.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
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  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This says it all. It's what my local shop uses and the results are always excellent. Practicing on scrap is important as well. Balanced against the risks from exposure.
     
  12. Blue Bill

    Blue Bill Poster Extraordinaire

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    Zinsser is the shellac most stores carry, I've used it for years, it's fine. I've had good luck with Belhen and Watco lacquer cans. There's lots of great info listed above.
     
  13. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    DHart, a reasonable thing to do is first talk about finishes in general which will help you select the products to explore. So far people have suggested several of the options - the thing to remember is they have very big differences. I'll try to be neutral altho I do have some strong preferences.

    Shellac is a traditional wood finish and has been used on musical instruments for years. It can be applied in a couple of ways - brushed or sprayed out of the can (Zinsser) or applied in very thin layers in a technique called French polish. With FP you can get a high gloss because of the way its applied, I don't normally see deep gloss in brushed or sprayed shellac. Shellac tends to be a bit soft - fine for a classical guitar kept in a case and babied, maybe not for an electric

    Oil finishes - there are a bazillion varieties of tung oil and other products, usually intended for furniture. They appeal to home guitar builders because they are easy. I'm usually pretty underwhelmed by what I see.

    TruOil - a subset of oil finishes is TruOil - designed for gun stocks but frequently used on guitars. Done correctly it consist of many very thin coats applied by hand, the let dry/cure for 30 or more days. It usually has a nice gloss but seldom what you see in some other finishes, it is pretty hard and can be "repaired" by adding more. I tried it on two guitars and was not satisfied with the level of gloss so I don't use it any more. Some people report success tinting TruOil - I would definitely want to experiment with that.

    Wipe on poly. Most of these finishes were intended for floors - tough, easy to apply, relatively good gloss. I have no experience but have seen a couple of nice finishes. Don't know about tinting or much else...

    Lacquer is the queen of finishes - has been used for years. Relatively easy to apply by spraying - either a gun or rattle cans. It is toxic, explosive, requires strong solvents for clean up. It is easy to tint and moderately easy to do shades and bursts - each coat melts in to the last ones. I can be repaired in the future. It can be buffed to a high gloss. It is my finish of choice, see post #10

    Waterborn lacquer. Not really lacquer but acts like it. There are a variety of formulas made by a variety of vendors - I've tried a few. It is relatively non toxic, not explosive, cleans up with water. It doesn't melt in to previous coats so you can get witness lines when you sand. It can be brushed but most people shoot it with a gun. It can be tinted. Some has a slight bluish cast. Target is one of the most popular right now.

    Pre, post and UV cured poly-things. These are the modern finishes that manufacturers put on modern guitars. They are brick hard, mirror shiny, and in general they are not an option for the home finisher.

    If you want to add color to your finish there are basically three ways. You can STAIN the wood with something that is absorbed into the wood fibers actually changing the color of the wood itself. This is very effective for highly figured wood like yours - different parts of the figure will absorb at different rates which can really pop the figure. It is also highly dependent on the skill of the finisher - you can make a real mess. After staining the wood clear finish is applied. Second is to put color into the the finish itself - either transparent dye or pigments. The relative transparency either lets the wood show thru or hides it - in general it does not add to the figure. Most modern colored guitar finishes including probably #4 are done this way - both the amber and red are probably colored finish. Third is a combination of the two - a stain might be used to pop the figure, then tinted finish is applied which adds the final color. I do this a lot.

    When people suggest a finish to you ask them to show you a picture of their results using that product. Maybe some information about how they applied it.
     
  14. ppg677

    ppg677 Tele-Meister

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    My choice of finish depends on the time of year.

    Warm weather? Nitro Lacquer in garage

    Cold weather? Tru Oil in basement
     
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  15. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Yes indeed... that looks very much like what I am envisioning! Beautiful!
     
  16. eallen

    eallen Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    For someone starting out and using spray cans Reranch or Stew Mac will work. Reranch probably more affordable.

    Garage fully open with a respirator or outside will work.

    For a slight edge burst you can get by with a single nitro color sprayed on the edge followed by clear. Sealing before color allows more control on the color, unless you are targeting heavy grain pop. A heavy grain pop gets into using dye and sanding back.

    An subtle edge burst is obtained by spraying off the edge rather than straight on.

    This is an aber dye wipe on, sand back, sealer, yellow dye spray, amber/brown mixed burst.[​IMG]

    Eric
     
  17. Speedy454

    Speedy454 Tele-Holic

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    Scottsdale AZ, No fancy spray equipment, limited experience, this should be a fairly easy decision.

    Go to the Reranch site.
    Download their finishing instructions.
    Read through them 3 or 4 times. Maybe more.
    See if you are comfortable with what they are talking about.
    If so, the climate in AZ makes spraying lacquer in an open garage or outside pretty easy.
    All of the steps must be followed in order to get great results. Only after a heck of a lot of experience can steps be skipped or changed.
    If all of the Reranch lacquer application steps seem too complicated, too time consuming and too expensive, look into a wipe on oil or wipe on poly type finish.
     
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  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    One thing that is very helpful is to wipe your guitar with naphtha or DA - that will pop the grain and pretty much show you want a clear or slightly amber finish will look like. Based on that you can decide how much and what kind of color you want to add.
     
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  19. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Here it is with some naphtha wiped on for a photo. I could live with clear. But a touch of amber would be great, too.

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Macrogats

    Macrogats Friend of Leo's

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    That’s a beautiful looking guitar body DHart. You definitely do NOT want to screw this up! Whatever you choose to do - practice on scrap first! Spraying in an open garage on a calm day is fine, but use a respirator. I find nothing wrong with rattle can products, just use the best ones you can get/afford for the look you want.

    Good luck dude, and please keep us posted. I definitely want to see that beauty in it’s finished state :)
     
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