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So Can Poly Do This?


Mickguard
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Yes, I've read through all of the posts about poly (and poly vs. nitro, etc.). Lots of helpful advice, and I've got a good understanding of the pros and cons of poly--I'm talking about the kind of poly a bodyshop sprays.

But I'm still not clear on one thing: Will a poly finished guitar never get that nice aged look (chips, scratches especially, I'm not so concerned by the color change) that a nitro-covered guitar can get?

Reason I'm asking is that the local body shop is willing to finish my guitar for me --they've got the fancy booth, all the equipment. But they only shoot polyurethane. And he tells me I won't find any other shop that sprays nitro.

I'm not against poly, it's just that I'm not sure it's really going to give me the look I want. Which is a guitar that will 'wear out' over time, get that really nice worked in look (not necessarily reliced, just whatever happens through daily use). I really hate the look of 'dipped-in-plastic' guitars.

If you say that poly will NEVER get that kind of feel to it, then no problem, end of story. I'll keep hunting down nitro (found the paint, but not the lacquer in spray cans). And I'll go through the hassle of spraying in my office (means I won't be able to work here for a few days, but I can keep it warm enough to spray in winter). And all the worry about botching the job.

But if anyone can show me a photo of a well-used poly covered guitar, I'd really appreciate it.

The guitar's a telecaster, of course, which is why it's important that it will eventually have the worn-in look.

Of course, I like some of the other pros about going to the body shop --they do good work there (at least the car he was working on looked great), and the job will certainly look professional ---anything I do will be 'decent' but won't fool anyone as a pro job. I'm getting better at it, but I'm still far from a really good-looking finish job.

Poly also requires less or no wetsanding/buffing. And of course poly cures really quickly, so I'll be able to play the guitar that much sooner. Oh yeah, and the body shop will end up costing me less than doing it myself.

Still, after all the work I've put into this one, I'd hate to end up with a plastic-looking guitar.

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the oldest guitar i have is 13 years old or so....it is a japanese poly covered ibanez,and aside from a slight belt rash in the back and a small cloudy spot where my pinky rests sometimes while playing,it looks the same as the day i bought it...

some would find that desireable(like me)

but no,i donot think it is what you say you want.i have never sprayed real nitro(only out of a spray can)...but the higher end product i am using right now(the varnish i mentioned in the sherwin williams thread) is much,much easier to make a proffesional looking end product with as opposed to the rattlecans...so i can only assume that the higher end the product,the easier the applicaion...but i am in no way even really good at finishing yet...

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Poly wont age, like you want it to, ever. Sure, it might crack ONCE, but it wont get the tight cracking like a real vintage relic. It is extremely resistant to chipping, so to get it to chip, you really have to hit it hard... you dont want that... lots of small light knocks give a guitar an aged well worn look, several gaping holes just looks like you dropped it off a cliff.

Most 'car paint' places has awesome equipment, and zero ability to lay down a coat of non orange peel paint. They deal with hondas, hyundais, and other things that arent held less than a foot from your face on a daily basis. Sure, they MIGHT do a great job, but ive only seen a handful of panel beaters do a good job on wood.

Poly is EXTREMELY hard to wet sand and buff. Nitro is easy.

If you get someone else to do it, you wont have learnt anything, right? I reckon you should give it a go, its easier than you think, and rewarding.

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If you get someone else to do it, you wont have learnt anything, right? I reckon you should give it a go, its easier than you think, and rewarding.

True. And the truth is, I'm getting better at it each time I try. (It's also true that I didn't get right up close to the car....on a side note, the guy who was spraying wasn't wearing a respirator...I mentioned that, he kind of grinned sheepishly...)

But yeah, if the guitar isn't going to show off all the bumps and bruises I give to it, then it's not worth it.

Guess I'll give that nitro-alkyd lacquer a try (I haven't found true nitro-cellulose here yet).

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Just take a close look at any factory auto finish. What GM would call a nice finish, we call orange peel. You'll have a ton of leveling and buffing to do. But automotive poly will go on thick, so you'll have that going for you.

The cracking you're referring to is commonly called "checking", and poly won't check in a million years.

The vintage teles that are all nicely checked have a thinner coat than more modern instruments. I have a '84 Les Paul with a nitro finish that has nary a check on it. Plenty of dings, but no checks. :D

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Poly wont age, like you want it to, ever. Sure, it might crack ONCE, but it wont get the tight cracking like a real vintage relic. It is extremely resistant to chipping, so to get it to chip, you really have to hit it hard... you dont want that... lots of small light knocks give a guitar an aged well worn look, several gaping holes just looks like you dropped it off a cliff.

Most 'car paint' places has awesome equipment, and zero ability to lay down a coat of non orange peel paint. They deal with hondas, hyundais, and other things that arent held less than a foot from your face on a daily basis. Sure, they MIGHT do a great job, but ive only seen a handful of panel beaters do a good job on wood.

Poly is EXTREMELY hard to wet sand and buff. Nitro is easy.

If you get someone else to do it, you wont have learnt anything, right? I reckon you should give it a go, its easier than you think, and rewarding.

+1 ... I'm glad someone else said it. :D

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id check into places that paint motorcycles(and helmets). THEY deal in paint up close, and are used to High detail work. The place I talked to said it would paint anything as long as it holds still long enough..

and Ive seen there work, so I trust it. he would use nitro, but I think I prefer the poly.

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Poly wont check in a million years... they are designed to be weatherproof thats why they are used on cars. If you want to know what poly looks like when they are well used, take a look at any CBS era strats and you will get an idea. I saw some at a guitar shop, they don't go for very much at all, just slightly more than a new Fender American Deluxe. Some of them are scratched up and all, which is fairly standard. One had a huge section of paint peeled off from the basecoat. Thing is they usually use polyester sealer then cat poly, and when both of these cure they stick to nothing so they rely on mechanical bond (as in coarse sandpaper) to get it to stick. Also only way you are going to chip poly is either hit it with a sledge hammer or drop it from the 10th floor.

Not many body shop will spray nitro because of environment laws...

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I found this link Lacquer by Design , helps to explain things. At any rate, I've been reading up, I have a better understanding now about why nitro-cellulose is what it is and does what it does.

I can understand why some of you prefer what poly can offer, sure. My strat (late 80s MIJ) is basically bulletproof...I think that's why the previous owner painted over it, so he could make it look reliced.

I found nitrocellulose lacquer and sealer here in France --looks like it's the same price as the cans of Clou (in Germany, doesn't seem to exist here). Pretty expensive -- 13.50 a can.

Which is why I'm tempted by Belton Molotow Premium...but they claim to be 'nitro-alkyd' lacquer and paints. And although I now know that all NC lacquers contain alkyds, I haven't found anything explaining to me what a 'nitro alkyd' might be. Seems to me it's more of an acrylic? I'm tempted to try it --I think Deft is supposed to be nitro-alkyd?

The helmet shop idea is an interesting one --I'll check into that. Or maybe a sign-painting shop? The best would be to find a shop that will let me do the work, but in their booth.

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Each type of paint has its own special techniques required, to get a premium finish. Most spray painters these days have not heard of nitro, let alone used it. Just keep that in mind.

Yeah, I decided that I have to do this myself anyway...at least I can blame myself if things go drastically wrong :D

Just ordered my paint...it's going to be the most expensive part of this guitar, by far...

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