Jun. 18th, 2011

elhoff: (Guitar)
Today was to be the first day of real finishing on the Portland guitar body.

I started the morning with some masking activities. It is necessary to mask the area for the bridge. This results in a stronger wood-to-wood bond when the bridge is masked. I covered the bridge area with masking tape, mounted the bridge, traced its outline and removed it. I then used an Exacto knife to trim the masking to just inside the traced lines. This will leave a small edge of lacquer protruding under the edge of the bridge so there is no visible line when all is complete (I hope!).

Next was masking the area where the neck and fretboard will mount. These are not glued on, so strength is not as much of an issue as fit. The fit of the neck is extremely critical, so the finish in these areas must be kept to a minimum.

I also stuffed the body with some crumpled paper and slipped a peanut can lid into the opening. Held in place by the paper, this will prevent intrusion of the lacquer into the interior of the guitar.

Next it was necessary to mask off the entire back and sides of the guitar. This allowed spraying a vinyl sealer on just the top. Sealer was not needed on the back and sides due to the epoxy left from the pore filling operation.

All the masking and setup took me about 2 hours.

After moving the spraying setup from the side yard to the backyard to get away from a neighbor trimming shrubberies, I was able to spray two coats of vinyl sealer on the top. I've owned a spray gun for many years, but this is actually my first time using one. It actually went quite well. The sealer did come out with a fairly textured finish ("orange peel") that I think may be due to too small of a needle on the spray gun. Will play around with that more later. The orange peel was sanded out once the sealer was dry one hour after the last coat.

At this point I removed the masking from the back and sides, wiped it all down with alcohol, filled the gun with lacquer, and headed back to the back lawn. I used a scrap to adjust the spray gun. Actually spraying one coat on the front, back and sides of a guitar takes less than 2 minutes. I even did a double coat in that time. I hung the guitar in a closed bathroom with the fan running to dry for a while. After about an hour I moved it to the garage where it will hang for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow morning will be a light scuff sanding and scraping any thick spots, bugs, etc. Three more coats of lacquer tomorrow will keep me busy off and on. It will need a total of 9-15 coats. The finish needs to be thick enough to allow me to sand it flat and not sand all the way through the lacquer. I suspect I will finish spraying on the body on Thurs. Hopefully I can get the final coat of epoxy on the neck tomorrow between coats.

September 2011

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