Achieving A Professional Polyurethane Finish

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bdam123, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. bdam123

    bdam123 Member

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    I know nitro is like the thing in the guitar world but I'm going to commit blasphemy and refinish my already polyurethane coated guitar with another polyurethane finish.

    My American Standard has a ridiculously thick poly coat that falls off in chunks. So any natural wear just looks like crap. I've noticed that my 98' Strat Deluxe on the other hand has a poly finish so thin that if I were to accidentally scratch or scrape this thing I would see wood. I love how this finish looks and feels. It has some really nice natural wear on it that I really like and prefer over the nature wear that one might see on a nitro finished guitar.

    So I have a few questions and if anyone can point me in the right direction it would be great.

    1) What kind of paint should I use? I'm just doing a solid black finish.
    2) Is it going to be necessary for me to use a primer first. I can't see any primer under the paint of my Deluxe.
    3) Who is a good supplier for polyurethane clear coat?
    4) How many coats of clear coat should I do? I'm looking for as thin of a finish as possible while still having a enough poly to protect the paint.

    Also, there are a few spot of my standard that were banged up and the finish basically just cracked and fell off in chunks. In other words the finish seems very brittle. I've noticed that on my Deluxe, the finish almost seems soft, almost like it could be scraped off without cracking. Does anyone know how this type of finished is achieved? Is the finish on my Deluxe even polyurethane? Is it possible that its some other kind of plastic that is softer than polyurethane? I'm asking because guitar has finish that feels very different from the other. I though guitars were either finished with polyurethane or nitrocellulose. So is there another type that Fender might have used in the late 90's?

    Sorry for the long post. Thanks to anyone who can help. PEACE!
     
  2. Stike

    Stike Member

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    One reason lacquer is popular with DIYr's is it's readily available in spray cans. The finish you are after is not. I know the Home Depot and Lowes has cans of stuff labeled polyurethane but it is not the same material used in the guitar industry. The stuff you are after is most easily obtained from an autobody supply but it's expensive and not available in spray cans.
     
  3. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    Factory applied polyurethane is a 2 part system shot with a pro paint gun. Nothing you are going to buy will match it. Other than that, you have all the rattle can polyurethanes in hardware stores. Buy a couple cans and pick up a scrap of wood and experiment.
     
  4. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    If you are only going to do this one guitar don't bother.

    You will need:

    A spray gun (preferably HVLP)

    A compressor with adequate power

    An area to shoot in, either in a ventilated garage or outside (weather permitting).

    A good NIOSH approved respirator.

    Some nitrile or similar gloves.

    Mixing (ratio) cups

    Base coat (dupont, nason, etc)

    Reducer

    Clear coat

    Clear coat activator

    You can go without a primer or sealer, because you can use what is already on the guitar as a base, by sanding it down close to almost gone, but leaving a little in the wood as grainfiller/sealer.

    Of course after you will need to wetsand and buff. this will require:

    At least 3 grits of paper (more for a newbie)

    At least 2 compounds

    a swirl remover/fine polish

    a buffer or buffing pad with a drill
     
  5. bdam123

    bdam123 Member

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    Geez. Thanks for the info guys. Might have to rethink this.
     
  6. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

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    What Mac said. Note that this stuff is SERIOUSLY toxic and you need to wear protection. A little white paper mask don't cut it...you need serious breathing protection and skin coverage. It's a two part, like epoxy. Check auto painting sites - House of Kolor comes to mind.
     
  7. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    For the DIY, I'd go either rattle can lacquer (Deft) or an oil like Tung Oil or TruOil.
     

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