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Need wet sanding advice
Author
Post
dcoplan

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
I'm working on a Stewmac 000 kit. I'm now at the wet sanding stage and sanding with 800 grit soaked in mineral spirits.

I have never wet sanded before and while I'm going carefully, I'm paranoid about sanding through the finish.

I've been told that I need to sand it until it's a flat haze all around. Right now I have an "orange peel" effect where I suppose the sandpaper hasn't gotten down to all the shiny spots.

I've posted images here...
http://dancoplan.com/client/wetsand1.jpg
http://dancoplan.com/client/wetsand2.jpg
http://dancoplan.com/client/wetsand3.jpg

How long does it typically take to fully wetsand a finish per grit? How aggressive can I be and how much risk is there in sanding through the finish? When I take the sandpaper from its bath of mineral spirits, should I wipe away the liquid before sanding or I should sand it WET?

Thanks for any advice.

Dan Coplan

May 13, 10 | 10:14 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
Finishing is the hard part of building. I start will 400 dry and work 1/2 way through the orange peel , then go to 600 till I am just about there. Then 800 till I start to bottom out on the OP. At this point I wet sand with 800 till the finish is level . I then spray 3 coats allow cure time , wet sand 600-800-1000-1200-1500 and then 2000 and 2500 then buff and polish.
I do use Nitro bit used the same process of Urethane and vanishes with good result. The key isn't how much you put on but what you let on. I like to hit about .016 to .020 for the base coats. My finish schedule is , stain , seal , fill , seal , spray the base finish coats , cure time 3 weeks , level off, spray 3 coats and level and finish buff and polish

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
CF Martin Authorized Repair Center

May 14, 10 | 3:19 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Think of this process as leveling --- if you can see shiny spots you are NOT "level" ALL the finish above/higer than the shiny spots must be removed. Of course sand carefully --- but if you sand through its not the end of the world --- you just add some more finish coating. However, if you have stained, use extremely caution, sanding off the color is a bigger issue.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 14, 10 | 5:11 am
dcoplan

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
How wet should the sand paper be? I've been sanding it pretty wet, such that I need to wipe down the excess a lot, but I wonder if maybe I'm sanding it too wet so it's not cutting through like it should and is rather sliding around.

May 14, 10 | 8:53 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I use water with a tiny bit of dish soap --- pretty wet --- continually wiping the surface dry with a clean rag as I go along.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 14, 10 | 9:27 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Ken I forgot about the soap! I have read somewhere that the paper should be soaked over night to be most effective. I do that, and then use a spray bottle on the surface of the guitar. With a rotary sander, you know when you are not wet enough, the paper starts sticking, so you sprits some more. I would think that when hand sanding, you would feel more resistance when too dry....sprits the spot you are working on.

May 14, 10 | 1:06 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I use the soap and water . I use about 1 tea spoon to a qt. No need to soak the paper . I also use a padded block on flat surfaces. Keep a watch on the paper , if you see finish sticking to your paper you need to let the finish cure a little more.
You raw surface has a texture to it , just go through the grits and you cut through the finish using the orange peel texture as your guide. I just posted a finish schedule here :

Now as for finishing you need to have a very good prep. Ken C has a good hang method , there are many ways to do this but you need to control it as it hands. The secret to any good finish is prep. If you don't do this right you won't have the best result.
First never sand the wood beyond 220. If you get the wood too smooth you can have adhesion problems. The first thing you do is stain. You need to seal after staining and do the filling. I use pore O paq , I like the control you get with mineral spirit based fillers. Use natural filler and you can mix a small batch with your stain as the color agent , Get the filler colored and then mix it well. You may have to add some mineral spirits to help but usually the stain will thin this. I mix only a few table spoons at a time. To this I will add 1 drop of naphtha to aid in flashing.
You apply the filler and allow the material to "flash off". Once the surface of the filler looses the wet look you can start to rub it into the wood. Do this at least 3 times and then go out in the sun and see if you have the pores filled. Once you think it looks good , do it 2 more times.
Let this cure over night and then here is the secret. If you are using a Nitro finish use the vinyl sealer, and shoot a coat of sealer. When the sealer is still tacky shoot a coat of finish on it. This lets the lacquer weld into the vinyl and helps avoid adhesion problems. Let this sit over night then apply 6 to 8 coats of lacquer , 1 coat per hour.
Let this set at least 2 to 3 weeks. Then you level this off. The curing time is important . If you don't the lacquer will shrink and show the pores. Be patient.
Once it is cured dry sand starting with 320 and work this about 1/2 way through the orange peel , then 400 to get about just to the bottom ,then 600 as you just touch the bottom of the orange peel ,. Now you want to use 800 wet and get your finish level and look for any sand through. Use a sanding block as much as possible and be careful of the corners.
Once you have a good level apply 3 coats of finish , this is the show finish. this I let sit 2 weeks and them 800 wet 1000 wet 1500 wet 2000 wet buff and polish
If you are using spray cans you will need about 6 to 8 finish and 2 sealers. Satin finish is less work and more forgiving. I do use satin on my necks. Finishing is as much technique and process as it is material. You can't rush it , so take your time.
Sherwin Williams has good lacquer but you have to get that through an industrial supplier.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
CF Martin Authorized Repair Center

May 15, 10 | 3:54 am
longbow

Total Topics: 4
Total Posts: 74
Guy's, Did I read some where that lighter fluid was the same as naphtha ? anyone know?....Dave L.

May 17, 10 | 4:23 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Correct ---- but its much, much less expensive if you get it from one of the home improvement stores in 32 oz. (and larger) containers.

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978

May 17, 10 | 4:32 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
I am with Ken here , you can get it much cheaper in the home improvement places


John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
CF Martin Authorized Repair Center

May 17, 10 | 1:11 pm
dcoplan

Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 3
How long, on average, would you say it takes to wet sand a guitar with 800 just to get through the orange peel? I've never done this before and it's taking me a loooong time but I'm also being really careful.

When I sand, because I'm going lightly, I don't know if I'm going too lightly and the sandpaper is gliding on the liquid more than cutting through the lacquer or if I'm doing it the right amount or what.

May 18, 10 | 5:48 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
I can say from experience, you might go with a little bit more pressure, but don't get too impatient and try to hurry it. In the past, I have made little progress and become impatient ... and then decided to go a little harder ... and sanded through. Obviously a non-productive thing to do. Wipe the surface frequently as you go, then re-wet and continue sanding. It'll get there.

Bill

May 19, 10 | 4:56 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
"I'm also being really careful"

Great --- since that is FAR more important then finishing the process fast.

Using more course grit leaves scratches that will have to be sanded off as well or worse you won't see them until the final coats are polished -- that's a real mess -- no gain there, moving fast generates heat and softens the finish - no gain there! Not taking extreme care near the edges causes cut through and a need to re-coat - no gain there!

Good advice from Bill Cory - "Wipe the surface frequently as you go, then re-wet and continue sanding. It'll get there."

"Fine wine takes time"

Ken

Kenneth Michael Guitars est. 1978


May 19, 10 | 5:11 am
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
finishing a guitar is all about prep and patience. I use wet grits from 400 to 2500 before buff and polishing. You can use any number of wet preps . I use unscented mineral spirits or simple water with a touch of soap. I also use sanding blocks and rarely use my bare hands.
Finishing is as much about technique as product and we all gravitate to what will work best for us. While Ken and I may do things differently or the same I am sure we both will agree that you have to find the process that works for you.
You can read and read some more and you don't know what will and what won't work. As 3 experts what they think and you may walk away with 4 opinions. Working slow and methodical is a good practice. Once you master your technique you will find your results are repeatable.

John Hall
Blues Creek Guitars Inc.
CF Martin Authorized Repair Center

Jun 01, 10 | 3:56 am



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