Ive received some good advice here with this one so I thought I ought to share. Somewhat less traditional than what we usually see around here. Its not flawless, but I'm pretty happy with how its turned out all things considered - enough so that I really don't want to sell it :(. But I guess that's often the way.

Just a few things I have learned, or been strongly reminded of:

High gloss black is a real bugger of a finish to accomplish in a teeny basement shop. Everything shows. Eeeeverything. Holy moly. Obsessive compulsive tendencies are a mixed blessing in this case. Play everything super safe, and annihilate all dust nibs. Maybe the next couple will be natural finishes.

I definitely need to wear gloves during assembly, as I have some narsty perspiration.

Measure a few more times, dummy.

I need to learn to take breaks when I get hypertensive, and also eat better, or I might not be able to do this as long or as well as Id like. It seems like taking care of oneself has been getting some mention around the forum lately, and it's starting to sink in.

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Peter you are quite right that proper air filtration prior to my 'booth' would provide the most substantial improvement. Im pretty sure a lot of the bits are stuff that come off the mortar holding the fieldstone walls together (its a cellar in a century home). Theres always cement dust collected at the bottom of the walls. I vacuum it pretty frequently, but if its always accumulating then the walls are presumably always shedding as well. ibe considered painting them, but have been advised that this can cause the old mortar to deteriorate because of moisture issues, and Im not sure anything would stick. Any other air contaminants are likely the result of spraying in the same room that I do everything else in.

Regarding filtration, I have some ideas about how to do it on my (very strict) budget. I just havent come up with something that will fit into my space and work effectively, and also be able to break it down and store it when not in use. Ill include a pic of mywork area to clarify my space issue. My entire shop is about 10 feet by 18 feet, and most of my storage also happens in that area. Im literally at max capacity for fixtures and machines, and well, almost everything else. We're looking for a more suitable house as my mom's a full time artist and we share the basement. She paints large panel oils and the basement is quite stuffed and busy. Essentially Im forced to work with less than ideal conditions for the time being.

You might investigate using lacquer used by cabinet makers who build and install cabinets in new homes--they often finish on site.  I haven't used it on guitars but I use model paint based on this material for building scale models.  It's a very fast drying lacquer that helps reduce dust in the finish because it dries so quickly that the dust doesn't stick.  If it dries too fast (leaves orange peel and powdery residue on the surface) a little retarder will lengthen the open time and allow it to be applied very smoothly.  Too quick drying is a particular problem here in Arizona, where ambient humidity is often in the single digits (I humidify the house constantly all year around until the daily later summer monsoon rains).  It also allows very thin coats.  I can't speak to how it will hold up on guitars but on models it survives a lot of handling without problems.  I know that a gloss overcoat is available as the basic material I use dries satin--but that's just the mix formulated for models.  Cross linkage between layers is excellent since the solvent will "melt" the coats together.

It's solvent based so good personal protection is a must--mask and goggles, good room ventilation.

If you have a home cabinet maker in your area, I'd suggest getting in touch and finding out where they get their finishing materials, then follow up with the supplier or manufacturer.

Others with real experience with this material should chime in!


I worked as a spray finisher at a kitchen place in town for a year, and while the catalyzed finish I used there was nice/good, it didnt dry any faster than what I use now, which is dry to the touch between 2 and 10 minutes depending on how wet the coat is. I like my rattle cans at the moment because I dont have to worry about moisture in the lines or any of that jazz, which can become a whole other thing to deal with.

The finish I am talking about is a nitro lacquer of some kind.  It may be used for built in woodwork in homes where the risk of dust contamination is the highest, rather than in a shop, where there's more environmental control (at least, theoretically).  


Like the guitar, Larry. It's unique and fun. 

I also like the list of things learned. I can particularly identify with "Measure a few more times, dummy".  I should write this on the insides of my glasses. 

Am I Larry now? :P

Sorry, ANDREW, a mind is a terrible thing to waste and I guess mine is wasted.  The truth is that I have to look at my drivers license every morning to know who I am. 

S'okay. Im pretty jumbled too :). I need to check my phone to know what day it is half the time.

I can get that from a PHIONE???  I just use ink hash marks on my forearm to keep track. 

"write this on the insides of my glasses"

Ned, all that achieves is the guarantee that you will lose your glasses.


Na, I don't see that well with them although it's completely possible that I will get up from the computer and forget to change to my "regular" glasses.

Looks great Andrew!


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