How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?



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How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby grokostimpy » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:27 pm

I'm looking for some advice on how to make a normal gloss poly guitar into a satin finish.

Not looking to strip off the poly or make it a relic or anything, I just want to knock the gloss off and give it a satin-feel.

Logic would tell me either steel wool or sandpaper would do the trick, but I thought I'd ask here to see if I can learn from anyone else first.

Thanks!
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Achtane » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:41 pm

Seems like you could get the lightest steel wool ever and go over the body, then maybe lightly buff it. I don't really know though, never done it before. I do #0000 steel wool the backs of my guitar necks to make 'em smooooove, and they lose their gloss.
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby masked elwood » Fri Dec 14, 2012 8:38 pm

^^^^ yep. ^^^
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Holy Schnikes » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:24 pm

Man I LOVE a satin finish. You should post some before and after pics........ :cool:
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby aen » Fri Dec 14, 2012 10:43 pm

I tried one of those green scratchy pads fro washing dishes, but had way better results with super fine sandpaper. I've done two of them!
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby FuzzHugger » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:06 pm

Achtane wrote:Seems like you could get the lightest steel wool ever and go over the body, then maybe lightly buff it. I don't really know though, never done it before. I do #0000 steel wool the backs of my guitar necks to make 'em smooooove, and they lose their gloss.

masked elwood wrote:^^^^ yep. ^^^

Thirded.

0000 steel wool.
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Mike » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:57 pm

I've done this twice in the last couple of years. I only have before and after pictures of one of them, and I will try to take pictures of the other tomorrow.

The first one I did was an Agile AL-2000, Honey sunburst flame. The thing looked like plastic. I stuck a plastic steel wool substitute to a random orbital sander, and hit all of the gloss. After that step, it was pretty dull. I then brought it up to the shine I wanted. I used some rubbing compound and a drill-mounted polishing pad to remove some of the scratches, then rubbing compound by hand, and then carnauba cleaner wax a few times. It left the instrument with a nice, warm sheen, and I think it looks a lot better. Pics tomorrow.

The second one is my Squier Cyclone. I did this one entirely by hand. I used the plastic wool, and then rubbing compound, and then cleaner wax. I like the results.

Before:

Image Image Image Image

After:

Image Image Image Image
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Gone Fission » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:53 am

Hah -- I was just looking up Mike's blog post because I thought the Cyclone came out looking nicely de-shined.
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby grokostimpy » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:22 am

Nicely done on that cyclone, Mike.

I have one guitar with a nitro finish that I routinely use 0000 steel wool to re-matte the forearm contour, because I tend to gloss it up with my baby smooth arms, apparently :) I'll give the 0000 a shot on the Poly finish too, see how it goes. I'll probably get to it after the holidays and post some pics. Thanks for the tips!
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Holy Schnikes » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:15 pm

grokostimpy wrote:I have one guitar with a nitro finish that I routinely use 0000 steel wool to re-matte the forearm contour, because I tend to gloss it up with my baby smooth arms, apparently :)

That's my only real qualm with a satin finish, areas that are exposed to touch/friction on a regular basis will most definitely build up a shine.
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Nelson Instruments » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:44 pm

There are two ways to get a satin finish. The first one is done while spraying the instrument. A flatting paste is added to the finish which difuses the light differently so it will never acheive a high gloss.
The other method (that I use) is to just knock the sheen down with 0000 steel wool. You can use a little lemon oil as a lubricant if needed.
0000 steel wool is approx the equiv of 600 grit sandpaper. So if you want the same result but with less visible scratches do some wetsanding with a higher grit (1000 or 1500 would work nicely)

This just flashed me back to a music store I used to work at. This kid had an american fender 57 reissue strat and he wanted to show me his relic job. He had always wanted a custom shop relic strat (and for what he paid for the guitar he had when new he could have found a used custom shop...but whatever I guess)

So he pulled it out of the case and I am horrified to see deep scratches that go in all directions.
I grab the guitar and notice the scratches on the back of the neck. The scratched weren't going in the long direction of the shaft of the neck (as they should.) but went with the curvature of the neck....so he basically put speed bumps in the neck.
I said "you did this yourself eh?"
he replied "yes"
"what grit sandpaper did you use?"
..........."60 grit" was the answer.
ouch!!!!! With a wave of his hand his guitar was worthless. Hahahaha
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby dubkitty » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:59 pm

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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby Mike » Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:27 pm

OK, here are the images of my AL-2000.

Before:
Image Image Image

After:
Image Image Image

I'm sure there are some people who prefer the super shiny look. It just looked and felt like plastic to me. I am really happy with how it came out.
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby the_carl » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:46 pm

That AL-2000 looks sooooo much better after. This is making not buying one way more difficult.
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Re: How to turn a Gloss finish into Satin?

Postby kosta » Sun Dec 16, 2012 2:43 am

Those both look awesome Mike! And that story about that "relic'ed" Strat is a heartbreaker Bobby!
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