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I Need Some Help

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Me and my dad just did the final coat of pain and are ready to do the Clear Coat. We are confused, are we supposed to sand it smooth (the paint) or let it be matte? Also, we are going to be buying a Drill Buffer from StewMac, how do we do that?

Don't sand. The clear is what's supposed to be shiny.

Not sure what you're asking about the drill buffer...how do you buy it? I'd recommend getting the Micromesh buffing pads instead, they work really well. Look in the sandpaper section.

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if the paint is completly dry, you have to scuff it so the next layer has something to grab on to;

when i paint, i let the last colour coat flash off then hit it with a 'not to wet' coat of clear, so that before i start the clearcoating process your not scratching the paint directly with the chance of sand-thru.

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If you're using nitro, there is no need to sand the color coat. Try not to touch it either, you don't want to get dirt and oils on it.

Do you only have one buffer? Only use one compound per buffer. So, if you plan on using a coarse/medium/fine polishing schedule, or something similar, you'll need a buffer for each. You should find this useful: http://reranch.com/reranch/viewtopic.php?t=20556 Look at Structo's post, the eighth post down (the long one with pictures). He describes how he used Stew-mac's buffing pads and polishing compounds. The rest of the thread may hold useful tips as well.


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This is not for everyone. ( disclaimer)

What I have been doing for years is this;

Every 3 coats of finish ( clear, color, it don't matter) I sand with 220 grit.

I build and sand. It may seem like a waste of time and finish, as I am sanding most of it off.

I do this to get a smooth,level, yet very thin coat. Very thin.

The last coat of color I sand as well. When I hit it with clear, it's all good.

I will build up a few extra coats of clear over the color to prevent sand thru to the color. ( 5 coats)

Then I sand with 220 again. and repeat ( build , sand)

The last coat I spray with a thinned out mixture to melt all the sanding scratches together.

Usually I can go straight to 2000 grit, then onto the buffer.

If you are using spray cans, you would have to go through different grits of sandpaper.

I hope this is of some use.


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If it's nitro you definitely DO NOT need to sand.

The nature of nitro is that it uses acetone as its solvent. The acetone will act as a solvant on the existing coats as well -- doesn't really matter how dry they are, and at any rate, the color coats won't have cured after only a day or two.

The acetone cuts into the existing coats -- no need to scuff sand either--because acetone is a solvant for the nitro, it DISSOLVES the components. A quick flash coat before a true wet coat is sufficient.

The acetone is the reason why nitro works as well as it does -- because it causes the various coats to physically combine together, and in the process helps each coat settle in.

If sprayed properly (helps to have the canned warmed up, I've found), you'll end up with very little orange peel on your clear coats. Then it's easy to buff the finish out.

I even think it's a waste of time to sand between clear coats -- assuming the surface has been properly prepped, including the sealer coat, the clear should go on just fine.

I now believe the sealer coat is the most important part of the finish to get correct -- that's where you want to make sure to properly level sand. The better the sealer coat, the better the final finish.

And definitely wear gloves anytime you approach the guitar. And get a respirator for the spraying.

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So we do not sand this final color coat? I spoke to the ReRanch guys they told us use this 3M Machine Polish.

You need to spend more time reading up on this, get a better understand of the steps in the process before moving forward.

Polish comes at the very END of the entire process --they'll usually contain substances that will interfere with the nitro's adherence. You are NOT trying to polish the color coat. That's there only to give...color. You polish the clear coat, AFTER it has cured for at least a month or so.

Seriously, spend some time in the finishing tutorials section. A couple of days' worth of reading will make this clearer for you.

Then do some searching -- especially Maiden69's threads --he's posted some great info in the past that has really helped me out a lot.

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