ColorTone Touchup Marker Instructions

Tips for using ColorTone colored and clear Touchup Markers on a sunburst finish.

• Tips for using colored markers
• Tips for using clear lacquer marker


There are any number of possibilities for the width of the tip. The particular need will determine the best tip size.
ColorTone Sunburst Colored Markers

ColorTone Touch-up Markers are supplied in traditional sunburst colors that match the ColorTone Aerosol Guitar Lacquers: Vintage Amber, Cherry Red, Red Mahogany, and Tobacco Brown. They are in a permanent marker (solvent) base and are compatible with all ColorTone solvent and nitrocellulose products. They are intended for touching up a variety of finish problems where the color has been lightened or removed from the instrument's surface. This can be on an instrument in the finishing process, or any guitar that has been dinged or whose color has been abraded off. The photo shows a "sand-through" on the edge of a Tele style guitar body.

On a shaded color finish it sometimes requires more than one color to match the surrounding finish. That's because the shade at any particular point is made up of the overlap of colors. This can be done by applying one color after the other, and using a small artist's brush with alcohol to blend the colors. Even if only one color is used, the use of alcohol on a tiny brush can be helpful to blend the new color into the surrounding area. Apply color from the marker to the uncolored area carefully.

Since the color will "bite" into the finish, it will double up color density if applied over an already colored area, so be careful and try to apply color only to the spot with missing color.

In this case the tip has been shaped with a razor knife to yield a very fine point. Lay the marker tip on a non-absorbent surface, and using a brand new knife blade, cut the felt tip to the shape needed for your particular job.

ColorTone Clear Lacquer Marker

The ColorTone Clear markers are nitrocellulose lacquer in a pen. They have a spring-loaded sealing tip for long life, and they need to be shaken and primed before use. Shake the marker for 30 seconds (you will hear a mixing ball rattle inside the marker body). Press the spring loaded tip on an uncolored board or thick piece of paper to prime the marker. The tip will become wet. It is important to do this on something without any color so it will not contaminate the clear tip of the marker. Once the lacquer is flowing, the marker is ready to use.

This marker can be used to repair chips in old instruments or to drop-fill spots on new work being finished. With the tip freshly primed, lacquer will flow onto the spot with very light pressure. Light pressure will get the most lacquer applied to the spot, and will also reduce the contamination of the clear tip with color that might be present at the repair site. For a deep chip, use just the corner of the felt tip, and let the finish flow into the cavity. Re-prime the marker frequently as it dries by pressing it onto the colorless board that you used before.

The clear marker can be used over either clear lacquer or over the colored touch-up markers. If used over the colored markers it is very important to be sure that the tip is very wet, and that the stroke is light and quick. This avoids contaminating the tip with color from the work. After the first coat dries, subsequent coats can be applied with less concern for contamination.

As the marker builds clear finish on the spot, treat it just like any lacquer finish. Wet-sand and polish when completely dry. Depending on how much area is repaired, three or more days should be sufficient. Hand polish the small repair with liquid polishing compounds or Micro Mesh papers or pads.

Tech Tip: Use the clear nitrocellulose lacquer marker to spot-mask bindings and purflings before staining the surrounding wood.