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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 12:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 11:39 pm
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Has anyone any experience with Brite Tone water-based instrument finishes manufactured for Wood Essence in Saskatoon, Canada?
http://www.woodessence.com/Brite-Tone-I ... P4367.aspx

They have a fairly complete line including finish, sealer, and filler. I am preparing to finish my first two builds and was considering EM 6000, which I can get without shipping cost from Lee Valley, but I like the idea of a system that may be more compatible. The Brite Tone filler is clear, which I like. Otherwise I may try EM 6000 and use Aqua Coat as filler, if I can get it in Canada, or perhaps the Brite Tone filler, if either of those combinations is compatible.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 8:45 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 7:50 am
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Location: Chadds Ford, PA
Interesting. Please post on your experience applying it and overall results with this stuff!


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:05 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2014 8:13 pm
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So, this system would take the place of French polishing with shellac? I'd be interested in your experience with this product.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:08 pm 
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I'm hoping it's a water base lacquer, but the website is not clear on this. It's possible it's a urethane type varnish? I sent a query to them but have not heard back. It appealed to me because it offered a sealer and a clear (transparent) grain filler under the same brand, which should indicate they are all compatible. Since this is my first go at spraying finish, I would like to reduce possible trouble spots in my method.


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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:01 am 
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Let us know if you hear from them. It's an interesting group of products.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:49 pm 
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I've started finishing my two first builds (after dealing with all those things I'd overlooked, reconsidered, repaired, did again, forgotten to do, etc. . . ) using water-based Bright Tone clear pore filler, sanding sealer and gloss instrument finish. I'm a beginner and everything is a learning curve so I'll get through the process and then write it up. But in the meantime, more about Bright Tone. I heard about it from Wood Essence, a company that sells lots of finishing materials and tools in Saskatoon - great for us Canucks. When I received my order, I saw immediately that it's made by Becker Labs in Mountain City TN. It looks like an addition to their Crystal Lac line, but according to them a much harder finish. Seems to be available in the US. Also on their web site (crystallac.info) is an apparently unpaid testimonial video by Chris Monck (I think that's his name--hard to find it) of Highline Guitars. He praises the Bright Tone line highly. Here is a link to the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN8wxphcWME (one of many he has done.) I have no experience to compare to, so I'd be interested to know how "real" luthiers respond to this. More on my own first experience later . . .


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:05 am 
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I have just about completed the finishing on my two guitars with the Brite-Tone water-based system: gloss instrument finish, sanding sealer, and clear filler. The filler looks white, and smooth like pudding. The sealer has an amber tone, and the finish coat is white like skim milk, and smells different than the sealer. This is my first attempt with any finish on instruments, and my first experience with a spray unit (the Earlex system mentioned here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8257)

I had lots of issues with this process, mostly because of inexperience. I sanded to about 400, then sprayed a sealer coat. Then I applied a filler coat with a cloth which seemed ineffective. I applied a heavier coat, too heavy as it turns out. I thought it might sand out like drywall mud, but it is extremely hard, and it took some time to sand it down. Another sealer coat, and levelling. I put on another filler coat, thin, with a cloth, and that seemed better. It was difficult to know when I had sanded back down to wood, and I later discovered areas where white shadows of the filler (I think) were showing through, so I had some touching up to do. I applied finish coats per manufacturer's instructions, but found the recommended scuffing between coats with 600 or 800 ineffectual as the sandpaper clogged up, so used 400 in some places. I now know I spent too much time levelling, but eventually got the finish on. I wet sanded with 600, 100 and 1500, and then Micro-Mesh 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000, and 12000. The finish was semi-glossy at this point. Menzerna 16 and 2L and it got better, but I could see some fine scratches in the finish. I was fearful of sanding through the finish but I went back and wet sanded with 800, 1000, 1200 and 1500, and repeated the Micro-Mesh and Menzerna steps. It's quite a bit better, quite glossy now, and I have yet to do the final Menzerna polish (all of this has been done by hand; too chicken to try my orbital sander.)

I was hoping to get a glossy finish out of the gun but it was spotty; some areas glossy (see the neck and sides in photo) and some uneven (back in photo) with some runs (see the waist). After more research here and elsewhere I learned that you have to go through the levelling and polishing stages. I eventually got there, and though I have nothing to compare to, I wonder if this finish is quite hard. As claimed, it does not seem to give a blue tinge to dark wood. I am working on a few touchups, and moving on to bridges and nuts, and will go back to the finish in a week or so.

I tried this finishing system because it was self-compatible, water-based, sounded good, and was readily available in Canada. I now see Lee Valley is carrying Emtech EM6000 and Aqua-coat filler so that is an alternative. It will be a while before I can try something else but if anyone with more experience has a chance to try Brite-Tone I'd love to hear comments. If anyone has specific questions I will answer them as best I can.


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