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Veneer Issue (ultra-noob, many apologies)

Corey Member

First of all, I am as inexperienced with the art of veneering as I am excited to do it. To make things exceptionally difficult, I typically veneer over concave, beveled guitar bodies and my favorite veneer choices are crotch/burl ultra thin veneers (I think around 1/42 " ?)

I have an issue and I'm looking to fix it as best I can without having to start over from square one. I have veneered onto the guitar and didn't sand prior to dying (with Transtint Dyes) and coating with lacquer (about 3-4 coats starting with a light mist first coat and then getting heavier). The main reason was that the veneer was paper thin and I didn't want to sand through it, otherwise I would have tried to get some grain pop with a black dye, etc.

Now, after a few coats of lacquer, I notice that the guitar looks very very very very dark and it's incredibly difficult to see the finish and dyes for what they once were (I loved how it looked before the lacquer and also during the lacquering process and now it's slightly unrecognizable with how dark it is).

I know that wet lacquer (or simply lacquer applied) will cause things to look darker, but I think a big component here is also the MASSIVE orange peel effect I have on the finish? (please don't yell at me, I know it's my fault)

I was wondering if it is possible to wet sand the lacquer to try to get it looking a little nicer or even it out? Or if anyone has any experience with this type of veneer issue and how to go about fixing it.

Thanks in advance! Let me know where to go from here!

7/7/16       #2: Veneer Issue (ultra-noob, many apol ...
John Bishop  Member


I need to know exactly what type of lacquer it is. Different lacquers have different open times. I am referring not to drying time but the critical recoat time which allows each subsequent layer of lacquer to actually fuse or burn into the layer under it. Thus forming on cohesive layer.

If it is truly a lacquer and not another product masquerading as a lacquer. If you stayed within recoat windows. The layer has fused together and is all one. Check the lacquer open time. It is all fused together sand the heck out of it no problem. If it is not fused together you will burn through a layer and get a funky looking shadow as you get into the other layer which is a justification line where the two layer or only forming a mechanical bond and not a chemical bond. Bid difference.

Pick one of the many sanding pads available and with four coats if you have a reasonable mill build with each coat you have a bunch of material to work with. You did not say if any coats were sanding sealers etc. which have a much higher concentrate of solids and thus build much faster and leave you more products to work with.

Start with the highest grit you can that will level the surface. This is all assuming you are doing to level the finish and then apply another proper top coat. If you do not plan on doing that you need to research how to rub out a finish. But I would imagine you do not have enough build for a rubbed out finish. You really eat through it quickly creating a perfectly smooth surface.

Good luck, happy to help further if I can. I am afraid I cannot explain rubbing out a finish on this board. Our process is fairly complicated. Everyone does it differently. I will say there are a lot of nice automotive paint options to rub or buff a finish now days.

7/7/16       #3: Veneer Issue (ultra-noob, many apol ...
Corey Member

Hi John Bishop,

I am using a product from Krylon, called colormaster crystal clear acrylic based lacquer gloss. It can be seen here:

I had sprayed a mist coat to introduce it to the surface. Waited 30+ minutes and sprayed another coat wetter, then waited an hour sprayed a third coat, then waited an hour and sprayed a fourth coat. I can sometimes be heavy handed with the aerosol spray cans, so they were pretty wet coats.

It has been a little over 24 hours now (evening 7 / 7 / 2016). When do you think it will be safe to wet sand it? I was going to use some wet sand 1000 grit that I got at an automative shop, but would you recommend going even coarser than that?

I can't stand the orange peel, but my other concern is how dark it is now. I can't tell my poor man's burst colors apart hardly (purple/blue/green -- really pretty before lacquer).

Ultimately I am very new to this, and no good at finishing. I'm looking for any suggestions to help me try to salvage the veneer job.

Thank you for your help and the speedy reply!

7/14/16       #4: Veneer Issue (ultra-noob, many apol ...
rich c.

You're never going to get a good quality finish from an aerosol can, buy some finishing equipment and professional finishes! Walmart and Amazon are not places to buy quality finish!

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