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mr.chEn

gloss clear coat over satin finish?

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Hi all,

 

I'm wondering if it's possible to spray nitro clear coat directly over a satin finished guitar straight from Gibson to achieve a high gloss look? I've read elsewhere that folks have been buffing out the satin with polish to achieve a gloss, but curious if I can go the other way, and apply more lacquer rather than take away for a high shine?

 

 

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If you polish your matte or satin finish it will get glossy, but I think if you do there is no going back to matte or satin unless you rough it up. My advice is if you want to, do a small area on the back, that way it wont be seen and if the result are not what you desired, at least its on the back.

Edited by Sgt. Pepper

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A nitro finish achieves highest gloss through buffing/polishing. Spraying a completed guitar requires a lot of careful masking. Provided the satin finish is perfectly clean, with no surface contaminants, there's no obvious reason you can't spray nitro-on-nitro. The solvents in the new nitro actually activate the underlying nitro surface so that the two coats bond, as I understand it.

That's why you can "melt out" some scratches on vintage guitars using lacquer reducer as a solvent.

What I don't know is if there are any additives in the satin nitro finish that are used to keep it consistently dull, as is done with polyurethane finishes. If so, those might interfere with getting to where you want to get.

In any case, you'll probably still need to buff the guitar after the overcoats to achieve the best results. Building up more coats allows you to buff more effectively without cutting through the finish, but buffing is not risk-free. It's shockingly easy to cut through a nitro finish, according to the guy who works on my guitars. I've had him buff out scratches on some new guitars, and he always warns me that I own those scratches, and the results are not guaranteed.

When he says he can't go any further because he might cut through the finish, I believe him.

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Yes, it seems like it's possible to rub down the satin finish with some 600 grit, wipe clean, and start gloss clear coats. I suppose the biggest challenge in all of this would be the time/effort involved with removing all the hardware and masking it well... especially the f-holes.

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13 hours ago, mr.chEn said:

Yes, it seems like it's possible to rub down the satin finish with some 600 grit, wipe clean, and start gloss clear coats. I suppose the biggest challenge in all of this would be the time/effort involved with removing all the hardware and masking it well... especially the f-holes.

After some research, there is a flattening agent that can be added to clear nitrocellulose lacquer to reduce gloss. This agent may slightly reduce the transparency of the finish. It that is the case, overcoating with a gloss clear lacquer may or may not produce exactly the effect you may be after.

The bottom line: if you want a high-gloss finish, buy a new guitar with a gloss finish. You can certainly increase the gloss of a satin nitrocellulose finish by buffing or overcoating with clear gloss, but it may not yield results that are exactly the same as starting from a gloss finish.

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Since nitrocellulose lacquer melts into itself, I'm sure that a satin finish can be sanded down and then clear coated with gloss to be sanded and polished to a semi gloss or even high gloss sheen. The main issue is that GIbson's satin finish is so extremely thin as it is, that there's a very real risk of burning through the colorcoat during every part of this process. I'm feeling somewhat committed to this as making it my spring project! Will definitely keep everyone updated/ post photos as I go along.

Edited by mr.chEn

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