sanding prior to clear?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by camardelle, May 27, 2012.

  1. How much sanding do I do prior to applying the clear coat(s)? I'm using 600 grit sandpaper but it seems to scuff the paint pretty well. Will the scuffing show under the clear?

    Total noob here with my first refurb. I'm having a ton of fun and once this is done, I may redo it again in a different color. LOL
  2. Congratulations on starting your first guitar refurbishment project, Camardelle, and I am very glad that you are enjoying it!

    If you are scuffing the paintwork with 600 grit sandpaper, it might simply be that you are pressing down a bit too hard. Are you wetting the sandpaper before using it?
    My advice to you would be to use what is known as "wet and dry" or "wet/dry" sandpaper, and to soak it for 15 minutes or so before use. The water helps to lubricate the sanding, and prevents loose pieces of grit from catching underneath your paper.

    Have you visited the Reranch forum? It is a forum dedicated to the subject of finishing guitars, and there are a lot of very experienced members there who will be happy to help you out with anything. Here is a quick link to it for you -

    And here is a link to page 2 of Reranch 101 (an short but fantastic tutorial in all aspects of guitar finishing - it is well worth reading through a few times!). Page 2 addresses the stage which you are currently at.

    I know exactly what you mean about wanting to start all over again as soon as you have finished - it is great fun, isn't it? :)
    Enjoy your new hobby!
  3. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    Yeah, the color will look horrible after sanding, but the clear coat will fill the scratches and give a nice, smooth finish.

    The aim of sanding the color coat is to flatted down any flaws in the paint to prevent the next coat to get the same flaw. You only need to sand down until the coat is flat. Try to get rid of most of the "orange peel" texture, but be careful so that you don't sand through the color. If you look closely at the sanded surface there shouldn't be any glossy spots. I find using 800grit sandpaper best. It's a bit slower than 600g but safer.

    Oh, and DON'T sand down coats of metallic paint. Metallics should have the clear coat applied directly without any preparation in between. If you sand metallic paint the flakes that give the metallic effect will be sanded down as well, making the paint look very flat.
  4. Great link! It won't be perfect, but this is a learning experience for me using rattle can paints and such. I've got a compressor and can get my hands on a spray gun and auto quality paints easily right here where I live.

    I have to admit that I'm enjoying this a lot more than I thought I would when I first started it. I may have found my newest addiction. The best part for my wife is that while I'm doing this, I'm not buying any new basses. LOL
  5. Smilodon,

    I did a little research while waiting for a response and found this out. I just finished my first clearcoat application. I'll be throwing another coat on shortly.

    Do I rough up the clear a little first?
  6. Smilodon

    Smilodon Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2012
    You don't have to sand between the clear coats, but if it have imperfections or is a bit rough it could be beneficial.

    Remember that the same apply to clear coats as color coats. You don't want to sand through any of the clear coats either. If you do you run the risk of visible witness lines.
  7. Unfortunately, with painting on my acre sized paint booth (outside) I got some "stuff" in the clear so I'll be sanding very lightly to get them out tomorrow. Tonight, I'll think I'll have a few Shiner Bocks and head for bed later.

    Thanks for everyone's input today. This place is loaded with useful information and good folks willing to share it. Thanks again.
  8. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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