First build buff out

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Mike Jones
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First build buff out

Post by Mike Jones »

Help! I've finished applying several coats of Behlens laquer and today wet sanded with 3M's 1200 wet or dry. I soaked the paper overnight and all seems to be well. I buffed with Menzerna white and olive and I can tell they are working beautifully. My question is; after buffing I can see some very fine scratches in the front and back. They aren't too deep but very distracting considering some areas are so nice. Can I wet sand again and try to eliminate these or should I continue with the buff and try to remove them? One of the books mentions that our sandpaper can have larger particles that may do this. I had the 3M supreme. Anyone else had this problem? Thanks

John Hamlett
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Re: First build buff out

Post by John Hamlett »

Always happens. I usually rub, by hand, with MaGuiars #7 for the final gloss. You might try your finest Menzerna and run the buffing wheel the opposite direction of the scratches first and maybe save some time, but enough hand rubbing with Maguiars will put a high gloss on nearly anything eventually.

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Eddie McRae
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Eddie McRae »

Actually, coming from an automotive paint background, I can pretty much tell you that your problem comes from the 1200 grit sandpaper. That's not near fine enough for final sanding. With lacquer, I would say take it to 2000 minimum but I recommend 2500 for the final sanding. I normally work my way up...starting at 1000 and finishing at 2500 for both lacquer and urethane. And at 2500, lacquer buffs out super easy. As John stated, McGuiars has some excellent products as does 3M. I normally finish up with either McGuiars Fine Cut Cleaner or their swirl remover. ALSO: Be sure to keep the paper clean during sanding as sanding particles and trash trapped under the paper can dig deeper scratches than the grit of the paper itself.

Scott Sailors
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Scott Sailors »

Mike -

We've had really excellent results using Eagle brand automotive-grade sandpapers made in Japan. Our final sanding/buffing process looks like this:

Final sanding, buffing, and polishing:

Sand with 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2500, 3000 grit

Buff on 16” Domet wheel using the X-Fine polishing compound

Polish using Perfect-It 3000 Swirl Mark Remover with foam buffing pad on a drill (moisten with water)

Hope that helps.

Dave Gentner
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Dave Gentner »

I get great results by wet sanding with 800 and 1000, then buff with Menzerna coarse (chocolate brown), medium (butterscotch), and fine (ivory). The coarse Menzerna removes all of the sanding marks. I finish up with Meguires swirl remover on a foam pad.

Mike Jones
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Mike Jones »

Thank you all. Lot's of information to consider. The books make it sound a lot simpler than it is. Clearly I am not focusing only the last details. I will continue on this one with your suggestions.

Michael Lewis
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Michael Lewis »

Put a little bit of dish detergent in your water when sanding, as this helps keep the material already sanded off from wadding up and making grits that can scratch the new surface.

The suppliers love you guys that use so many grades of sand paper, but how glossy do you really want your finishes to be? Much of the really cheap imports have super glossy finish and I think it makes them look cheap. Gloss is nice but not such a glossy gloss that looks like the instrument has been dipped in Karo syrup.

julian gifford
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Re: First build buff out

Post by julian gifford »

Several good answers. Eddie Mcrae has good advice.

The final step is to use a "swirl remover". I use mguires as well.

Then after the finish has fully cured... 1-2 months, then hit it with some 'renaisance' paste wax. It's a synthetic waxthat helps keep finger prints from showing up. Never wax a guitar until after AT LEAST 1 month after buff to give it time to fully outgas and cure.

Michael. I think the finish depends on the guitar design. If I make one highlighting the wood itself, I go tru oil all the way.

Otherwise, I use 2k automotive with clear coat. A 2k finish should be buffed to the point of perfection. Anything less is 'flawed'.

Seen a newer strat or tele lately? This sets the base level all finishes are judged on. And yes, most of them are 2k automotive.

Michael Lewis
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Michael Lewis »

To be honest I haven't looked at any solid body guitars for a while, guess I'm not up on the trends lately, but I know what I like when I see it. I've been through the super gloss phase but have outgrown it.<G>

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Eddie McRae
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Re: First build buff out

Post by Eddie McRae »

I'm not a big fan of a super high-gloss finish either. But the method of using multiple grades of paper really has nothing to do with the degree of gloss the finish will have. It simply makes level sanding much quicker and easier. And while I don't care for a finish to have extreme gloss, I do want the finish to be level and mostly free of imperfections. Also, it seems to me....when working with lacquer or urethane.......there's really no "in-between". You either leave them alone just as they've come out of the sprayroom or you go thru the steps of sanding and polishing which inevitably will result in a high-gloss finish. If you stop polishing short of that, you're left with an imperfect finish. In other words, to get to a point where you've removed all imperfections and all sand-scratches, you're left with a super high-gloss finish.

John Hamlett
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Re: First build buff out

Post by John Hamlett »

As I see it, a high gloss will reveal what's under it; that is, the quality of the work that prepared the instrument for finish, so "really cheap imports" look like just that, intensified by a high gloss finish. A high quality instrument, similarly, will look like just that, intensified by a high gloss finish.

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