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I know zip about paint, and only a little about finish. Tomorrow night I'm going to this:


I get that free is free, but as it relates to what we do, is there anything in particular I should keep an eye out for? I'm gonna get there a little early, and see if I can get first pick, or close to it.


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I'm sure it is house paint. I've read somewhere that any paint will work on guitars with a good finish, but as I remember, the conventional wisdom is to use stuff of the caliber they use on cars. Tim, I'm sure you know a lot more than me about this.

Regardless, I think it's worth stopping by. It's likely they'll have some scrap material I can use for jigs, and even if I can just pick up a couple of cans of house paint, I'm sure I'll find a use for them. I always do.

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I've read somewhere that any paint will work on guitars with a good finish

Umm...not really.Not latex house paint,or any house paint.It is too soft.You need a good hard finish,which is why automotive paints are used.The spray guns are wrong,too..

You can use "bar top finishes"...A lot of guys use those cans of Minwax poly and similar..I don't have good luck with that stuff holding up over the years,but it's better than house paint

I painted my first guitar with "house" enamel.It was way too soft and the texture was wrong.

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Well, my wife ended up grabbing a gallon of house paint. Some brown coffee color or something. As it turns out, it was an artist's studio. He was opening a restaurant, and just wanted the stuff out of his way. He was a really nice guy, and we'd already driven about a mile and a half out of our way to get there, so I figured I'd help him out and haul some of this stuff away. It was free, after all. Here's most of what I brought home this evening. Most of these cans are full, by the way.

A little bit of finish:


Some dyes (And paints? Not sure what that PTC stuff is yet. Anybody know?):


A miscellaneous assortment:


Here's most of the haul. It includes seventeen hardwood cabinet doors. Most of it is Alder, Ash, Birch, Maple, and the like. My wife will probably turn most of it into art projects, but I'll pick a few things out of there as well. I also got some little pieces of walnut and cherry, a beautiful piece of what I believe is Cedar (about 30" x 10" x 3/4") and a quarter sheet of 1/2" birch ply. Oh, and my wife got some shelves for the baby's room.


I figure I can put some of this stuff to use. What do you think?


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The real win here was that I actually needed a lot of that stuff. I was particularly excited about the Mixol and TransTint dyes. I was planning on buying some black and red soon. That's a full bottle of TransTint black there ($19.49 at Rockler), and more than a full bottle of the Mixol red (the $50 size bottle). Plus I have Mixol dyes in blue, green, yellow, and purple now. I needed some mineral spirits, though I'd never have bought that much. I was actually in need of a quarter sheet of 1/2" birch ply for a table saw sled I'm planning. Some of it I have no idea about (sanding sealer, masking stain, etc.), but it was all free. If nothing else, I can use it to put dirty words in my enemies' lawns.

If anybody knows anything about those finishes, I'm all ears.

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Yeah the tints are all good,and surprisingly I think the gallon cans you picked up are all usable for your guitars...though they will take time to cure hard enough to sand and buff.Most of it seems to be furniture or cabinet finishes,which are all fine for a guitar.

You need to research the nitro,the mohawk laquer, and the Campbell varnish to see if those are actually one part systems...I suspect they may require a catalyst to cure.If they do,it is a good thing,because catalytic finishes cure faster and harder.

Anyway,looks like you have some fun times ahead of you.I use those same Mixol dyes and a catalytic varnish to get any finish I want.

About the stains..I would not use those stains on a guitar...all they do is darken the wood,they are not really "colors" as much as they are just meant to make light woods the color mahogany,walnut,etc..You won't make a guitar look good with them IMO

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I found some things..the "nitro" is not catalytic and is not really nitro


The Mohawk is apparently nitro..one part,no catalyst


And the Campbell is also one part,no catalyst,and is also nitro


These are all cabinet finishes and will all work for guitars,though they will take time to cure.Hopefully they are fresh enough to use.Check the cans to see if they expire.

Keep in mind waterborne does not mean waterbased..these nitro laquers are not safe to breath...not even a little bit.You need good ventilation while it is curing...if you apply it too thick it can be days before the smell clears out.But you kind of hit the jackpot,surprisingly enough.You need to study up on how to use these things so youdon't do something wrong and screw the pooch inadvertently.For example..these things say 2-3 mils thick on the paperwork...you need to stick with that or they will not cure easily

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Tim, Yes I was one of the guys doing the Afri-Cans, and no offence taken.

Unfortunately the original designer died and things have gone completely dormant on that front but an interesting can still perks up my imagination.


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Just for the fun of it I tried Behr Premium Plus Metallic interior trim paint on some scrap and it worked fine. However, it was too thick to spray so it had to be reduced(alot)with water and tinted with TransTints to get the color I wanted. It's a waterbased 100% acrylic formula and I haven't seen it on the shelves for a couple of years(discontinued?) at my local Home Depot. I sprayed this paint on an Ash PRS style body and neck then sprayed a coat of waterbased clear(StewMac) with a little flake in it over that and when dry a few coats of a 2 part clear. It's several years old and is still holding up just fine. I still have enough finish left over for several guitar's. That being said, to make things easier for yourself you should stick to paints commonly used on the guitar.

Sometimes you get good results with products that you weren't expecting anything from at all. I haven't sprayed anything in a while and need to get some bodies prepped for painting soon.

Good Luck,


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