I’m back! It’s been about a year since I last updated this build, and it’s been that long since I’ve actually worked on the goldtop telecaster body! This past weekend, I decided to get back to it, and finish this thing off. The unfortunate part is that I seem to be missing some photos from this step in the build. So please bear with me, and if I happen to find those additional photos, I’ll add them later.
If you look back at my last post, Routing the Guitar Body and Beginning the Finish, you will remember that the first step in my execution of a gold top finish was to coat the body first in black nitrocellulose lacquer.
In the picture above, you can see that after coating the body in about 10 layers of black tinted nitrocellulose lacquer, I sanded the top with 330 grit sandpaper. As mentioned in my previous post, the goal here is to make the initial surface as flat as possible before application of the gold paint.
This a product by the company Guitar Reranch and Color Supply called Les Paul Original Gold. This is one of the best formulations of a Gibson style metallic gold paint, available on the market today. You can go here to order it directly from Guitar Reranch. At $16 a can, it’s not cheap but certainly worth it. I purchased two cans, not knowing how much I would need, but I ended up only using about half of one can since I was only doing the top. If you are coating an entire guitar body, I can see you easily using close to two cans.
Now this is the part of the build where I’m missing some photos. As I mentioned previously, if I happen to find them, I’ll post them. Otherwise, here is a rundown of the next steps.
First I used high-quality automotive masking tape to mask off the edge of the guitar. This is going to be a paint-edge guitar, so I started the mask right below the corner radius. From there, I masked off the entire back and lower sides of the guitar body. Since I would be spraying an aerosol gold color, if everything isn’t masked properly, you would end up with overspray and color-bleed.
After laying down about five coats of Reranch Les Paul Gold, I removed the masking tape so that my edge wouldn’t lift. If you wait too long, and the color hardens on the masking tape, your edge will crack when removing the tape. After removal, I hung the Telecaster body, and let it dry overnight.
Here’s another portion where I’m missing pictures. Once the gold top was dry, I then coated the entire guitar body in about 10 layers of clear nitrocellulose lacquer. The gold spray instructions state that you must clear coat the paint. Also, we need to blend the height difference in the edge, between the black nitrocellulose base and the layers of gold spray on top. Ultimately, you want to be sure to lay down enough coats of clear nitro lacquer so that you even the edges, and provide enough buffer so as not to sand through into the paint during the finishing process.
Once you lay down the lacquer, then it’s the nitrocellulose waiting game. Hang the body, and don’t touch it for at least 6 weeks (longer in cold climates). It’s torture, I know, but you don’t want to ruin all that hard work by jumping the gun! I’m back on schedule, and so I should have the sanding / buffing post up in a few days. See you then!