Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

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Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

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Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step

By Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie
Published by Stewart-MacDonald. The definitive book for finishing guitars and fretted instruments.

Learn from the pros: materials, equipment and techniques, plus three dozen recipes for famous finishes. This book helps give you the confidence to finish new instruments, refinish old ones, and perform flawless touch-ups.

The expanded 2nd edition features color stain mixing charts, a color gallery of vintage finishes, and detailed recipes for recreating them with professional results. Guitar Finishing Step-By-Step focuses on nitrocellulose lacquer, the most common guitar finish, but also includes addditional information on varnishes, oils and French polishing. Dan Erlewine's color-illustrated essay guides you through the steps of modern waterbase finishing, too. 188 pages, softcover.

A partial list of contents:

Materials and tools
Abrasives • Solvents • Fillers • Colorants • Topcoats • Buffing materials and equipment

The basics of spray equipment • Sanding • Buffing • Basic finishing steps

Recipes for popular finishes
Fender blond, sunbursts and solids • Gibson goldtop, cherry red and sunbursts • Basic Martin-style finish • Lots more!

Color gallery
Stain mixing color charts • Examples of vintage finishes • Waterbase finishing steps

Customer Reviews

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  • 4.51 average rating from 37 reviews
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A Reassuring Read

(Customer's Reviews)

I'm finishing my second guitar using ReRanch products. Although the ReRanch instructions are pretty good and their forum is helpful, using this book has given me a much clearer picture of the what's and why's and how's. Feeling like this second guitar will come out much better.

And, like a lot of Dan's books and videos, if you are into guitars, they make just plain entertaining reading. He and co-author DonMacRostie include history, anecdotes, and dozens of tips that only someone with their experience would know about. They are very generous about sharing their knowledge, and their love of everything guitar shines through.


Great book!

(Customer's Reviews)

I've found this book really great, full of useful info and describing all the process from general ideas to practical details. It is focused mostly on nitro lacquer finishes though, and I am starting to think about French polishing shellac technique, so I will have to buy also your DVD focused on this :-). Your web is really The Source of professional info about lutherie, great job, many thanks!!!


EXCELLENT book with two problems

(Customer's Reviews)

First, let me say that this book really is a "must-have" for anyone doing or planning to do guitar finishes. Truly a wealth of good information on what I believe to be the most challenging and arcane aspect of guitar construction.

This would absolutley be a five-star book except for two things, and I see them as significant:

1. The book has a few glossy color pages in the middle (and they are GREAT), but a book like this DESPERATELY wants to be full-color throughout, with many more photo-examples of what to look for and avoid in guitar finishing projects. At $29.95, I think there's really no excuse for this book not to be full-color glossy.

2. This was clearly originally written as a book for folks doing nitrocellulose lacquer finishes. A good (not great) attempt has been made to incorporate tips and instructions for finishing with waterborne products, but it feels as though the information was shoe-horned into the most recent edition(s). It can be at times unclear which remarks pertain only to nitro, which pertain to waterborne, and what applies to both. As more and more small scale builders and hobbyists switch to waterborne finishes, this book needs to take the topic more seriously, perhaps splitting into two editions -- on for nitro, one for waterborne.

I hope this review was helpful, and I hope the authors will consider my suggestions when they work on the next edition!


Best for  me!

(Customer's Reviews)

I'm a novice,but I plan to start my own business building/finishing/repairing guitars!

This book is well written, easy to understand, and I'm doing some great looking work!

Thanks !


Great Finishing Book

(Customer's Reviews)

I just purchased your Guitar Finishing Step by Step.What an Eccellent book.I don't plan on doing any spray finishing but the section on stains and the recipes for two color stains was worth the price of the book for me.And if I do decide to ever do a spray finish with aerosols I'll have it covered.Thanks for a great book. I'll be using several of the recipes on current and future projects.


My "go to book" for finishing

(Customer's Reviews)

I received this book from my wife for christmas before my first guitar project, and now that I have done dozens of finishes on a variety of instruments, I never fail to refer to this great book. With step by step instructions it is a God send for the beginner, and a trusted companion for the established Luthier. With recipes, tips, step by step instruction, and color reference pages, I recommend this to anyone even thinking of finishing any woodworking project.


A must for guitar finishers!

(Customer's Reviews)

The definitive book for finishes. You can dive deep in the finishing world, or following complete and easy schedules. You won't miss a detail with this book.

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on page 93 of our StewMac Catalog PDF

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