Aging nitro finish (yellowing)

Steve St.Laurent

Senior member
Messages
238
Recently built a '59 Strat clone/tribute that I finished in Colortone Vintage White Nitro and Nitro clear on the neck (a couple light coats of vintage tinted covered by satin).  I wanted it to look like a well cared for vintage instrument so I looked into what yellows nitro (UVB) - and I found a UVB lamp and fixture used for testing yellowing on eBay for $52 ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/UVB-313EL-UV-15W-ink-paint-paint-products-yellowing-resistance-test-tube/184012213011?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649 - caution it's from China and took about 6 weeks for delivery). 

So I built a "tanning bed" by lining a box with tin foil and attached the lamp to the ceiling and a "door" to put on the ends to bounce light again.  I put the guitar up on a box so that some of the light would be bouncing around underneath.  I flipped the guitar over each night and took pics after a couple periods of time.  The guitar went under the light on August 1st

The pics in order are:

1. Just after I finished the body (June 5th)
2 & 3. The light box
4. August 14th - 7 days (168 hours) on each side
5. same pic as #4 but with the contrast cranked to show it better
6, 7, & 8. August 19th - ~10 days (240 hours) on each side)

I've taken it out for now and will see if I want to yellow it more or not.  Totally happy with the results so far! 
 

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sethmeister

New member
Messages
13
Very cool.

Steve did you use a clear topcoat on the body or was it just the colortone olympic white color coat?  I'm curious about how the color coat would react to UV light vs how the clear coat would react.

Were you happy with the way the colortone stuff went on?  Did you use the spray cans?  Have any problems?

I'm trying to decide whether to go with the colortone or reranch olympic white for a 60's strat project I am putting together.

Thanks!

Seth
 

Steve St.Laurent

Senior member
Messages
238
sethmeister said:
Very cool.

Steve did you use a clear topcoat on the body or was it just the colortone olympic white color coat?  I'm curious about how the color coat would react to UV light vs how the clear coat would react.

Were you happy with the way the colortone stuff went on?  Did you use the spray cans?  Have any problems?

I'm trying to decide whether to go with the colortone or reranch olympic white for a 60's strat project I am putting together.

Thanks!

Seth

I did use clear over the olympic white.  Do not try the aged clear over the olympic white, it'll look horrible (sanded it off and started again).  Buy extra tips (stewmac sells a bag of em).  I did use spray cans and they worked great - used a handle with a trigger on it that you snap over the can to have bettter control. Let the cans soak in hot water to warm up the lacquer and switch cans often - they'll get colder as you spray and if you spray too long it'll spit and then you'll need to let it try, sand down the spot, etc.  Stewmac has suggestions for spraying lacquer, I pretty much just followed everything they said.  Light coats and take your time between coats (follow their suggestions there too). 

It's incredible the quality of finish you can get out of a can with nitro. I've NEVER been able to get a good finish out of a can of paint - this was much easier.
 
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