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Approaching finishing for the first time... hmmmmmmm
Author
Post
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 147
Hey y'all - looking for some input I guess.

I'll be finishing soon and doing my research / planning.

After reading up on this site, I found Deft products down at Home Depot - they seem to be a recommended option. I think this is what I'm going to use. They have both brush-on and rattle cans.

I think brush-on appeals to me more, but not for a substantial reason. Seems like there's more control, and I can avoid the feeling that I'm spray-painting my guitar... :)

I've read here about the things y'all have tried, but here's my question (#1): for what reasons have you chosen rattle-cans vs. brush-on?

Reading the instructions on the brush-on can, it basiclly implies you can put on 3 coats and you're done for your generic woodworking product. If that's the case, seems like less time and effort - but not sure if that's legit for a guitar. Thoughts?

The "filler" they had was more for wood repair, so not the pore-filler I need I guess. Might have to order that from Stewmac... or visit Woodcraft again...

I was considering not staining my mahogony body / neck at all - kind of like the natural color I guess - but now thinking maybe I will. Wiping it down with H2O to raise the grain kind of demonstrated what a nice warm darker shade would look like. Anything to avoid here - any old stain will work as long as I like the color? (OK, if I'm not careful what I buy, I guess I could end up "weatherproofing" the guitar, ha ha) Is there an advantage in ordering the Stewmac product here?

Am I missing anything about the base-coat needed for lacquer? Sounds like the recommended base cose for lacquer is... lacquer.

OK, I know there's a lots of threads here about general finishing guidance, I guess this is another one. :) Thanks for the input. - BillM

Sep 30, 06 | 1:55 pm
Ted

Total Topics: 22
Total Posts: 158
Billm. Appears we are about in the same place at the same time. I too had considered not stainging the mahogany on my StewMac 000. I know nothing about finishing and I got very confused trying to learn a little. How do you tell if you like the colour of a stain, without buying everyone and trying them out.

Of course, I settled on the stain with the word mahogany on the side, thinned it as much as I could with the view of putting on numerous coats until it is as dark as I want.

I am going to brush on KTM-9, solely because I do not want to have to learn a new skill... perhaps that should read, I am getting impatient to finish and don't want to spend weeks on test sprays.

I'd love to hear what schedules and number of layers others have used. At the very least, follow my success/failure on the blog

Oct 01, 06 | 6:01 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Bill -- rather than trying to cover all of your questions in this thread, let me suggest going through the previous threads here. There are a lot of them, but they're all going to be helpful to you. Threads on stain, pore filler, finish, etc. You'll get a lot more that way than you would from individual attempts to help you out in this one thread.

Regarding the pore filler, if you go the oil-based route, try "Bartley" pore filler at Woodcraft (three "colors" available); of several oil-based I used, I personally liked that one the best. For stain on mahogany, I've "settled" on either Red Mahogany or Dark walnut by Minwax. But ... When you go to Woodcraft, pick the brain of the local finishing expert -- you have to use stain and pore filler in the right order and be sure of compatibility, or you will get pores standing out as light or dark in your finish. As far as Deft, Ken C mentioned to me in an email recently that he used it on something and had forgotten how easy it is to use and what a good job it does, so it must be pretty good. Maybe he'll chime in here.

Bc

Oct 01, 06 | 6:06 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Ted -- on the KTM-9, be sure you get a thick enough application of it so that you can level it after two weeks' curing time without sanding through. I didn't. After two weeks of curing, I sanded through to the wood and had to start over -- real frustrating.

Oct 01, 06 | 6:10 am
ejko

Total Topics: 25
Total Posts: 113
Billm,

My limited experience tells me that 'less time and effort' in building acoustic guitars usually involves a compromise you'll eventually regret.

Notice that the word 'simple' is not included above. As Bill suggests, going through prior posts will reveal a number of simple methods that result in a great end product. All of them take patience though, since they involve coat... dry... level... coat... dry ... level... several times usually over several weeks.

Since the finish is the most visible aspect of your guitar, suggest you scour the posts for a method that sounds like a match or even a slight stretch to your abilities. The neat thing about finishes is that - although frustrating - you can remove one and start over with another if you find it beyond your skill level (I say this from personal experience).

Regards,

Ed

Oct 01, 06 | 4:03 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Hey guys -

Thanks for the input. Maybe I misrepresented what I was thinking - I'm not looking to skip or simplify steps, I'm just interested to know why different people would choose between spray/brush, etc. etc. Yeah, I'm in no hurry to compromise on my final result here, I just want to make educated choices.

Anyway, visited Woodcraft today, after church -

Key learning #1: dragging wife and 5-year-old twins to woodworking story not exactly a recipie for family fun... :)

So, here's what they guy told me (according to him, being a finishing expert is a prerequisite for employment, so Woodcraft is the place to go...)

Basically, he said that spraying give you 1) a more consistant and reproducable result than brushing, and 2) a potentailly thinner finish

Seems like brushing is easier to screw up. He showed me some examples.

Regarding rattle-cans - he gave me some advice that he admitted could be risky behavior - said that spray-cans can give as good a result as spray equipment if you heat the can in hot water - water that has been boiled, cooled enough so its not rolling anymore - the temperature of coffee. The guy said he wouldn't tell a class of people this for fear of being liable when some nut got it wrong and blew up a can.

Hmmmmmm...

OK, moving on.

He cut some mahogony, and demonstrated a couple of stains. I was very pleased at this level of helpfulness - and they'd be happy to take the stain I bought back if I decide not to use it. Stain color of mahogany.

Also recommended a grain filler, said it was the best out there, whatever that means. "H. Behlen" is the brand. Tinted: mahogany. Perfect.

Ended up buying Deft spray-can lacquer. Semi-gloss. I prefer satin, guy said you can take gloss or semi-gloss down to satin based on how you work it, but can't go the other way.

And - he recommended steel wool for sanding between coats. Grade 0000.

I think I'm good to go. :)

Now - back to getting the neck set right, which is what I've been avoiding by thinking about the finish...

Oct 01, 06 | 4:58 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I'm reading that using a sanding sealer to build your base works much faster than trying to spray, dry, level, do it again. The sanding sealer can go on 3-4 coats, ratehr thick, then level those.....much more forgiving than your laquer of chice, then once that is leveled, use your finish coats. Going to try it on my electric....but just put the first coats of pore filler on.

I am trying the system 3 epoxy pre filler again. See waht happens, eh?

Oct 01, 06 | 11:59 pm
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
In my humble opinion, the finish is the first thing you and everyone else will notice when they see your guitar. If you aren't really happy with your build, then put a quick and easy finish on it, but if you have spent a great deal of time and effort with every other stage of the construction, why not put the best finish you can on it?

There are really two kinds of finish on wood - one that is in the grain, covering and protecting the wood, and one that is like looking thru a sheet of glass at the wood. A brushed on finish will probably not be mirror smooth, a sprayed finish can be if you do it right.

Rose and mahogany will eat finish trying to fill the pores - that is what the pore filling and undercoats are for and it takes an amazing amount of whatever finish you use to get a smooth surface. Then to get the glass look, the old hot rodders trick is lots of coats that mostly get sanded off, then when you have it thin and smooth, polish the heck out of it.

You wouldn't finish a classic show car with a paint brush, would you?

Also, Ken's comments about using sanding sealer to build coats is good, except that some sealers (waterbased lacquers) don't seem to blend in to previous coats like finish coats do. I have a very noticable "witness line" in the scroll of my mandolin that is from sanding layers of the seal coats - there simply wasn't a way to get the coats to blend (which nitro will do nicely). You can see it in the inside of the volute in this picture. Btw - this finish is StewMac's waterbased lacquer - about 24 coats total. I'm not completely happy with it....


Oct 02, 06 | 7:28 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Freeman -- looks pretty darn good to me. Nice job!

Bill -- take the warnings on your spray can of lacquer seriously. The stuff is so flammable you can ruin your life if you spray in the direction of a fan (for example) that isn't explosion proof, or a hot light bulb, or wall switch that sparks. Use it outside if you can. Get a good respirator and goggles to avoid problems.

I've read some stories that would scare you to death. They did me.

BillC

Oct 02, 06 | 5:35 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
I'm with you on that one. Really.

Oct 02, 06 | 8:41 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
OK, I'm back, have more than just a moment -

OK - yeah, I'm a cautious guy. One of the reasons I wanted to go with the brush-on is I was a bit wary of, what reads to be on the label, a can of alarming spray-death. :) Let's see, quoting the label - the "may affect the brain or nervous system" bit gives me the willies (oh - and mention of "permanent brain damage" elsewhere on the label), and very aware of the flammable nature. "May cause flash fires!"

I guess my "hmmm" above didn't convey my complete feeling of "CRAZY!!" at the thought of heating up the can.

Honestly, my attaction to brush-on is that it seemed if nothing else a bit more controlled. Anyway, I liked Freeman's analogy of applying a car finish - yeah, that makes sense. So - yeah - I picked the spray can in the end. (Nice work, Freeman - very nice)

Anyway, yeah I've got plans to get a respirator and eye protection, no doubt, and no problem doing it outside. I feel very wary of this stuff.

Ted - following the blog - rooting for ya man, getting the filler sorted out. I tell ya, every time I move on to the next step, I check your blog to see how you did it. :)

Ken - yeah, I asked a couple of guys (including the Woodcraft guy) about sanding sealer prior to the lacquer - they just kind of shrugged it off. Didn't quite feel like I got the whole story from them though. Thanks for the info -

OK, off to bed. Hey - got my neck adusted pretty well, as far as I can tell (although can't stop obsessively checking the measurement). Getting my shim filed down for the dovetail. I love this project. Later all - BillM

Oct 02, 06 | 10:15 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Sanding sealer is very soft compared to the lacquer --- its a filler not a base coat. As recommended by the manufacterer sand it off. Sherwin Williams and others sell a "vinyl sealer" its a base coat. We guitar makers are wood workers -- The famous brand coating suppliers are not going to sell products that don't work to the rest of the gazillion users --- if you do not mix coating systems (make sure the products are compatible) you will be happy with the results. In my wood working and guitar shop I have used Deft, Minwax, Valspar etc. All produce professional results if the directions are followed. You all have or should have heard by now ---- the magic is in the preparation. There is not a product available that will hide a scratch that has not been sanded out. AS TO HEATING SOLVENT LACQUER DON'T DO IT! The only reason the factories heat the product is to speed production.

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Oct 03, 06 | 4:27 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I got the comment from Dan Erlewhine's book on guitar finishing. Also, I am using Bullseye 100% Wax-Free shellac sanding sealer, should burn in well. It says it can be used with any and all finsh coats without a problem.

Oct 03, 06 | 7:28 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I just notice the noticed the “auto finish comparison” it is indeed very similar. My formal paint repair training came as a result of working at the GM Cadillac Plant in Detroit. The main difference being that heat is used on the finish to force catalyzing. Leveling, polishing, buffing etc. are all the same as working with wood.

Ken

Oct 03, 06 | 8:09 am
Freeman

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 668
One other thing to really consider is a small compressor, a detail gun and spraying water based. I already had a compressor but you could certainly rent one - I think I paid about 30 bucks for what is commonly called a "jamb gun" and with waterbased you can eliminate almost all the hazards (I still wear a respirator). Frankly the rattle cans stunk up my garage - my wife could smell it in her car even when she drove away. I just cut up a cardboard box for the overspray and covered the cars with tarps.

I don't feel the finish is quite as good but I think it is a whole lot better than you will ever get with a brush.

I'm convinced that even renting the compressor, this could be less expensive than the rattle cans (I used six cans one each of my two guitar, I used less than a pint of water based on the mando). If you find my thread "A Beginner's 'Burst" there are a couple of shots of the mando hanging in the "booth" at the bottom.

You still need to do the filling and if you want the staining steps regardless of the finish you put on top. If you decide to spray rattle cans you want your garage 70 degrees or so, warm the cans in warm water, wear a respirator, don't have anything that can cause a spark and cover everything around.

Erlywine's(sp) book is highly recommended as is all the free help on the StewMac site.

Oct 03, 06 | 9:10 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
I also had good success on my bass using a small compressor, a cheap detail gun and water-based materials (KTM-9). My compressor is a 10 gallon Craftsman model I've had for years. The gun is available from Harbor Freight for about $10. I added a water trap in the line for some extra peace of mind (it's almost always humid up here in Western Oregon).

When I was learning to use KTM-9 I sprayed a lot of samples using a Preval spray unit from Home Depot. These are basically a "re-usable rattle can". They have a clear glass jar for your finish and a power cartridge that screws onto it. The cartridge has the normal rattle can nozzle on the top. It also worked well, but I'd guess you would need 5 or 6 cartridges at about $5 each to do a whole guitar.

Oct 03, 06 | 12:41 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Well, just kind of journaling I guess. Trying to figure out what I want to do -

Been taking it slow just because I've been busy with other things (and the weather is changing! Ahhhhh - getting below 70% in my "guitar space")

Stained the mahogany back and sides. Put on the filler. Wasn't particulary good at this - lots of build-up when I was done. Sanded. Re-stained. Now - some areas are great. Couple of spots that are minorly rough. Trying to figure out if I can live with it - afraid if I go another round, it's just going to get worse.

I have noticed that the filler has come out PINK in the filled pores / grain (??) so I'm kind of reluctant to use it again. (The advertised color is mahogany)

Stained the neck. Put on the filler - much better this time, but still had to sand. Re-stained. The neck itself is really smooth. Have a couple of spots where the color isn't even. And for some reason, I neglected to sand the peghead vaneer before staining (what was I thinking)? So - it's got a texture. I'm trying to decide if I care. It's not bad but doesn't look like my purchaced guitars. Seems kind of arbitrary.

So, in summary, a couple of things that I've identified that I could continue to work on - they're things you'd have to look for - and I'm wary of tipping the balance of what I've already got. So - trying to decide - move on and shoot the lacquer, or go over it again. Will go for a satin finish (maybe semi-gloss) - I've read that a good pore/grain filling job is essentail for the high-gloss finish, but that's not what I'm doing.

Any thoughts? Ted - seems like you went through a similar process.

Oct 19, 06 | 8:05 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
Keep in mind that whatever finish you put on it will be VERY thin. It's not going to hide or fill in or smooth over a surface that isn't already smooth. So I would suggest that you keep filling, sanding and staining until you really like what you have. Then put the clear on it. After all, it's not a race. Unless you have a customer waiting for the instrument, you have all the time you need.

Hey Bill, how many times did you strip the finish off of the OM-that-wouldn't-be-finished?

Oct 19, 06 | 8:27 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
When ever I build something --- musical instrument, furniture, what ever ---my goal is to avoid the killer comment "did you make that yourself?" I strive for "were did you get that?" So honing finishing skills is a major part of the learning process, patience is the key element of craftsmanship, and the ability to correct one's mistakes surely sets the greats apart from the rest of us. As the saying goes “anything worth doing is worth doing well”.

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Oct 19, 06 | 9:10 am
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Thank you! That's very good input, both of you.

I've kind of had this dialogue in my head that goes something like this:

Internal Billm A: Oh, I'm so eager to see how this sounds. Huh, that bit right there isn't quite right, but hey, I'm sure the NEXT one will be perfect.

Internal Billm B: What the heck is the matter with you? Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! You have the opportunity do make THIS ONE perfect!!

Internal Billm A: Well - I'm a little frustrated and not sure what I'm doing. I've already spent soooo much time on this. My wife doesn't notice. It's OK, really.

Internal Billm B: YOU will notice. Really - why are you doing this AT ALL if you're not doing it right?

Internal Billm A: Sigh. What's on TV?

Internal Billm B: Whimp.


Anyway, thanks guys. Good kick in the tuckus.

Oct 19, 06 | 10:40 am
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Well - once again thanks for the input.

After a few more rounds than I expected of filling and sanding - I am happier with the result. Just finished putting the stain on again, and it looks good.

The funny thing is the progression in my wife's responses.

Early on -
Her: Looks good
Me: I'm thinking about doing it over again.
Her, rolling eyes: Why? It looks fine.

(and at one point, this was funny: "It looks like it has character...")

Midway through:
Her: This feels so much better, you're going to be glad you kept working on it.
Me: Feel this area right here
Her: Yeah, I feel that
Me: Do you think it's OK?
Her: Keep going.

Now, this afternoon:
I walk in, show it to her. She, without a word, points to a spot. I walk out, work on it, bring it back it. She points to another spot. After a few rounds of this: "Looks good"


Oct 22, 06 | 4:34 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Aaarrrrrggghhhhhh -- frustrated.

OK, I had the stain / etc. perfect. Sprayed the lacquer yesterday. Had some runs, so did the first light sanding today and tried to level out the runs.

Unfortuantely, have a few places where it made it down to the stain.

Frustrated, realizing I'd have to wait another day for the stain to dry before spraying again (was hoping to get mostly done this weekend), I touched up these places.

But now - it seems that it's not taking the stain, at least as well as it did before so these places are now lighter. Grrrrrrr... So, seems I sanded down enough to remove some of the stain, but there's still enough lacquer in these places to prevent the stain from penetrating.

Now, these places aren't outright noticable at first glance, but one of those signs that, on close inspection, will reveal this is a homemade guitar. (But, you know, that ship has sailed in other details already...)

Comments? If I sand all the lacquer off, will it stain the way it did before? Any way to fix this easily? I'm really kind of P.O.ed right now. After all the work so far, I really do not want to sand everything off and start over.

Oct 29, 06 | 1:48 pm
jhowell

Total Topics: 37
Total Posts: 676
Bill--

Hopefully Robbie will chime in with an experienced opinion, but I'm pretty sure that all of us have been faced with at least something like this. I had something similar happen on the neck of mine. The area that I sanded through woud not take the stain the same way as bare wood, but after I spent some time experimenting I found that if I applied stain with a Q-Tip to just the area involved and left it on a little longer before wiping I could match well enough. Sometimes I had to do this two or three times to get the match. Its worth try before a complete sand back.

--Jim

Oct 29, 06 | 5:01 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I had a couple of early runs lerning to use my spray gun too. Rather than sand the runs, I have a small 1"x2" rectangular scraper, very thin, and I put a very fine edge on it. You could also burnish the edge of a new razor blade for this.....but I then GENTLY scraped layers off the run, only sanding when I finally got close enough that I was about to touch the level parts of the finsih. It worked perfectly, but BE CAREFUL, and work slowly, very thin shaves each time

Once I got used to how you are supposed to hold the scraper to get the right shave, I was actually able to move very quickly, dragging the scraper across and ONLY getting the real high spots from runs, or spits (was real cold a few times I sprayed, and the heater just wasn't getting it warm enough). I am putting the last 4 coats on tonite, and it is all looking good.

Oct 29, 06 | 5:43 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
OK! Thanks guys -

After going over the spots a number of times, back in business. Granted, not perfect - but acceptable. Mostly one of those "would have to know it was there before to find it again" kind of things. - Bill

Oct 29, 06 | 10:03 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
You know, I think I'm getting the hang of this. 2nd 3 coats of lacquer went much better, not the sort of runs I had before.

Woodcraft guy recommeded steel wool for between the coats, so I used it this time instead of the 320-grit sandpaper - liked this much better.

This thing is starting to look fantastic - now, granted, I was going for a satin finish to begin with, so starting to see what the end product will look like - very pleased.

Granted, now, always looking for a problem - seems like I sanded the heck out of the soundboard, now seeing places where I wish I had kept going. Not sure if the sheen of the lacquer is exposing it - not that big of a deal though.

Overall very pleased.

Oct 31, 06 | 9:41 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
There is another option to help correct a blotchy stain job --- not to throw a curve ---- but I have used tinted lacquer. I spray a couple of coats of color, loading on a little extra where the stain is light, once the color is even, top coat with clear. Just a reminder for those using waterborne finishes DO NOT USE STEEL WOOL you will regret it!

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 01, 06 | 4:04 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Hey Ken, what about the synthetic steel wool? Ever tried that, still a danger in wb finishes?

Nov 01, 06 | 7:54 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
The 3M stuff etc. will be fine --- I always forget that it is available. As a matter of fact even though I have not used it I bet it is a good choice. The real steel wool leaves behind microscopic iron dust which rusts -- not a pretty sight!

Ken

Nov 02, 06 | 3:08 am
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
So - quick question - might I be missing some functional purpose by using the steel wool instead of the 320 grit? Instructions say this step is to let solvent escape. Will the steel wool be somehow less effective in achieving this?

Planning to finish the spraying today. It's actually going pretty well, have a couple of little issues, but they're forgivable. Overall I'm very pleased.

Nov 05, 06 | 8:37 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
What finshing product are you using? --- and who's instructions? I am sorry but --- the deal about sanding to let the solvents escape, well in 45 years in wood and automotive finishes that's a new one on me. Unless I were to read that on the coating manufacturers container I personally would give that premise zero credance. Sanding between coats is to level the surface and with coatings like varnish (Tru oil) it gives the surface some tooth or bite so the next coat sticks better. Lacquer is a hot chemical so each layer melts into the previous coat.

Regarding sand paper or steel wool -- sometimes steel wool will conform to the surface better. As an example I find it useful when working on a neck. I find that steel wool is a little messy to clean up between coats.

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 05, 06 | 4:40 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
It's part of the Stewmac kit instructions.

Having tried both now, I prefer the steel wool. But, yeah, it's messy.

Using Deft rattle-cans, to answer the first question.

Nov 05, 06 | 4:58 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Ok – so I forced myself to read the Stew Mac finishing schedules. I know they are trying to be helpful while at the same time trying to sell their stuff. Unfortunately, that can and does lead to the proliferation of inaccurate information. The thing that jumped right out is the procedure calling for stain before pore filling NO WAY! It’s no wonder some of you folks here and elsewhere are having trouble with your finishes. I am assuming that they (SM) are selling a urethane filler that is either tinted or clear – this is a very nice product for natural wood articles. Bless those of you who are able to apply this type of filler over stain and sand it flat down to the surface without getting to bare wood (anyone able to do that should get a gold medal!). If you are going to stain the wood the product you need is paste grain filler, Behlens water based is the best and most user friendly that I have used. It is a professional product that is widely available in quarts. Keep in mind the pore filling procedure is just that --- we are filling the tiny pores in the open grained wood. Its applied, let to dry (it dries fast!) than ALL THE EXCESS IS SANDED OFF -- so as the name implies the pores are filled, nothing more – nothing less. After the object is perfectly sanded it can be stain with water-based stain in a couple of hours or solvent-based stain (my recommendation) the next day. There is no need to trust me on this, just read the instructions on the chemical (paste filler) manufacturer’s container.

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 06, 06 | 3:00 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Wow! You just summarized my "learned the hard way" experience. I tried staining then filling, and that just didn't work that well. Did the filling / sanding a number of times, actually, and finished it off with a final staining in the end. Seemed to me that should be the natural way to do it, contrary to the the Stewmac instructions. Thank you for validating my conclusions.

BTW, did use the Behlens product you mentioned.

Nov 06, 06 | 3:21 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I have used the Behlens products for many years. Before they released the water based filler I used their oil based stuff --- a little messy but works well. My main Nitro coatings are the Sherwin Williams system and my favorite is Deft especially the semigloss. I now am converting to a water borne sytem currently working with a manufacturer. My intent is to sell a complete water based guitar finishing kit -- that's on the back burner right now. The product produces amazing results! Like I have said before we are woodworkers first, it makes no sense at all not to tap into all the woodworkers resources. By the way the Behlen nitro sytem is very good -- I personally do not care for the smell of it.

Ken

Nov 06, 06 | 3:57 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Can you hint at teh finsh? I am using KTM 9, and like its clarity, but it scratches so damn easily, I am a little disappointed in its strength.

Nov 06, 06 | 8:17 pm
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
That's odd; the KTM-9 finish on my bass seems as hard as a nitro finish. What did you use underneath for a pore filler or other coats prior to the KTM-9 coats?

Nov 06, 06 | 9:02 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
OK --- how's this for a hint -- Target coatings Oxford Water borne lacquer system. It has a straw tint and is cross linking which means it burns-in like and looks like nitro. The problem I had with ALL other water borne systems is the lack of the burn-in. Repairs were IMPOSSIBLE and halos and over laps would show up. Use the Target sytem as designed and engineered. We guitar builders are a nice bunch but most of us are not chemists -- most of the problems I hear about and see regarding finishing are caused by somebody's magic formula or some mis-matched process like the one I talked about above. If you plan to stain -- the Behlens filler works great under the Oxford. Stew Mac sells Target with their brand name on the cans at about twice the price. Unfortunately as you go through this guitar building adventure you encounter an overwhelming amount of conventional wisdom that is nothing more than BS. I will continually harp on this "Follow the manufacture's instructions" not the advice of someone who may have had a lucky experience. How long would a coating manufacturer be around if their products failed on 200,000 units finished with their materials? They know what they are doing. If you pick up a prescription at the drug store and the clerk told you they had good luck taking four times the dosages --- who's advice would you follow? Their's or your doctor's?

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 07, 06 | 3:54 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Hey Dennis, I used the System 3 Epoxy Pore filler.

Ken, I have used the KTM 9 for spot repairs on my finish (Withm y basement disasters in the last 3 months, and moving my guitars why my toddler can reach them, my guitars have gotten a little dinged up) I have not seen the Halo effect you are referring too. Part of what I do is sand the area with very fine sand paper before I do the drop fill, so the finish has a bit of a rough coat to bleed into. Once it dires, I sand it level and polish, and I cant tell there was a mark there to begin with. I guess now I will see if that is really true, I have about 100 scratches and dings to try to remove, plus 5 new cracks to repair. I'll let you know how it goes.

Nov 08, 06 | 7:59 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
I haven't had any dings to repair yet, but I did have one small area on the bass where I sanded through the top coat. The subsequent coats seem to have filled it in nicely and it's not readily visible at all. Since I was also sanding between these caots, perhaps the sanding you mention is the key.

Ken, I'm curious about your comment on cross linking and how that will allow subsequent coats to burn-in. My understanding is that a fully cross linked coating WON'T allow any burn in. KTM-9 is also a cross linking coating and as you mentioned, it doesn't burn in after fully curing. That is one of the reasons that the finish schedule with KTM-9 must happen on consecutive days.

I believe that lacquers burn-in because the cured coating is still soluable in the solvents contained in the subsequent coats.

Nov 08, 06 | 8:33 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Perhaps in my earlier comment I should have stated that I experienced problems with all the Water borne products I had tried before coming across the Oxford series. I have never used or tried K9, too expensive (for me), no history, (who really makes it?) And most importantly in my view the weeks of recommended cure time is a show stopper for a modern coating. As I stated I’m not chemist so perhaps I am using the term cross linking incorrectly (see why I recommend following the manufacture’s instructions?) All I can tell you is that Target claims that this product will burn-in to the previous coat no matter how long it has cured --- my tests (as pitiful as they may be) found this to be true. Their stated complete chemical cure time is 72 hours -- that works for me.

Ken


www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 08, 06 | 10:19 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
I'm also not a chemist, so it's entirely possible that I'm mixing up my terminology as well. If Target claims their product will burn-in on a fully cured finish, then that stuff sounds interesting. I may have to track some down to try. My biggest complaint with KTM-9 is the price and the fact I can ONLY get it from LMI. If I can find a product I like just as well that is available locally, that sounds like a good deal.

Nov 08, 06 | 10:39 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Just looked into it, think that will be my next finish type.....looks too god to be true. (Targets Oxford stuff that is...)

Nov 08, 06 | 5:23 pm
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
So far I cannot find a local dealer for the Target products. But they do sell direct from their web site, and the stuff is $19.95 a quart. For reference, KTM-9 is $39.45 a quart from LMI.

Ken, have you tried their fillers and sealers as well? It would be great to have a complete system available from one source.

Nov 08, 06 | 6:05 pm
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
I use the complete Oxford Ultima spray lacquer system as recommend at the Target site --- the filler for natural wood is urathane. They also have a WB shellac. For wash coats I just thin down the finishing material with water. I talked to the owner of the company and he stated that the spray lacquer can be brushed on as well -- he recommended one of those fancy wide artist's brushes, they sell them. For stained objects I use the Behlens WB filler BEFORE staining. I think Oxford is great product line --- and as I mentioned at some point I plan to repackage it into container sizes and kits that will suit guitar and instument builders. My pricing will be competitive not a rip like the K-stuff. I cannot be positive but I'd bet that stuff is Hydrocoat or Sherwin Williams or what ever packaged down, where is the K-stuff manufacturing plant located??? Two cents

Ken

www.kennethmichaelguitars.com

Nov 09, 06 | 3:09 am
Dennis Weatherly

Total Topics: 73
Total Posts: 651
I know KTM-9 comes from a company called Grafted Coatings, but whether they are the actual manufacturer I cannot say. Their website is at http://www.graftedcoatings.com/ for the curious.

Nov 09, 06 | 6:50 am
Ken Cierp

Total Topics: 58
Total Posts: 2262
Thanks I remember that now -- I have made some professional contacts at GCs and frankly asked some standard questions regarding wholesale pricing and distribution. Some questions were answered in a rather cryptic fashion and some have not been answered at all. Perhaps it’s my background, and a slightly suspicious nature, but I am having a problem understanding how any company could do the R&D for a so called specialty product and only sell through one supplier in all the U.S. that makes no sense at all --- so my thought is that it is a commercial product used for something else re-canned in small quantities for LMII.

Ken

Nov 11, 06 | 4:11 am
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
OK - journaling again.

Today - well, I sanded off all the lacquer from the soundboard.

Thought I could live with it but I couldn't.

Either I didn't notice it before, or somehow the lacquer accentuated some rough spots on the soundboard. I wanted to sand some more.

Expecially now that I'm so pleased with the back and sides.

I had a really minor run in the lacquer - that was almost unnoticeable -

And a friend noticed - this is interesting - the lacquer was thicker at the top than on the bottom. Not a biggie, but seems it was particularly thin around the bottom edge. (Note to self - bend down a little when using that spay can.)

So - I've sanded down again. Intersting - now that I've wetted to raise the grain again, it raised up the most in the "rough spots" I noticed before. Is it possible that this was as simple as the lacquer itself raising the grain in these areas? It's not water-based -

Not touching the back & sides, but will go through the spraying schedule again with just the top. I imagine there's not a problem with that, won't be uneven or anything. Tell me if I'm wrong guys :)

Could be, in the back of my head, I'm just trying to postpone buying those nut slot files...

Nov 11, 06 | 2:57 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
AAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!

Well - today, I caught my index finger in the spray from the lacquer can.

Key learning of the day: That stain residue on your gloves can be dissolved by the solvents in the lacquer and splattered onto the soundboard you're spraying.

Back to sanding.


Nov 12, 06 | 11:56 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I use surgical gloves......cheap, disposable, don't have the restaining problem.

Nov 12, 06 | 2:31 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
Well, I hope I don't sound like a broken record. "Aaarrggg, things aren't going my way. Aarrrrrgggg." But - man - yesterday wasn't my day.

(not sure if that was a pirate voice, or Jon Stewart's Dick Cheney impression...)

Guitar took a little unexpected tumble. Details aren't important, but ended up with a little bit of minor impact damage on one of the sides on the lower bout. Yeah, I just about had a fit. Well, no about about it. I had an a bona-fide fit.

The back and sides were perfect. "Were" being the operative word there. All 12 coats of lacquer already sprayed too.

Well, back out with the filler. Filling and sanding. It's filling up nicely, have one spot that's taking a few applications. Well - I'm going to have a few "pink blotchy spots" in this area. Not to mention the restaining-not-perfect-after-lacquer-application. But - oh well. I guess they're birthmarks.

If nothing else, they'll be a reminder of how I built this damn thing and didn't let anything stop me.

Well, then I read some of Kinkead's Zen Guitar Master passages in his book. That made me feel a little better. :)

Nov 13, 06 | 9:03 pm
billm

Total Topics: 32
Total Posts: 145
OK - home stretch -

You know, I think I may have spent more time, and LEARNED more, in the finishing step than the others.

Patched up the minor damage I mentioned with the filler - was a good job, but was ugly, really wasn't happy with it. So - spayed some lacquer in a plastic cup, mixed in some stain, and applied it with a brush. Sanded, reapplied, got it somewhat even in color, then spayed lacquer, started leveling - all in all, not turning out too bad. Certainly doesn't look perfect, but looks more like a variation in the finish than an ugly damage-repair spot. At any rate, need to be up-close to notice it instead of being immedately obvious.

Anyway, I feel I've gained a better feel for the characteristics and how to work with the wood and finishing materials. If my objective was to learn on this guitar, I'm doing pretty well. :) Starting to realize that nothing is a disaster, just a matter of problem-solving.

The neck has turned out really well. The soundboard is a lot better than it was too - have another round to of spraying to go there and will be good.

Finding the steel wool is doing a better job at the final stages than wet-sanding. Wet sanding seems to leave some dull streaking, while the steel wool does a pretty good job of a uniform look somewhere between satin and semi-gloss (which is what I wanted).

Have a great Thanksgiving holiday guys (U.S. guys anyway) -
- Bill

Nov 22, 06 | 6:02 am



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