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PlastiKote Auto Lacquer - Finish Schedule...?


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I am attempting to finish a Saga bass guitar kit, which comes with the neck and body already sanded and sealed. I am wanting to copy the Fender Sage Green Metallic, and the only available product I can find is PlastiKote Car Color in Sage, along with their Car Color Clear Coat.

The instructions in the manual that comes with the kit are: 1-2 coats of color (sanding not necessary if no drips/runs), 2-3 coats clear, cure one week, lightly sand #400, wet sand #600, rub out with Dupont White Rubbing Compound, polish with Mirror Glaze #7, polish with guitar polish.

My first attempt at this on scrap poplar wood did not go well - I sanded through to the wood with the #400, and all I could muster was a dull sheen.

The manufacturer's instructions on the spray can indicate 2-3 medium coats of color, 1 mist coat of clear, 1 wet coat of clear, cure 1 week, then use rubbing compound and/or polishing compound - no mention of sanding, although these instructions (I am assuming) are for auto bodies and not wood. At this point I'm not sure which to follow.

Most of the finishing schedules I see on the web and in books deal with nitro - any suggestions on a finishing schedule for auto lacquer? Thanks a million!!

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you can use the schedules for nitro, without the long wait for buffing. if you're using spray cans it wouldn't hurt to really build up the clear in stages to help ensure you dont sand through. you only need the 400 grit to knock down the high spots and get the finish level after that the finer grits are for removing scratches from the previous grits

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Same thing Scott said and also unless you really need it go with a finer grit like 600 or 800 to start with, always sand in one direction and when you change to the next finer grit of paper sand in a direction thats 90 degree's from your original pattern of sanding, this helps eliminate any deep grooves you might make while sanding.

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I try to start with 2000, but out of an aerosol can I doubt 2000 would be of much use to you. However, I wouldn't even try sanding out your clear until you have at least 12 coats on, aerosol paint goes on sooooooooo thin, you'll sand through in no time. 12 coats of plasti-crap is probably only equal to about 4 coats of a poly urethane sprayed on with a gun. Typically, all laquers can be equated to poly urethane's as such

1 coat of poly = 2.5 coats of laquer.

I generally do 8 coats of poly before I do a levelling and then spray 2 more coats of final clear, so 10 coats of clear total, that'd be 25 coats of your laquer clear. Yes, many many coats is that beneficial to you on a guitar body :D

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Thanks, guys! So I'm guessing I should put about 6 coats of color, and lots and lots of clear - which if you follow Dan Erlwine's schedule (one coat - dry 1 hour - no more than three coats a day) will take me about a month... patience is a virtue!

If I'm reading this right, I should sand to level the finish prior to my last coat or two of color and clear - correct?

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you only need to add enough color to get an even finish, 2 coats should do it if it's a solid color. Don't try to seal the wood grain with paint, use a sanding sealer and have that sucker smooth before you ever apply color. don't sand your color at all unless you get runs, then you will have to sand it and apply one more coat to keep it even.

Then start with your clear, since you're using a laquer, I would spray on a good 12 coats of clear, then level it and sand it out to 2000, then spray on about 4 more, for the simple fact that laquer shrinks so much it will magnify any sanding scratches left in your previous coats.

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I'm currently building an sg and I put on about 8 or 9 medium coats of colour and about 10 coats of clear. I know that sounds like a lot, but I had to sand a couple of times in between coats because I kept getting bubbles in the paint.

But like you said, practice on a scrap piece of wood to get the technique down pat and to figure out how many coats you need.

Good Luck :D

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