Poll: Finish to use
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View poll results: Finish to use
Nitrocellulose Lacquer
11 65%
Other (please post)
6 35%
Voters: 17.
Ok, I'm currently building a guitar, and its time to start getting the finishing supplies.

During the planning of the guitar I had decided to go with a nitro finish (aerosol from stewmac most likely - because I dont want to buy a spraying setup). Now I'm kinda shying away from that idea because nitro:

- shrinks/ cracks over time
- wears easily
- long curing time.
- expensive ($10 ea. stewmac.com)

I wanted to do a polyurethane finish because of its durability, does anyone know where I could buy this in an aerosol can???

I tested a can of poly from the hardware store, but it seemed to be too soft to use as a guitar finish.

Ideas? Help?
just spray paint it with black primer... thats at least what i would do...
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You can get spray cans of poly at Wal-Mart... And how long did you let that poly you tested cure? Polyurethane isn't soft. I usually let it cure for a month or two.
amcrambler - sorry, i forgot to mention that the guitar is a mahogany back, figured maple top combo... so i dont really want to cover it up

as far as a rubbed finish, i havent thought about it....what are some examples of the products used to acheive that?

Invader Jim - i let it sit for a little over two weeks... maybe ill try again with another piece. The brand was minwax i think. Also your name/avatar is awesome
My new guitar has a dyed top with poly over it and a tung oil back. I like the feel and look of the poly on the top. But the back I think feels better with just oil. Odd combination i know, but it looks neat. btw you could do the same thing with nitro and some other type of oil. Actually, it'd probably be worth it to by the nitro, as the cracks etc aren't that big of a problem, and a nitro finish looks great.
thanks for the input

id like to do the nitro, just part of me cringes when i think about paying $60 for cans of lacqer...

I have a nice spray setup so I only pay 50$ for enough poly to do like 10 guitars . But the nitro should be well worth it.
Quote by jscustomguitars
dont spray it, oil and wax. beautiful. sounds better too

Too bad all the good sounding finishes have poor durability.

I like true oil (it's gunstock polish and can be perchased at wallmart) and I like shellac. Both are rubbed finishes. I also use KTM9 but if price is a worry then you wont want KTM9, it's more expensive than nitro. True oil will do 4 guitar for about $8.
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Quote by Beets!
Invader Jim - i let it sit for a little over two weeks... maybe ill try again with another piece. The brand was minwax i think. Also your name/avatar is awesome


Minwax is a good brand. That's what I use.

edit: CorduroyEW, my dad (a gunsmith) has a couple of bottles of Tru-Oil. How does it look?
Last edited by Invader Jim at Feb 22, 2008,
^well... To start, you DON'T follow the directions.

Put enough of the oil on a lint free rag to make the rag wet but not soaking wet. Wipe a layer of oil onto the guitar and let it sit over night. Then do the same thing again and again. Always give it at least 24hrs between coats. After about 4 coats level the finish off with some 220 grit sand paper. Now you want to start using less oil on the rag than befor and you want to wipe the oil on, let it sit for about 2 min and wipe it off again. These thin coats still need to sit between 12 and 24 hrs before you do the next coat and you need 4 to 8 of the thin coats. Then do a quick sanding with some 400 grit paper and 1 more thin coat. You will want to let the guitar dry for at least a week befor you play it and it'll be a least a month before the finish is dry. The hardest thing about true oil is finding a lint free rag and keeping the guitar in a room that is free of dust. If you do get lint in a coat of finish you will have to pick it out. If the finish dries with the lint in there you may have to sand down the guitar
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It's harder than the other oil finishes, shellac, and about as hard as KTM9. It isn't as hard or durable as lacquer. It is easily scuffed with 1200 grit sand paper if you want a matt finish. If you want a gloss finish it whill shine almost as much as lacquer but it's a different kind of shine. It's more of a wet oil look rather than a reflective plastic look. Go to a sporting goods store and check out their glossy gunstocks. That is what it looks like.
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^one of my main acoustics if finished with this stuff and has survived my youngest daughter dragging it around the house, standing on it, dropping it down the stairs... The guitar is still going strong. Just take care of your guitar the way you normally would.

And yes, it's great for necks. I use it on all my guitar necks even if the rest of the guitar is shellac or KTM9 simply because matt true oil doesn't get sticky when you sweat. It feels more like bare wood.

I should mention that some of your oily hardwoods (like rosewood) have a chemical in them that stopps the true oil from setting so it's not good for everything. You can still finish something like rosewood with true oil but you will have to seal it with something like shellac 1st.
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