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Lacquer Basic Questions


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OK, lemme set this up a bit. I have a SATA Minijet 3 spray gun and a compressor that has as much dry air as I need. I'm not a spray guru, rattle can, gun, or otherwise, but I can see when something looks wrong and have the patience of Jobe.

I want to do an ash Strat body in a deep blue finish. The kind of finish that is somewhat transparent and lets the grain come through. Right now I'm still at bare wood, sanded to about 100-120 grit. I need to be walked through the rest. Sealer, stains/pigments, clear lacquers........If there is a brand for this or that that is clearly a cut above or known for outstanding quality, that's the one I want to use. I'm really wide open and ready to learn the right way, not the quick-get-it-playing way. I'm pretty sure I can get access to anything I need to accomplish this. When I do my first flame maple LP, I want to go into with some degree of confidence in the methodology, the skill, I'm sure, will come at it's own God-given (or not given) pace as long as I know I'm not using the wrong approach.

I want a smooooth, hiiigh-glosss, mirrror, deeeeep, finish. Colored, but with the grain.

Have at it. I have 1 mouth and 2 ears and prefer to use them in that proportion.

Thanks in advance!!

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Sounds like you have everything needed for a great finish.

First I'd sand it through at least 150, maybe 180. This is Ash which is forgiving to a point.

Next I'd take a damp sponge and wipe it all down. This will raise the grain. Take your final grit sandpaper and fold a i/4 sheet into thirds. Lightly sand the whole thing at 45 degrees to the grain. This shears off any of the raised nibs. Sand it back with the grain to get out any scratches that the last step put in.

Next I'd pore fill it. You can either use a neutral filler or you can tint it to the same color as you want to finish. Wipe it on, let it flash off (meaning it gets dull but not dry) and wipe it off against the grain so that you don't pull it all off. Let it dry bone dry. Sand it all over with whatever your finest grit was. Make sure you get all of the "glazing" off. It will show if you don't.

Stain it with a dye stain. Stew-Mac sells some good oones. So does Lee Valley. They will both raise the grain a little, but the wipe down step above helps minimise this.

I am a big fan of Deft. It is a modified nitocellulose lacquer and is easy to get a really beatiful deep finish with this stuff.

Thin the first coup;e of coats way down. If you don't want to use Deft get regular nitrocellulose sanding sealer and do the same. Get some 220 Tri-m-ite sandparer,the grey stuff. Fold it up like above and rub our each caot with the grain.

Wipe it off with a clean rag.

Shoot enogh coats of sealer on until you have a smooth completely covered finish.

Switch to your top coat. If your using Deft just keep building and sanding.

My rule of thumb is that when I get a coat that looks perfect when wet, I'm about 2 or three coats from being finished because of the rub out.

Let your last coat dry.

Rub it out with 400, 600, 900, 1200, and 2000

Buff it with a rubbing compund like 3-m Finessit, Maquires, or Presta.

Pat yourself on the head and enjoy your new guitar.

I'm sure that there are differing opinions on all orf this, but this is a simple direct route and relys on patience and elbow grease.

Gun settings and thinner proportions are pretty much experimental.

I recommend making a test board about 6x12 to experiment with first.

Check the forums here 'cause lots of folks have written a lot of good information.

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You should go to Reranch.com, download their instruction sheets and read them dozens of time until you're satisfied you can do it properly.

It sounds like the finish you're talking about is a "Fender Blonde" type finish but in blue, i'm not sure that's what you mean. If that is what you want that is achieved by filling the wood with neutral colored filler, sanding, couple of coats of clear lacquer, then color coats: the colors coats are a lightly pigmented lacquer.

The super smooth high-gloss part comes with the way you sand and buff your finish in the end. Read the reranch notes on this also.

Edited by Phil Mailloux
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