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Home : Free Information : Finishing : Finishing schedules : Nitrocellulose Finishing Schedule

Nitrocellulose Finishing Schedule

Standard process for finishing an instrument with nitrocellullose lacquer



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i-nitrocellulose Updated 06/06









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Introduction

Nitrocellulose lacquer is synonymous with well-crafted, vintage and modern instruments. It's relatively easy to apply and buff to a beautiful, high gloss finish. The look, feel, and tone of nitrocellulose is hard to surpass, and it is easier than many finishes to repair or touch-up.

Stringed Instrument Lacquer produces a hard, durable finish that's less brittle and more flexible than standard furniture lacquer, to accommodate the expansion and contraction of wooden instruments. The finish has better resistance to cold-checking and scuffs. It's ready to spray with no thinning required, for faster finish build-up in multiple coats.

Application tips
Nitrocellulose finishes should have a total 6-12 coats — sealer, color, and clear coats combined. The total number will depend upon how thick your coats are, how much sanding you do, and what your final desired film thickness is. Beginners should spray 10-12 coats to avoid sanding or buffing through the finish. As you gain experience, you'll find that fewer coats are required.

The first coat should be a light, misting coat to the instrument — often referred to as a "tack-coat." After 45-minutes or so, apply another, more deliberate "wet-coat." Future coats should be wet, and be sure to give 1-2 hours between coats to allow the solvents to rise out of the finish. Be careful when applying wet-coats, as it's easy to create a run or sag on edges, or while trying to apply finish into the tighter areas of an instrument.

If you do get a run or sag, simply let the finish harden (24-hours) and level sand the blemish using 400-grit sandpaper and a backing block.

Wood Preparation
Clean up surface imperfections
Sand to 220-grit

Stain (optional)
ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains
dissolved in water or alcohol


Porous Wood
Rosewood, Mahogany,
Ash, Koa, Walnut, etc.
Non-Porous Wood
Maple, Spruce, Alder,
Ebony, Basswood, etc.



Washcoat (optional)
1-2 coats • 1-2 hours apart
Washcoats are very thin coats using thinned finish. We recommend thinning your finish 50:50.

ColorTone Aerosol Guitar Lacquer
— or —
ColorTone Aerosol Clear Sanding Sealer
— or —
Behlen Nitrocellulose Stringed Instrument Lacquer
— or —
Behlen Nitrocellulose Vinyl Sealer

Grain filler
Fill wood. Sand with 320-grit before next coat.
ColorTone Grain Filler

Sealer
Build a level surface with
ColorTone Aerosol Guitar Lacquer
— or —
ColorTone Aerosol Clear Sanding Sealer
— or —
Behlen Nitrocellulose Stringed Instrument Lacquer
— or —
Behlen Nitrocellulose Vinyl Sealer
3-4 coats • 2-3 coats per day • 1-2 hours apart

Color Coats (optional)
Behlen Nitrocellulose Stringed Instrument Lacquer
tinted with ColorTone Concentrated Liquid Stains
or colored with ColorTone Liquid Pigments
1-3 coats • 2-3 coats per day • 1-2 hours apart

Clear Coats
ColorTone Aerosol Guitar Lacquer
— or —
Behlen Nitrocellulose Stringed Instrument Lacquer
4-10 coats (4-8 for thin "vintage" finish)
• 2-3 coats per day • 1-2 hours apart


Wet Sand and Buff
Allow finish to cure 4-days
Wet sand with 800-grit and finer sanding papers, then buff to a high-gloss using sanding papers, polishes, and buffers. For more information on buffing and polishing, click here.










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