Finish for guitar

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Established Member
15 Feb 2007
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Surrey & Normandy
I wonder if anyone can help, here, please?

For a bit of fun whilst I am off sick I am making a cheapo kit guitar (Les Paul style). It has a maple top which I want to finish with natural colour and a hard, high-gloss. I have tried yacht varnish (on the back of the guitar) and it was a disaster - I am finishing it in my workshop and it took so long to dry that it ended up covered in dust and I have had to sand it back to wood.

I think that a spray finish would be the way to go, especially as it would dry fast enough to alleviate the dust problem. Some guitar building websites advocate cellulose lacquer - can that go straight onto wood, which seems to have some sort of sanding sealer? I asked the people who sold it to me what I should finish it with and they said 'whatever you like' which seems a bit too easy!

So any help much appreciated.

I think that a few of the turners use the spray on lacquers, I would expect that these are usually put on after a coat or two of sanding sealer (of a compatible type). I'm sure the info will be on the turning forum somewhere..... :roll:
Have a look here if you have a compressor and spray gun or here if you want it in an aerosol.

A coat or 2 of vinyl/sanding sealer followed by a number of nitro top coats. Wet sand then buff to a high gloss - jobs a good'un.
Brilliant. It's already had what looks like a bath in sanding sealer, so I'll just string it up and spray - there's a guy in Manchester who sells a lot of nitrocellulose sprays, but he's a bit hard to follow in places.

Thanks, guys.
I have the same problem watching Eastenders Smudger! :lol:
best of luck with the guitar finishing. Mostly though, such guitars use a two part laquer applied by brush and sanded between coats, finished off with metal polish or even jeweller's rouge.

Just don't fret!

John 8)
Hi Smudger
I've had great results with Chestnuts Melamine lacquer - a great product.
Here's a guitar I sprayed using the same product. It was easy to apply (I use a cheapo B+Q spraygun) and rubbed out the finish. It came out like a mirror!
I think Chestnut also sell some of their products in aerosol form?
Hope this helps
Philly :D