Jump to content

Please Confirm I Have This Right

Recommended Posts

Hi there,

I,m new to this informative forum. I have read a lot of the posts and need somebody to check that I am on the right track and troubleshoot me if i,m not.

I am making a five string solid bodied electric violin for my son, and want to finish it using guitar techniques.

I have never done this before and am scared witless. Somebody please read my plan of attack and correct where neccessary.

Sand the body till as smooth as a babies bum.

Clean off with a solvent.

Tack cloth

Dye the wood with my chosen colour, (blue or red still deciding)

Sand first coat of dye.

Clean off.

Apply second coat of dye to desired shade.

Sand lightly.

Clean off.

Tack cloth.

Double pass of sanding sealer.

2nd double pass of sanding sealer.

Sand till slightly white. not sanding through

clean off.

Tack cloth.

3rd double pass of sanding sealer.

4th double pass of sanding sealer.

sand smooth.not sanding through

clean off.

first pass of clear lacquer.

up to 7 more passes of clear lacquer.

dont panic if surface dries like orange skin, and watch for blemishes, fish eyes, runs, deal with if required.

start to burnish using wet and dry abrasive from about 800- 2000. till desired polish acheived watch edges.


burnish with four grades of burnishing compound, then swirl remover.

Polish with good quality guitar polish, then wish i'd gone to and expert.

Thanks to all responants.

John in scotland

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've only lacquered 4 guitars, but that sounds pretty thorough and should work nicely. One thing I would add is to leave it for ages before you rub it down and polish it. I used cellulose and left my guitars to hang in an airing cupboard for a month before rubbing down and polishing. Lets the lacquer harden properly.

As for violin, I quite fancy the idea of making an electric. I'm a grade 5 violinist and used to play scottish dance music back in the day. I reckon my band could find a use for a violin somewhere. Our singer also has grade 5. What did you use for electronics? I'm going to research this :D I'm having issues amplifying my acoustic violin. More than 80 years old. Sounds really nice, even with the cheap-o strings i used to use. Might find it and see if I can still play it :D


Link to comment
Share on other sites

A baby's bum may be a bit too smooth, sand the body to 320 grit. You may want to rethink so many coats of sanding sealer - it can be a bit milky and may diminish the depth or look of the grain or figured top. We substitute lacquer for the sanding sealer on transparent finishes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your method seems pretty thorough to me. Regarding your lacquer coats - if you have access to a sunbed, stick your violin on it after lacquering - I harden all my laquer coats off this way and it's way, way quicker. Also have you considered using a dye in your lacquer coat for applying colour? - may not bring out the grain in the wood quite so well but cuts out a lot of your stages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Rookie, let me begin with a simple rule, "depends what laquer you going to use, and what kind of finish effect you want", is the procedure you'll going to use!. If I understood, you want this violin in a translucent color, if that is the case, depends what kind of wood top you'll stain, it is a figure wood top, you shouldn't sand it to smooth, this will resist the penetration of the water base stain, in this case, start with 220 sandpaper, for example, if you going to stain a figure top in blue, you will make two mix, one very dark blue almost black, and the other with the intensity of the final blue you like, remenber to check the intensity of the color in a piece of wood similar than the one you going to stain. One trick is heat up the dark stain, thats help penetrate deeply the stain in the grain, if you goin to add alcohol in the water stain mix, you shoul do this steps, heatup water to boiling in a pan, turn off the heat and put a bottle of stain inside the pan of water and let it warm, then apply it with chiessel cloth or any soak material, use gloves or you going to have for few days your fingers looking good!, don't get in shock the way it's looks, because you'll goin to sand it again, when you do it, it'll going to look with a lot of dark spot, thats ok!, now you going to apply the lighter color, start with a very light color intensity, and then continue applying coats of water stain until get into the color intensity you whant, remember to le it dry between coats, but just do this in high figure woods. If the wood is not figure you should'nt use water stain if you don't have the skills, it is better if you stain it with alcohol stain by spraying, it will be ease and look more even. Then, I don't use sanding sealer, I don't like the way it looks in the end of the finish, the way I do it in my guitars is using the same laquer as a under coat, thats mean a lot of coats, but it also means a brilliant final color, if is a acustic violin, use nitrocellulose laquer, if is solid, urethane or acrilic. Nitro gets more coats and is more difficult to apply, runs very easy, you start with four coats of laquer 60% laquer 40% thinner, and sand with 600 grit, don't use lower because if you don't have the skills, you going to "touchdown" the wood, 600 wet sand will give you more resintance but also make you go more " baby steps" in this stage. Repeat this steps untili you see a very smooth surface, then, you can do one of two things, one coat of translucent of course of the same color or, go straight to the top coats, this time laquer ratio it will be 50/50 (nitro), but remember to be carefull with the laquer run. When you finish all the topcoats, 1500 grit wet sand, 2000 grit, then, the sandpaper backwards, if you don't have a buffer, you can do it with a handrill foam buffer, you can buy this buffer in any body shop store, use 3M FINAL CUT compound and lets see how it looks. If you want to see some of my work, you can go to Guitarzonepr.com also you can write to navarro@guitarzonepr.com and I will help you in any cuestion you have! good luck with your proyect!!

Mike Navarro/Guitar Zone Custom Guitars

Link to comment
Share on other sites

hi, Mike

Thanks forr your reply and my delay in responding, but have spent the last week having and starting to recover from a heart attack !!!!!! new this painting thing was way to much pressure. Right what about this then.

The wood is well figured sycamore, cut in 1992 fro a 200 year old tree, and figured a bit like the Bad Boy Blue Strats, hence the blue colour decision.

I am goin to have to take it real easy for a while, so I have looked around here in Fife Scotland for somebody to paint the thing for me. But all I can find apart from car paintshops is one bike custom gu. Howeer he only shoots 2 part. It has been suggested to me that since sanding etc is out of the question for a while is that I use coloured lacquer, in either red or blue available from Manchesterguitartech.co.uk. They are nitro cans, and it has been suggested 2 or 3 coats then swith to clear.

The fiddle is solid, andfairly thin, and I am really looking forward to posting a pic on this site.

Best regard


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...