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Refinishing help required

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Cosmo_Smallpiece, Oct 8, 2000.

  1. I am refinishing an old MIJ Jazz that I acquired in a very sorry state. The halfwit who I bought it off had attempted it and really f****d it up.

    At the moment I am applying several coats of lacquer and levelling it between coats.

    My question is, once I have applied sufficient lacquer, how do I get the final gloss finish? Do I use a buffing attachment for a power drill, and if so what type of buffing compound do I use, if any?

    There have been a couple of strings on this subject lately, but neither explained this.

  2. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Hi, Andy. Good choice of finish. It's hard to beat laquer as a finish. You can use regular automotive rubbing compound to get the gloss up. Dupont brand is good.

    There's no reason not to use a drill and a buffing pad but you need to be careful with a high speed drill not to buff the finish off the edges and high places. The final polish might be better done by hand.

    That's the beauty of laquer. It looks like a deep thick finish but it's actually a very thin finish if it's applied properly.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Hey Andy, the guys at Stewart McDonald use a power drill and a very thick foam rubber pad. I think the thickness and light density of the rubber keeps what pkr2 is talking about from happening. The pads conforms better without "pushing" through the finish.
  4. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Thanks, Hambone. That's a super tip. I thought for sure that I knew everything about everthing and then along comes Hambone. :) :)

    Just kidding, of course.


  5. Thanks a lot guys. That's a big help.

  6. One more thing.

    I've just read an article in a magazine about a custom bass manufacturer who gives his basses 8 coats of lacquer and leaves 24 hours between coats and then leaves it to stand for a week before buffing.

    Obviously me being Mr impatient I only want to leave 8 hours between coats and a day before buffing.
    How critical is this?
  7. Andy,
    Drying of the topcoat is most critical!!!
    When I do my jobs, I leave it alone for as long as two weeks to a month. Now I know your eyes are bugging out about right now, but it's important.
    You said you used "Lacquer".(Nitro)
    You did not say, "Acrylic Lacquer".
    The difference between the two can be significant.
    "Acrylic Lacquer DRIES from the top in. Meaning, where the air touches the surface. Nitrocellulose on the otherhand dries through. Simply put from top to bottom.
    Neither of the two "CURES". Although some will debate that statement. IMO, Curing takes place with crosslinking, NOT with one component air dry products. And as we all know, Either lacquer can be removed with it's common solvent, "Lacquer thinner".
    If you are in a hurry, and it were me doing the refinish, I would opt for the Nitro. It would take lying in a guitar case better or sitting on a stand sooner without causing pressure point damage. The Acrylic is a stronger more flexible coating but will remain soft toward the bottom of the film for a longer period of time.
    Regarding the hype around number of coats. Lacquer most often is thinned 150 to 200%. Some of the newer VOC ,(volatile organic compounds) clears are ready to spray or may have a 100% thinning recommendation.
    This will impact your number of coats.
    My advise: Look for a clear that has a 150-200% reduction, spray the guitar using a moderate size spray gun 1.4 to 1.6, (no air brush....TOO SMALL FLUID TIP).
    Apply 4 coats, let dry overnight and sand with 500 grit 3M wet or dry sandpaper,(using very little water,you dont want to swell any wood fibers)
    Put on 12 coats this way, (or less, It's up to you, 8 coats can also look awsome)
    After drying as per the above text, sand with water using 3M 1500 sandpaper to remove all the texture, (orange peel)
    Buff with 3M's new Perfect-it III compound and finish after all the sandscratches are removed with the Perfect-it III glaze. (No I don't work for 3M)
    P.S. Be carefull of the foam pads, don't go too fast RPM wise , they heat up and tend to damage/smear the Lacquer.
    Sorry for rambling........so much to explain and not enough time.
  8. I'm using car lacquer. That's acrylic isn't it?

    I'm sure nitrocellulose must be available over here (UK) but I couldn't find any.

    If drying time is that critical then I'll wait. It's only a spare bass anyway.

    Also I'm not using a spray gun. This is my first time doing this so I'm spraying straight from the can.

    Thanks for the advice though. At the moment I guess I'm doing too much sanding and not enough lacquering.

    [Edited by AndyMartin on 10-08-2000 at 02:01 PM]
  9. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Great tips,Tom. You obiously know where you're coming from. Your post wasn't at all too long.

    Come over to setup sometime and elaborate to your hearts content.

    Finishing is for me the most dreaded part of any project. It's also the most satisfying when it comes out right.

  10. PK2,
    Thanks for the invite and the kind words.
    I will take a look at Setup. See you there.

    It will most likely say on the can what it is. Most time, if it says "lacquer" it is Nitro. If you got it from a retail automotive parts house, you maybe correct and have Acrylic.
    BTW, Nitro was also used on automobiles too, many moons ago.
    Those areosal Lacquers are very thin, they have to be in order to spray out of the can with such low pressure.
    I have never done one that way, but I am sure if you take your time and put on enough coats, you will produce fine results.
    Good luck
  11. Tom, I can attest to the simplicity and ease of using the automotive canned lacquers. I did a restoration of a Kramer P/J in black and was pleased with it's outcome. But you are absolutely right about the film thickness of these paints. After 6-8 coats (I forget) I thought that I was done. It looked good but after final curing I realized that I could have easily doubled that number with good results.

    By all means come on over to Set-up. We need the volume!

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