Questions About Refinishing An Open-pore Oil Finish Body

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Moose Lewis, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Moose Lewis

    Moose Lewis Well-Known Member

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    Hi ~ the old Moose here looking for more tricks for idiots. :D
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    I'm looking at a guitar project that has an 'open-pore oil finish' on the body. I want to paint it and need some advice on steps and materials to use so I don't screw it up royally. It currently has a transparent white finish over a solid Ash body.

    Can I go with light sanding and paint, or will I need to virtually remove all of the old finish and apply a filler first. Would it be safe to use poly over an oil finish, or would I need to go with nitro?

    Also any recommendations for particular supplies to use would be welcome. I'm looking at StewMac, and the 'transparent' colored nitro spray cans at present. Bear in mind that I'm on a tight budget. When I open my wallet, it creaks and dust flies out.
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    Thanks :cheers:
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2011
  2. thetragichero

    thetragichero Well-Known Member

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    if you're going spray can nitro (which i'm finding out is a LOT of work), the reranch stuff seems pretty good
     
  3. blackone

    blackone Well-Known Member

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    Nitro will go over poly without a problem, but poly over nitro will give all kinds of headaches. If it were me, I would sand the old finish down to the wood and start again. I think you're asking for problems not doing it the whole way. Once you get to the wood a nitro finish is pretty easy provided you have some patience. Also, I would recommend practicing on some scrap if you're gonna use the tinted cans from stewmac, as each coat you build, will keep adding more and more tint, and you will eventually just cover any grain in the wood and it will end up looking black.. I have a few cans of different stewmac tinted clears I can send you if you wanna try without spending the money, and as far as buying stuff, I can tell you exactly what you need whithout having to shop on line and pay ridiculous prices
     
  4. Moose Lewis

    Moose Lewis Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! If I do sand it down (from what I understand oil finishes are difficult to completely remove without losing too much wood); will I need to use a filler in order to get smooth coats with the nitro? By patience, do you simply mean it will take many light coats (I am expecting that)?

    I have a tent almost big enough to park a car in... I'm going to set it up in the backyard as a paint booth for this project to give me the drying time between coats without chasing everyone out of the house - or having to breathe the lacquer fumes. I realize it will probably put an end to camping use for it (but I mostly van camp these days).

    Is there an acceptable brand of nitrocellulose lacquer available through local hardware stores for less than StewMac's Colortone, and I'm just unaware?
     
  5. blackone

    blackone Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure of tinted lacquers, but you'll only need one can for the color. I only use watco clear as it dries super hard and apparently is the same formula it has been for years, so.. And you can get it at most places, true value stocks it all the time. Without knowing exactly what the guitar was finished with your best bet is to remove the old finish completely, and it'd be hard to take off too much wood unless you go crazy. Once you're down to the wood, you can use a grain filler to fill the pores, and that might even help to bring the grain out so as to look better, and then you'll hit it with some sanding sealer, rub that down, hit it again, rub that down, then onto the nitro. When I say patience, I just mean to be carefull with sanding, and let the nitro cure properly before you wet sand.

    Finishing a guitar seems like a super big daunting task, but it's really not. Just follow the steps one by one, and you'll be amazed what you can achieve in the backyard. If you really want to attempt it I can describe in detail how to do it and exactly what you'll need, but pm me as it's far too much for a regular post
     
  6. blackone

    blackone Well-Known Member

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    oh yeah, the best way to achieve the colors you want is to get some watco clear nitro ( the stuff they sell in the quarts, not the aerosols) and add some 'RIT' dye, the stuff that's like a buck or two a bottle, until you get the tone you want, and then buy a preval sprayer which is essentially a small glass bottle attached to a can of propellant to which you can add your mix. Again, you'd only need one of these as you wont use much for the color, and then either use the watco clear aerosols or get another preval unit for your clear coats.
     
  7. Moose Lewis

    Moose Lewis Well-Known Member

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    Cool! Message sent.
    :cheers: Cheers
     

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