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Smoked lacquer finish

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Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Jim Bonnell » Thu May 18, 2017 6:02 pm

Is anyone familiar with a finish called "Smoked Lacquer" or "Candled Lacquer? I believe it was used on Wandre Guitars. I'm trying to find out how it was done if anyone knows. It looks like swirls of dark smoke is layered into the finish. Very cool looking. Thanks.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Jason Rodgers » Wed May 24, 2017 12:11 am

I'm having a hard time finding any example of such a finish, but googling "smoke lacquer finish" brings up some google books of an old trade journal called Metal Industry https://books.google.com/books?id=2qDmA ... sh&f=false

From other references, it looks like it's a sooty smoke, like when you first turn on an acetylene torch before adding the oxygen. The little piece in the link above suggests applying a base coat of finish, floating the smoke on while still tacky, then top coating. Something you'd definitely want to experiment with first.

Sounds like a finish that's right up your alley, Jim!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Jim Bonnell » Wed May 24, 2017 8:23 am

Thanks Jason. That's pretty much the process I was thinking. Just not sure how to generate the sooty type smoke. Here is an example of the finish. http://www.harvesterguitars.com/completed/bavarian-tv/ You can find more on Instagram under Harvester Guitars.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Barry Daniels » Wed May 24, 2017 11:28 am

Get some lamp black from an art supply store. It is actually made from soot and is used to create a black tint in things like epoxy glue, so it could also work in lacquer. It is a very fine powder that tints but does not really dissolve. Used sparingly, it creates a smoky, black color in clear pigments.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Jim Bonnell » Wed May 24, 2017 1:23 pm

Thank Barry.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Steve Sawyer » Wed May 24, 2017 3:01 pm

Jim - I have no idea how that was actually done, but given that one of the names for this is "candled" lacquer, and looking at that example, my bet is that it could be done by moving the guitar body against a burning candle flame.

If you've ever had need to make a small quantity of lamp black, you can do so by holding a card or plate at an angle against a burning candle flame. If you do it right, it will leave a sooty deposit on the card. If you move the card as you do it, you will get patterns very similar to what I'm seeing on that example.

Obviously, putting a flame against a flammable and delicate finish is something that would take some practice, but yeah, that is a very interesting look!!
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Jim Bonnell » Wed May 24, 2017 6:33 pm

Thanks Steve. I use waterborne lacquer so it won't be flammable. It will most likely be awhile till I get around to testing. I have four other builds I'm trying to finish up.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Bob Gramann » Wed May 24, 2017 6:56 pm

I use Target EM6000. Too much heat will make it bubble away from the surface. (I discovered this when preheating the bridge footprint prior to gluing.) Spray up a scrap piece and test your smoking procedure on that.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby David King » Fri May 26, 2017 1:38 pm

I wonder if an electrostatic charge could be applied to the guitar somehow and cause the smoke to migrate and cling to the wet lacquer. Powder coating process uses this to get the paint particles to cling to metal objects prior to baking to finish. Seems like a lot of trouble to go through for one guitar though. Perhaps just holding the guitar above a row of very smoky candles with overly long wicks will get it done.
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Steve Sawyer » Fri May 26, 2017 4:22 pm

David King wrote:I wonder if an electrostatic charge could be applied to the guitar somehow and cause the smoke to migrate and cling to the wet lacquer. Powder coating process uses this to get the paint particles to cling to metal objects prior to baking to finish. Seems like a lot of trouble to go through for one guitar though. Perhaps just holding the guitar above a row of very smoky candles with overly long wicks will get it done.

I think the electrostatic charge would tend to pull the smoke particles to the surface much too uniformly to get that effect.

It also just occurred to me that being WB lacquer, and exposing it to the candle smoke while still wet might actually work. Worth a try (on scrap of course!!)
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Re: Smoked lacquer finish

Postby Mark Swanson » Sat May 27, 2017 9:54 am

I don't imagine it would have to be wet lacquer at all. Just use a thin coat to spray over the soot to seal it in and then the rest of the clear coats from there.
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