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Best Indoor/cold Weather Finishes


Ripthorn
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Hi all, I am getting near the finishing stage on one of my guitars that I am refinishing (and putting a new fretboard on) and the weather here is not conducive to spraying nitro outdoors and I live in an apartment in a college town. I have been doing a lot of reading on things such as wipe-on poly, rockhard, ktm9, shellac and others. I have used tru-oil and like it really well, but for this guitar, I want something with a pretty high gloss, inexpensive and that is hopefully a little harder than tru-oil. From what I understand, wipe-on poly produces pretty good results as does the ktm9. My only issue with ktm9 is that it is more expensive and I don't have anything to order from LMI at the moment. Anyway, I just thought I would put the question to you and see what you think. I am leaning towards wipe-on poly because it is available pretty cheap locally, though if public opinion weighs in strongly in favor of something else, I may give that a try.

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I used polycrylic quite a bit for applying decals to headstocks. Works wonderful for that......doesn't mess with the fragile decal far as melting is concerned. I've used both from the can thinned a tad through a spray gun and now I just use the rattle can for it. Stuff has a funky odor...think it's on the softer side for finishes as well. I used stewmac's water base lacquer a few years back. Completed a body in the winter months spraying in my basement with a spraybooth. Used a portable heater and lights to control heat. Had filtered vents for airflow through the spraybooth. I had quite a bit of white powder everywhere in my shop after that since I couldn't vent it outside. Worked very well far as a finish...main thing is it allowed me to do that finish under undiserable conditions...humidity,temp,and indoors. Something I would never ever do with nitro!!!. I'm finishing one now using epoxy as my filler and going with tru oil over that. You can get quite a nice finish with this method....plus easy to apply and safe. All in all it's what you want out of your finish and the time and tools your willing to commit. My experience is nothing worth while comes easy. I like the lacquer finishes and done my share. Thing is they are a lot of work....tricky spraying,lot of sanding and final buff. That's why I lean towards oil finishes these days.

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I use KTM-9. I spray it mostly, but just finished building a necklace and a dodecahedron-shaped box for it for my girlfriends birthday and needed to put a finish on it. It's gotten cold, so I figured I'd experiment with brushing on KTM-9. It worked well, but it was a bit tricky to get it to go on level. It's sort of a "by feel" thing that's hard to explain, although the brushing instructions on the LMI website were a good start. This was also a piece with lots of small areas, nooks and crannys. I think a guitar, where more surfaces are flat planes, might be a bit easier to tackle.

But yeah, no real smell or fumes at all, and worked well. Might set up a bit more work for yourself when you get to wetsanding and buffing than if you had sprayed if things don't go well, but all in all should be all right.

I don't have a lot of real experience with other finishes, so I can't compare and contrast, but I've been very happy with KTM-9 so far for everything I've used it for.

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