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When did Fender Stop Using Nitro???

Messages
2,663
Here's the thing.
It's not that they started using it, it's they never stopped using the poly undercoat.

Search in Fullerplast here and you can get a great history of the makeup of the undercoat.
 

Will Chen

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,709
And also pre Fullerplast, Homoclad which began being used in '55. Given the Strat's introduction in '54, it was likely never historically an all Nitro finish as one of Fender's biggest goals was quick construction utilizing whatever was available. Sealing the wood allowed much quicker (and more durable) finish and more consistency on the top coats.
 
Messages
23,951
Please, stop this "breathing" stuff. For every 1 time some guy says his guitar breathes, I hear 75 poly guys mocking him. The wood is not ready for guitar building until it is seriously dead. Tod. Mort. It is late wood, bereft of life. R.I.P. and all that. I still cannot understand why more folks do not grasp how long FEIC and later FMIC used a catalyzed base skin on all these guitars, anyway. Once you're talking about topcoats (that is what it is about) on wood encased in a plastic shell, then the "breathing" talk can stop. Until some Poly guy gets it going again, as usual.

If your metabolism causes the lacquer topcoat finish to act up (and some folks are like that due to their diet, disease, or their genetic makeup) just stay away from lacquer. There are folks who love to work with it, and amongst other things, love the way it can be repaired.
 
Messages
2,663
And also pre Fullerplast, Homoclad which began being used in '55. Given the Strat's introduction in '54, it was likely never historically an all Nitro finish as one of Fender's biggest goals was quick construction utilizing whatever was available. Sealing the wood allowed much quicker (and more durable) finish and more consistency on the top coats.

Which is why I have a little silent laugh whenever someone brings up the old chestnut that the AVRI guitars are not correct when they are nitro over poly and how only an all nitro finish is period correct.
 
Messages
2,663
The wood is not ready for guitar building until it is seriously dead. Tod. Mort. It is late wood, bereft of life. R.I.P. and all that.

No it's not.
It's pining for the fjords.

Actually, it's the nitro guys that start these conversations. The poly guys are pretty quiet. You almost could say that they are coated in plastic and don't "breathe".
 

Jed B

Member
Messages
1,166
Please, stop this "breathing" stuff. For every 1 time some guy says his guitar breathes, I hear 75 poly guys mocking him. The wood is not ready for guitar building until it is seriously dead. Tod. Mort. It is late wood, bereft of life. R.I.P. and all that. I still cannot understand why more folks do not grasp how long FEIC and later FMIC used a catalyzed base skin on all these guitars, anyway. Once you're talking about topcoats (that is what it is about) on wood encased in a plastic shell, then the "breathing" talk can stop. Until some Poly guy gets it going again, as usual.

If your metabolism causes the lacquer topcoat finish to act up (and some folks are like that due to their diet, disease, or their genetic makeup) just stay away from lacquer. There are folks who love to work with it, and amongst other things, love the way it can be repaired.
:beer
 

Malinoski

everything wrong possible
Messages
2,130
Cut and pasted from another article I found a couple of years ago. I do not know the origin. For those who do not know, Mr. Kendrick is a longtime employee and masterbuilder at Fender.

-----------------------------------------

Pardon my typos. I've lost alot of brain cells in my day. Could it be the 'Nitro'.

The first Fender lap steel was finished in black enamel. When Doc Kauffman and Leo formed K&F guitars in 1945, their original instruments, including the amplifiers, were finished in a lead based, wrinkle coat enamel. A nice shade of Battleship Grey. That was the only color available. After expermenting with different woods other than pine for guitars, they began using nitrocellulose lacquer. They used what was available to the furniture trade at the time.
The original colors were blonde, sunburst, etc... just like your Grandmas coffee table.

Custom colors were introduced in 1955. Once again they were enamel. The same material they used in the auto industry. The enamel would not adhere to the stearate based nitocellulose sanding sealer. Acrylic lacquers were then developed by Dupont to be sprayed on material other than metal. "Duco colors". In order for the paint to adhere, Fender began using a Sherwin Williams product called Homoclad. It was a penetrating, heavy solid, oil based sealer used as a barrier coat to to provide better adhesion for their guitars with custom colors. It was applied by dipping the guitar bodies directly into a 55 gallon drum, filled with the product. ALL Fender guitars produced after 1955 used this product until 1967, when Fender began experimenting with polyesters an undercoat.

By 1968, virtually all Fender guitar products used polyester as an undercoat, including necks. It's a two part product using Methyl Ethyl Ketone(MEK) as a catalyst. The reason the face of the pegheads were not sealed with polyester, is because type 'C' decals (under the finish) would not adhere to the product. While it is true a few guitars may have squeaked by with homoclad, when homoclad wasn't available, they used a Fuller O'Brian product called Ful-O-Plast. PLASTIC!!! It's obvious to me that those necks or bodies were stragglers, having to be reworked for some reason or another and not shipped after the change.

I'd like to make one thing clear... ALL FENDER GUITARS PRODUCED AFTER 1968 HAD A POLYESTER UNDERCOAT WITH A LACQUER TOPCOAT!!! There is no specific ratio. Enough poly was, and is sprayed to properly fill the grain while preventig a burn through while sanding.

In 1983, Fender began using polyuerthane as a topcoat. It cured quicker. It had better clarity. It had more depth and gloss, and didn't melt when you accidently spilled 151 on it. Fender then discontinued the use of polyester on the necks. Polyurethane is a 2 part product using a catalyst.

Fender has continued to use polyester, polyurethane, nitro, homoclad, and Ful-O-Plast.

Nitro is not a superior finish. An electric guitar doesn't 'breathe' at 120 db.

My first year at Fender I personally painted approximately 46,000 guitars. I like polyester. I like Nitro colors too. But maybe I'll let the players that use poly (ester or urethane) speak for themselves...

Billy Gibbons, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Joe Perry, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Roccco Prestia, Jimmie Vaughn, Nils Lofgren, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins, Tom Hamilton, Lenny Kravitz, Merle Haggard, Don Rich, Darryl Jones, Mike Stern, Larry Carlton, Peter Frampton, Sting, Marty Stuart, just to name a few. More are available upon request.

Hope this helps,

Mark K.
That pretty much ends the conversation.



Some other things to add from a makers point of view:

1- Nitro is toxic to use. Seriously, no matter how good of a spray booth you have it is going straight into your liver and will kill you. It doesn't just kill your brain, it kills your body- that is why no industry uses it any more.

2- Nitro was designed for stable surfaces like steel, it is hard and brittle and cracks and chips on flexible surfaces... like wood. There are many better coating choices for wood than nitro.

3- Nitro is beautiful stuff, it sprays perfectly, it flows out like butter, wetsands and repairs like nothing else... and it will kill you.
 

Stike

Member
Messages
14,061
And also pre Fullerplast, Homoclad which began being used in '55. Given the Strat's introduction in '54, it was likely never historically an all Nitro finish as one of Fender's biggest goals was quick construction utilizing whatever was available. Sealing the wood allowed much quicker (and more durable) finish and more consistency on the top coats.
Yep. Pure conjecture but if the urethanes and UV curable finishes of today were available in 1954 the only time we would hear the word nitro. would be on SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!!!!
 




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