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Where to color Nitro?

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by GeminiCG, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    Hey everyone,

    So, I have had this burning question for a while and it is this: how or where do I go to get clear nitro colored in the Fender/Gibson finishes? I have the paint codes thanks to this site, http://www.guitarhq.com/fenderc.html, but I have no idea where to go to get the colors made for me.

    Any and all answers are welcome. I appreciate your advice and knowledge since I am still new at making and understanding guitars.

    Thank you,
    Gemini
     
  2. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I simply mix transtint dyes (I use the Colortone products) into my clear nitro. That gives me tinted colors - they are still somewhat transparent so I can see wood grain thru the finish. If I wanted opaque colors I would use pigments (but I never do). Dan Erlewine's book on finishing discusses both and gives a fairly comprehensive color chart showing the colors you will get with different amounts of different dyes.

    Erlewine also gives some recipes for different traditional Fender and Gibson colors if you are trying to duplicate them.
     
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  3. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for the reply. I do in fact own that book too, but I doesn't color all of the finishes and there are some fender and Gibson ones that I wish to have that he doesn't cover.
     
  4. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    I understand. I'm not trying to match colors, just come up with something I like. And all of mine have the wood showing thru so I do a lot of experimenting on scrap before I shoot the real thing.

    I know a lot of the old Fender colors were actually automotive paints - some of those could probably be mixed by an auto paint store. I've never done it however.
     
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  5. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    I do plan on creating some of my own though, so the book is a great way to get some custom colors.
     
  6. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Internet lore has it that autobody paint suppliers will mix anything you want and can even supply it in rattle cans. I have not tried that. There are many here who have ordered from Guitar Reranch (they specialize in rattle cans in vintage flavors for guitars).

    If you have spray equipment you should be able to mix your own. Most opaque colors start out with solid white base, tinted to taste with pigment or dye (just like house paint). You could also ask at the paint store if their "universal" tint colorants will work in nitro. No joke, I asked that once in a Sherwin Williams store and the manager whisked me into the back and showed me a five gallon can of nitrocellulose lacquer asking me, "Do people still really use that stuff?"

    For dye i like to use Trans-Tint. For pigment I use Mixol. But I do have to say my only nitro spraying is for repairs or touch ups I never use it on scratch builds because I'm a waterbased coatings fan for any project that I can use it on.

    Also remember that part of the Gibson recipe is dye in the grain filler for mahogany, something Fender doesn't often involve.
     
  7. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    Thank you. Yes I have heard of this lore, which is why I ask the question. I do plan on getting some spray equipment down the road, but for now it will have to be rattle cans. I am always shocked when people are like, "what is nitrocellulose?" or "they still use that!" I had to explain to my grandma and other relatives what it was and how it is different from other paints. I will ask my grandpa at thanksgiving about it. He is a auto mechanic and his shop does quite a few finish repairs.
     
  8. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've gotten my tints from a local autobody place. My guy there also has some of the original old 50's auto paint catalogues...the colours that Fender and Gibson used. The problem is the old codes are, well, old. So it won't provide the shop with the info they need. Also, the tints have changed over time in terms of both colour and material. I've been through this. What you will have to do is either find a source for the ready mixed colours (ie: someone who has gone to the trouble of mixing and matching already) or you will have to go through that process yourself at an auto shop....trial and error is what I'm talking about.
    That is all based on my personal experience and from working for six years for a very well known guitar refinisher.
     
  9. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I've heard that the original codes don't work, but in that link I posted, the guy has the updated codes for the colors, so if you are interested in those finishes the new codes are available.
     
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  10. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks. I'll print those out and take them to my paint guy and see if in fact he can find them.
     
  11. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    At least I hope they are the updated ones. The guy who made the site I guess found the modern equivalent of them.
     
  12. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    That would be great if they are still active codes and the colours were close. I'm not a purist about those sorts of things but I'd like to find a way to get as close as possible to some of those colours. I'll let you know what happens.
     
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  13. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Try your local Sherwin-Williams Automotive.
     
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  14. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    Sounds good thanks. Make sure it is the DuPont code. there are a few PPG ones, but DuPont is the brand Fender used.
     
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  15. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Remember, nitro smells like cancer. Careful with that stuff.
     
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  16. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Just to make it clear, this concern is not particular to nitrocellulose lacquer. There's nothing about "nitro" that makes it particularly more harmful than any other sort of lacquer, e.g acrylic. It's the solvents that really do the harm, not the binders. Urethanes are no joke either, FWIW. Always wear quality PPE (a term that everyone knows nowadays) when finishing, with any material.
     
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  17. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Friend of Leo's

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    G, I know you are aware of this too, but I need to mention it. If you are trying to duplicate the original color that F or G or whatever used you will need the numbers of the tints used, but if you are trying to duplicated the color that it would be after 20 or 40 years of aging you are probably best to just mix until you are happy. Not only do the dyes change and fade, nitro in notorious for turning amber with age. One of the things I love about it.
     
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  18. GeminiCG

    GeminiCG Tele-Meister

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    I am mainly looking at the colors as if they are brand new and fresh. I know some aging techniques to give it years of age :D I do appreciate the warning and help though :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
  19. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Nitro in particular uses a very hot solvent so it does smell, that's for sure. I'm very sensitive to chemical smells probably because I was a house painter for years back when bathrooms and kitchens were always painted with oil/alkyd paints (as was all trim, doors, bannisters etc.). I'd have my head stuck inside kitchen cupboards for hours painting or painting inside a bathroom for hours without any type of respirator using alkyd paint....I'd go home stoned at the end of the day but no one thought twice about it. I mask up for everything now....ca glue, any sort of solvent I'm using. If I'm brushing a waterborne finish I don't bother...if I'm spraying waterborne than I mask up. I've been very careful about it for many years now. And a dust mask when using my table saw, router table etc. I like my lungs!!
     
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