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I have 2 guitars, both Fenders made in Mexico. I would like to re-paint one of them but I want to do it right. I don't plan on stripping the paint off to the wood, rather I want to just sand it with 400 gr paper and put the new colour over top. I need to know what the best material to use is since the finish that's on there is probably a resin0-activated polyurethane enamel. I plan on putting my colour on, then a few coats of clear, water sanding with 1500 gr paper and buffing to a high shine.
I look forward to any advice and suggestions and I live in the Newmarket area so anyone in this area that I could get together with would be great.
 

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Welcome to the GC Forum. Hope you start threads /post often.

Unfortunately, I can't help you with your refinishing questions. However, I am confident that someone else will respond. Refinishing and related topics surface quite often.

Do you have paint spraying equipmwnet or will you be using rattle cans?

Cheers

Dave
 

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The biggest problem with painting over without getting down to bare wood first is that the thicker the paint gets, the more it impedes the natural resonance of the wood. I have 3 American Strats, 2 of which are 2008 or newer, they have significantly less paint on them than previous years models. My old '93 with a much thicker coat of paint is like a bar of soap compared to them. Stripping and sanding it down is a lot of work but it will pay off.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome to the GC Forum. Hope you start threads /post often.

Unfortunately, I can't help you with your refinishing questions. However, I am confident that someone else will respond. Refinishing and related topics surface quite often.

Do you have paint spraying equipmwnet or will you be using rattle cans?

Cheers

Dave
HI Dave
I'd like to do it right but my friend with the equipment is about a 2 hour drive away. I would have to spray the colour, then wait and spray the clear. I'm not even sure if it can be done in one day, that's the problem. I could do it with spray cans, but I wouldn't feel right about it. I'm a perfectionist.
 

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Depending on what colour they are now, you could just sand it nice and even, and spray a tinted clear or candy colour on top of the existing colour. Candies rely on a background colour, so long as the colour is even underneath it would work, depending on what you want to end up with as a final colour (a candy red over a blue would give you a brown and possibly a bad one too, but candy red over yellow would give you an orange). Something to think about anyway.

Otherwise, I would not sand right to the wood, but damn close to it. Prime any bare wood first.

Don't touch the guitar with your hands before or during painting. The oils in your hands will muck up the paint job. You want the surface clean.

You can get just about any colour imaginable in the auto paint aisle at Canadian Tire. Or, go to an auto supply place (NAPA, etc.) and they can mix any colour of spray can you can pick out of pretty much any car that has ever been made as long as you can give them the paint code. Follow common sense safety when spraying.

Put a few extra coats of clear on for the sanding/buffing. Power tools make this much easier. Buffing by hand is a long job, but it can be done. Don't burn through the clear if your using power tools.
 

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Wolf, you are unlikely to get it done in a day. Depends on the material you use.

I would recommend sanding more than a scuff with 400 grit. At least take the lacquer off; even then you could run into issues with compatibility of the finishes. Shellac will help with the compatibility, as a seal coat. Not always necessary to go down to bare wood.

To get a high gloss you need several coats of clear finish. When I spray a solid colour, I will put 3 or 4 coats of sealer over the colour, then level sand. Then I start building coats of lacquer. I'll spray 4 or 5 coats, level sand then 4 or 5 more coats, light level sand followed by 2 or 3 final coats. Then I let the finish cure for a couple weeks before wet sanding and buffing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Depending on what colour they are now, you could just sand it nice and even, and spray a tinted clear or candy colour on top of the existing colour. Candies rely on a background colour, so long as the colour is even underneath it would work, depending on what you want to end up with as a final colour (a candy red over a blue would give you a brown and possibly a bad one too, but candy red over yellow would give you an orange). Something to think about anyway.

Otherwise, I would not sand right to the wood, but damn close to it. Prime any bare wood first.

Don't touch the guitar with your hands before or during painting. The oils in your hands will muck up the paint job. You want the surface clean.

You can get just about any colour imaginable in the auto paint aisle at Canadian Tire. Or, go to an auto supply place (NAPA, etc.) and they can mix any colour of spray can you can pick out of pretty much any car that has ever been made as long as you can give them the paint code. Follow common sense safety when spraying.

Put a few extra coats of clear on for the sanding/buffing. Power tools make this much easier. Buffing by hand is a long job, but it can be done. Don't burn through the clear if your using power tools.
Thanks Jim. I have done this sort of thing years ago but the material I was using then is no longer available. I think the idea of going to an auto supply place and having them mix the colour is the best. I'm just not sure what material works best over an existing Mexican polyurethane finish, and the clear coat I put on last is the most important. Not all clear finishes can be sanded and buffed. I think I'll talk to someone at IAP Ideal Supply to get an understanding of this. It's a good thing that a lot of electric guitars are finished with the same finishes as cars.
 

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The original polyurethane is probably a stable base coat and likely to be unaffected by what you put over it. Unless you go with the old style laquers, which are hard to find anyways. They used pretty strong solvents. If in doubt you could always apply a sealer before painting.

One good thing about going to the auto parts place is that they will guide you so all the steps are compatible with one another (sealer, primer, base coat, clear).
 
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