You are currently viewing Kit Guitar Forum archives. To view the current forums go to www.KitGuitarsForum.com/board



Log-in
Register
Members


Guitars that sell
Author
Post
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
I've seen a number of gorgeous guitars on this site, often followed by the disclaimer "Of course, this is not a professional finish."
Is that false modesty or are those gorgeous instruments really not up to the mark?

I guess what I'm asking is, those of you that actually sell your instruments - what finish do you use to be considered a 'professional" grade?

Thanks
Dave

Jan 07, 10 | 11:37 am
MetcalfGuitars

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 68
I used Target Ultima for the first 40 to 50 and then went to Target Emtech6000.

Some of the biggest names in luthrie don't do their own "professional" finishing....they contract it out. It takes a lot of patience and determination to do a finish anywhere close to those as seen on the big factory guitars....something a lot of us struggle with I'm sure regardless of the medium used.

Tim

Jan 07, 10 | 5:31 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Thanks Tim. I've seen some of your work and it is beautiful.
Dave

Jan 07, 10 | 5:37 pm
Ken C

Total Topics: 30
Total Posts: 554
Dave, I echo Tim's comments. I get very good results with EM6000 and the finish is level, glossy, clear, and relatively blemish free. Practically everyone who sees the guitars is amazed I can get that finish shooting waterbased lacquer in my garage. However, when my finish is compared side by side to a $10K custom Martin finished with nitro, what my finish lacks most is depth. I put my finishes on very thin to avoid the blue overtones of acrylic lacquers. The professional finishes look like they have a finish a quarter inch thick compared to my Em6000 finishes.

Ken

Jan 08, 10 | 5:16 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
The devil is in the details, like Tim mentioned there are finishing shops and it's all that they do, set up with all equipment necessary at their disposal. Of course to them “time is money” so the process is geared toward that end as well. We mere morals however have time on our side – I have seen finishes from boutique builders that are simply amazing – but the process is most certainly tedious at best. What I am saying is that a Pro finish applied in a conventional manual process not matter what the medium -- shellac, lacquer, varnish whatever is the combination of learned skills, knowing the coating characteristics and an enormous amount of patience.

That said however, it would seem to very important not to loose sight of the fact that a guitar is a musical instrument, not a wall hanging. I would point to the Lowden guitars (the real one’s not Avalon) to my ear perhaps the best sounding steel sting guitars of all.
(Listen to some stuff recorded by Alex Degrasi) anyway, very high-end instruments, all have satin finishes ---

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

Jan 08, 10 | 6:07 am
Kevin Sjostrand

Total Topics: 84
Total Posts: 981
I am most impressed, and like satin finishes the best on a guitar.
Ken, what is the best way to get this with nitro lacquer, or is it not possible?
Will the Deft Satin give it?

Kevin

Jan 08, 10 | 9:36 am
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Kevin - I did the Deft satin finish on my KMG 00, did not pore fill, right out of rattle cans and I love the way it looks. It's not a 'collectors' guitar but a real good players guitar.

Dave

Jan 08, 10 | 10:02 am
jim

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 13
I too prefer a satin finish and want to do satin on my current/first kit, a 00-12 fret martin with mahogany body and spruce top. Can someone suggest a step-by-step process that I can use without pore filling? I prefer to brush or rub on rather than spray as well. thanks in advance.

Jan 09, 10 | 7:03 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Jim - Ken Cierp helped me out. You might contact him.
Dave

Jan 09, 10 | 7:47 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I have found that of the guitars I sell Gloss Nitro Lacquer is the finish most desired. I stopped doing finishes on my own and farmed them out. The pros are in the long are cheaper.
John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
Authorized CF Martin Repair Center
Board Member of ASIA

Mar 17, 10 | 3:10 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Dang, John, I was not asking for the truth!! :-)
Just kidding.
What condition is the guitar in when you send it off? And what is a ballpark price for a "pro" to do the deed?
Thanks
Dave B

Mar 17, 10 | 3:21 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
Joe White does a nice finish for roughly $350.......but I don't think he uses Nitro Lacquer.

Mar 17, 10 | 6:33 pm
DaveH

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 20
There seems to be a lot of interest in satin finishes. In general you need to determine if you are going to use a film type finish (Nitro Lacquer, Waterborne Lacquers, Poly/Varnish, Shellac, and others) or what are commonly referred to as "oils". You also have to keep in mind that oils cover a fairly wide spectrum based upon their formulation and the addition of various resins. Some oils in reality are just this side of Varnish or Polyurethane.

When using film-type finishes the level of sheen is associated with reflected or refracted light. A very clear film, highly polished, reflects light well and hence gives you a high gloss finish. The reflection (or refraction) of light can be impacted by adding flattening compounds to the finish. That's why it is essential to thoroughly mix satin or semi-gloss finishes to properly dispure the flattening agent(s). In addition, the reflection can be impacted (and controlled), based upon the abrasives you use. A simple satin finish can be created by sanding only up to 600 grit (wet) and then followed with 0000 steel wool, water, and flax soap. Little if any pressure if applied to the steel wool during this process. The 600 grit wet sand is primarily used to remove defects in the top coat. The steel wool and soap will restore the flattened finish. You may be amazed at the results.

I personally avoid using satin or semi-gloss finishes because there are inherently cloudy. Why use these wonderful woods if we are going to put cloudy finishes on them. The only downside with using gloss (clear) finishes is that any pores will show up as shiny spots. This is annoying and looks far from professional. If you want to use a film-type finish and don't want to use pore fillers you're probably locked into using pre-mixed satin or semi-gloss finishes. You could also use gloss for your first 50% of build-up, followed by satin.

If you are not going to pore fill and want a subtle satin finish then you're probably looking at oils. Because they don't really build a film they never get very glossy. Oils will though require periodic maintenance. There are a number of articles in various websites concerning oils intended for instrument finishing. Oils by far are the easiest to work with. You can also go crazy with fine grit sandpapers on your raw wood prior to finishing. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions and plan on keeping the wood wet while applying. You will notice that sections of the wood will absorb the oil quicker than other areas. You will want to re-wet these areas prior to buffing off the excess.

Prior to moving from Chicago I used to teach wood finishing at one of the Woodworking Catalog Stores. One thing I regularly preached was practice on something other than your project. The best time to develop your finishing skills is when you are not working on a project. Get some scrap material or test pieces from some of the supply houses that most of us frequent. Test colors, techniques, and various finishes on these samples. You will know when you're getting close. You will walk around the house with sample in hand seeking confirmation from your family and friends. I've done it many times. While it's not finishing a guitar you will learn much from you experimentation. It's much more productive to spend time practicing these skills than finding solutions for mistakes (I speak from experience).


Mar 18, 10 | 11:07 am
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Thanks for great information, Dave.
I'm getting that a number of us Forumites do just love the look and feel of wood, and are averse in some measure to the 'dipped in plastic' look. However, the public generally goes for high gloss, so if we want to give instruments as presents or even sell a few, we have to remember that we are building for them, not for us. And the finish is the first thing one notices.
Dave B

Mar 18, 10 | 11:41 am
DaveH

Total Topics: 5
Total Posts: 20
Dave,

Your use of the term "Dipped in Plastic" is ironically the same term I often use. While I would like to move away from Nitro Lacquer for a variety of reasons, the finish is tough to beat. Nitro can create a wonderful gloss finish without the DIP look. Applying lacquer, especially with spray equipment is one of the easiet finishes to apply. Because it set's up and dries so quickly you can avoid runs and sags. On the other hand the solids content in lacquer, and the fact that it always sprays better at 25-50 reduction, makes film build a little slower. That's why many people spray so many coats. Brushing lacquer will build much quicker but you have to develop good brush skills and allow for longer dry/cure times. Brushing lacquer is a bit of a mis-statement in that you mainly use the brush to apply the finish but you don't go back over the finish with the brush because it dries too quick. Women who apply nail-polish would be good with brushing lacquer because they know to lay on a nice wet coat and let it flow!

As I stated above, go get some scrap material and practice. It's fun and a lot less nerve-racking than finishing your guitar. A few other tips, double your time on prep (scrape,scrape,scrape followed by fine grit block sanding). Make sure to closely look at the areas around the top and back bindings for minor imperfections. You'll find them when you wet sand and rub-out the guitar. Two to three coats of filler (a huge pain) is almost mandatory for most woods. If you follow the basics of thorough prep and build up enough finish you'll be able to safely do a thorough wet sanding and rub-out/polish your guitar to a professional level.

Dave

Mar 18, 10 | 12:16 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
You guys might want to consider Tru-oil. You can still get the high gloss look, but it has such DEPTH and really accents the grain. Very different look than Nitro.

Mar 18, 10 | 1:57 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Ken- that's what I'm doing with this one - got the body sanded only to 320, I'm going higher before I start the oil. Any tips?
Dave B

Mar 18, 10 | 1:59 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I actually sprayed on 6-8 coats of Zinnsers Shellac sanding sealer first, levelled that, then sprayed on tru-oil and wiped it in. By the last coat, will hardly need any level sanding, can have the whole guitar levelled and buffed in an hour.

Mar 20, 10 | 12:10 pm
deadedith

Total Topics: 34
Total Posts: 165
Nice. Thanks.
Dave

Mar 20, 10 | 12:18 pm
RayRay

Total Topics: 21
Total Posts: 190
Ken H. What do you mean by "... and WIPED IT IN?" I've had some very satisfying results with Tru-oil on necks in the past but haven't tried it on larger areas...
Thanks,
Ray

Mar 20, 10 | 6:16 pm



You must be a registered and logged in member to post in this forum