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Discussion Starter #1
ive been modding an old ibanez gio , so far i've sanded it down, white primered it, then given it several coats of chrome paint! but now im wondering what the best way of glossing it is. I want to have a durable finish. so far i've got some clear laquer (designed for a car) but don't know if i should use it or not? as it says i have to rub down the finish first?
any help would be cool
:)
 
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You couldn't pay me to put a Laquer paint job on a guitar. If you want the shinyest paint that is by far the most durable then you need to use Urethane. Laquer is crap, its thin, it doesn't build, it never cures, and it is the least durable paint made. I mean spray paint is laquer, so do the math. Go Urethane.
 
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Ant1981 said:
Laquer does cure.
Ummm, sorry, it doesn't. Lacquer will NEVER cure. It will dry yes, but cure no. There is a difference between dry and cured. The reason lacquer will never cure is b/c it air dries, rather then drying chemically like a clear that uses a catalyst, such as polyurethane, urethane, polyester, etc....Some peoply say Laquer "Air Cures" which is wrong, the correct terminology is "Air Dries"

Something that is cured can NEVER be reflowed, or wetted and its solvent resistant. What I mean is this, for example, if you take an object that has been clear coated with some sort of clear that has been catalyzed with a hardener then once all the chemical interlocking has been completed then there is nothing you can do to re-wet it, or re-flow it.

However take Lacquer on the other hand, it air dries, and has no catalyst or hardeners mixed in. Therefore once it dries it can ALWAYS be re-wetted by adding heat or a solvent. Take a hair drier and buzz over a guitar that has been painted with lacquer for a few minutes and you'll see that it will start getting soft, then it will actually make a wet shiny spot in the paint, and if you touch the area it will be wet paint. Doesn't matter if the guitar has been painted for a month or 50 years, lacquer will NEVER cure b/c it has no way to. This is also why lacquer can be wiped off with lacquer thinner, b/c it has no way to ever harden. Take Urethane for example, once its cured lacquer thinner will not even faze it, b/c it is chemically locked, or cured, and cannot be reflowed or re-wetted. Also, Heat will NOT reflow or rewet Urethane (or any other catalyzed Top Coat), as a matter of fact, the hotter you get a catalyzed clear the HARDER it will get. This is why the Automotive factories "Bake" their clear, b/c it makes it A) Harder, and B) Dry faster. Catalyzed clear will cure at any temperature above 55 degrees, however for every 15 degrees you go above 68 you cut the curing time in half.

For example, if a clear takes 6-8 hours to cure at 68, then take it up to 83 degrees and your looking at 3-4, take the temp up to 98 and your looking at 1.5-2 hrs, etc.....

So, I hate to bust your bubble, but Lacquer DOES NOT cure. This is also why people who do relic paint jobs choose an air drying clear such as lacquer, and nitrocellulose, b/c when subjected to cold temperatures, then hot temperatures it cracks. Now imagine if your car did that, got cold at night, then cracked in the middle of the day when the sun got the temperature of that metal up to 150 degrees. It doesn't crack b/c its CURED.

The definition of "Cure" as found on PPG's website is.....

Cure- The chemical reaction of a coating during the drying process, leaving it insoluble.

And Catalyst-

Catalyst: Sometimes referred to as activators or hardners, catalysts contain chemicals that interact with the resins of the paint allowing it to cure. Substance whose presence increases the rate of a chemical reaction, e.g., acid catalyst added to an epoxy resin system to accelerate drying time.

Lacquer: A fast-drying usually clear coating that is highly flammable and dries by solvent evaporation only. Can be reconstituted after drying by adding solvent. Poor durability and chemical resistance are the downside.

Lacquer has no Catalyst, therefore it does NOT have the chemical reactions a paint must have in order to CURE. If you ever here ANYONE say lacquer cures they are misinformed, and misusing the word "Cure", and rather should correctly be saying "Dry" when referring to lacquer.

If you take a car that has been painted in lacquer, but it SEVERELY faded, you can make it look like a BRAND NEW paint job by simply pulling it into a paint booth, turning the heat up to about 150 degrees, it will re-wet and re-flow the paint and in 45 mins you'll have a brand new looking paint job (Minus the chips and scratches) it will be as shiny as the day it was painted, b/c the heat reflows it, b/c it isn't cured, it can't cure, it has NO WAY TO CURE, it is AIR DRIED, its no different really than spray paint, b/c spray paint IS LACQUER.

The guy who started this post asked what the most durable paint is, and catalyzed clears are BY FAR Harder, stronger, and FAR more durable than lacquer, or any other Non-Catalized clear, PERIOD.

And as far as the guy who said Urethane is only used on Cheap guitars, then you are also misinformed. Not only is Gibson now using Urethane (B/c its more durable) but PRS has been using Urethane for over 5 years ( I know this b/c I got a video with my PRS that shows how they are built and painted, and they clearly say in the video TWICE that they use URETHANE PAINT), as well as Warrior, Carvin, Fernandes, ESP, Jackson, and about 50 other guitar manufacturers. I know for a fact Gibson has started using it b/c I have a friend who paints at their Nashville Factory. Last time I checked Gibson, PRS, Warrior, and Carvin were NOT CHEAP GUITAR COMPANIES.

Ant, your talking to the wrong person about paint, I was a chemist and painting instructor for PPG Industries for over 10 years. No offense, but if you think lacquer cures you need to check again, you are wrong. Lacquer "Hardens" to some degree, and "Dries" but does not by definition "Cure" This is why Lacquer is a VERY VERY thin clear, Undurable, VERY subseptable to fading, and VERY easy to chip or scratch b/c it doesn't have a hardner (Catalyst) mixed in with it.

If this guy wants the Shiniest, Most Fade Resistant and DURABLE long lasting paint out there then a Catalyzed Clear is what he wants.
 
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Rotti said:
LOL Laquer is crap? Only the best guitars get real laquer. The cheap ones get Urethane.
Hahaha, So I guess Ibanez, PRS, Carvin, Warrior, Fernandes, ESP, Brian Moore, and Tom Anderson are all cheap guitars! Haha, dude you really have no clue what your talking about. All those guitar manufactures use Urethane & Polyurethane, and almost every Single one of them have guitars that are over $2000

Did I also mention that Gibson is now using Urethane on many of their new guitars. Wonder why? I have a friend who works at the Gibson Factory in Nashville and he says they have been doing a ton of guitars and alot of their les pauls for the last 2 years in Urethane. Hmm, well I guess Gibsons are cheap guitars now.
 

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Did I also mention that Gibson is now using Urethane on many of their new guitars. Wonder why?
Because it's quicker and cheaper.

Haha, dude you really have no clue what your talking about.
It's a fact, cheap guitars are poly. Many expensive ones have gone this route but as a cost cutting measure. I don't know why I'm even telling you this because you already know it. I think your just posting to try and cause trouble.

You know as well as I that traditionaly high end guitars are lacquered and many very high end custom guitars are still done that way. The highest end Fenders for example get nitro and the cheapest ones get poly. I'm not trying to debate which is better for guitars.
Everyone knows poly is more durable and many people think lacquer looks and sounds better. People who are "into" guitar finishing will even buy a guitar with a perfectly good poly finish and stip it off to apply lacquer.
Laquer is crap?
I don't think so. It has always been the top guitar finish and it will probably always be the #1 choice of high end custom guitar finishes. As with companies like PRS and Gibson, well of course a finish with a catalist is quicker and easier to use. Guitar companies that mass produce will go that route, but when they come out with an ultra high end limited edition guitar it will probably be lacquer.
But thanks for the education on the words "cure" vs "dry". It was very interesting.

I apologize to the original poster of this thread. Laquer is of course a fine guitar finish. If you want a thick coat of plastic on your guitar go for poly. It works too.
 

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Holy Crap Batman! (Chill gents)

SCS That was an awesome and very informative post.
Where is the best place to go to get Urethane?
I don't want to hijack your thread ProjectJem, this may be handy for you too.

Wolfram.
 

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SCS is right on the money. I've seen old Les Pauls with dents and necks that were fixed because the lacquer could be melted/molded and replaced without refinishing the entire guitar.

Lacquer is used on higher end guitars because it doesn't inhibit the tone of the guitar's as much as say a poly based clearcoat.
 

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Is Gibson using Urethane on all models now?

That's fantastic. I have 2 cellulose finished Les Pauls that I'm reluctant to play very often because the finishes are so fragile, particually on the ebony one - I've always said the only thing that has prevented me from acumulating a load of Gibson's are the finishes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
yer im not too bothered about all this, considering the guitar is a bag of ****e!
just testing my painting skills, im leaving it to dry at the mo, instead of laquer i used an acrylic gloss, which i hope will work, failing that i might try and paint it with one of those texture paints :) or maybe glow in the dark!!!
 

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projectjem said:
yer im not too bothered about all this, considering the guitar is a bag of ****e!
just testing my painting skills, im leaving it to dry at the mo, instead of laquer i used an acrylic gloss, which i hope will work, failing that i might try and paint it with one of those texture paints :) or maybe glow in the dark!!!
If you're messing with something that has a trem, get a glow in the dark wammy bar. Try ordering a very large hologram to glue onto it and then clear coat over it. Im sure that would be neat to a degree.
 

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I tried painting a guitar last summer with the instructions in the e-book that's available on the subject... Needless to say the partially painted body still hangs in my garage. It was fun at the time though...
 
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toneboy said:
SCS is right on the money. I've seen old Les Pauls with dents and necks that were fixed because the lacquer could be melted/molded and replaced without refinishing the entire guitar.

Lacquer is used on higher end guitars because it doesn't inhibit the tone of the guitar's as much as say a poly based clearcoat.
Your exactly right. The MAIN reason Laquer is used on High End Fenders, and other guitars is the idea that lacquer doesn't hurt the tone as much as Urethane, b/c lacquer is very thin.

Rotti, you are right and wrong. The bigger guitar companies, like PRS, use Urethane YES b/c it is faster, but you are VERY VERY wrong when you say its b/c its cheaper. Urethane, Polyester, and Polyurethane are MUCH more expensive than Lacquer. Go to www.stewmac.com and you will find that Lacquer is $43 Gallon, the Urethane I use is $175 a gallon, which is PPG Global D894 High solids "Glamour" clear, don't believe me call PPG and check, and $175 is body shop price, retail is $195. That is on the higher end as far as prices on clear b/c its their best. The CHEAPEST Urethane clear I know of which is TOTAL CRAP is still around $80 a gallon. The big guitar companies don't mind to spend twice as much on clear, sure, their spending more money or material, but when the drying time is DAYS faster it saves them BIG BUCKS. They can't sell guitars hanging in the paint booth waiting to dry. The longer it takes to dry the longer it takes before they can buff it and even longer before its safe to sit in a guitar store on a stand (It takes at least 1-2 weeks before a lacquered guitar can sit safely on a guitar stand for a long period of time without imprinting the clear)

So, you are wrong. Urethane is still more durable, shinier and longer lasting than lacquer. Lacquer CANNOT compete with Urethane in ANY WAY, other than it is cheaper, not More Expensive like you stated. See, the more productive a company is the more profitable it is. On alot of Lacquer clears your actually suppose to wait 24 hrs before coats......now, to get laquer built up half way decent your looking at at LEAST 7 coats, and I have heard as much as 20, so your looking at a 7 day painting process (From a drying time stand point) now, think about how many guitars you could paint if they used a more expensive clear (Urethane) that dried in 1 hr 30 mins. Not only could you paint more guitars in less time, but you could also buff them, assemble them, package them, ship them, and have them on the floor by the time the Lacquer paint is just getting dry enough to buff.

There is not ONE Urethane Clear on the market thats worth a crap that I know of that you can get for under $75 a gallon. That is TWICE the price of Lacquer, and thats for the cheap stuff, if you want to use something half way decent your going to be looking at the $125 range, and for the best stuff about $150-$255 range a gallon. So, if you think lacquer is more expensive then your not living in the real world. If you think Lacquer is High Quality you are DEFINITELY not living in the real world.

Let me put it this way, Lacquer is an EXTREMELY slow drying clear, VERY VERY LOW solids (if you put a gallon of lacquer on a car, once it is dry and and all evaporation has taken place your left with a little more than a pint, YES A PINT of clear or what we call "Solids" left on the guitar, now thats PATHETIC) It is considered a VERY Low Solids clear, which means most of the gallon is made up of solvents, binders, resins, etc and Lacquer is only comprised of about 15% solids, compared to Urethane which is VERY High solids at 50%-75%. That means 50%-75% of what makes it on the guitar will be there after its dryed, cured, and done. The low solids are what guitar companies want to use that are trying to build a Vintage or Vintage like finish. They basically feel that the thinner the paint the better tone it will have. Only one problem, they are sacrificing the durability of the paint, and the protective layer for the wood for tone. I will be 110% honest with you, I can tell absolutely ZERO difference in tone from a guitar that has Urethane to a guitar that has Lacquer.

So, the big guitar compainies who use Urethane are doing so not to SAVE money on Material costs, but rather to save Money, BIG MONEY, in turnaround time, from Finishing time, drying time, buffing time, to delivery time. And you know what else is even better? Not only does Urethane (and other catalised clears) allow them to save ALOT of time and Money in Labor costs, but they are also delivering a better product. The guitar the customer will be getting has paint that is A) Higher Solids B) More Expensive C) Higher Quality D) Far More Durable E) UV Resistant to fading F) 10 times more chip and scratch resistant and G) Shinier, smoother and slicker. It is Virtually impossible to get Lacquer on WOOD as slick as Urethane. The only thing u can get Lacquer slick as glass on is Metal, b/c then the Laquer has nothing to soak into so it just lays on the metal, wood on the other hand is a whole different story. Thats why any, ANY, Les Paul you see from 2004 back, or ANY Fender you see, ALWAYS has A) Orange Peel, B) wood grain texture in the clear and C) The body wings, or joints where they were put the guitar together, like down the middle on the back of a Les Paul, you can ALWAYS see a line down the back b/c the lacquer is simplly to thin to do ANY kind of leveling.

Guitar companies like Fender are not concerned with turnaround time. What their most concerned about is perserving all the tone they can, and keep doing what they've been doing for over 50 years, which is using Lacquer. If your not concerned about turnaround time, and if its not an issue, then they save TONS of money on materials b/c lacquer is FAR more cheaper than ANY catalised clear. Also, some say they DON'T want to use a more durable clear, they say it would not benifit them, or be in their interests. Think about it, the longer a guitar lasts, and the longer it stays looking like new, then the longer it may be before you sell the guitar, trade the guitar, or buy a new guitar. Alot of people don't like scratched up, fading, chipped up guitars, so what do they do? Buy them a nice new shiny one. So not only do they save money on material, but they make more money when the customer decides to buy a new one when the new has worn off on their other one, in this case LITERALLY.

So don't believe that just b.c your paying a high price tag on a guitar that has lacquer in ANY WAY means that lacquer is a superior product, or the "Top of the Line" when in all actuallity it is actually one of the most inexpensive clears on the market, and NO question the least durable. The custom shop Gibsons and Fenders use lacquer not b/c its the best, but b/c its the cheapest, and b/c thats whats worked for them for 50 years. Ever notice how a guitar wears to the bare wood in all the right spots on a guitar that has been painted with lacquer? Some people like that, and Fender knows that, so Lacquer is perfect for that. Thin, low build, soft, and easily worn. If they painted their guitars with Urethane your skin would NEVER EVER rub through it in 50 years. So, Fender thinks if you like a guitar that will wear, and fade, and chip easily, a "Relic" in other words then Lacquer is the Perfect clear, if you don't like that, as soon as it DOES fade, and u barley bump it and it knocks a peice a paint off the size of a quarter what will you do? You will sell it and buy another one, or just buy another one.

You are fighting an up hill battle Rotti, and a losing one at that.
 
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espshredder said:
Is Gibson using Urethane on all models now?

That's fantastic. I have 2 cellulose finished Les Pauls that I'm reluctant to play very often because the finishes are so fragile, particually on the ebony one - I've always said the only thing that has prevented me from acumulating a load of Gibson's are the finishes.
This is the point I've been trying to make, Lacquer paint jobs are really crap, ok ok, I'll be nice, Poor Quality. If u don't absolutely baby it, especially black, it will get scratched, chipped or worn in no time. If you leave it out of the case give it 2-3 years and you'll already start to notice it getting lighter if it gets ANY sunlight b/c Lacquer has NO UV protection built into it like catalised clears.

Yes, from what I understand, Gibson is picking up on how the benifits of urethane far out weigh the benifits or the lack thereof of lacquers. So their finishes should start looking alot better as the Lacquer painted ones start phasing out. I went and looked at a Gibson Gold Top standard the other day brand new at the Guitar Center and the paint job was seriously terrible. If I did something like that for some of the guitar companies I paint for it would be automatically sent back as a redo, no questions. You could see wood grain texture all in it, and one of their flame maple ones was really wavy where the lacquer was to thin to even make the flame maple top smooth. If you got the guitar in the reflection of the light the clear coat looked like a washboard on the flame maple top. The ONLY reason they get away with it is b/c its a "Gibson" and people are buying and paying for that name.
 
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Quotes from Rotti.............

"It has always been the top guitar finish and it will probably always be the #1 choice of high end custom guitar finishes"

Wrong. It hasn't always been the top guitar finish b/c it was the #1 finish, it was the top guitar finish b/c it was the ONLY guitar finish for about 40 years!!!! Urethane didn't even get invented and widely used until the 80's, and has began to grow in popularity ALOT since about 1990. So yes, the #1 high end guitar manufactures used it b/c thats all there was!! Before Urethane what was there? NOTHING but Lacquer and Lacquer based top coats.

"As with companies like PRS and Gibson, well of course a finish with a catalist is quicker and easier to use. Guitar companies that mass produce will go that route, but when they come out with an ultra high end limited edition guitar it will probably be lacquer."

Wrong, they either A) use lacquer on EVERYTHING b.c its cheaper, or B) Use Urethane on everything b/c its better and use Lacquer on the Limited Edition guitar to give it the vintage look. If you think lacquer is better then I CHALLENGE you to prove your case by doing ANY of the following below...

1) Find me ONE guitar that was painted in Urethane that you can prove that has faded like lacquer fades. For example, find me a sunburst in Urethane where the red has severly faded, or a red guitar in urethane that has faded to a light red or pink, or a white guitar that was painted in urethane that has discolored to a yellow........Unless you lie and show a picture of a guitar that was painted in lacquer you WILL NOT BE able to find this in a urethane finish, B/c Base coat (The pigment under clear) WILL NOT fade or discolor. You will NEVER find a white car that has turned Yellow from being in the sun a few years, or a Red car that has turned Pink from being in the sun a few years, same thing goes with a guitar.

2) Find me a guitar that has been painted in Urethane that has the cracks in the clear normally referred to as "Checking" or "Crows Feet" that lacquer gets after about 20-25 years.

3) Find me a Urethane clear that shows wood grain texture in the clear like lacquer does after lacquer dries.

4) Find me ONE lacquer than you can spray, and get the mils required to cover and provide adequate gloss, that will dry, be able to be buffed, and can sit on a stand without impriniting in less than 7 days.

5) Find me one Lacquer that is SLICKER (Not as slick) but SLICKER and Shinier than Urethane and I'll send you one of Urethane thats slicker than anything you'll EVER be able to find. I have a High Res picture of a warrior bass I did in Urethane that is SOOO slick you can seriously count the hairs on my head in the reflection of the clear, thats how slick and flawless the CLARITY of the clear is.

Theres only one problem, you will not be able to find ANY of these, b/c everything I listed was things that Urethane IS NOT and Lacquer is. EVERYTHING I listed is characteristics of a poor quality product.

Tell me, you seem to think lacquer is soooo great, maybe you could enlighten me. What is it that you think is soooo much better about lacquer than urethane that it is only used on, as you say it, the "ultra high end limited edition guitars".......

Is it the way Lacquer fades in just a few years, is it how reds become washed out, is it how the whites turn yellow, is it how the clear coat begins falling apart and cracking, is it how when you wipe it with the cleanest sofest rag you got it still seems to put light scratches on it some how, is it how the more you play it the more your arm rubs the paint off the upper top portion b/c its such great ULTRA HIGH END paint, is it how you can see the wood grain texture in the reflection of the clear, is it how the smallest little bump puts a bad ding in it b.c it offers little to no protection, or is it how you can fix all those areas with spray paint bc its the same stuff, or is it that you like how the clear starts to get flat and dull in about 20 years to the point you can make out little to no reflection in the clear, is it the 3-7 days it takes to paint it, or the 10-20 coats it takes to cover and get half way shiny, I'm curious, which one is it?

Also, heres something else for you to ponder on. If Lacquer is soo much better than Urethane then maybe we should start painting cars in it again like we did 50-60 years ago. Funny, the paint jobs on automobiles now blow the paint jobs from the 30's, 40's and 50's out of the water. No comparison. And guess what, that high quality paint your refferring to is the same stuff the used on cars over 50 years ago that couldn't last 10 years without fading, chipping and cracking. Hmmmm, wonder why every single automotive manufacturer uses URETHANE from Ford and GM to Lamborghini and Ferrari?? Could it be?? Could it possibly be that its better?? Hmm, do u really think Ferrari and Lamborghini would use ANYTHING BUT THE BEST?? Do you think their worried about saving a couple $100 on paint? Or is price not going to be an issue but rather QUALITY? Kinda funny, theres NOT ONE CAR MADE, from a $5,000 Saturn to the $1,000,000 Ferrari Enzo that uses Lacquer, EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE OF THEM is painted in the paint that IS ABOVE ALL OTHER PAINTS, not the CHEAPEST paint as you said but the MOST EXPENSIVE PAINT made, Urethane. Hard as a rock, chip resistant, scratch resistant, fade resistant, crack resistant, UV protection, and LONG LASTING DURABILITY, everything Lacquer is NOT. If lacquer was better, if it was higher quality, then the people who build the top end automobiles would be using it, like Ferrari, McClaren, Porsche, Lotus, Mercedes, etc, but get this, they DID USE TO USE Lacquer, until Urethane come along and they saw how it was superior in every way. They could still use Lacquer if they wanted, but what they want is the best, and thats what their using, and thats what I'm using, and thats what Carvin, Gibson, Warrior, ESP, Brian Moore, Tom Anderson, Driskill, Mcnaught, PRS, EDWARDS, Jay Turser, Tokai, Samick, Cort, Agile, Epiphone and Shector and many others all use, b/c their smart, and they want to put out the absolute best product they they can, that will last, and stay looking like new for 10, 15, 20, 30 years later. Fender has already made it, they could spray paint their guitars in rattle can krylon and they would still sale, b/c people are going to buy Fenders, its about that persona, image and name, and the false conception that b/c its a high price tag guitar it has the best paint on it. Please.............I've seen $199 Agile Lawuit Les Pauls that had paint jobs 10 times better than Gibsons les pauls I've seen.

Lacquer is CRAP compared to what we have now, its 70-80 year old technology that can't even compare to the quality, durabilty, and gloss that the high solids, catalised, polyester, polyurethane, and urethane clears of today provide. You want the best bang for your buck go Urethane b/c its the highest solids, if you buy lacquer 85% of what you bought is evaporating up into the air, the best gloss is Urethane, the longest lasting is Urethane (Or any other catalised clear, but Urethane in my opinion is the best catalised clear on the market) PERIOD.
 
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Wolfram said:
Holy Crap Batman! (Chill gents)

SCS That was an awesome and very informative post.
Where is the best place to go to get Urethane?
I don't want to hijack your thread ProjectJem, this may be handy for you too.

Wolfram.
The best place to get Urethane would be at your local Automove finish & body shop supplier. You can go to PPG's website and look up the closest dealer to you. PPG in my opinion is HANDS DOWN the ABSOLUTE BEST, I guess thats why they've been awarded paint manufacturer of the year for like the last 10 years.
 

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dude.. i love it, great info ..great points

but pleease don't type more than 2 billion words and also keep it all to one post, you dont have to reply to every single comment.

otherwise keep it up mate! :)
 
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