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Thread: Astracaster First Build FS-1

  1. #221
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    If you are wet-sanding with water, then it is always safer to plug the holes. Easy, also in this case since the holes are pretty big. I plug the holes with little rolled up balls of masking tape. It's relatively easy to get back out of the hole and a bit water resistant.

    You're finish looks pretty good in the pics even without sanding and polishing, so the first question is whether you need to wet sand at all. It may be that all you need is some polishing compound and to buff it a bit.

    Because my finishes are water based and go on with a brush, I start by dry sanding wtih diablo sanding sheets of 250. That would be way to coarse for most finishes that are sprayed on. Anything that doesn't flatten gets some light dry sanding with 350 then 400. For anything sprayed I don't go coarser than 350, and often start with 400 or a maroon pad.

    From there I go to a maroon and then gray scotchbrite sanding pad. All dry to this point. One thing I really like about the sanding sheets and the scotchbrite pads is that is that I can blow them out with compressed air, so they last much longer than sandpaper, particularly when dry. All of this might be unnecessary with yours if it is very smooth already.

    For the back of the neck, I stop here. I don't do any wet sanding on the back of the neck. I prefer it to be pretty flat because if feels better to me that way. I finish neck backs with satin, but I have a few that I have bought that are glossy. I actually rub those occasionally with a gray scotchbrite pad to make them satin. Just feels better to me.

    For the rest of the guitar I begin wet sanding with 600 grit, then 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000, 5000, 7000. After that i buff with McGuires polishing compound and then turtlewax car polish. As good as yours looks, you might start here unless you have some places that are a little rougher. I try not to get the paper or the guitar super wet, and I add a couple of drops of dish soap to the water for lubrication.

    This is not a perfect system... Others use some polishing compounds of various grits between the wet sanding and the McGuires. I also probably don't buff enough... Also people who use solvent based finishes (like yours, I think) don't have to be as careful about getting the finish wet. Water based finishes like mine say they don't re-activate with water...but some do and I am not willing to chance it.

    Also many people stop around 3000 grit with paper and go to polishing compounds. I go to the higher grits for the very scientific reason that it's the way McCreed does it... ;-)

    The hardest part of the finishing process for me is sanding with my fingers crossed I am paranoid about sand-throughs...having done them too many times.

    Hopefully others will chime in. Phrozen is a pro, and TD also does great finishes. I use the "how does it look from two meters away" approach.... Which raises another issue. I have flaws in mine. Mostly specs of dust that get caught in the clear. It would be very easy to ruin a finish trying to get rid of flaws that you can only see from close up. For these I try to observe my daughters rule "flaws remind me that it's something I made." I also try not to worry about things in the finish that all my guitars have after I have owned them for a while.... Seems like a lot of excuses, eh? ;-)
    Last edited by fender3x; 08-02-2024 at 02:37 AM.

  2. #222
    Thank you @fender3x.

    How do u guys know that enough clear coat on the guitar for level, wetsanding, Rubbing and polishing so as to not to burn through the coats in doing so?.
    Though the surface looks shiny there is a lot of orange peel and also a lot of dust on the top coat. I guess I have to start at 800. But not sure if I have to start wet sand with 800 itself. Or does the orange peel go off with buffing and polishing itself?

    Also for the polishing stage, I have a Drill and don't have a rotary polisher. So planning to get these for drill and these cutting/ Rubbing compounds for polishing.

    Deal of the day: WaveX Heavy Hard Cut Rubbing Compound Plus Medium Cut And Final Finish Low Cut High Gloss With Car Polish Premium Past Wax |Car Care Kit (Set Of 4), Multicolor https://amzn.eu/d/5XdUllw

    These are set of rubbing compounds that are available here

    WaveX Foam Pad Polishing and Buffing Pad Combo | WaveX Hard Cut Polishing Pad, Medium Cut Polishing Pad and Final Finish Polishing Pad | 3"- Fits 3" Backing Plate | for DA and Rotary Polishers https://amzn.eu/d/fWWmpRP

    These are the sequential pads used for the rubbing

    Limited-time deal: DIY Crafts Universal M10 Backing Polishing Buffing Plate Pad with Drill Adapter, 3-inch Do It Your Self (3" inch Backer Pad & Felt Pad, Backer Pad & Felt Pad) https://amzn.eu/d/0Emsuqe

    I am not sure if I need a 3" disc. Smaller or bigger ones.


    Will these be suitable. Any pointers appreciated

    Drashkum

    Sent from my NE2211 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Drashkum; 13-02-2024 at 04:24 PM.

  3. #223
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    You'll need to flat sand the orange peel and any unevenness. As to dust in the clear coat... If you try to get it all out you will probably sand through the clear. (Read that: I generally sand through the clear if I try to eliminate all specs in the clear coat.

    For the final cutting compound and wax I use a cheap, but purpose built hand buffer. I have tried to use my drill with a buffing attachment, and have generally regretted it. Easy (for me anyway) to burn through the finish. Turns too quick, I think.

    With all the curves on a Starcaster/ES style body, there is not that much surface I feel comfortable using a power tool on. I never use it on a concave surface, because I tend to put too much pressure on the sides and not enough on the "valley."

    How do you know how much clear to put on to avoid sand through? In my case it is to put on 6-10 coats when the mfg recommends no more than 3. Aside from that I sand very lightly and carefully...just enough to get it flat with the coarsest grit. Then just enough to remove scratches after that with each successive grit. If I see color in on the sandpaper/sanding-pad I stop immediately.

  4. #224


    Finally Curing for next 3 weeks. But can't manage the itch to go ahead and sand it. I am daily inspecting it for possibility of cracks while curing.
    Time to start the electronics. Will download the schematic from PBG website and get going with it.

    Did look for orbital sanders here and they are insanely expensive. So will have to try the attachment with my slowspeed drill (max 1200rpm only ) for. Buffing and polishing alone.

    Will Post photos of soldering electronics

    Any pointers tips and tricks?

    Drashkum



    Sent from my NE2211 using Tapatalk

  5. #225
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    You don't want an orbital sander anywhere near that IMHO. Something like this is much cheaper and gentler.

    https://www.harborfreight.com/07-amp...hoCKhEQAvD_BwE

    I just put the approach to getting the electronics into the holes on my build diary:

    https://www.buildyourownguitar.com.a...t=5339&page=18

    Not perfect, but the best way I have found.

    Hang in there. Let it get good and hard before you start the final sanding.

    I have a bass that uses the wring similar to what I think you'll be doing. I cannibalized an old guitar cable since you really only need to run ground and hot wires between the components. It has the benefit of being a bit stiffer than ordinary wire and is shielded. That bass has bigger F-holes than the one in my build diary. Hopefully yours will as well. It's nice when you can get some help from your fingers. Mine were mostly too fat to fit inside my super slender F-holes.

  6. #226
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    I stopped using a spray finish on my guitars years ago due to having to wait to get the ideal weather to reduce the orange peel and for the last 10 years I have been using wipe on poly. For the last 5 or so years have been using water base due to the ease and cost of cleanup and due to the fact I use water for thinning plus I can do it inside due to the lack of smell. I make my own wipe on by diluting it 1 to 1 and sometimes I may use a coat of 2 parts water to 1 part poly just to remove any minor blemishes. I use lint free cloth, normally Chux, as I get it in a roll that lasts a long time. Current roll has done about 5 guitars and will probably finish off the 9 guitars I have remaining.

    When I used to wet sand a guitar I used to plug the holes with Vaseline which also lubed the hole for when I screwed in the screws. I have also used Shellite for wet sanding as it doesnt make the wood swell but it has to be done outside and maybe with a mask.

    Once I discovered Scothbrite pads I never use any form of sand paper but using wipe on poly I can get by most times just using white pads but sometimes I may start with the maroon and finish with the white before buffing but of late I like the satin finish especially on the back of the neck. I only ever use 3 coats on a guitar but if the wood has an open grain I may use 4 coats just to fill in the grain. When I used to sand I never used any paper that was lower than 1500 grit and maybe why you have sand throughs. The smoother the application of finish the less number you need to apply.

    You can use a orbital sander with Scotchbrite pads, just cut the pad to size, but I use a random orbital sander with a felt pad that I have used with polish which gives a good finish but now I normally use the sponge rubber buffs using my battery drill on low speed, never use the high speed as you will more than likely cut through the finish if you have little or no experience in such activity. Never just buff in the one spot trying to remove marks, always keep the buff moving and don't use any pressure, just use the weight of the drill and keep it moving. Cannot say that enough, always keep the buff moving. Don't be scared to just polish by hand rather than using a device. You have to be really heavy handed to polish through by hand and if you do then maybe making guitars is not for you. You can use the buff to do belly cuts and the such but you have to angle the buff so as your just cutting on the edge and not the whole face but you do risk sand throughs.

    Never buff along a corner, always buff to the corner but never over it as you will just remove all the finish and be buffing the wood. If the edge has a radius buff to the radius and do along the radius by hand.

    As for pulling the electronics I use heat shrink. I used to use clear plastic pipe but found sometimes you may pull to hard and pull it off the pot. I use heat shrink that the shaft of the pot just fits into, push the shrink into the mounting hole and use a piece of wire with a hook on the end and pull it out of the F-hole. Push the shaft end into the heat shrink and shrink it onto the shaft. I use a heat gun to shrink it as I dont like using a flame, and I have never pulled hard enough to pull the shrink off the shaft.
    Builds :
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    # 2 - Non PBG Tele Thin line
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    # 8 - SGB-30 + Non PBG SG
    # 9 - Custom JRM-1DC 12 String
    #10 - Custom ST-1 with P90's
    #11 - Custom TL-1 with 27" Bari Neck
    #12 - Custom JZ-6 Jazzmaster
    #13 - AG-1 Factory Second
    #14 - Custom JZ-6 Bass vi
    #15 - EX-1R Factory Second
    #16 - AGM-1
    #17 - EXA-7

  7. #227
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    I am guessing that I don't get my clear as flat as you do, Dikkybee, so I start with a 220 Diablo sanding sheets. I don't recommend this! I do it because my finishes tend to have some brushstrokes. It's also why I exceed the mfg's recommendation about how many coats to use. More coats...less dramatic brush strokes, and more buildup to avoid a sand through with an aggressive grit.

    Once I have it flat with that, I start I dry sand with maroon, then gray sanding pads. The nice thing about the Diablo and the Scotchbrite pads is that I can blow them out, or even rinse them out to clear them. After it's as smooth as I can get with sanding pads, I finish by going progressively wet sanding (with minimal water) from 800 grit, to 1000, to 1500, to 2000, 2500, 3000, 5000, 7000...and then buff with McGuires, then turtle wax.

    Would be curious to learn more about what water-based finish you use, how much you thin it, and what you use to apply it. I have been using General Finishes High Performance. I can get a good result with it, but it takes a lot of careful work to get it flat. I also use satin on the necks. I used to use it on the whole guitar, but the mfg says gloss or semi-gloss flatten better...so I switched to semi for the body and headstock. I can't say I notice much difference. Using foam or a good synthetic bristle brush I get about the same amount of streaking.

    I have used the orbital sander on flat bodies. Dikkybee has a lot more experience than I do, but would not trust myself using a machine on something as curvy as an archtop. I tried using my drill with a small cloth buffing wheel just once, and discovered that even with only cloth and rubbing compound I could manage to "sand" through, especially as Dikkybee says, when I got close over an edge.

  8. #228
    Overlord of Music fender3x's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dikkybee007 View Post
    As for pulling the electronics I use heat shrink. I used to use clear plastic pipe but found sometimes you may pull to hard and pull it off the pot. I use heat shrink that the shaft of the pot just fits into, push the shrink into the mounting hole and use a piece of wire with a hook on the end and pull it out of the F-hole. Push the shaft end into the heat shrink and shrink it onto the shaft. I use a heat gun to shrink it as I dont like using a flame, and I have never pulled hard enough to pull the shrink off the shaft.
    Best approach I have found so far. Works best with pots designed for push on knobs. The shaft is narrow under the knurled part which gives the heatshrink something to grab on to. I still managed to pull one off...but that was me not being gentle enough. I sometimes use the approach "If at first you don't succeed, break something." ;-)

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