Nitro lacquer newbie requests instruction

cmjohnson

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I've got a fair amount of experience with other finish types, but really none to speak of with nitro lacquer.

I'm doing a restoration on a 1984 Hamer Steve Stevens model, and it's got to be done in nitro lacquer.

I understand that nitro typically is applied as a relatively high number of thin coats, which is pretty much the reverse of the finishes I'm used to.

My most common finish style is DuPont Chromasystem acrylic urethane, and two or three coats is typically all it takes once the base coat work is done.

I end up with a very thin finish, for an acrylic urethane finish.

But with nitro, I need advice. For a medium build finish, let's say 10 thousands of an inch build thickness, which would seem to be about
typical of the finish that was on this Hamer (the body needs touchups, the neck, full refin), what would be a typical finishing schedule?

How many coats, how much cure time between coats, how much cure time to sand-out and polish?

Some interesting things about this guitar:

The body is mostly untouched. Some ding repairs have been done, apparently with nail polish. I'm still considering the BEST way to address making those right. I have PERFECT matched paint for the whole guitar so the question is basically how much work I am going to do on those previous (badly) repaired spots.

The neck was broken at the headstock long ago. Impressive, considering it's a 3 piece laminated hard rock maple neck. The repair is solid, the paintwork, not so much.

The black headstock face sidelines were badly done, the color match of the fuchsia would not qualify as a match at all in my book, and in general it was just poorly done.

During the sanding back, I discovered the original Steve Stevens signatures on both the front and the back of the headstock, in good condition, aloing with the serial number. (Photos of the back of the headstock after sanding are not here but I can add them later.) As a result of that, I'll be making every reasonabl effort to touch up around them and reveal them in the finished work.

I've had new Hamer decals made for the headstock, too. They include the signature but apparently I won't need the signature with the originals being still present and in presentable shape.
 

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Barnaby

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Wow - that's a seriously cool axe! Is this the one you'll potentially do a copy of?

I wish I could help with good advice on the finishing schedule, but aways struggle with getting the end result I want, so I'm the last guy to suggest things. Just want to wish good luck...and, when you're building your replica, let me know if there are any parts you can't source. A surprising amount of odd stuff from all over the world turns up on the vintage market here, and you never know.
 

Sustainium

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I’ve sprayed many custom multistage projects over the years mostly auto / motorcycle.
All paint products have a tech sheet available online from my experience. They give all the info needed to correctly use the products, including spray tip size, correct reducer for the ambient temp, which primer, sealer, finish sandpaper grits, minutes between coats, dry time before color sanding/ buff & polish...etc. Always spray a test panel and make sure your happy with the finish product, especially if the paint system is new to you.

I’ve used Duponts Chromasystem along with their primer, sealer and a high quality clearcoat many times with great results. Great project you have going, I’m a big Steve Stevens fan.
 
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cmjohnson

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If I copy this guitar, it'll be a semi-copy. Not going to try to replicate it to the last detail. Just have a guitar that looks about right and fills that one empty slot in my guitar collection, one that has a Floyd on it.

Yeah, I'll be shooting a test panel.

Since the Chromasystem basecoat is lacquer compatible, my fuchsia base coat for this IS Chromabase. The lacquer will go right over it, no problems anticipated based on past experiences.
 

pshupe

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If I copy this guitar, it'll be a semi-copy. Not going to try to replicate it to the last detail. Just have a guitar that looks about right and fills that one empty slot in my guitar collection, one that has a Floyd on it.

Yeah, I'll be shooting a test panel.

Since the Chromasystem basecoat is lacquer compatible, my fuchsia base coat for this IS Chromabase. The lacquer will go right over it, no problems anticipated based on past experiences.

I'm not a big fan of people copying guitars. I think you should come up with your own design in a similar vein. Be proud of your own designs. :naughty: Sorry couldn't resist.

Regards Peter.
 

Freddy G

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Since the Chromasystem basecoat is lacquer compatible, my fuchsia base coat for this IS Chromabase. The lacquer will go right over it, no problems anticipated based on past experiences.
I that case you'll be able to get away with far fewer nitro top coats than if the whole thing was done in nitro. It's because the nitro won't be biting back into the Dupont and causing it to sink/deform etc.
I'll bet (depending on what nitro you use...ie. how much solids content) you could get away with a half dozen coats.
 

Freddy G

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Post some pics for us after you finish it!
Yeah...post pics! Just like Sustainium...I'm a huge Steve Stevens fan. In fact I've been watching all kinds of interviews and performance footage of him on youtube lately.
Somebody posted a "if you could play through any guitar hero's rig" thread lately and I couldn't think of anyone....until now. Steve Stevens. Just love his sound.
 

ExNihilo

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That's the only electric guitar I owned from 1987-2007; a hot pink Hamer Steve Stevens model. The side fret dots were LED lights.
 

cmjohnson

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This one is just about done. Some final polishing to do and it'll be reassembled over the next week.

It's been really fun and I'm going to make a guitar for myself that'll be VERY similar. Not trying for an exact replica, but you'll know what it was inspired by. Because the originals trade for more than I'm willing to spend.

DSC_7404_sm.jpg
 

moreles

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Because the originals trade for more than I'm willing to spend.
Sorry, but that's no excuse to make a copy, near-copy, clone, or whatever lingo you may apply. You should not feel free to take something of established value -- particularly something creative and original -- and duplicate it (exactly or partially) because you want it but don't want to pay market value. That's almost the definition of counterfeiting. Sorry to be a nag, but I think this is the truth of the matter. Of course, do what you want. Heaven knows there are enough copyists out there. Swiping is an industry all its own.
 

cmjohnson

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You can throw that back at me if you want to but I don't really care since it'll be a guitar that I'd never sell and thus it's covered under the fair use clause of US copyright, trademark, and patent laws. Plus the design itself isn't even a copyrighted one, so really it's fair game. I could legally copy it in every single smallest detail aside from the Hamer logo, actually. Literally nothing else is covered under copyright, trademark, or patent.

That's very different from copying a trademarked Les Paul so your argument is invalid.

And I'm going to do a few things to it that would mark it as not being a Hamer product anyway. There's some room for originality here while keeping the vibe of the SS model intact.
 

cmjohnson

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Oh...about the lacquer. I went with the Cardinal lacquer sold by LMII. I'm very pleased with the results. It didn't take that many coats to get a decent film thickness and it outgassed and achieve its final film thickness pretty quickly. As for sanding and buffing, it was as good as anything I've ever used. I'd recommend it.
 

cmjohnson

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My usual fingerboard supplier used to provide fingerboards and inlays for Hamer. If I choose to go ahead with a homage to this guitar, I can get a matched fingerboard and inlays.
 

LtDave32

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Oh...about the lacquer. I went with the Cardinal lacquer sold by LMII. I'm very pleased with the results. It didn't take that many coats to get a decent film thickness and it outgassed and achieve its final film thickness pretty quickly. As for sanding and buffing, it was as good as anything I've ever used. I'd recommend it.
Cardinal series 2000 is what I use. And I cannot more strongly recommend to use their thinner along with.

Late to the party, but I will offer how I do it.

Seal and grain fill as you please.

Throw down a very light "dust coat" of NCL clear.

Shoot your color.

Back to clear. Give it three passes around the guitar, three times a day. Three days. Us that use NCL call three wet passes "one coat".

Probably thicker than what you would like at nine coats, but it works for me.
 

Roxy13

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Cardinal series 2000 is what I use. And I cannot more strongly recommend to use their thinner along with.

Late to the party, but I will offer how I do it.

Seal and grain fill as you please.

Throw down a very light "dust coat" of NCL clear.

Shoot your color.

Back to clear. Give it three passes around the guitar, three times a day. Three days. Us that use NCL call three wet passes "one coat".

Probably thicker than what you would like at nine coats, but it works for me.
Dave, do you use their grain filler, too? I have a couple of the powered colors that you mix with alcohol as I used them for a chip repair on one guitar. Have you ever used those as well?
 

Spotcheck Billy

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The body is very much like a GAX30 I have so, design-wise, it doesn't appear to be exclusive.
 

cmjohnson

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It's an LP DC with both cutaways hogged out to be even larger. Plus there's an offset to the body behind the waist.

I'm NOT going to use a locking nut even if I do use a Floyd on it. (Undecided. Leaning toward it.) I figure with a roller nut it'll be just fine. "It isn't an authentic Steve Stevens if the headstock hasn't broken off yet." That very slim neck with the bolt holes for the locking nut makes it so weak you'd think it was an SG headstock.
 

LtDave32

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Dave, do you use their grain filler, too? I have a couple of the powered colors that you mix with alcohol as I used them for a chip repair on one guitar. Have you ever used those as well?
No.. I didn't know they had grain filler! Cardinal? I have to look into that. And on the other, I really don't have a lot of experience with powder and alcohol dyes. I tend to go trans-tint / colortone on both opaques and trans finishes.

But that is in no way a put-down on powders and alcohol or analine dyes. I have seen the results here, and they have much to offer. Brilliant results.

I go trans-tint in lacquer because I know it. I am very familiar with what it takes to get where I want with it, and I get great results.

Grain filler, I've had terrific success with the offerings from Aqua Clear. Rockler carries it. They have clear, white and walnut filler, maybe even maple. Of course you can dye any of them as well. But the application, It's been heaven. best, most easy and productive grain filling I have ever done. None of the mess of timbermate or Wunderfil.

..I ain't never goin' back.
 


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