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What Do I Use To Remove The Finest Of All Scratches?


SJP
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Hi all, I am just wondering what polish to use on my freshly painted guitar to remove the finest of the fine scratches. I used 3M Finesse-it ll after sanding to 12,000 grit, and then tried to use Meguairs Scratch X: fine scratch and swirl remover to get the rest of the scratches out... but it didnt't quite get all of them out. As in, theres scratches all over it! As far as I can tell they are from the last polish I used. The guitar is very, very shinny now, but still not quite there.

So what polish should I use next? At my local paint store they have 3M Perfect:2000, 3M Perfect:3000, and 3M Perfect:Final Cut. I've read about these polishes and heard they worked good, but I couldn't figure out which I should use last! So if anyone can help me out that would be great. This is the last thing on my list until I can say I have officially completed my first electric guitar!

Thanks in advance,

SJP

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I don't think the compounds are the problem, because it sounds as though you have a nice polished surface mostly, but with (lots of fine, or a few larger) scratches. Or both. Usually, these three things could be going on:

(1) when you stepped down through the grits, you didn't remove all the scratches from the previous grits. When you step down in grit size, you need to polish down through the bottoms of the large scratches left by the previous grit. This will leave a few large-ish scratches that persist through the fine grits...i.e. you can recognize the same scratches still there after each buffing stage.

(2) you didn't clean off the body well enough between grits (esp. inside neck & pickup routs, screw holes, etc), and you have a few boulders of the previous grit(s) getting pushed around by the next-finer sized grit. Will also leave a few large-ish scratches.

(3) you're using the same buffing cloth for your two different buffing compounds. Each of these various compounds actually have different sizes of uber-fine grit (like, microns in size) and if you use the same buffing pad for both, you're actually trying to buff with a mixture of different grit sizes. You want to dedicate a separate pad for each buffing compound, and never cross-contaminate them. This will generally give you what looks like a nice mirror surface with lots of very fine scratches all over...like, thinner-than-hair scratches.

Depending on what your scratches look like, all 3 of these things could be going on at the same time. The key here is to be super **** about cleaning off the body between grit sizes, and doing a really close inspection with light bouncing off the surface to make sure you have a nice uniformly matte surface, before moving to the next finer grit.

If none of those three is your problem, you may just need to spend a little more time on the buff-out. I find that it looks about 90% good after just a few minutes, but to get to 100% takes a bit longer.

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As a related question, I just finished the final (let's hope to god, eh?) clearcoat on Sunday, and I'm planning on getting the rest of the finishing done by the end of the week. I'm going to be using Meguiar's Fine Cut compound and then polish it out with Deep Crystal polish. Specially formulated for dark/black colors or some such.

Anyways, how much of the orange peel/general imperfections will the fine cutting compound take out? The clear went down awesome aside from being a little peel-y. Would it be better to fully sand down the clear until the orange peel is completely gone, then compound, then polish? The reason I'm asking is because I've never used a cutting compound/buffed anything out before, and I don't know how abrasive the compounds are.

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(1) when you stepped down through the grits, you didn't remove all the scratches from the previous grits. When you step down in grit size, you need to polish down through the bottoms of the large scratches left by the previous grit. This will leave a few large-ish scratches that persist through the fine grits...i.e. you can recognize the same scratches still there after each buffing stage.

(2) you didn't clean off the body well enough between grits (esp. inside neck & pickup routs, screw holes, etc), and you have a few boulders of the previous grit(s) getting pushed around by the next-finer sized grit. Will also leave a few large-ish scratches.

(3) you're using the same buffing cloth for your two different buffing compounds. Each of these various compounds actually have different sizes of uber-fine grit (like, microns in size) and if you use the same buffing pad for both, you're actually trying to buff with a mixture of different grit sizes. You want to dedicate a separate pad for each buffing compound, and never cross-contaminate them. This will generally give you what looks like a nice mirror surface with lots of very fine scratches all over...like, thinner-than-hair scratches.

Depending on what your scratches look like, all 3 of these things could be going on at the same time. The key here is to be super **** about cleaning off the body between grit sizes, and doing a really close inspection with light bouncing off the surface to make sure you have a nice uniformly matte surface, before moving to the next finer grit.

If none of those three is your problem, you may just need to spend a little more time on the buff-out. I find that it looks about 90% good after just a few minutes, but to get to 100% takes a bit longer.

Thanks for the great reply "Erikbojerik". Well I can say confidently that your first and third suggestions probably aren't the problem, because I made sure to work each and every grit VERY thoroughly, and I DID use a different buffing pad for each compound. The second suggestion about making sure to clean off the body between grits was something that I never did. So it seems maybe that could be the problem. But you say that forgeting to do this would leave " large-ish" scratches, and the scratches that are in my finish seem to be even, continuous, and very fine; as if I still have a finer compound to go through. So that brings me back to the original question. Is there a compound out there that gets out very, very fine scratches, scratches ALMOST invisible? When I say almost invisible I mean that you must hold the guitar in a certain light to see them, but once you see them you would notice they are all over the body. Thanks again guys for helping me.

SJP

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It still seems weird to me that after sanding to 12000 grit that you're seeing "scratches."

Is it possible that you're going a little extreme on what you're calling scratches? I'm looking at my guitars--if you hold them all to the light at a certain angle, yes, you can see some swirling on there, very regular, covering the entire surface. You have to be within an inch or two to see them, but they're there. Is this what you're talking about?

Or are the scratches more visible than that? How about posting a picture about what you're talking about --post a link to a high-resolution shot.

Another question: is it possible that the 12000 grit is actually finer than the compounds you're using--so you're actually re-scratching the surface?

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either you are more of a perfectionist than anyone i have met or there is a problem

and old mate is quite possibly correct, your pollishing compound may be coarser than 12,000 grit,

i dont know too much about the products you are using, but in my experience (somewhat limited at that) the compound should break down and get finer and finer till the is nothing but a freakin good shine, thats how the sruff that i cut'n'polished my car with does

failing that some of this should to the trick :D

turd-polish%20copy.jpg

:D

Edited by stiggz
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