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Tech: Setup, Repairs and Mods Guitar workbench discussion such as setup, repairs, mods, installing new parts and more.

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Old 11-05-2008, 06:43 PM
carbons2k  is offline
 
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Question about clear coating a guitar. updated with pix


I have stained my guitar and when I apply the laquer I get air bubbles after it dries. I said them away with 2000 grit paper and the finish remains kinda dull. Can anyone recomend a different way to apply the laquer? I was thinking about spraying it on, Ive been using a brush. I have done 6 coats each side so far. Thanks. I Just added a coat a few mins ago but will take some pix and show my progress soon.

Last edited by carbons2k; 11-08-2008 at 10:10 AM. Reason: Updated
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:38 PM
ryanb  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


Spraying would definitely work better, but if you have sanded out the bubbles without sanding through the clearcoat, then you are fine. You need to buff the finish (no matter how you applied the finish) back to a crystal clear polished finish. Get some polishing compounds from somewhere like Stew Mac or an auto parts store. Then get ready for a lot of elbow grease if you don't have access to a buffer.
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:18 PM
Bowie  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


Spraying is better. If it looks dull after sanding, you need to work on your buffing/polishing. A small electric buffer is probably in order.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:08 PM
Racerx2k  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


I need to ask: What type of wood is it, and did you grain fill? Without having your guitar in front of me, I'm just wondering if the bubbles are coming from air trapped in the grain, cause it wasn't sealed, first.
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:03 AM
carbons2k  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


The air bubbles are definitely from brushing it on. I noticed then bubbles there as I applied the lacquer to it. and no I didnt seal the guitar 1st.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:42 PM
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


after clearing it, you need to wet sand with 220, 320, 400, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, and 2000 grit sand paper. Then polish it with 3M Finesse It II. Use a soft cotton rag either folded or shaped into a ball and held between the fingers. Either way try to prevent individual fingers from causing furrows. Polish in random circles. I would not use a mechanical buffer as you will most likely go through the clear. You will need to let it harden up for a couple months.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:43 PM
indeedido  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


P.S. the purpose of all of those grades of paper is to level out the clear and get it flat. It also takes out all the scratches. This will make it like a mirror.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:12 AM
carbons2k  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


MONTHS!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! dam!
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:40 AM
hexa-db  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


I wouldn't touch a clear coat with 220 grit - you'll go through it in no time!

I'd start at 1000 or maybe 800 if the orange peel is really bad.

Did you wipe the guitar down with naphtha & a tack cloth before clearing? I wonder if there was some kind of contaminate on there causing the bubbles?
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:15 PM
Racerx2k  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


1000? He'll be there forever. I'd start around 400-600, and then work up. At around 1000, you're just about polishing the finish.
You never said, what kind of wood is it?
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:09 AM
carbons2k  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


I ended up stringing it up in the garage and put 4 coats of laquer on it. I then wet sanded with 600 and 1000 smooth like a babys A$$! It looked a little dull so i puffed it with an orbital buffer i use for my car. Still a little sull, I think im gonna take it to my friend at the body shop and let him polish it and see what he can comp up with. The wood... I think its maple. I got it from Chris at legacy. Heres a quick pic... I was thinking gold hardware and a clear pickguard... anyone have any suggestions?

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Old 11-08-2008, 10:28 AM
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IbanezFreak777  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


Let me just first state I have only ever sanded down a guitar and repainted it once. So I am by no means an expert. But from what I can see in the picture, the reason the buffing didn't work, is that your clear coat isnt thick enough. You didn't do enough coats.

From what I understand you need to clear coat it, then let it dry, then repeat many times. The more layers of clear coat you have the more distance there is between the clear coat and the actual wood, allowing light to reflect through the clear coat giving it that glass effect. Are you waiting a good enough amount of time between clear coats ?

Just my 2 cents

Good Luck with it !!

Last edited by IbanezFreak777; 11-08-2008 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:42 AM
Racerx2k  is offline
 
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


I agree. Looks like you could use more coats of clear. As for the wood type, maple, you were right in not grain filling it, as maple really doesn't need it, since it's a tight-grained wood. If it was mahogany, used DEFINITELY wanna grain fill.
Looks good, so far, from here. Just be patient and slowly build the clearcoats. Keep us updated.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:03 PM
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


Yeah, four coats of clear laquer is not nearly enough. You'll go through that in no time. Last winter was my first paint job on a guitar. I sprayed 15 coats of laquer before I even touched it. And yes, as been said, with laquer, you have to wait a very long time before messing with it. I waited 3 weeks before sanding and buffing and it wasn't long enough. Of course, my laquer reacted with the paint I was using so the wait time was longer but still, the lesson learned here is patients among all things. Also, to buff it out, all you need is a good 3M cutter/cleaner, use that a few times, and then buff with 3M swirl remover. NO POWER TOOLS for buffing....This is hand work as your clear is always thinner along the edges. Buff with a buffing pad, wipe with something that is 100% cotton. repeat until your swirls are gone. Good luck
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:08 PM
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Re: Question about clear coating a guitar.


When I spray nitro I use between 15-20 coats before I start wet sanding and buffing. As for polyurethane, 6 coats and its thick enough! Start at 600 grit going this way: ----, then go to 800 going this way: /, move to 1000 going: | then 1200 going: \ then 1500 back to: ----. Then use fine polishing compound with a 100% cotton rag and polish til the lines are gone, then use a swirl remover. It should look pretty shiny by now, then take some ernie ball guitar polish and finish it off!

Chris
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