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Lacquering the Guitar


The Unpacked Kit
Ribbon Lining
End-Piece Set
Guitar Top
Top Bracing
Guitar Back
Back Bracing
Attaching the Back
Attaching the Top
Edge Bindings
Fitting the Neck
Truss Rod
Fitting the Nut
Grain Filling
Attaching the Neck
Attaching the Bridge
Saddle and Nut
It's Done!

Lacquering was an interesting experience. I chose to use spray cans of guitar lacquer, available from the Stewart-MacDonald guitar supply catalog to avoid the expense of buying spraying equipment. Besides, I'm really bad at cleaning things like brushes, so chances are I'd ruin a sprayer after the first coat!

Lacquer itself is interesting, because the fumes are not only toxic but highly explosive. Wearing a good quality mask with organic vapor filters is important, and making sure that there are no flames or sparks nearby is equally important. Because I started the finishing process in January, and I live in New Hampshire, our gas-fired boiler and gas-fired hot water heater both run frequently, and are located (of course) in the basement where I needed to do my spraying! So, for over a week I had a routine of turning the heat up very high when getting up in the morning, and then before leaving for work, shutting down the furnace and hot water heater, and extinguishing the pilot lights. I'd spray a coat of lacquer on, and then head to work. I'd come back two hours later to re-light the hot water heater and furnace, and warm the house back up. Then, I'd do it all over again after another 2-3 hours had passed.

After every two to three coats, I'd sand with 600 grit paper to try and even out the finish. The finish did not come out as smooth as I had hoped, but I attribute that to spraying the lacquer in a 55 degree basement instead of the recommended 70 degrees.

In this picture, you see a make-shift "spraying booth". Basically, I bought a cheap plastic tarp, and made a three-sided area out of the plastic to catch the overspray. I put a screw eye in the neck-joint area of both the body and neck to use for suspending the part while spraying.

The next page shows close-ups of the neck and body after most of the finish had been applied.

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