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Type Of Paint, Compressor Etc...help

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Okay…so I”ve been using spray cans for painting guitars. I’ve done 3 so far. They have come out pretty good, but not stellar…..almost to a dull shine and the worst part is I can still see the scratch marks from the wet sanding. I’ve gone as high as 3200 grit. So I am wondering is it because the lacquer in the can is so soft and stays soft. I let it cure for months after I clear coated.

What I was wondering I s should I change paint, get compressor, etc….. Where do I begin????

Any help would be great.


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I did the spraycan thing too.

I was able to acheive really nice results (looks wise), but you're absolutely right ... it's way too soft to use on a guitar and it won't last.

It will pick up impressions on just about everything it comes into contact with including carpet, your clothing, and even the fur lining of your guitar case.

Not only that, but the soft finish serves as a sound blanket to the body and causes your guitar to sound like poo. :D

No tone, no resonance ... it's horrible.

I bought a compressor/spraygun years ago and never looked back.

I use acrylic urethane and have been extremely happy with the results.

The paint fully cures in a day and is rock hard, which helps preserve tone and resonance.

It's a TRUE factory finish. :D

Edited by DGW
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What kind of rattlecan finishes are you using? While I'd never go back to rattlecan, different products will give you better results. Reranch's rattlecan finish, for example, is nitrocellulose; the same stuff factory guitars where finished with for decades.

As far as getting that shine - unless you wetsand all the way up with something like Micromeshes product (which goes all the way up to 12000 grit [notice the extra 0!]) you're going to want to buff out the finish, and then polish it.

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How big a compressor would I need. I don't even know type of spray nozzle etc. Anywhere you can point me would be great ...a tutorial maybe?

I'd go with a cheap HVLP system or just a low priced HVLP gun run off of a compressor. HVLP turbines provide you with air on demand, as soon as you turn it on, you're spraying and you never run out of air. The downside to HVLP turbines is that professional ones are EXPENSIVE, get hot, are louder than all out, and from my experience can be unreliable. We used professional grade turbines at work for years, but when they die, you're SOL and their repair costs are high. So a cheap little HVLP combo that does the job for maybe $200 isn't such a bad deal (Woodcraft has one for $69!). Compressors are nice because they're cheaper, and repair and maintenance is cheaper and easier. The downside to a compressor is that you run out of air sooner or later. You may also have to buy an adapter/regulator for your HVLP gun. Accuspray makes one, it's $50 and the quality is iffy (leaky). We switched to a compressor about a year and a half ago when our third turbine died. It's a 25gal Craftsman compressor, we bought a condensing unit for it to keep the lines clear of water and said HVLP adapter. The drawback to this is that the compressor is a bit small, and compressed air flows differently than a turbine. We have to set the tanks regulator to about 40PSI to keep the airflow up, and then dial it down at the gun to 10PSI to keep it HVLP and to not waste the air or damage the gun. I hope that gives you a little insight into the options available for HVLP.

Edited by Sand Paper
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great. thank you....i am using lauquer based rattle cans. The tiniest of things will scratch it.
Professional grade lacquer dries pretty darn hard. A lot of people on here use two part finishes and that is really the best way to do it. However, a nice professional grade one part nitrocellulose lacquer is a perfectly fine guitar finish IMO. We use the PPG Speedline series at work on furniture, and it takes a pretty good beating. Our methylene chloride (dichloromethane) based stripper takes a long time to remove it compared to say old varnishes, shellac, or oil finishes. Anything that stands up to the stripper like that gets good marks in my book.
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