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Building a Lacquer Finish on the Guitar Body

After all of the time consuming work that I had gone through, sanding, measuring, cutting and routing the guitar body, applying the finish is quickly becoming the most nerve wracking.  I know that if I measure something three or four times, that it will most likely be a close fit.  With careful planning, I understand the way in which the electronic components will work together.  Sparkle coating, and finishing the guitar body with a thick coating of lacquer, is more of an art form than something empirical and concrete.

After coating the body of the guitar with black spray paint, and then applying my layer of sparkle / sealing layer of lacquer, I ended up with a dull looking finish (picture below).  It was at this point that I very much started to doubt that this would turn out the way in which I had envisioned; shiny and with a rich, black sparkle coat.

I am normally an optimist, but after three and four coats of lacquer on each side, the guitar looked just as dull.  So at this point, I was WAY beyond the point of no return.  At the very least, I would have a pretty neat looking “rough” matte finish.  It didn’t matter that I had dropped $30 on aluminum flake at this point, as I just want to finish the guitar.  So the plan would stay the same; build the lacquer high enough so that I can wet sand to a smooth finish without sanding through to the flake below.

So my weekend consisted to adding layer upon layer of lacquer to the front, back and edges of the guitar body.  The warm weather dried each coat very quickly (about 20 minutes) so I was able to make some great progress in building the layers.

After about the fifth coat of lacquer on the surface, I received a BIG surprise.  An area where I was beginning to build the lacquer above the top layer of glitter, and was establishing a flat surface, began to clear up and show a nice, sparkly finish below!  Success!

It’s difficult to tell from the picture, but it appears as though I’ve been on the right track all along!  At this point, the surface, sides and back are taking shape.  I’m beginning to build to some smooth, flat parts where I’m able to see even more of the nice, sparkle finish below.  Remember, this is without sanding and polishing!

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