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Silicon in Polishing Compounds?


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Is silicon in polishing compound really all that bad when using a laquer finish? i am asking as the maguire's polishing compound is 3 times more than the turtle wax polishing compound, which apparently contains silicon. Yet on the top of the turtle wax container it says "recommened for rubbing down between coats of newly sprayed laquer and acrylic finishs." If they recommend it for in between laquer coats, shouldn't it be safe for laquer finishes? If i have to, i will shell the extra for the maguires stuff, but i would prefer to use the turtle wax.

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Hi Lowe :D (pun intended) Yes, that was ME who suggested not to use sillycon based polishes. I should have gone further in the other thread regarding the issue. Sure, you can use Turtle wax or any other silicon based compound to polish your guitar. But if you plan to refinish or make any kind of finish repairs at a future date, be prepared to strip down a few layers first. Silicon on top of cured laquer and poly is ok, but try to spray a clearcoat on top of silicon and you are headed for fisheye city. The stuff will not stick. They do say that 95% of guitars built will not be refinished. Speaking for myself, I prefer not to take the chance on any guitars that I build. I have a mahogany guitar thats got a thick poly finish on it and shudder at the thought of having to strip it all down to repair a few scratches. Poly is VERY unforgiving when spot repairing.


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That's why paint companies developed a product called Fish-Eye Eliminator. You use a little of that and it doesn't matter if you've soaked your guitar in silicon for the last five years, the paint's going to stick.

Buy it here: 8 oz or 4 oz

Don't know if it'll save you money over the non-silicon polish, but it's there if you don't want to have to worry about what you put on your guit!

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I feel the need to point out a distinction between silicon and silicone; most people don't realize that they are not the same thing.

Silicon: polishing compounds are basically suspensions of abrasives, and quartz is a commonly used abrasive. Most people in the abrasive industry will refer to this as silicon; all it is is little tiny chips of quartz (the actual crystalline mineral) sorted by grain size. Hard-core abrasive people will actually specify the grain size of the abrasive (e.g. 6 micron, 1 micron, etc etc); oh how I wish this was specified on bottles of polishing compound! The smaller the grain size, the more "mirror-like" is the finish. If removed properly after polishing (like all abrasives should be), it will not hinder the application of any finishing material (lacquer, poly, whatever).

Silicone: the stuff in fake boobs, it is a polymerized molecule (chains of Si and O atoms) that forms a rubbery film, definitely not a crystalline mineral. This is sometimes added to the suspension, and it is the bad stuff to avoid when it comes to applying finishes.

It is easy to confuse them, an axiom that unfortunately also applies to the manufacturers of polishing compounds. They seem to use silicon and silicone interchangeably, which means that if they say it contains "silicon" it may actually be silicone.

The polishing compound I have (I forget now what brand it is) says "silicon (quartz)", and I've had no troubles with it. I'll try to find the bottle when I get home.

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