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How many clear coats?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Busker, Mar 16, 2009.


  1. Busker

    Busker

    Jan 22, 2007
    Finishing a mahogany bass body with nitro. Here's what I've done so far, and I'm wondering if I can call it good:

    Sealer, wood grain filler, sealer, 2 clear coats, tobacco brown burst, 6 clear coats.

    Its went on pretty nicely, but I will have to level the surface. Are 6 clear coats enough to not cut through to the color coats?? I'll probably use 600 wet or dry to level.

    Thanks
     
  2. I assume you are trying to have a high gloss finish with no showing of grain. If your sealer did a good job, the grain should be well filled. Since Mahogany is such a great wood for tone, I would put as few coats on as necessary to achieve your desired finish. If you put on 2-3 coats, sand and buff and still have grain you can always add more coats as necessary. Just don't wax it until you are finished. I'm doing a mahogany bass now and that is my plan, to keep the finish as thin as possible.
     
  3. Busker

    Busker

    Jan 22, 2007
    Agreed, thin as possible. My question was, should 6 coats be thick enough not to burn through to the color coat when leveling and buffing. I'll be buffing by hand, not on a wheel.
     
  4. Nitro is a very "thin" paint. Normally 8-10 coats of Nitro would equal 1-2 coats of enamel. If you are leveling/sanding with very fine paper, ( 800 to 2000 grit) and using it wet, and polishing by hand, I would think you have enough coats.
     
  5. Hey!

    6 sounds about right. 3 coats/day in two days.

    I shoot a little extra on the edges because that's where sand throughs happen and show the most. I also scuff sand after the first 3.... just enough to knock off the dust nibs, etc... not a full leveling. Of course the finish is quite soft at that point.

    Weather is good now here, so I'll be shooting too as soon as the extra nitro comes in. I had to order some more. Don't want to run out in the middle of a job!

    Les
     
  6. Busker

    Busker

    Jan 22, 2007
    I went ahead and put one more coat on just to be safe. I also got some sandpaper, 1000, 1200, 1500 and 2500 grit. I've never tried 2500 before. It is probably way finer than a polishing compound.
     
  7. I usually finish up with 2000, never tried 2500 but would not expect it to be much finer. The best thing about very fine paper is it makes it easier to rub out because the sanding scratches are so fine.
     

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