Question about doing a "satin" type finish

lern2swim

New member
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18
First of all, hello everyone, new to the board.  I'm in the planning stages of my first warmoth build and I could use some help.  I'm planning on building an iceman (I'm lefty, need I say more?) and I'm trying to sort out how to get the finish that I'm looking for.

Body and neck wise, I'm planning on a  mahogany body and a maple neck with ebony fingerboard.  My intention is to make the guitar completely black.  Body, neck, headstock, and hardware.  However, I don't want to do a gloss finish.  Ideally, I'd like a satin finish or a very very dark black dye finish.  Something kind of "industrial" looking.  So, I guess my question is actually a two parter.  Does anyone know if Warmoth can do a satin finish?(I know I could contact them about this, but not the next part, so I figured I'd ask this here too)

Second part, if they can't, what would my best bet be to do it myself?  It is my first build, so obviously, if I am going to be doing the finish myself, I'd get some wood to practice on first.  I'm going for something like this

http://www.blizzardbeast.com/albums/meshuggah0308/meshuggah032908_27.jpg

Except not 8 string, obviously.  And I know that pic is in black and white, that guitar actually has some kind of dyed finish( http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a255/20bag/Meshuggah%20Mar27/DSC01187.jpg ) but this pic gives a closer visual to what I am looking to do(the actual guitar shows quite a bit of grain, I'm looking to accomplish an even darker finish).  So, I'm really looking for any insight whatsoever about this.  I really appreciate any help you guys can give.
 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
I'm not sure about the satin finish from Warmoth, the site only specifically shows satin finishes on necks in clear or over vintage tint; but if they can do that as a top finish over vintage tint, it would seem like it should be feasible over a solid color. Call and ask.

Doing the body yourself would be relatively easy; just get some black dye concentrate, thin in lacquer thinner and apply. No grain filling involved in the look your going for, rather than applying a top finish you could just apply a couple of coats of WATCO Danish Oil - be advised that you would need to reapply the Danish Oil a couple of times a year. Another top coat you could use is Deft Satin Lacquer, but be advised that most satin lacquer finishes are not completely matte and areas in which you have a lot of contact will "buff out" and get shiny, although you can "de-gloss" them with a bit of 000 steel wool.

The neck is a different story, if you stick to maple. Maple will typically not absorb dye very well or evenly and requires a hard finish of some sort to validate the warranty, mahogany would be easier to do/match to the body.

If you want to go way outside the box with an "industrial black" finish, there's always Krylon/Fusion UltraFlat black camouflage spray cans. Never tried that on a guitar, but it should give you the exact look you describe, only caveat is that you would be the guinea pig as to how well it held up when applied to a guitar, you could check it out and let us know...

If you need wood scraps to practice on go to www.woodcraft.com, if they don't have a store near you they can be ordered online.


 

lern2swim

New member
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18
Ok, to get a bit more specific and talk about a particular direction, I have considered just going the spray paint route.  There's a couple of concerns I have though.  First, I would prefer a satin as opposed to flat.  I'd like a uniform finish throughout and I'm very very hesitant to go flat finish on the neck.  Next, this has more to do with my inexperience, if I do spray the whole thing, obviously I tape off the fretboard but how do I prevent getting a ridge of paint where the fretboard meets the neck?
 

jackthehack

Senior member
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5,630
..."if I do spray the whole thing, obviously I tape off the fretboard but how do I prevent getting a ridge of paint where the fretboard meets the neck?"

When applying ANY type of finish, especially if spraying, extremely thin coats are the rule to avoid drips/runs. You shouldn't wind up apply a finish so thick that you'd have a noticable ridge like that, you'd sand down that "joint" with very fine sandpaper.

You could always try something like the black on this page: http://minwax.com/products/one_step_stain_and_finishes/polyshades.html#Colors
 

tfarny

Senior member
Messages
4,481
Well if it's your first, you might just want to have warmoth do it. They can do satin finishes, and a while ago they even had some matte, un-filled finishes (a pro version of rattle can black) that some of the guys really liked. Their finishes are really great quality.
 

DangerousR6

Senior member
Messages
15,453
This guitar in question that you are trying to somewhat replicate, appears to be swamp ash, you won't get anywhere close to it looking like his with a mahogany body. You would need to do it out of swamp ash to get the grain as such. Here's one of the 2 Jackson Dinky's I have with a similar finish...
2485727540_71608f02f4.jpg
 

lern2swim

New member
Messages
18
DangerousR6 said:
This guitar in question that you are trying to somewhat replicate, appears to be swamp ash, you won't get anywhere close to it looking like his with a mahogany body. You would need to do it out of swamp ash to get the grain as such. Here's one of the 2 Jackson Dinky's I have with a similar finish...
2485727540_71608f02f4.jpg

I really don't care if the grain is visible.  I'd actually prefer it if it weren't.  I just want a low gloss finish instead of a glossy one. 

Also, I've seen some comments related to Warmoth's satin neck finish stating that it eventually ends up shiny anyway.  Would I have to worry about that happening on all contact points on the guitar?  Anything I'd be able to do myself to prevent that?  A certain type over top coat or something along those lines?
 

DangerousR6

Senior member
Messages
15,453
lern2swim said:
I really don't care if the grain is visible.  I'd actually prefer it if it weren't.  I just want a low gloss finish instead of a glossy one. 

Also, I've seen some comments related to Warmoth's satin neck finish stating that it eventually ends up shiny anyway.  Would I have to worry about that happening on all contact points on the guitar?  Anything I'd be able to do myself to prevent that?  A certain type over top coat or something along those lines?
Oh ok, I thought you were trying to replicate the matte finish with the rough grain appearance. Yes their satin finish will "shine" up over time on any contact points. Mostly on the edges, my Warmoth VW has their satin finish on it and the edges, especially where my right arm rests is shinning up. About the only thing i know to do is what jackthehack suggested and use #000 steel wool... :dontknow:
 

lern2swim

New member
Messages
18
What about a matte finish?  I mean, obviously, any finish is going to wear down in one way or another eventually.  That matte finish dinky, for example, any areas wearing to a shine on that? 

Of course, if I go matte, I have to figure out what to do with the neck.  Anyone ever play a matte finish neck?  Haha.  Maybe matte black body and headstock and gloss for the back of the neck... hmmm.

edit: Ok, so I've been browsing around the net and looking at various resources and I think I've narrowed it down to a couple of ideas.  First, I think I'm going to go with a mahogany neck.  I'm either going to go with the matte spray paint technique(still need to sort out the neck though) or back to the black dye method(which would be simplified by the mahogany/mahogany build) but forget about the matte/satin part as it's just going to wear anyway.

I would like the finish to be of the set it and forget it variety though.  I don't want to have to re-do it every year.  I'm looking through the board as I'm typing this so I may very well find the answer to that issue on my own but, again, all input is appreciated.
 

lern2swim

New member
Messages
18
Okay, so I've been reading around on the board and other places online for the past few days and I think I've decided on what I'm going to do for my finish.  Just want to see if I'm missing anything.

I'm going to go with a sprayed matte black all over with the krylon ultra flat.  I'll be the test subject.  I'm going to leave the mahogany body unfilled and go with a maple neck which shouldn't need much, if any, filling.  Then, primer(or do I have to sand first even though I'm not filling?).  I figure a lighter color primer so I can see how completely the black paint is covering.  Then, how often do I wet sand?  I figure, since I'm going for a matte finish, after every coat is probably overkill... or not(???).  Then, do I need a clear coat even though I'm leaving it matte?  This paint is meant for outdoorsy stuff so I figure it should be pretty resilient.

Only thing I'm not sure about is the neck.  Going with maple should let me start with a fairly smooth surface(I was going to go with maple originally anyway) but I'm going to have to do some tests to see how maple feels sprayed with the krylon for a neck.  I don't know how far off from satin krylon's idea of "ultra flat" paint is.  Anyone know? 

Am I missing anything?
 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
I don't know what you've been reading or where, but some of your conclusions are erroneous.

1.) If you need a primer, that always goes UNDER the color coat. If you are going to use the Krylon Ultra Matte, it's 'self priming" and doesn't require a primer coat under it.
2.) The Krylon does hold up, but I've never used it on a guitar or item that you are constantly rubbing against. You'd probably want to put a clear satin poly top coat on it.
3.) Get a rattle can of the Krylon and a scrap piece of maple if you want to know how it "feels", better yet find a used wooden baseball bat, sand/strip it and test on that. Again, you're really going to need to put a poly top coat on it, because the back of the neck is always in constant contact with your moving grip and you'll wear down the Krylon over some period of time.
4.) Maple requires no filling at all.
5.) Over time the satin poly top coat will buff glossy from touch, but you can always rough it baqck up with some 000 steel wool.
 

lern2swim

New member
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18
Ok, so it sounds like the only thing I stated that was really erroneous was using a primer.  As I stated, I fully intend on testing out the krylon on maple to see how it feels, just wanted to see if anyone here had any experience with it already.  The main reason I wanted to try and avoid using the satin poly is to avoid having it go glossy.  I guess I'm just going to have to do a bunch of testing and see what happens.  I'm hoping that the krylon is resilient enough and feels smooth enough that I don't need the poly.  It would really just save me multiple headaches.
 

dbw

Senior member
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4,531
I have a Krylon-finished guitar.  It holds up fine, I don't play it much but I haven't had any trouble with the finish.

Edit: IIRC I used primer first, then semi-gloss black.
 

beserker

New member
Messages
7
newbie here... i know of warmoth and have a little bit of knowledge of wood and guitars.. and i ran into this post VIa google search ..
first let me ask LERN2: how far along are you?

and second are you more interested in the paint of your guitar or the guitar itself?
because the paint job issue is more easy
wood selection itself is a big issue.
you have to consider what style of music you play for the tone your after and  how heavy or light your willing to have your axe...

and finally how if your willing to sacrifice one for the other...

with that said I'm getting a warmoth made to the specks of a jackson dinky dk 3
never heard of it? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Dinky_DK3

and like i said i have some experience with wood and paint. i painted a drumset flat/matt black with sparay cans
actually i just pu a super matt clear coat on top of black primer...i'm not sure if you can get any flatter than that.
there's lot's of youtube vidoes website and even books and full length video's at your local library.
and finally look into disambiguation in the paint world between stains , acrylics, satins, and polyurethane


keep us posted on how everything develops o and if you get warmoth to paint it for you let us know .

 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
Since you are applying an opaque finish the 'matte' effect is really just an issue of the surface texture.  Over time most any type of surface will become smoother/shinier with wear.  The solution to this problem is to apply a final protective topcoat that is as high wear resistance and can be knocked back down to satin with superfine sandpaper or steel wool.

I'd recommend grain filling the mahogany simply to avoid any potential shine or grunge buildup coming from all those little pores.

The flat black paint wet sanded smooth then covered with an acrylic matte finish should wear quite well (I'd go with an acrylic because they are usually water clear and do not yellow with age like some poly finishes.)
 

beserker

New member
Messages
7
well said  :icon_thumright:

i"m not the original poster but i have the same issue
so i must ask ... if i were to be after a unifor flat black look on my axe including the neck ( with chrome hardware and jet black ebony fingerboard  :headbang1:

will acrylic matte be be a good finish to have on the back of the  neck?
because that's what i was thinking to put on the body..

but once again after i order i rather have warmoth do it

but weather they offer that paint job and the lure of saving a buck by going DIY will be a dilema i'll deal with later
 

Keyser Soze

Senior member
Messages
206
The simple answer is to get yourself some matte acrylic and spray a few coats onto something approximating the back of a neck (even a piece of scuffed PVC pipe is close enough), then decide of you like the feel of the finish.  Sure it'll cost a few bucks but you'll know exactly what you are getting into.

 
 
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