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Hold on to your hats...

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Hambone, Aug 16, 2000.

  1. cuz I just heard about a incredible method of putting a finish on wood. And for me, that automatically meant "BASS"

    I wanted to have the brass bridge on my Kawai refinished and looked up a local powder coater. For those of you that aren't familiar, powder coating is sort of like painting but much tougher. Usually a metal piece is cleaned and hung to spray. An electric lead is attached to the piece to give it a negative charge. A special gun is used that sprays a super fine powder of granulated epoxy and imparts a positive charge to the powder. Then, as junior high science tells us, opposites attract and the powder sticks to the negatively charged piece. Then the whole thing goes in an oven and is baked so that the powder melts into a homogenous coating. When cool it is extremely hard, tough, and very very shiny. No runs, No drips, No errors. This process is generally used on automotive items for custom cars and the like. My powder coater guy tells me that they can now powder coat WOOD!!?? I was intrigued. He tells me that he would put a special coating of "something" on the wood to make it take a charge and then spray the powder. This is a special powder that melts at a lower temperature than the usual stuff and voila - a hard, tough, shiny finish on wood. This stuff is NOT inexpensive - it's sold in 250 lb. lots at $10.00 per pound. I would think that a clear powder would be the first to try but you can have a lot of other colors and finishes like "hammered bronze" and some other metallic type coatings. I am still intrigued and will try to get some more info when I see this guy next week.
  2. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    Now I am also intrigued. I am goinf to check around in my area and see if I can find out anything further about this.
    Thanks for the idea!!!
  3. Rumblin' Man

    Rumblin' Man Banned

    Apr 27, 2000
    Route 66
    Interesting, I wonder if heating the body will have an effect on the tone?


    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    Im just replying so Ill be e-mailed when someone adds to this.
  5. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, me too.
  6. As my guy tells me the heat required for the wooden version of powder coating is between 250 and 300 degrees. That is very low when it comes to heating something of this density. Remember only the powder on the surface needs heating, not the body itself. Besides it would take a long time in the oven to bring the heat of the wood up to say 100 degrees in the core. Gosh, it takes a good 3 hours to do a turkey! My guy also tells me that he has sprayed the finish HOT which I took to mean in molten liquid form and that works too.

    I'll let you know.
  7. frost13


    Apr 12, 2000
    Have you found out yet...if the type of woood matters? Is one better than another for this process?
  8. Frost, I have an idea on this but it doesn't come from any direct knowledge.

    I don't think the wood would matter. The reason is that the finish "encases" the wood rather than permeating it's top surface. As long as the prep coating is used, I would think that any type of wood could be done.
  9. IMO,
    Stay away from Powder coatings.
    This is a form of refinishing intended for production purposes, Lawn furniture, Automotive frames, Motorcycles Etc.
    Powder coatings are generally not as smooth in appearance as say a Lacquer. Also the thickness of the P Coating may not be advantagous to the instrument.
    I'm sure your local refinisher will tell you the same thing.
    Good Luck,
  10. Gotta respectfully disagree with that opinion Tom. Powder coatings can be and regularly are one of the smoothest finishes you can get. Of course the surface of the recipient piece is going to determine ultimate smoothness but you can get absolutely glass smooth finishes with this method. As for thickness, it is true that a powder coat can be somewhat thicker than paints but take a look at a poly finish on a modern Fender guitar and you'll see a finish that will likely be thicker than that of a powder coat. It's all going to be in the way the process is done and the desires of the client. Now, you might not want to use this process with true tone woods, or an instrument that derives it's character from it's body wood. But, there are many body woods that wouldn't be affected by a thick coat and that thickness could be precisely what is desired in a finish.

    Additionally, this is a new process. Both my refinisher and the industry in general have had little to no experience with the product or the process. I think it might be premature to dismiss this out of hand without further investigation. For instance, have you heard of the process of hot coating? That is taking the powder in molten liquid form and spraying it without the need for polarity charging. I hadn't either, but I will continue to investigate the process as it too has some intriguing possibilites.

    Your statement about powder coating only being a production process is true but only to some extent. With the advent of smaller and smaller, even consumer based equipment, powder coating is now a sort of "boutique" process. There a literally dozens of colors, finishes, and processes available and it is the sheer expanse of possibilities that spur investivation

    [Edited by Hambone on 08-22-2000 at 06:01 PM]
  11. Hambone,
    You know best.
    All I am saying is the powder coatings I have seen,
    IMO (in my opinion), does not compare with a quality refinish job, either done by a Luthier or an experienced Auto refinisher. The amount of hand work/personal attention one has to give in the preperation and detail work in refinishing an instrument is staggering.
    Regarding finish thickness on Polyurethane/Urethane vs. powder?
    I would not know how many mils is on a particular guitar.
    My equipment can only measure ferrous metals i.e. colled rolled steel/Aluminum etc. I doubt if Fender even knows or cares.
    "Hot Coating"? We used to do something called, "Hot Pot" years ago, where we heated the synthetic on a hot plate. The heat thinned out the paint and thus needed less reducer as a flowing agent, Sounds a bit similar.
    Trying a new process such as you say on your instrument with someone who has little to no experience is a risk indeed.
    Good luck to you I would be interested in hearing the results on future posts.

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