automotive nitro lacquer?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by supahsekzy, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. supahsekzy

    supahsekzy Member

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  2. Stike

    Stike Member

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    Sure.

    The auto industry hasn't used lacquer- acrylic or nitro for a LONG time.
     
  3. klatuu

    klatuu Member

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    That would be acrylic lacquer I imagine..........You can get clear nitrocelluose from furniture refinishing sites. They usually sell instrument grade. Color (matched to what you want) is harder to come by.
     
  4. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Member

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    Hopefully Larry(Paintguy)will chime in here for ya....
     
  5. Ron4406

    Ron4406 Member

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    If your only doing one color and not much clearcoat, yeah. Its fine. Not very durable. And dont ever put it on a guitar stand, leave it in a case, ect.
    But if your doing multible colors (like bulleyes, stripes, ect), forget it. The amount of clearcoat you need to cover the shelf is to much. You can have it dry for 3 months before sanding and buffing and it still wont be durable at all. If its in a case, you'll have the fur pattern in the clearcoat. Summertime in a hot car is death.
    If your hellbent on using a rattlecan, (and I dont blame ya. Spraygun equipment is exspensive for one guitar) then check this place out.
    www.alsacorp.com
    They have the best clearcoat in a can. Durable enough.
     
  6. stratoskier

    stratoskier Member

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    I struggled over what rattle can paint type to use as well. There is a lot of discussion about this topic over in the Project Guitar forums. There will always be several people who will simply say "Forget it -- you can't get a decent finish from a rattle can" while others will say their project came out fine using cans.

    Anyway, I recently finished a guitar using Duplicolor acylic lacquer ("Truck and SUV" line) and I'm pretty happy with it. Seems to have cured fine, but I did give it a month before buffing the clear. I'd definitely suggest studying all of the advice and tutorials at both PG and ReRanch before proceeding.

    Cheers,
    Bert


    Important Reality Check Edit: Alarmed by Ron4406's comment about "don't ever put it on a guitar stand," I thought to check the bottom of my acylic lacquer refinished guitar where it rests on the stand. Guess what? He's right -- the stand left an impression, one for each arm of the stand. More like just a loss of gloss on the clear, and I expect that I can remove it with some polish. But he's correct in his observation, and this guitar will henceforth be hanging on the wall. (Thanks, Ron!)
     
  7. Ron4406

    Ron4406 Member

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    Hope that buffs out. Sounds like you caught it in time.
    I've seen where the whole finish stuck to the stand. Two, nice, barespots on the guitar.
    The best stuff I've found is Acrilic Urathane. You only need a couple hours dry time. Buffs to a mirror finish. And durable as all get out.
    Bummer is, you need a compresser, gun, ect....ect...ect.
     
  8. Jellecaster

    Jellecaster Member

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    If you want a black finish you can get great results with a base coat of Krylon (it has to be Krylon) black enamel. Let it sit for several days to a week, and then clear coat it with rattle can nitro. I use Deft nitro and have had great results. It takes months to achieve a professional finish, but it is absolutely possible with a rattle can.

    I did this with rattle can lacquer:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    you can absolutely get a beautiful finish from a rattle can if you do it right. The reranch stuff is top quality mcfaddens nitro. with good prep, and plenty of clear coats, and adequate cure time you can buff it out to a factory finish.

    You still have to be careful with certain guitar stands because the rubber reacts to nitro- but that would be the same for any fender or gibson with a lacquer finish or top coat.
     
  10. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    The only automotive lacquer that I've been able to find has been Acrylic Lacquer and it is hard to find it in any color other than black. I have been told by the manager at the PPG store in my town that all solvent-based finishes will be a thing of the past in several years. Everyone is going to waterborne finishes. Even the furniture guys are doing it: http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_base/Waterborne_lacquer_and_polyurethane.html -

    I especially like this part:

    Basically, whether you're talking waterborne or solvent borne, it all comes down to the resin system. With solvent, you start with nitrocellulose, one step up is acrylic, two steps up is acrylic urethane and next is single component urethane, followed by 2 component urethane (isocyanate hardener + urethane resin). Waterborne or solvent borne, this hierarchy stays the same except that with waterborne there is no nitrocellulose equivalent. The price goes up as the resins get more expensive. Just that simple.


    http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/PollutionPrevention/ABP/upload/TD_FS_WaterbourneCoatings.pdf

    I would imagine that nitro finishing is going to go the way of the dinosaur.

    Also, keep in mind that Fender switched from nitro basecoats to poly in the mid 60's - they continued to use a nitro clear.

    My opinion: nothing LOOKS as good as lacquer, but as far as tone is concerned - film thickness is way more important that what it is comprised of.

    Back to topic:

    Brushing lacquers can be thinned and sprayed - the instructions say "must not be thinned and sprayed", but that is only written due to EPA restrictions. Deft is a good choice as it already has a retarder in it which allows moisture to escape prior to drying - very important if you are spraying in an environment that is high in humidity. You can thin the Deft Brushing Lacquer with Acetone or Lacquer thinner. If it is below 70 degrees you should thin it 1:1 (50% thinner/50% lacquer) if it is 100 degrees you probably don't have to thin it more than 5:1 (20% thinner). The best thing to do is to experiment. If you have an eye for color, Stewart MacDonald sells all of the primary colors in a pigment that will convert clear lacquer into a Fender custom color.

    You can use the spray cans, but it sure as hell hurts your fingers...not to mention the wet-sanding is a real chore. If you plan on painting a lot of guitars get yourself an Iwata LPH300 or a quality high volume low pressure gun - with the Iwata you start wet-sanding at 1500 grit. Either gun has an adjustment for the level of paint that is sprayed - very useful when doing sunbursts or tight spots.
     
  11. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Fender and Gibson originally used automotive paint for their custom colors long ago. Fender always, to my knowledge, used acrylic lacquer for their color coats and nitro for the clear.

    Certain lacquers have changed over the years, though.

    Deft has more plasticizers and anti-yellowing agents in it, as do some other brands, than old-school nitro lacquer. As a result, some brands don't age the same way and never dry as hard due to the plasticizers.

    Good luck.
     
  12. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    This is a wonderful site for anyone who wants to learn about Fender/Gibson paint history:

    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/fenderc.html

    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/gibsonc.html

    No matter how many times you read it you always learn something new.

    I just read this part now:

    In 1956 DuPont started using acrylic binders in their lacquer. This solved the yellowing problem, and to a large extent, the color retention problem too (acrylic is more UV resistant than celluloid). Also, since acrylic binders have better elasticity, the checking problem disappeared too. The only down side to acrylic lacquer is, to some, a myth. That is it never dries as hard as nitrocellulose lacquer (hence no checking problems). And since it doesn't dry as hard, it doesn't buff and shine as well (many, mostly in the paint industry, dispute this, but as a painter I agree). Any old-time car painter will argue this to the death.

    I agree because a friend of mine has a 1965 Jazzmaster that is olive green with LOTS of checking. I would imagine that it was either Ocean Turquoise or Lake Placid Blue when it was new.
     
  13. paintguy

    paintguy Long Hair Hippy Freak Silver Supporting Member

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    If you can find it, it would be fine. Many a guitar have been sprayed in all types of automotive paints and still are. Just make sure to use the same brand/system all the way through the job.

    When you start mixing brands and chemical make-ups, that's when the real problems begin.

    Good luck, have fun and be very patient in your application.
     
  14. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    Just got off the phone with Peter at Lawrence McFadden Co.

    According to him, ALL lacquers made today have plasticizers in them, but they do check and crack if provoked. As you may know, Lawrence McFadden makes lacquer for Gibson and Fender. They are the industry standard. There is no such animal as an "old school" lacquer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  15. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    Thanks you, Kingbeegtrs, for bunch of really tight posts. Well done.

    We sprayed cars in the late 1960's and early 1970's with Dupont acrylic lacquer. Nitro was already "obsolete" as an auto finish by then.

    I agree, nothing polishes out like lacquer. But here's a note of optimism. A number of years ago, pro house painters used only oil based coatings, because the emulsions (latex) were so pathetic then. Now, exterior painters still using oil are getting rarer everyday - although some like to apply a "fog coat" of oil based primer to kinda seal in the juices and overcoat in latex. Latex technology had made gigantic leaps while alkyd just sat there. And so at some point water borne finishes will be polishable, or at least I hope so.
     
  16. OlAndrew

    OlAndrew Member

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    If you're really into getting as close as you can to vintage, look for a magazine called "Hemming's Motor News". It's sort of a gear classified ads thing for classic car freaks. There's automotive nitro listed in there, BUT:

    a) It's EXPENSIVE

    b) It's not gonna be the same as the old stuff, the EPA forced the manufacturers to change the mix. Hasn't been any of the good old stuff around since the late 60's, and the new doesn't work or harden up the same.

    c) There may be legal restrictions on shipping it (ie can not ship to California, will only ship to businesses with certain certifications, like a clean air spray both, etc.
     
  17. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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  18. Kingbeegtrs

    Kingbeegtrs Senior Member

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    Most of the metallic colors AND Olympic white were never made in nitro. I like it when Fender advertises a "thin skin nitro olympic white" finish.
     
  19. lamenlovinit

    lamenlovinit Member

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    yeah... but I do believe the claim is the undercoat is thin nitro, and the overspray is supposed to be thin. Could be true if the painter is having a good day:D

    I got my AVRI jag in Oly knowing this, as I can't imagine owning a jag in any other color:AOK
     
  20. brad347

    brad347 Member

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    Exactly right. This is why a 'new' nitro finish will never be the same as what's on the vintage guitars.

    But different manufacturers have their own 'formulas.'

    From what I can gather, Deft is softer and yellows less than other brands, McFadden's and Minwax will dry a little harder and yellow more.

    This is second-hand anecdotal evidence, however.

    Interestingly, I had a friend who got a Chinese archtop made by Eastman and finished in nitro lacquer. Pretty nice guitar, but the thing that struck me was that in a matter of a couple of months through normal use it was checked like a vintage instrument, and the checking looked EXACTLY like the checking on an early '50s pre-Gibson Epiphone archtop I have.

    It made me wonder if, with slacker environmental restrictions in China, they aren't maybe using a different formulation of lacquer than we can currently get in the States.
     

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