Knocking down gloss to semi-gloss

Tweaker

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I am just finishing up my application of wipe-on poly on my neck through SG, just applied the last coat last night and I'm pretty happy with the results. I need to scuff off a few little dust nibs, which is fine because I want to knock back the gloss a little bit on the poly.

My plan is to use 1500 or 2000 grit to smooth the finish (I'm not willing to risk scratches at this point so I'm OK with more elbow grease) and knock back the shine, and then use some auto body buffing compound to bring some sheen back.

I have no idea if this will give me the results I'm looking for...how do you guys achieve a satin or semi-gloss finish?
 

jkes01

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I doubt it because the rubbing compound will smooth the scratches out. Try white scotchbrite or #0000 steel wool or all three methods on a scrap piece. Finish with some wax and see which one you prefer.
 

Tweaker

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I forgot about steel wool and scotch brite. Good call. I suppose I could also scuff sand it and hit it with satin wipe on poly :laugh2:
 

Brek

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I got a nice dull patina with 1200 grit wet, thought about doing one of my guitars tops when I saw the result (was done to back of neck to remove that sticky draggy thing they do), but as they are so shiny I couldn’t do it. I used 600/800/1200 to remove a surface dent that’s polished out real easy with Farclea number 3, meguiars ultimate compound got it to mirror shine.
 

Tweaker

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This guitar doesn’t have great pore fill, so I can still see pits here and there. Definitely didn’t do a great job on the pore filler. I actually really like a satin look on wood without pore filler (or a bad filler job), where a gloss finish would look bad. In hindsight I should have skipped the filler and gone with satin but I thought I might try for a high gloss finish. I’ve about given up on that, I can never get it right.
 

moreles

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Since everyone's definition of high gloss, gloss, satin, and matte vary a little, and it makes a difference, there's no sure answer. The method I use is pretty safe and avoids overdoing things, at the cost of extra time and effort. I start with 1000 or 1200 wet (water; I hate mineral spirits) on most finishes, but perhaps 800 on polyester. I do the whole surface fully and evenly, and then work up through the grits in fairly small steps to 2500, even 3000 (or 5000!). The fin grits are all done with micromesh pads and repetition rather than pressure. If you do this slowly and thoroughly, you can just stop when you hit the level of dullness you want. I generally continue and use various buffing compounds and polishing compounds because what I like, myself, is a deep luster that looks like old, handrubbed gloss. (No relic-ing!) I never use wax because I want the finish to stand on its own and not require waxing to hit a particular level of shine. I never bring steel wool near a guitar. I never use cutting polishes on a buffing wheel. (I could not control that!) My approach has never failed me because there isn't really a step where you can go too far too fast. As fgor non-pore-filled guitars sprayed satin, I think those always look shoddy and kind of cheap, because it's a sort of lazy, fast treatment -- and it doesn't hold up over rtime, degrading in an ugly way as it wears.
 

cmjohnson

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Gloss finishes won't hold a semi-gloss treatment if they make skin contact for very long. Get semi-gloss finish materials for that.
 

fumblefinger

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I had a client who wanted a gloss body to be satin. I told him to save some money, take some of my 0000 steel wool and get busy. Turned out well.
 

jvin248

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.

Steel wool chips are bad things to have around pickup magnets.

You may only have a body right now but dust and chips get everywhere.

much safer to use sandpaper.

.
 

Brek

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Since everyone's definition of high gloss, gloss, satin, and matte vary a little, and it makes a difference, there's no sure answer. The method I use is pretty safe and avoids overdoing things, at the cost of extra time and effort. I start with 1000 or 1200 wet (water; I hate mineral spirits) on most finishes, but perhaps 800 on polyester. I do the whole surface fully and evenly, and then work up through the grits in fairly small steps to 2500, even 3000 (or 5000!). The fin grits are all done with micromesh pads and repetition rather than pressure. If you do this slowly and thoroughly, you can just stop when you hit the level of dullness you want. I generally continue and use various buffing compounds and polishing compounds because what I like, myself, is a deep luster that looks like old, handrubbed gloss. (No relic-ing!) I never use wax because I want the finish to stand on its own and not require waxing to hit a particular level of shine. I never bring steel wool near a guitar. I never use cutting polishes on a buffing wheel. (I could not control that!) My approach has never failed me because there isn't really a step where you can go too far too fast. As fgor non-pore-filled guitars sprayed satin, I think those always look shoddy and kind of cheap, because it's a sort of lazy, fast treatment -- and it doesn't hold up over rtime, degrading in an ugly way as it wears.
That sounds like a safe and controllable way to do it, I hand polish my compounds and use time rather than pressure, it’s the safest way for sure, I mistakenly used a 600 grit instead of 1200 and I think that saved any burn through from happening. I would love to see one you have done that way, any chance of a pic?
 

Ron B

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I'm sure you are probably aware but in case you aren't, you do know that wipe on poly will yellow right? I bought a 1987 SG Special that some had painted over the beautiful Alpine white factory finish with some horrible black with a silver strike oil based house paint! No clear coat just the black and silver and I'm pretty sure it was an oil based house paint and it was literally like an eight inch thick. I had a guy who wanted to buy it if I refinished it in heritage cherry, which I didn't want to do but did for him. After it was finished he never contacted me again. I then decided I liked the guitar and so I restored it back to white. I was having an issue with my nitro so I decided to use wipe on poly and I put probably 7 coats, maybe as many as 10. With each coat after about the 4th I began to notice a yellowing happening, very slight bit it was still there. By the time it was all dried and ready for reassemble it had a definite yellow haze to it. But since it was an 87 I figured it made it look more original. Well, that was about a year ago and now the guitar looks like a darn butterscotch candy because the yellowing got worse!

I'm a weird Gibson owner, I don't like the yellowing on any of them, so fir my own paint job to do it well it upset me lol. I'm planning on sanding off the poly and maybe even the white and just starting over but I will use nitro this time.

I left the neck bare and put a stinger on it with just tru-oil to seal it. The guitar is a seconds but I never saw any defect indicating why it was a second. The only oddity with the guitar is that it was supposed to have a 3 piece Maple neck but it actually has a solid one piece maple neck that was pretty and that's why I went with just using tru-oil on it. When I refinish it again I am thinking of putting a very thin coat of a white stain on the neck, just enough to cover but get you can still see the wood through the stain.
I've never much cared for the SG but there's just something about this one that I really like even though it has Schecter pups in it. Oh, I did also out a kill switch in for that original guy who wanted to buy it. But after using it for a bit I didn't like it. The guitar had the normal 5 holes (2 volume, 1 tone, 1 selector switch, 1 output jack) but when I refinished it I filled in the output jack hole where I put the kill switch and left the output jack on the side where I had moved it during the first refinish job. I know a lot of people said that was blasphemy lol but I like the output on in the side and that is where Gibson was putting it on a lot of those 80's SG's.

But yeah, the wood on poly will yellow and as time goes by the yellowing will increase drastically! Just thought I'd let you know that I'm case you were unaware.
 

VancoD

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If you want satin or matte make the last coats satin or matte. Scuffing gloss works, but over time it will polish itself back to gloss. If I want satin I build with gloss to get thickness without covering grain, then finish with satin
 

paintguy

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Even a satin or matte with gloss up if you rub up against it enough.
 

the great waldo

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The grey 600 grit scotch pads with some lemon oil will give a nice sheen.

Cheeers
Andrew
 

Skyjerk

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I get satin sheen by adding flattener to the lacquer.
 

cmjohnson

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I'm also one of those people who don't like finishes to yellow with age. It's why my preferred finish remains automotive acrylic urethane. (DuPont/Axalta ChromaClear or ChromaPremiere clearcoat) It just does not yellow. Neither does it crack or craze like nitro does. I've seen a lot of guitars that I think "Man, that must have looked fantastic before the clearcoat yellowed and turned the metallic silver to yellow metallic and turned that bright blue to green." Such as, for example the metallic silver to blue "stratoburst" finish Fender put on a small number of early 80s guitars. Getting an '83 or '84 Elite Stratocaster in Stratoburst, mint and unyellowed, is one of my holy grail guitar quests.
 


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