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Finishing steps
Author
Post
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 273
I'm sure it's on here, but I couldn't find it upfront when I scanned the other posts.

Finishing: pore filler--> sealer--> lacquer?

Or does pore filler replace sealer, or are they in difference orders? I'm about to finish my second guitar build, and I did not use pore filler on the first on, I'd like to try it out this time around.

Dan

Nov 16, 09 | 11:42 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Deft is a high quality nitro lacquer “system” used by Master craftsmen and restorers (Don Teeter for one) around the world – those that dispute this are simply stating their preferences – the beauty is it can be purchased locally!

Deft system --- how easy is this!

Sand with the grain neck and body 150 to 320, gently round over the binding edges being careful to keep them square where they go under the fingerboard.

- CAREFULLY apply two 50/50 wash coats to the "top only" this helps protect the light face -- you do not get filler or stain on the top during the process

-- If NOT staining (I do not recommend stain for the first few guitars) apply a coat of wash 50/50 to the area that are to be filled - fill with Pore o Pac oil base the water base product is not recommended -- “very dark” to match the pore's natural color. Use artist’s paints (tubes)

- sand back 320 -- wait a day or more

- optional I do not recommend stain for a first guitar -- Apply the Miniwax stain --- wait 48 hours the stain must be completely dry!!

Remember wash coat is not applied if stain is to be used.

- apply three coats of DEFT lacquer sanding sealer 1 hour apart is good

- Wait a day then very carefully sand back to 320 do not go through the sealer -- you do not want to ruin your stain job -- its not necessary to remove all the sanding sealer

- apply three coat per day an hour apart is good -- the coats should be heavy, laid in over lapping rows as opposed the familiar brushing action

Because the layers are heavy, three per day to allow gassing off is a good idea. 12 coats sounds about right. The beauty of Nitro lacquer is that all the coats become one bonded layer --- each coats melts into the ALL previous coats.

There is no reason to sand between coats unless your brush marks get out of control or you get dust on the surface.

Here is an important trick -- the lowest grit for leveling the finish is 600, 1000 is even better. Lower grits are faster but inhibate professional results. I like the pink foam insulation material for sanding blocks. I found that wet sanding (a few drops of dish soap in the water) through 2000 wet or dry, McGuire's finish cut compound, and their final finish polish creates a mirror like surface. Three weeks for dry time is a little over kill, one to two week should be fine. Also 2000 wet or dry is finer than 2000 Micro Mesh.

Behlen's system:

http://www.behlen.co.uk/media/Behlen%20Guitar%20Finishing%20Instructions%20Using%20Aerosols.pdf

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978


Nov 17, 09 | 7:08 am
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
Alright so Filler --> Sealer--> Lacquer.

Thanks alot Ken, time to get my bindings cleaned up to get started.

Dan

Nov 17, 09 | 7:16 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
As indicated --- if you are not staining -- a wash coat which is a seal coat is applied "before" the pore filler. The Pore O Pac has a colorant and if the wood is not sealed it will in fact stain the surface of the wood and can cause an uneven appearance. The idea of the filler is to just fill the tiny holes in the wood -- nothing more.

Ken


Nov 17, 09 | 7:25 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Here's the main Behlen instrument finishing link

http://www.behlen.co.uk/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=behlen&Category_Code=FINGT

Note that not all finish systems work exactly the same --- the process is driven by chemical/product choice.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Nov 17, 09 | 8:12 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
Hey Ken
I used the Deft lacquer rattle cans. I used the sanding sealer on the top, about 3 coats under the lacquer. It seemed to work good. I did realize after putting about 3 cans on the body and neck that I was not spraying heavy enough. I think 4 to 5 cans sprayed at the right thickness per coat would have been about right. What do you think? I found the finish to be quite successful, even with my inexperience. I do think a couple of weeks to dry is probably a good idea as the finish could be wet sanded and polished at one week, but seemed still a little soft.

Dan
I used simple 2 part epoxy for pore filling, and it was easy, clean and quick.
Ken what is your opinion of using epoxy, especially under the Deft?

Kevin

Nov 18, 09 | 10:45 pm
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
What I've got now, is just the pore filler stewmac offers, I bought the can and didn't use it before so I'm trying it now. I've got 3 coats of the pore filler on my neck along with 3 coats of sealer that I need to sand down. I haven't touched the body yet. I believe I'm going to go with a satin finish again, MAYBE gloss on top, I'm not 100% sure, but the neck is definitely my trial run before I start the body up. I plan on using the Stewmac rattle cans again. I used them on my first build, and I liked that they were easy enough, this time I'll spend a little more time on the finish (i.e pore filling). We'll see how it goes.

Dan

Nov 18, 09 | 10:49 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Kevin, I posted this elsewhere:

The solvents in nitro lacquer, toluene, xylene etc. are very aggressive and will chemically melt just about any plastic or cured finishing product. (burn brain cells too!) So using epoxy, Wal-Mart or the boat stuff as filler under nitro – MAY NOT lead to problems down the road. However, the water borne products are not able to chemically etch the previous layer of material and just cling to the surface. When Doolin was pitching for LMII he made a point of mentioning that the Zpoxy and the other stuff were not meant or designed as a finishing material and steps to avoid problems had to be taken – one sand the stuff off completely and two apply a bearer coating of shellac since it “sticks” to most materials.

The main reason I am back to Nitro lacquer is solely the burn-in characteristic – I did like the results I’ve had using the Target products. However, the process had to be completed on a strict schedule or the minimal burn in feature (contrary to claims it is not 100%) of the product diminished and in my experience witness line could be seen if the newer coats were sanded down to older coats. In fairness this was the USL not the 6000.

So, if the epoxy is not sanded back to bare wood, it could result in adhesion and other problems long/short term who knows? As for the Wal-Mart Epoxy glues, they unlike the boat repair resins ARE NOT UV resistant and will change color and could also react to the lacquer solvents and break down over time, who knows for sure? Again for many reasons -- its best to stick with a complete approved manufacture's finishing system.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978


Nov 19, 09 | 2:05 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Finish is what make the eye appeal. I no longer use Deft , but use MacFaddens and Mohawk brands. Once you go to real spray equipment your finishing will go to the next level. All the pro finishers will be using instrument grade lacquer. There is a difference.
With Nitro you do need to be aware of the health safety issues . Use a well ventilated area , a good mask. I try and use the same brand sealers for compatibility issues . Learning finishing is as much technique and process.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars
Authorized CF Martin Repaircenter

Nov 19, 09 | 4:01 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I agree with John, if you have a booth, safety and spray equipment Macfadens is the number one choice (they are back in business), note that Behlens and Mohawk are actually made by the same company and the formulas are the identical.

However, for the home/entry level builder I would choose Deft over all other products. It is a premium "brushable" nitro lacquer used for over 50 years, by instrument makers around the world. It is certainly a preference thing but to me the 100% burn in qualities of solvent lacquer cannot be over stated.

Take a look at Kevin's instruments and a few other on this forum --- even with Deft from spray cans the results are very impressive. It's a user friendly product line.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978


Nov 19, 09 | 4:21 am
DanB

Total Topics: 50
Total Posts: 272
I think maybe my next build I will pull out my dads spray equipment and try to do a professional look. I'm just doing a satin finish so I'm not too worried about a professional look because satins relatively safe.

Dan

Nov 19, 09 | 1:36 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Make no mistake -- a professional finish can even be applied with a brush! There are guitars that cost many thousands of dollars with brushed, varnish, lacquer or shellac finishes -- no spray equipment. I think John Hall said it correctly it's NOT what or how you put on the finish but rather what you leave on that really count. Personally I much prefer brushing on a finish (quicker, less clean up, no space constraints, less waste) --- You can use the most expensive equipment and products available but if you don't completely understand the process your result may still be disappointing.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Nov 19, 09 | 1:51 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ken -- you said this above

"So, if the epoxy is not sanded back to bare wood, it could result in adhesion and other problems long/short term who knows? <snip>"

So, if one is not successful at sanding back to bare wood, will one coat of regular solvent-based shellac provide an adequate barrier between the epoxy and the top coats? I'm thinking the answer is "yes," but want to be certain.

Bill

Nov 19, 09 | 3:10 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Hi Bill,
Sorry, I see you asked about that erlier, Yes -- I can only comment that the alcohol based/solvent based shellac indeed sticks to practically anything! I am thinking that the WB stuff from Target might not work, actually I don't see how it could be a good barrier since it does not etch the previous surface.

Ken

Nov 19, 09 | 3:31 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Well gosh!

If you look in here:

http://www.doolinguitars.com/waterborne/instructions.html

It states clearly not to use shellac over or under the epoxy -- I sorry! Now I am confused!

Ken



Nov 19, 09 | 3:40 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Thanks Ken -- I had that document but had forgotten about it. For those who don't look at it, here's Mike Doolin's statement:

"Important: do not use shellac over or under epoxy, the two will not stick to one another! Either one works as a sealer and improves adhesion to the waterborne, but it's one or the other, not both. I prefer epoxy because it "wets" the wood better and acts as a filler as well."

So, if I understand what he's saying, we should use just shellac, or just epoxy, under the waterborne KTM-9. That might not be true with Target's formulations, but I won't experiment. It should be noted, Mike always used System 3 Epoxy. (I have never been able to get the mixture of it correct to get it to cure.)

Bill

Nov 19, 09 | 4:02 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
No recommendations -- following Doolin sounds like the safe thing to do. It is interesting however, that others say just the opposite. There's one classical guitar site that states that the epoxy can be used as a base followed by shellac to end up with a quicker French polish process, and Jeff Hewitt does the same for furniture restorations. The epoxies will disolve in alcohol --- interesting that there's a compatibility problem?

Ken

Nov 19, 09 | 4:29 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Like you've repeated here often, using a single manufacturer's finishing materials is the best way to avoid unpleasant surprises.

So, maybe the combination of System 3 Epoxy, shellac and KTM-9 didn't work for Doolin, but some other type of epoxy and shellac would work. Not that I'm going to do any testing. I'll stay away from epoxy as a filler.

But, I'm still looking for a good mahogany process that I can master.

Bill

Nov 20, 09 | 5:44 am



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