I've been sticking to Nitro Lacquer or shellac for my projects. However, I'd like to have the option of an acrylic or poly finish on occasion. I have looked on line, it doesn't seem to be easy to find. At least instrument grade.


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Grahame! - Check out this shop
Its in the EU, so it should be avilable to you.
Nitro spray cans at least....
Yeah, thanks for the pointer, I think I already knew about them, I can't be sure, as I'm dizzy from all the surfing in the last weeks :-), but can I charge the customer the full price for a finish job with rattle cans? If you calculate the amount of time you have to spend on the job related to what you can reasonably charge, the profit margin isn't enough to be able to make it even cheaper than a job with a 'gun. I've never been able to spray as well using cans instead of a gun anyway, maybe I should practice more :-)
And $59.00 shipping to Germany ain't cheap either, at least I wouldn't have to pay customs duty:-)
As an aside, a few weeks ago, I calculated how much customs duty I paid last year for tools and material from non EU countries: Nearly €700!! (nearly $960!!) Good thing I love this job,I'm never going get rich in this life :-)


Grahame..we've still got nitro available in the UK for wood finishing ( how long for I don't know..hopefully the one and only thing Cameron may be good at is resisting EU nannying!) Manchesterguitartech has got spray cans in a wide range of standard colours and ToneTech has both cans and 1-5 ltr containers. Both deliver postally but are restricted to the UK mainland. I buy my clear gloss precat through Movac locally. Would it pay you to bring a van over and stock up on the QT? (don't know if Customs would be a problem. You might have to resort to re-labelling everything!)



Hi Jerry- I have used a product called Lethenall (spell check) and it is a product that is used in the auto business,
and it comes in any color in the rainbow, and also in clear.
Go to an auto paint store and ask about it, You will also need to but their thinner to cut it if that is what you want to do.
Peace, Donald
I get my poly finish from Lawrence McFadden's, just like my nitro lacquer. I'd like to come to the defense of polyurethane and polyester again. While I do spray nitro and like to do so, I can find no down side tonally or functionally to the use of poly when applied thinly. Or course you can easily apply too much and choke some tone out of a guitar with poly, but you can do the same with lacquer. And as far as not wanting to coat your guitar is plastic, as far as I can tell nitro lacquer is basically plastic too. I'm not a chemist, though, I could be wrong. But it sure looks and acts like plastic. Many great guitars are being made finish with poly finishes. Can anyone fault the quality of Kevin Ryan's instruments?

Also, I would be careful with nitro from a spray can. It is often formulated for furniture, not instruments. I often see this finish cold check much sooner and easier than nitro formulated for guitars.
No drama, poly is a substitute finish which is satisfactory if done well - its not particularly repairable like nitro but that's OK if the guitar is cheap. The problem here is simple - if you have a lot of money you can afford to have a poly finish repaired by a professional - if you don't you are stiff - amateurs are not up to an invisible poly/plastic repair and so it goes.

Soundwize - thin poly costs - thick poly doesn't and makes amatuer sprayers instant experts courtesy of a cloak of plastic - check out anything that comes out of China. Further more, plinking away acoustically is unlikely to unearth any world shattering differences but the plastic/concrete electric finishes definitely suck when compared to nitro (turn em up and listen to the tone go away and the top end turn 'pingy' - sort of like yelling at a concrete wall and yelling at a wooden wall - one echos (reflects sound energy) and one absorbs sound energy (which is what I like) for sustain and harmonic complexity etc. Bit of a rough analogy but it works for me.

Agree, you need to use nitro formulated for guitars. We get our nitro made to spec by a specialist paint chemist - we still get some checking (we go from zero to 35 degrees C where we are) but it's not common.

It's all good when it's well done - it's the gradual erosion of standards by 'common practice' that I'm about.
My primary interest in finding a poly finish is for those acoustic guitar jobs when a small section needs a 'patch' finish. The edges where the nitro meets the poly desn't blend well when polished. Maybe, my problem is my technique? I use shellac as a adhesion base, then nitro. The edges kinda look like clouds.

Jerry, that's what I'm talking about - if anyone can do a seamless poly finish repair please enlighten us - I'm OK (not good) with CA drop fills and minors but that's all. We have tried airbrushes/dyed epoxy etc to no avail and now I just redo the complete surface (like in the auto repair industry). anybody?

Do any of you have experience w/KTM finishes for this?


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