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Tinting Nitro With Stewmac's Colortone Dyes


IPA or death
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Here's my situation: I borrowed a couple of new spray guns from my uncle to finish my guitar. I have a small compressor which I have sprayed clear coats (Behlen nitro) with on the same guitar and it has been working pretty well so far. That was with the larger of the two guns btw, now with the sunburst part I'm using the smaller one.

But when I put a few drops of colortone tobacco brown into the cup with some nitro, it sprayed fine at first then the color largely disappeared. Should I first mix the dye in some alcohol then add it to the lacquer? Would that make a difference do you think? And is it okay to put alcohol into the lacquer in the first place or should/could I mix it with some lacquer thinner?

Thanks for any tips.

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Mix the dye into a little bit of thinner, stir, then add the thinner to your lacquer and stir again.

Technically, you CAN add the dye right into the lacquer itself and stir, but it's better to break it down with a little thinner first.

After you do this, you should spray some onto a scrap piece to see whether you've got enough dye in your mix or not.

To have a lot of color come shooting out then it goes to nothing is VERY strange, Drak thinks you did something a little odd there...

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:D Drak, I'm not above doing something a little odd, that's for sure. :D

Come to think of it, IPA could have dripped colortone into the lacquer and it sank to the bottom of the cup before I...I mean HE could stir it up. That could explain the color fading as the lacquer was sprayed.

It will definitely take some trial and error to get it to match what's already on there. Of course, it's on top of a few coats of clear so I could rub it off and start over, right? How to best do this I wonder? Just a rag with a little thinner on it I'm guessing?

Thanks for the help.

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If it's just a light coat or two sprayed over a good clear base, Drak ( :D) likes to use Abralon sanding pads, they do a nice job of removing a light spray coat of lacquer.

Using thinner on a rag would, OTOH, be disastrous.

Yeah, that thinner on the rag would have been ugly. I didn't do that upon further consideration.

I just decided to spray some more color on the burst ring to even things out. I did like you suggested and put a few drops of dye into a bit of thinner, then stirred it into the lacquer before it could sink to the bottom of the cup. It turned out slightly darker than I originally planned, but it looks great so I'm happy.

All I need now is a couple of clear coats and some patience.

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