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Finshing a Guitar - Need some pointers...


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Just recently I bought a fairly crappy old Onyx guitar second hand, and I am planning on refinishing it it and _maybe_ replacing the neck as a project.


Im in the process of reading the great documents from the Guitar ReRanch, however one thing out of all the sites ive read that hasnt been explained, is exactly what product acheives what with regard to all the terms that get thrown around...

Now at the moment im assuming my first step is to strip the body of its current finish with either chemical strippers or with sandpaper - Im 99% sure i can handle that without too many specific instructions; however its the next stage im pretty confused about.

Aside from just being boring and painting this thing black - the two options I am keen on is a wooden finish (ala James Hetfields Ken Lawrence Explorer), or a material finish (which i found out about from a tutorial on this website). Now I was planning on making a decision on how i would finish it after i had stripped it of its paint, since im not sure what the wood underneath is going to be like, however, could someone fairly breifly run down on whas required when finishing with a solid colour and for a wooden finish?

take wooden for example... At the moment I am assuming I would need some wood dye, like http://store.yahoo.com/reranchstore/andyecol.html, and then after applying that i would need to apply levels of something like http://store.yahoo.com/reranchstore/nitclearcoat.html ? Am I sort of on the mark?

So with painting a solid colour is the paint mixed in with the nitrocellulose stuff?

Sorry about the long post... but Im just in need of some guidance thats all :D

PS - I'm new, very nice forums/site.


- Dan

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The wood underneath the present finish will give you a better idea as to what you decide the final outcome. Not all woods look good with a natural finish. As far as adding a solid color to the nitrocellulose I have not heard of it being done that way. Normally the color is painted on and the clear finish is painted on afterwards.

There are quite a few different finishes. Some people like nitro, some like polyurethane, lacquer and there are more. It depends on what you want.

If the wood on the guitar is nice you can clear coat it or oil it.

But after all that I am not an expert on finishing. You can wait for more answers or keep looking on this topic by reading some of the posts under this topic.

Good luck; Hope it helps. Welcome to the forum too! :D

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Welcome to the forum Jivin :D

That kinda has a BC rich/Ibanez vibe to the style of body and headstock.

Anyway the confusing part about finishing solid color's is really just that since there are several ways to go about doing simular end result's depending on what tools you have available to work with and what your budjet is like for the job.

Still it's a pretty cool shape for a guitar to practice on, I think your going to have fun doing it either way (solid color/material finish).

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It will be helpful to know what type of wood us underneath that finish. That will determine some of your finishing process.

once you get it stripped and sanded, be sure to post a picture and we'll be better equiped to guide you through the finishing process.

Re Ranch is a great place to start - I found their instructions to be very good.

If you plan on using spray cans for the finish, adding toner to the lacquer isn't an option. If you have a compressor and spray equipment, it's a very viable option.

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Thanks a lot for the replies. As per some posts I will strip the paint off over the coming days and when thats done ill post another picture of it so you guys can give me some pointers.

So if im using spray cans (most likely), I would have cans of colour, and cans of nitrocellulose clear stuff? and i just do the colour on the wood and then the nitrocellulose?

is there a primer or something that needs to be put on before those?

Anyway, I will get rid of the paint and report back then :D

Thanks again,

- Dan

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Thanks for the tip Brian, however I think im more interested in a wooden or material finish, so would rather just take the risk and get rid of the existing finish so i can see what the wood underneath is like :D

A solid colour finish is sort of a last resort for me, as I would probably be doing it black if i did that (and even though it would be cool, maybe a tad boring?). If i took it all off and ended up doing a solid colour finish I might kick myself, but i figure i could just run over it with a course sandpaper to give the paint something to hold on to - heh.

Roughly how would I go about doing a finish thats a cross between solid colour and wooden? Like a wine red finish that still has some grain showing through?

From a bit of reading and trying to figure it out, atm im under the impresssion it would be basically just like the wooden finish, but instead of using a wood coloured wood-dye, i would use a dark red/wine red wood-dye, then i would use a matte nitrocellulose lacquer so that way its not all insanely reflective in the light? B)

Thanks _again_ ,

- Dan

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