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The Last Guitar Body Sanding Treatment

Moving right along, and after all coats of the acrylic lacquer dried, it is time for the last full-body sanding treatment.  The goal here, using 400 grit sandpaper, is to produce a smooth finish to all sides of the guitar body.  This time consuming process is very important, as this is your last chance to level out all high / low points in the finish.

The above is the front of the guitar, completely sanded smooth.  You can easily spot any high, or low points in the surface as they will have a different appearance than that of the rest of the body.  Even though the body looks very badly scuffed, trust me, it is smooth as paper.  We’ll clean up the markings a little later.

This is the bottom edge of the guitar, after the final sanding.
After sanding the top edge of the guitar where the moisture bubbles appeared, I ended up sanding into a few of them.  In order to seal them, I did a few quick “drop fills”, using the acrylic lacquer (shiny areas above).  Once this dries, I will sand this area again.

This is some old school “No 7 Rubbing Compound“, click here to buy this on Amazon.com.  Rubbing compound is a mild abrasive paste that is used on automotive finishes to restore a scuffed body panel by stripping microscopic layers from the surface of the finish.  In this case, we will be removing extremely thin layers of the acrylic lacquer, in order to restore its clarity.  I’m starting on the back, just in case I make any rookie mistakes. 
Looking at the above photo, you can immediately see the effects of the rubbing compound on the back of the sanded guitar body.  The left half of the guitar is treated, while the right portion is left untouched.  Rubbing compound is applied with a microfiber towel, in a circular (waxing) motion).
This is another shot of the guitar body, treated with the rubbing compound.  The goal here is to “work” the body until the majority of the scratches and swirl marks are removed.

This is a better view of the guitar body, with yet another application of the rubbing compound.  You can see the scratches fading away, and the sparkle finish becoming more apparent beneath the surface.  Over the next few days, I will be restoring not only the back, but the rest of the guitar body.  Once it is at the point that I’m satisfied with the results, it is on to the surface glazing (polishing).  Until then, enjoy the pictures!

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