Lacquer finish question

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Lacquer finish question

Postby Jakeblues » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:58 pm

So, I'm starting to undertake a project of building a telecaster from parts (A "Tele-parter?"). I'm starting with a Alder body. I wanted to finish it with a high gloss lacquer (Fire engine red, of course). There's one problem: I have zero experience with lacquer. I don't know anything about the process, prepping, base coats, finish coats, brands, etc. Any advise greatly appreciated.
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby michaelm » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:35 pm

Basically you are looking at sealer, color and clear coats with a whole lot of sanding. There are several brands that offer a high quality product in rattle-cans to save the cost of a compressor and a gun. I've heard stories, but I don't have any personal experience with these, so maybe someone else can chime in here with some brand recommendations. In case you are not aware of it, Stew-Mac has a lot free info on instrument building, setup, repair and finishing as well as books and DVDs for sale. Here's a sample of the free stuff for finishing:

http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Finishing.html

Of course, they are interested in promoting their own products, but the info is rarely brand specific. I have dealt with them off and on for many years now and usually been quite satisfied. As you are likely figuring, doing a good lacquer job takes some time and practice to learn. At the very least, you will probably want to buy some extra material and practice on some scraps before applying a finish to the actual guitar.

BTW, we usually say 'Partscaster' not 'Tele-parter', but, who knows, maybe you can start the NBT - the Next Big Thing. 8) HTH.
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby Jakeblues » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:46 pm

I'll have to poke around Stew-Mac. Not sure why that didn't come to mind (must be the sleep deprivation from DST?) I just ordered the body, and I'm a little short on time, so this is likely to be an extended process. I have a compressor, but I'm guessing the gun I have isn't fine enough. I can tell I have a lot to learn.

I liked "Tele-parter" to distinguish it from a Strat made from parts.
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:19 pm

I think you gonna have to go through a trial and error period.
Have some scrap boards around to use for paint tests.
Get you process sorted out on the scrap wood first.
FYI: lacquer will boil up enamel if you paint over it, so be sure it's sanded clean.
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby TC6969 » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:57 am

Its all a matter of what you want the finished product to look like.

Do you want a red guitar that you will be gigging and is going to get some road wear on it right away, or do you want a guitar that looks like it was dipped in liquid glass that will sit in a stand all the time?

Two different processes!
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby Jakeblues » Tue Mar 13, 2012 1:14 pm

I do expect to be sacrificing a lot of scraps first. I don't play out anymore (and don't expect that I will anytime soon), so this is meant to be a "Pretty" guitar, not a worker. I'm not sure I'd mess with lacquer on a working axe.

In talking with a few people at work, it sounds like one of the biggest challenges is the balance between ventilation and dust control. Meticulous prep sounds like a close second.
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby Buffalo_Bill » Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:24 pm

Jakeblues wrote:it sounds like one of the biggest challenges is the balance between ventilation and dust control.
Ain't that the truth!
I have a LP project waiting for warm weather. I tried clear coating during January, and kept getting fine dust in the finish. It was stirred up by the kerosene heater, plus fish eyes caused by the particles of kerosene.

When the warm weather is here, I plan to build a small, dust proof spray booth, just to finish that guitar.
I suggest you plan out a dust proof spray booth for your project.
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Re: Lacquer finish question

Postby Jakeblues » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:12 pm

When the warm weather is here, I plan to build a small, dust proof spray booth, just to finish that guitar.
I suggest you plan out a dust proof spray booth for your project.


In the basement of a 150 year old house, I think that's sound advice.
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