Adding Translucent Finish over clear / poly finish

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Skillet, May 17, 2019.

  1. Skillet

    Skillet Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2011
    I recently finished a bass that I built the body for with gloss wipe on poly. It looks good, but it also looks very much like another I built and I want to do something different. I would like to add a translucent paint over the current finish, with possibly a burst.

    I've had the best luck with lacquer in the past, I love the way the coats burn into each other. My main question is, do I have to buy translucent paint or can I just choose my color and thin it down and shoot it thusly.

    I'll be using a pot gun and possibly an airbrush to do the burst. Planning on sanding the poly with 600 or so, then some de-waxed shellac, then the lacquer. If I become convinced lacquer is a bad idea, I could shoot urethane I reckon. Again the question being, buy paint already formulated to be transparent / translucent, or just thin it down (my fear being it would be so thin that runs could be an issue). sunny.jpg
    it's made of cypress, walnut, redwood, and pine.
    Matt Liebenau likes this.
  2. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    You won't be able to thin a color paint anywhere near enough to make it translucent. That isn't what thinner is for. If you thin the paint too much outside the range of the recommended viscosity, then you're almost guaranteeing serious problems with finishing defects.

    You'll need to use clear as your coverage paint and add a little bit of color to tint it to the amount of translucency you want. It won't take very much, so start with a small amount at first. Or you could buy it premixed if you have that option.

    Remember, the more coats you spray, the less transparent it will get.

    P.S. My personal preference strongly favors urethane.
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
    Beej and Skillet like this.
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