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Wet Sanding Laquer


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I'm in the process of the final wet sanding and polishing of my guitar. This is my first time using laquer or wet-sanding so I'm not exactly sure how it should go and I can't seem to find much detailed description. I've wet sanding from 600 up to 1500 and the finish is still lacking a gloss or shine (I was under the impression that 1200 grit and above would be polishing and bringing out the shine)

Can someone explain what I might have done wrong and how to bring out the really glossy look?


Edited by ryema22
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You will start seeing a dull "sheen" with the finer graded sandpapers, but not a "gloss". You have to use buffing compounds to get the final gloss. You should be able to stop at 1500 and go to the medium buffing compound, followed by fine, then swirl remover. But first make sure you have removed the sanding scratches from all the previous grits. Take your time sanding (but be careful not to sand through) because any sanding scratches you leave behind will be visible after buffing.

Stewmac's guitar finishing videos (there are others, but that's the one I have) will be helpful if you are unfamiliar with final sanding and buffing out a finish.


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You're never going to get a good high gloss without buffing out your guitar. The easiest, cheapest way to do this is to buy a few foam buffing pads & some buffing compound from your local auto store. You'll need fine cut compound, swirl remover & some wax.

Since the body is sanded up to 1,500 already, you can buff out the guitar with ease. Just take the fine cut compound, swirl it onto the body & begin buffing. Start slowly with the speed and begin working your way up until the whole body is like a mirror. Start with the top, then the sides & then the back. Once that's finish, get a new pad and do the same with the swirl remover (make sure you give the lacquer time to cool off). You may want to go a little bit faster and use a lighter touch with swirl remover. Let the body hang overnight and wax it & you're done. Readers digest version indeed :D



Edited by AlGeeEater
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Thanks for the fast responses guys. I thought that might be the case, but I wanted to make sure that the buffing compounds would in fact do the trick.



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If at all possible, practice buffing on scrap (an old beater guitar works) before you start on the real thing. It takes a little time to get comfortable with the foam pads on a drill, and you can buff through on the edges very easily if you aren't careful.

I used some Meguiar's foam pads with a hook/loop backing on my random-orbit sander. The RO sander is easier to control than a drill and you can get a nice gloss.

You can also buff by hand, but it takes a ton of time and elbow grease. :D

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I use a constant-speed rotary drill mounted in a vise, with the StewMac pad pointed toward me at an angle. Then I can use 2 hands to hold the piece being buffed, and vary how hard I push down.

Use a separate pad for each compound and only that compound, never mix them up, never get two different compounds on the same pad. If you do, toss it and use a new one.

Always be very careful around the edges, you can buff through the lacquer there pretty quick. Always make sure the pad is spinning OFF the edge, never INTO the edge.

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