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Finishing Help Please


Kim94595
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I'm just at the stage of rubbing out the lacquer clear coat on my guitar and having a little problem. I shot about 20 coats of nitro cellulose on everything and waited a few weeks for it to cure. Sanded with 800 through 2000 with wet'dry paper and then buffed out by hand. I started with the headstock, control covers and PUP rigs (all made of wood, of course.) My problem is that while wet sanding, water got under the finish in a few places where I have holes through the wood. Like where the tuning pegs are in the headstock. This caused a few fine cracks in the lacquer, radiating out from those holes. Very depressing. Now I'm afraid to sand the body. I didn't think I was using that much water .... but maybe? Any suggestions?

Thanks a lot.

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Did you cover/plug the holes prior to clearcoat to avoid getting laquer in there? Thats the only way I can think of where water would actually get inside. I've heard of people having similar problems with wood swelling because they left bare wood by protecting those areas. I usually don't bother to cover or plug holes and let the laquer (or poly) overspray coat their inside surfaces. That way those areas (drilled holes, routs etc.) are sealed and protected from water getting in. The holes can always be redrilled later.

As it is, I would leave it and let it dry out thoroughly and then figure out some way to prevent water absorption so you can finish wetsanding. Those cracked areas might have to be resanded and recoated, this time making sure you get some laquer on the inner walls of the holes to prevent it happening again. Also, when wetsanding I keep a roll of paper towels handy and usually will go thru 1/2 a roll in one 2 hr sanding session. I mop up excess water often and don't let it sit for very long, while constantly checking my progress. If you are worried about it , make dense paper towel plugs and countersink them into the tuning peg holes. Any water dripping in will be absorbed by the towel, just make sure they get changed now and then.

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Thanks very much for those helpful hints. I'll move on to the body now and be more cautious. Another question? On the parts I've done so far, I buffed them out by hand with a white polishing compound for autos followed up by a wax. It worked pretty well, but of course, it's a lot of work. Any better polishing compounds to use that are readily available items? And would it be easier to use a few different grades of polishing compound after the 2000 grit? I did read the tutorial here, but don't want to buff by machine ..... I don't have one and it seems really messy, and I'm only doing this one guitar. Again, thanks for your help, guys!

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Hi Seth .... the one I used is called Old English and it"s a "moisturizing wood treatment" (furniture polish). This stuff has been around for years and is really common. Ace hardware probably carries it. It comes in a few colors because some of it can be used to hide minor scratches. But the basic one is yellow (hence lemon). It has petroleum distillates (paint thinner) and some very thin oil in it. I doubt it has any lemon anything other than the color and smell. But for sanding it worked damn good! Don't need very much at all, easy on the hands (I didn't even wear gloves) and got my guitar to a mirror finish by hand. I love this place for those kind of helpful suggestions!

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