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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:01 pm 
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meddlingfool wrote:
What I find interesting is the non commonality we all seem to have in our various experiences with these finishes.

For instance, I ditched KTM-9 in favor of KTM SV because I was getting witness lines in the 9 (but not the SV), which was fortunate, as nearly all the KTM9 coated guitars reacted poorly to being touched, yielding a blistered feel after as little as 3-6 months, whereas the SV is still good 9 years later...


Maybe this gets back to the fact that although all these finishes are lumped together as being water based or waterborne finishes, they can be very different finishes that have only one thing in common: water acting as the carrier for the actual finish material. The actual finish component of Enduro-var is polyurethane and for EM6000 it's acrylic copolymer. Those are two completely different compounds chemically. In addition, each of them contain small amounts of organic compounds that keep the finish molecules suspended in the water and these compounds are completely different between Enduro-var and EM6000. Literally, the only thing they have in common is the water. The finish component of Crystalac is some proprietary mix of acrylic and polyurethane. KTM SV is polyurethane like Enduro-var, but the term polyurethane is an umbrella term that covers many different compounds so the finish components of these two could be significantly different.

It would probably be more useful for people to think of and treat these finishes as distinctly different finishes that happen to use water as the carrier rather than thinking of them generically as water based finishes.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 03, 2019 3:22 pm 
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I like EM6000 and think it is a good finish that is pretty easy to spray. Of the EM6000 guitars I did all were sealed with shellac. One guitar required a neck repair and I just resprayed the area with EM6000 over the bare wood; bad idea and I should have known better. After a about 3 years the finish started flaking off the wear areas where I did the repair. So a warning, if you repair any decent sized area on EM6000, especially where there is a lot of wear such as on the back of the neck, reseal with shellac over any bare wood.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:10 pm 
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I spray the waterbase gloss lacquer that Woodworkers Supply sells. JE Moser Premium Spray Lacquer, or something like that. It has worked okay for me so far. I have little nitro experience though to compare it to. I have a lot of catalized lacquer experience and it is good stuff but maybe too hard? I seal with a vinyl sealer or shellac, both work fine. I spray three good coats a day for three days and call it good. Sometimes I only do two days on the top and three days everywhere else as the top is pretty flat from jump street.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:56 pm 
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I used KTM 4, 9, and their waterbased Spar Varnish. They all had their pluses and minuses. Clarity was only an issue if the finish was applied to thickly, either per coat or overall. Adhesion can be a problem after the guitar has been in service awhile, mainly in the areas with the most skin contact.

I switched to Cardinal LuthierLac about five years ago. The minuses are well documented, checking and crazing over time is one of them. But, it is a good finish and some SS players still think it is the gold standard.

I would like to make the switch to a two part urethane but the only thing that stops me is fear.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:29 pm 
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All I was trying to say was that for newbie builders, there is no easier, more forgiving, more repairable finish. Learning curve is not steep. Yes it has hazards. Open your garage door, spray away. Not suitable for basements, etc. Wear protection. But that applies to any finish. Multi week off gassing applies to EMTech, Enduro-Var, and Nitro. Anybody says different, it’s not true. But at end of off gas, you can still repair nitro. Check it out. The more technical finishes just are not reachable for the new builder. I love EMTech and Enfuro-var. but they can be finicky.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:34 pm 
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The new builder can of course use any finish. But waterbornes are way more technical than Nitro.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:53 pm 
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I'm going to give 2k a stab... It will save me a lot of time trying to cure up a finish, not to mention one quart of 2k goes further than a quart of nitro because the 2k builds more. I'm going to try it on a Cajon and see how it works out (finish thickness is not as important there but I need durability since people will be banging on it)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:20 pm 
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Mike OMelia wrote:
Multi week off gassing applies to EMTech, Enduro-Var, and Nitro. Anybody says different, it’s not true. But at end of off gas, you can still repair nitro. Check it out. The more technical finishes just are not reachable for the new builder. I love EMTech and Enfuro-var. but they can be finicky.


What do you mean by "technical" finishes?

Based on my own experience, I disagree that the so-called technical finishes "just are not reachable for the new builder". I'm not saying this to have an argument with you. It's for the sake of any new builders or people thinking of trying a new finish who might read this thread and be scared off from trying one them because of your experience and opinion. For the sake of balance here's my experience with EM6000. I got a very nice finish on my first try on the first guitar I built. That was with no finishing expertise or experience at all aside from rattle can spray jobs on model cars 45+ years prior and with nobody looking over my shoulder giving me advise. There was nothing steep about the learning curve. It worked right out of the gate and continues to work. Not the least bit finicky. I've had no problems with it at all. And, as I and several others have pointed out above in this thread, it repairs beautifully. I don't possess any super powers or mad ninja finishing skills so if I can get good results with it, other people can too.

IMO, anyone interested in trying an alternative to nitrocellulose should take advantage of all the information and experience that's on the internet to thoroughly research the options and make their own decision on what to try. Then you need to find or build a detailed finishing schedule specific for the finish you intend to use. Prior experience with other finishes may not apply when it comes to the specifics of how to use a new finish. When I was researching what to use for the first time. I read everything I could find in forums and on people's web pages. I watched videos on youtube and an instructional DVD. I paid attention to how old the information was and gave more weight to more recent information because alternative finishes have evolved over time, new ones have become available, and some old opinions are now obsolete. I took to heart the fact that surface prep is absolutely critical to success. Lastly, I wrote up a detailed finishing schedule compiled from what I thought was the best of what I had read and viewed and used it. It worked.

Personally, I know I'll never use nitro because there's no reason for me to do so. I get very good results with what I'm using now and it has all the advantages over nitro I listed in another post in this thread. For those who like nitro and are currently set up to use it, that's great. For those who are starting out in finishing or for those who want to get away from the disadvantages of nitro, there are some very good options out there.

Regarding off gassing, of course the water based finishes off gas too. But with nitro you get a double whammy relative to EM6000. Not only does nitro contain about 8 or 9 times more organic solvents to off gas on a volume basis, the off gassing solvents are also moderately toxic instead of slightly toxic (according to the SDS sheets for each).

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Last edited by J De Rocher on Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:21 pm 
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Waterborne finishes are more "technical" in the sense that you need to pay more attention to the environment they are used in, what they are used over, and finishing schedules. They often require you to be more fastidious on cleaning the equipment.
Straight nitrocellulose lacquer is a lazy man's finish. It can be sprayed in both hot and cold conditions, can be used over bare wood, epoxy, shellac,
and many other finishes, can be recoated within a short period of time or days later, and can sit in the gun for weeks at a time without gumming it up. It does have the downside of potentially blowing you up if you get too lazy to do a proper set up.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:29 pm 
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So what you are saying is nitro is the lazy (but not so lazy that you blow yourself up) man's finish :)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:38 pm 
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I think advising beginner guitar builders on guitar finishing should start with an assessment of who they are and what relevant finishing skills, facilities and tools they already have.

For someone who has experience spraying nitro, and who has access to a safe setup for spraying nitro, maybe spraying nitro is a good starting place. Maybe.

For someone who has experience spraying more modern finishes, and who has access to a safe setup for spraying those finishes, I wouldn't advise them to start by spraying nitro. I think they should start with some appropriate finish that is closer to what they know.

For someone who does not have spray experience, or a safe spraying setup, I think they are much better off not getting on the spray finish train at all until they get a few guitars behind them, and then they can assess for themselves whether spraying is something they might want to do, and if so, what finish material to use. They can brush a modern finish like Enduro Var and do just fine.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:28 pm 
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Nitro has two drawbacks. It is flammable, and it has a long off-gas time. With regards to the latter, so does Enduro-Var and EMTech6000. Maybe not as long, but for good results, yes. Ok, another drawback is you must spray nitro. But THE one thing that makes nitro the best option is its repairability. Yes you can repair EmTech, mostly. Endurovar, not so much.

If a new builder can overcome the flammability, and has spray equipment, then Nitro is a great option.

There are a lot of ways to solve the flammability issue. Not appropriate to discuss on open forum as some folks will take half of what u say and make up the rest. Common sense should be your guide.

And yes, waterborne finishes are more technical. I've done a bunch. Maybe not to you the experienced builder. But certainly for the new builder. They just do not know what they do not know.

Mike


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:33 pm 
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For a combination of reasons, I am committed to brush application and waterborne finishes. It has not been an easy road, but currently I feel pretty happy with Enduro-Var, and I'm about to try the EM6000.

Much has been written about the drawbacks of water borne finishes, but I ran into one problem I have not seen others mention. Keep in mind, this was over 25 years ago, and products have improved, and really it was my fault for not verifying my buffing compound was compatible with the finish.

After level sanding, I started buffing with a liquid polish. Within a very short time, the finish developed a severe, fine grain checking and weird surface quality.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:51 am 
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A lot has changed in 25 years although my experience with EM6000 about 7 years ago was not very good either. I'm sure it was due to not having a clean enough space to apply it as I couldn't get rid of the craters and gave up. I still have that can and want to experiment with it. If it burns-in years later than the shelf life must be long I think.

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"Alan Carruth, IMO the 12-fret 000 or 14 fret OM size (15" wide lower bout) is god's size for the steel string guitar, especially for fingerstyle. I would also try to get away from scalloped bracing and lean toward 'straight' or 'tapered' bracing. Scalloped emphasizes bass and 'punch', where straight bracing, and especially 'tapered' (sometimes called 'parabolic') leans more toward treble and sustain."


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:19 am 
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One thing about EM6000 is that if applied to a neck directly over a Z-Poxy pore fill the finish can get fuzzy a few months later. You can sand or steel wool it smooth but it comes back. I think a seal coat of shellac would fix that but I just refinished them with oil. I also had problems with necks breaking down with both KTM-9 and the EM6000 with some clients.

I quit water based probably 12-13 years ago and started outsourcing. A nitro or Catalyzed Urethane finish applied by a pro was much more commercially viable and well worth the cost.

Woody’s experience with EnduroVar is very interesting. That is one I never tried. May have to take a second look but I do remember very clearly how incredibly enthusiastic John Greven and Mike Doolin were about KTM-9 back in the day. They both gave a demo at the 2004 GAL that was almost an evangelical experience.

Their abandonment of the product was not trumpeted as vigorously.

Other than Greven any other high profile builders still using water based. Gerald Sheppard?

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