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Alternative to nitro's long cure time?

swinginguitar

Member
Messages
1,054
have you had success with any other finishes that cure to rub out and assembly any quicker than nitro, such as a pre-cat/crosslikning finishes etc? I'm looking for specific product recommendations here...

nitro is great, of course, but it takes so much time to cure hard enough to buff and put hardware on, and it seems like even after a long while it's prone to printing/marring/checking and tends to shrink revealing decal edges etc (i've tried many brands..including some newer non-nitro lacquers intended for cars...all evaporative)
 

cardinal

Member
Messages
5,266
I've used some aerosols of House of Kolor stuff and 2K catalized clear coat. The whole job is done in a day and can be cut/buffed/polished 24 hours later.

But, the clear still will shrink a bit over the next few weeks. I think that's hard to avoid.
 

IBTom

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
222
Target coating systems 6000 series water based lacquer with crosslinker. It requires 125 hours to full cure and ready to cut/buff. The crosslinker makes a big improvement with regard to losing the "blue" tint that is visible on some water based clear coats, and the finish is much harder than without it.

Other benefits to this particular coating is that it has been designed so that coats will "burn in" to each other making spot repairs and drop fills work similar to working with nitro.
 

swinginguitar

Member
Messages
1,054
i actually used general finishes water based pre cat with crosslinker on a gtr once.

it was very hard and cured quickly, but seemed to be a loss of clarity (due to the number of coats i had to apply to level the binding with the paint). but it did not look blue or plastic-y

i had forgotten about the water based angle...thanks for the reminder. i can't see using that on a neck without putting a solvent based product on first for the "pop"

how many coats/what mil thickness are you doing with the Target?
 

IBTom

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
222
i actually used general finishes water based pre cat with crosslinker on a gtr once.

it was very hard and cured quickly, but seemed to be a loss of clarity (due to the number of coats i had to apply to level the binding with the paint). but it did not look blue or plastic-y

i had forgotten about the water based angle...thanks for the reminder. i can't see using that on a neck without putting a solvent based product on first for the "pop"

how many coats/what mil thickness are you doing with the Target?

I haven't sprung for a coating thickness gauge yet, though I know that I need to.

For the neck, after grain filling, I seal with 1# cut of shellac, let it set for a full 24 hours, two coats of Target 1000 sealer, then only 3 coats of 6000 with the cross linker. Then very carefully cut, but I don't polish the back of the neck. I'll hit it with 600 and when I'm happy, I'll burnish whats there with gray scotchbrite pad. It remains dull, but is very slick and comfortable. I'll mask it off and polish the headstock front and back and the heel on the buffing wheel.

For the body, I seal the wood with 1# cut shellac, depending on the color of the wood, either garnet of blonde. After 24 hours, I'll hit it with a couple medium coats of the Target 1000 sealer, then cut that back the following day. Target is sensitive to alcohol until it fully cures, and even then, it could get you. It is pretty durable otherwise. If I'm happy with it, I'll move on to 4 coats of 6000 with cross linker, 4 more the next day, and 3 or four on the third day. I've typically level sanded by wet sanding, though I've been reading on Target forums that guys are doing their cutting dry and saving until up around 1500 or 2000 to wet sand.

My most recent finished build, an acoustic, I leveled with 400 dry, then wet sanded the rest of the way without issue.

The guitar is in Charleston, has been there going on a month now. I keep in contact with the owner and he's reported no issues with stickiness on the neck or the body where his forearm would contact.
 

bloomz

Senior Member
Messages
4,228
I got lovely gloss from Mohawk pre cat lacquer, and applied many coats with just 30-60 minutes drying time between quite wet coats.
 

B. Howard

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,211
I use Simtec 28X50 polyester for my sealer and pore filler. This is universal and is used under all my topcoats unless someone specifies something else like a traditional paste filler. It is a 24 hr cure time to sand and topcoat. I run 2 different systems over that in addition to nitro. One is PPG DCU2021 which is an automotive urethane similar to HOK and Dupont. This is readily available at many auto body suppliers. You can also use the corresponding base coats to obtain colors, metalics, etc. I also use a conversion varnish, it is a post cat, acid catalyzed system. It is ML Campbell Krystal conversion varnish. Conversion varnish is a bit trickier to work with but is my favorite finish for guitars currently.

Drawbacks, advantages and other thoughts; Both of these have mil barriers of 5 mils which must be respected or the film will fail Both are ready to cut and buff in 72 hours though I usually give 4-5 days as that is how my schedule works here at the shop. Both are tougher to buff than nitro due to the fact they do not readily re-flow under heat with the CV being the hardest to buff. Both are solvent borne so all the same precautions one uses for nitro are required such as explosion proof fans, respirator etc. The urethanes like PPG are expensive, in the range of $250/gal for clear as sprayed. Certain metallic colors can easily go $1000/gal. The Krystal is a professional product and only distributed through wholesalers but you can likely find a local cabinet shop to help you get some. Both require chemistry, and it must be accurate or problems will arise. The urethane needs a basecoat for use over wood but the Krystal is self sealing , though certain tropical woods will require a barrier coat as not to throw off the system PH and cause a cold cure situation.
 

mlp-mx6

Member
Messages
86
Mr. Howard makes good points. If you want to try automotive urethane I would highly recommend Southern Polyurethanes products. Highest quality, VERY MUCH lower prices than he mentioned.

Also - for basecoats (automotive colors), make friends at an auto body shop. They'll often give you leftover quantities of car colors which will be plenty for guitar finishing. They have to pay for disposal of their leftovers, so you're actually saving them a small amount of money by taking those leftovers off their hands. Those colors are usually acrylic lacquer, and spray just like nitro. You will need to practice a bit with spraying those metallics or pearls to get a good result, but it is not hard at all.
 

Rhomco

Making UPS, FEDEX and USPS richer every day!
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,899
I use Sherwin Williams LOVC Nitrocellulose Lacquer and I can wet sand/buff in as little as three days. Not too bad for my purposes.
Rob
www.rhomcoguitars.com
 




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