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Polishing Process

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I am in the process of painting a guitar body. i have primed it. sprayed it. and added 8 coats of laquer. Sound good? Now I need to know how to get rid of orange peel, and then how to get it to a glossy finish ( like a good paint job, lol). The products to use would be greatly apprecciated... Thanks- Scott

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just a copy and paste from a response I wrote a while back, but the heading was something different, makes sense to put it here again.......


Basically there is no secret to a factory finish, just lots of patience, practice and elbow grease.

First step is to make a trip to www.stewmac.com and buy the product Micro Mesh.

Second step is to decide on your clear coat, I use Poly Urethane 2 part automotive clears. (PPG, DuPont, RM etc)

Now, Step 3 is patience, you need to spray and sand. I Spray a few coats (even coverage) on the body, waiting about 30 minutes in between coats, these coats are important to get on fairly thick, or in the next step you'll take off color finish on the corners. So spray them on thick, then let them cure for 24 hours. Start with 600 Grit sandpaper wet with water, DON'T ADD SOAP like some people say. Unless you use only Ivory bar soap, it has no oil in it, anything with an oil in it, you will not get a good finish in the next steps. So, take your sandpaper (block it with a hard block) and sand the body with the 600 until it is totally flat, no runs, no bumps, nothing. There will be little tiny scratches everywhere, thousands of them. Next, take 800 grit and repeat the process. If you had the clear spray out nice, this should only take about 2 hours. If you've got runs, and lots of bumps, more like 4 probably. Careful on all the edges or you'll end up right through your color coat.

Step 4, ok, now your arm is sooooo sore, you won't wanna spray another coat, to bad, we want to get the next coats on withing 36 hours of spraying the first ones. So, I generally spray 3 more "wet" coats on at this point. Then, guess what, you do it all over again, starting with the 600 grit, only this time, after we finish with the 800, we jump to the micromesh, start with the 2400, 3200, 3600 and then 4000. Each time being sure not to change grits until you've taken out all the scratches from the last grit. at 4000, it will be looking pretty good, but not factory. So.........

Step 5, now we spray again, I do 2 coats at this point, only sprayed on a little thinner. Careful, we don't want runs at this stage. You can start with the 2400, and work your way to the 4000 again after these 2 coats.

Step 6, now we've done all our spraying and sanded to 4000 again. Then go after it with the 6000, 8000, and 12,000 grit, you'll want to push hard with the 8000, and 12000, this is more like burnishing than sanding. MAKE SURE ALL THE SCRATCHES FROM PREVIOUS GRITS ARE OUT!!!!!!!! if they aren't, all you'll do is magnify the scratches with the polished coats.

Step 7, ok, last step (hmmmm, and 7? LOL) while you were ordering from stew mac, you can order some swirl remover, I like to apply it with the foam buffing pad you can buy and chuck in your dril. . once you've got it all polished with the swirl remover, leave it sit another 3 or 4 days, then, put your guitar back togehter, and enjoy it.

The process is the same with laquer only you'll end up spraying about 15 or 16 coats of laquer, and you want to wait a good 2 weeks before you do your final sanding and polishing, laquer shrinks forever.


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