elhoff: (Guitar)
[personal profile] elhoff
When I embarked on this guitar finishing adventure, I had certain expectations as to what would be difficult, what would be easy, how much time it would take, etc. In many ways, all my expectations were wrong.

- I expected the actual spraying to require a lot of technique and finesse. In actuality you are just trying to get the lacquer on there as thick and fast as possible. It will be sanded and buffed later.

- I expected masking to be quick and easy. In reality trying to get masking tape laid down with precision is fairly challenging. I have to work wearing my reading glasses and a magnifying visor, bent over my bench, trying to keep my head out of the light. Not so fun.

- Based on my reading, I expected the quick sanding between sessions to be just that...quick. It turns out that lacquer is really hard! It requires a lot of fresh sand paper, and some finesse to get along the edges of masked areas.

- The actual finishing is taking a lot less time than I expected. A guitar is actually not very big, so spraying each coat only takes a few minutes. Prep in the morning takes me about 45 minutes, cleaning after each coat takes about 10 minutes. Not bad overall.

- I didn't expect time management to be an issue. I expected to be able to accomplish other things between coats and after the three coats for the day. It turns out that I have to spray in the morning when it is cool. Spraying takes about two minutes. Hang the guitar somewhere to dry, and spend 10 minutes cleaning the gun. Now I should have an hour free, but I can't make dust in the garage, or even move around in the garage too much and risk stirring up dust that is already there. Even when I am hanging the guitar in the bathroom, I still have to carry it through the garage. Also, I don't want to get involved in anything too intensive that will have to be interrupted for the next coat. I also want to avoid getting too dirty or sweaty working on things between coats because of risk of contaminating something. Once I'm done spraying for the day and the guitar has cured for a couple hours, my dust restrictions are lifted a bit, but not to the point I can run power tools. So for each spraying day I loose the cool morning hours when it is best to do outdoor work, and my shop is mostly off limits all day. Pretty much an all consuming project!

So I expected a lot of technical difficulties and a bit of time investment. In reality I am finding that the process is easy, but the time investment is intensive!
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September 2011

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