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Thread: Clear Coats

  1. #1
    Romeo Delight
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    12.06.15 @ 07:04 PM
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    Default Clear Coats

    Do you guys put clear coats on your Franky replicas? If so, how many? Im doing a project and I hate the look of shiny new fenders that have thick glossy clear coats. I like Eddie's homemade guitar look where it doesn't look professional but still looks good. What would you guys recommend I use (and how much?)

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    5150 bunnyman's Avatar
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    11.06.14 @ 04:06 AM
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    I do not believe Eddie ever clear coated his creations. Getting a Fender-style clear at home would take a fair bit of work with tools the average home painter doesn't have. Fender uses an extensive process that most people simply can't achieve at home with chemicals not available at Home Depot or Autozone.

    If you were to clear your creation, I don't think you would have to worry about it not looking home painted. A clear coat like what is on a Gibson (nitro-cellulose, which is what a home builder is likely to replicate) takes many, many coats of clear with lots of wet sand paper and polish. A home builder takes YEARS of practise to get that type of show room new clear. Unlike a Fender, which uses a very, very hard finish impervious to many things, a nitro-finished guitar ends up with weather-checking and can look beat up if not properly cared for. Note: this is NOT a nitro vs. poly argument.

    Don't worry about nitro, as that is something you actually have to try and find. Spray paint at Autozone is most likely NOT nitro cellulose.

    Are you going to play this guitar regularly? Do you want to keep the wear marks and not add new ones? This is what you have to ask yourself whether or not you want to go authentic or do some measure of preservation; though by nature, an authentic replica would continue to age beyond what ageing and wear/tear what not you do to it. A few coats of clear on a guitar you will actually play isn't going to make it look like a new Fender; if it did, we'd all be asking you how you did that!!!!

    To answer your question after my long diatribe, you would spray a few light coats of clear using the same brand as the rest of your paint. Let it dry between coats. Let it dry for several days before assembling it. Yes, it will look shiny for a little while, but as soon as you start handling it and playing it, it will start to not look so shiny. Manhandle it like EVH, and you won't even know it was cleared.
    Last edited by bunnyman; 07.09.14 at 05:08 AM.
    Dammit!!! I still smell like cotton candy!!!

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    Romeo Delight
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    Default

    This may sound silly, but do you guys paint the cavities(pickups, pots,etc...) or do you tape them off? would it make a difference? (sorry, its my first build)

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    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    You can paint the cavities. The new Wolfgangs leave them unpainted so the wood can "breathe", but if you're replicating a Frankie or other striped guitar the cavities were painted. I do tape off the neck pocket though, I don't like any paint in the neck pocket.

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    Top Of The World WDFA5150's Avatar
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    10.29.15 @ 04:06 PM
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    Because eds guitars are taped and painted you get 'edges' in the paint so if you paint a guitar white then tape it up and put a black stripe on it the black strip will stand 'proud' of the white paint- it will be a higher layer if that makes sense?
    To clear coat you will need many, many coats if you expect to be able to color sand and cut to get a smooth surface. If you go that route- I use automotive acrylic but really- the time and the amount of paint you'll use will show you why ed didnt do it!
    I used to be 'sean112' but lost all my details!

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    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    09.15.17 @ 08:03 AM
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    Default

    From my experience and understanding, you can (or should) only clear coat flat paint. You can't (or shouldn't) clear coat gloss paint -- it causes cloudiness that cannot be undone.

    Most people do their Franks with gloss spray paint to begin with, as did Ed. So, if it's a BW or RBW, definitely just go with gloss paint and do not clear coat it. From experience as well -- whatever guitar you use -- try to sand it completely down to the wood if you can. I have several that I have made that I just did a light sand and got to work. That was a mistake I learned from. It comes out really uneven. Some day, I will probably repaint my Bee because of this.

    However, the last two I have done, I did flat and then did a clear coat. However, this was super easy because both bodies were already raw and unfinished, and I only needed black and white paint which is easy to find flat. Otherwise, they simply don't make flat paint for most colors.

    I don't believe Frank (any version) ever had a clear coat. However, I do believe that the Bee, Unchained, and Rude guitar all had clear coats. The Rude guitar clear coat is especially noticeable in this shot:



    It looks pretty shiny there. I put two whole cans of clear coat on mine, and it probably could've used another two, but I am happy with it.

    My 2 cents.

    KBD3

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    Romeo Delight
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    Thanks for the replies, my body is raw and I think I'll just use gloss paint and no clear coat. Im not doing a replica, but just wanted the same finishing look as the Frankies had. Also, is primer a good idea? (does is matter if its white or colored primer)

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    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    What kind of body wood are you using? I didn't use primer, but I did use a crapload of minwax grain filler on my ash Franky body and it still soaked up a ton of the paint. One of the other more experienced replica guys can chime in with better advice.

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    Romeo Delight
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    Alder body

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    Romeo Delight Tank2000's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 05:59 PM
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    You dont have to fill the grain with alder poplar or basswood...the rest need a grain filler but a white primer is a good idea IMO...
    Earn this...

  11. #11
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Two lucky situations -- raw body and no need for grain filler. I disliked grain filler that I used on an ash body, so my most recent ash body I just left it like it was, grain and all. It's beautiful to me -- so whatever floats your boat.

    Primer by definition is flat though, so give it two good coats of white primer, then go for it with gloss paint.

    If you're doing an RBW Frank, your first coat should be black. If you do an RBW, always just start by doing a replica of the VH1 Frank -- white on top of black. Then obviously cover up everything that's not red and go for it!

    I'm psyched to see what you're making. Post pics of your progress -- I'd like to see what that raw alder body looks like before any paint hits it.

    KBD3

  12. #12
    Good Enough Kevin Dodds's Avatar
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    Just re-read and you're not doing a Frank, I see now. But keep us posted as to what you are up to!

    KBD3

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    1st off - great remarks and advice from several on here !
    2nd - Good Luck on your build . Hope you'll keep us informed with info and photos .

    3rd - Man , I wish I could track down a photo (circa 1988ish) of my first attempt to paint an Eddie style guitar ... It was bad ! Haha
    Black Kramer Striker 100st . Painted it white , without sanding the old clear coat and color off (!???) and then taped it and painted the red over top . I didn't let any of the coats cure properly - I was rushed and too excited to wait around . The guitar was full of flaws and looked like sh*t !!!

    I wish I had a resource like the Links back then .... I was completely green and clueless
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

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    Romeo Delight
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    Yeah, its nice to consult others who have mastered project guitars for my first build. Unfortunately I realized today that there are no standard duplicolor or krylon cans that have the color I want, so I think I may need someone to mix a color and spray for me now

  15. #15
    Eruption garbeaj's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 10:38 AM
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    One thing that I learned about clear coats is that if you have any white paint under them, the white painted areas will yellow surprisingly quickly. I don't paint my guitars, I pay others to do the work for me...purely due to my lack of will and skill...but I have gone to having the people that do paint work for me to leave the clear off if there is any place that you want to have a pure "white-white" appearance. I learned this the hard way...I had a clear coat on my white Ibanez Destroyer and it yellowed very quickly (within 2 years). I took it back to my painter and had them redo the whole guitar, sanding down to the wood and started again, but this time using just white spray paint and no clear coat. This is indeed how Ed did all of his striped guitars.

 

 

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