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The positive and negative of water base

So Hey! Here is the first installment of my finishing process in the blog.

First it should be noted that all information here is the opinion of this author. This author is not associated with General Finishes company. The techniques and results are base on my own experiences in the use of this product. Always first and foremost refer to the instructions and guidelines provided by the manufacturer of the aforementioned finishing products.

So why water base? I have been interested in moving to water base finishing since I was an archtop builder back in the early 90’s. I have never really been a fan of Nitrocellulose Lacquer Paint. For me, the smell seemed to be inescapable no matter the spray booth, ventilation and respirator. Also I found it very temperamental as well. The right Temperature, the right mixture ratio, prefect drying conditions. And don’t get any moisture in the finish or air line, also look out for that fish eye. Be careful not to burn through finish when wet sanding! There were many things I did not like about the lacquer finishing process. There has to be something better! ….. And better for the environment too!!

About 4 years ago I discovered a new to me water base finish call General Finishes High Performance. After reading a bit about it, I decided to get a quart and give it a spin. Long story short, I have not looked back! I find this form of guitar finish very much to my liking. My results just keep getting better and better. I frequently get questions about my process with this finishing product. So I thought it would be good to outline it here so that anyone who would like, can follow along or reference the information later. Also please feel free (and I hope you will) to ask all the questions you need.

Let's look at the positive and negative of the finish.

What is the positive?

  • Better for the environment.

  • Cleans up with soap and water

  • Can be sprayed or brushed on

  • Needs no sealer coat.

  • Drying time is short.

  • Dings or easily fixed

  • Can be sanded and buffed to a high gloss finish like lacquer

  • Very durable

  • Almost odorless

  • Can get along with other type finishes as long as the other finish is completely dry

What is the negative?

  • Comes only in clear satin or clear gloss (must be pigmented to color desired)

  • Can cost a bit more compared to its nitro counterpart

  • Does not yellow over time

  • Can shrink if proper method is not used

  • Steel wool particles can rust if not completely removed. ( general finishes does not recommend the use of steel wool)

Please hit me back with any questions regarding either the positive or the negative. Also remember, this is only my process for a finish. It is not a which is better comparison. I personally find the water base to my liking for a number of reason that work for me. I have explored it to the point of very nice results. The learning curve was not simple but was not difficult. Also some trial and error went a log way.

Next week I will be outlining the equipment I personally use to get my finishes. I found some solutions in this area in the beginning when I was looking at everything but my equipment and thinking that equipment was just equipment. Also that if it works for lacquer, it works for water base finishes was not always the case. You would be surprised.

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